HC Deb 01 August 1845 vol 82 cc1321-39

On the Motion that the Order of the Day for the Second Reading of the Exchequer Bills Bill be now read,

Viscount Palmerston

said: Sir, in making the observations which I am about to submit to the House relative to the kingdom of Greece, I feel that I cannot claim the attention of the House on the ground that the subject which I am going to bring under its consideration concerns either the military or the political interests of the country, or its commercial or even its pecuniary interests, to any very considerable extent. Politically, we have no interests worth mentioning with regard to the kingdom of Greece. That State is not sufficiently important to form an essential element in the general balance of European power; we have, therefore, no peculiar political interest with respect to the kingdom of Greece. The commerce of Greece cannot by any possibility be very extensive, and, therefore, we can have no commercial or selfish interests there to maintain. In a pecuni- ary point of view, indeed, we are, to a certain degree, concerned, because we are now paying for Greece a portion of the interest upon the Greek loan which was guaranteed by the three protecting Powers; and anything which tends to retain Greece in a state of disorder, and to continue to prevent her from paying the interest upon her own debt, must, to a certain extent, affect this country in a pecuniary point of view. But the subject has higher claims upon the attention of the House and the country, because it concerns the honour and good faith of Great Britain. The circumstances which led to the establishment of the kingdom of Greece are well known. Every one must remember that there broke out in Greece in 1820 a general resistance to the Turkish authority. That resistance continued from 1820 till 1827, during which time a sanguinary and exterminating war was carried on between the Turkish troops and the Greek nation. In 1827, England, Russia, and France, concurred in the determination to put a stop to those hostilities, and to erect Greece into a separate and independent State; and the result was, that the kingdom of Greece was so constituted, and England and the other two Powers guaranteed by Treaty the independence and integrity of that kingdom. I say, therefore, that anything which threatens the independence which we have guaranteed—any thing which threatens the prosperity of that kingdom which we were parties to create, affects directly, and in a material respect, the honour of the British Crown. After those transactions which created the kingdom of Greece, and defined its frontier, a King was appointed, and that King being of tender age, a Council of Regency was sent from Bavaria to administer the affairs of the country. That regency has been much abused. No doubt faults were committed by members of the regency. Theirs was the great fault of quarrelling among themselves. There were intrigues and caballing amongst them, one against the other; but be their faults what they may, they conferred upon Greece great and substantial benefits. They established in Greece what may be called popular assemblies. They gave it municipal corporations—they established freedom of the press, trial by jury, a national Church, provincial assemblies, and they laid the foundation for that general representative constitution which the three allied Powers had promised to the Greeks, and which the King of Bavaria, the father of the Sovereign, and acting as his tutor during his minority, had promised them, and which the son himself, on coming of age, had also promised. That constitution, so long promised, was long delayed; and during the early years of the King's reign—after the regency had ceased, and the King had assumed the functions of Government—through the agency of those who had been successively engaged as Ministers, great abuses prevailed—great and terrible oppressions were practised on the Greeks; there was a lavish expenditure and squandering of the public funds in the maintenance of a bad system; and the result was that the finances of the Government were unable to meet the current expenditure—the interest of the loan was unpaid, and the payment of that interest was thus thrown upon the guaranteeing Powers. At last the discontent of the Greek nation at the misgovernment under which they suffered got to such a pitch, and was so universal, that in the month of September, 1843, by the almost unanimous act of the Greek nation, a calm, a peaceful, and tranquil revolution was, in the course of a few hours, effected. What was required was, that Greece should receive from the Sovereign that representative constitution which had been already guaranteed to it. A general assembly was summoned. It sat for many months, and, in conjunction with the royal authority, completed a code for a representative government for Greece. Those who only looked to the surface of things, who did not keep a strict watch, or who were not acquainted with the secret springs of that system which was in operation in Greece, might have expected that, when a constitution was established, things would go on in a different way; that the Sovereign would be content to act within the limits of the constitution, and that the people would be allowed to enjoy those privileges and that security to which, by the constitution, they were entitled. I am sorry to say that this was not the case. The Minister who had been called to act, Mavrocordato, was an enlightened man and a good patriot, anxious to secure by constitutional means the happiness and welfare of his country. He was, however, on that very account, soon removed from office, and his place was taken by a man of a very different description. The present Minister of Greece, Coletti, was educated in the school of Ali Pacha of Jannina, where he had imbibed principles very different from those which would fit a man to administer a constitutional system. For a considerable time past Greece has, step by step, been falling into a state of the most dreadful anarchy. The constitution has been virtually set aside; arbitrary acts of power have been practised everywhere. Elections took place for a representative assembly; but in many places these elections were controlled by an armed force employed for that purpose by the Government; and where the Government was not able to control the elections at the hustings, the members who had been duly elected were set aside by the arbitrary decision of a Committee of the Chamber, appointed unconstitutionally by the Government, expressly for the purpose of expelling every man who was hostile to the Government. Judges have been dismissed because it was thought they would administer the law with justice; others have been transferred from place to place, as best suited the interests and views of the Government. The liberty of the press has been shackled. Tyranny of the most grievous kind has been exercised on the people. The regular army has been disbanded, and in its place bands of palikars—robbers and plunderers, have been employed under the orders of the Government. The most dreadful excesses have been practised upon the unfortunate people. Torture has again been used—a practice that existed before the constitution was formed; and Gentlemen in this House will hardly believe that in a Christian country, and amongst a people that profess to be a civilized nation, such abominations could take place as those that have been practised in Greece. This was the mode of proceeding used before the constitution, and I believe it is now repeated for the same purposes. When vengeance is intended to be taken on a village, either on account of the absconding of conscripts, or for supposed excesses committed by an individual, a number of the inhabitants are seized; some are suspended by the feet, swung like a pendulum, and beaten as they are swung; some are tied by the hands and feet, and a ramrod run through the calves of their legs: some are laid on their backs, and a great heavy stone placed on their chests, and there they are left to struggle till they are nearly suffocated, and until life is almost extinct. These facts cannot be denied; and to such a pitch have these barbarous proceedings been carried, that wild cats have been tied up in the loose dresses of the peasant women! The man Tyinos, who has been the great actor in these cruelties, is now under the protection of the Greek Government. These things are still going on. I hold in my hand a petition from a certain number of persons in Mycarne, who state that they themselves were the victims of proceedings of this kind; that fifty members of their village were carried off by a band of Palikari, and subjected to this torture, and to these atrocious proceedings. Of course the revenue of the country is squandered upon these armed banditti, and the regular service of the State is left in arrear; the interest of the debt is thrown on the three allied guaranteeing Powers, and no effort whatever has been made towards payment by the Government of Greece. Now, I should like to ask Her Majesty's Government why they have not at length insisted on the execution of that Treaty stipulation by which the Government of Greece were bound to apply to the payment of the interest of their debt the first produce of the public revenue? That was the condition of the Treaty of 1832. I am not certain whether, by some subsequent arrangement, specified branches of revenue were to be appropriated to the purpose. But whichever of the two arrangements is now in force, we are entitled to exact compliance with it. The Government of Greece should be compelled to have recourse to every method of economy; and no method of economy is so certain in its effects, as to put in offices of trust honest men who will not abuse the power that is given to them. I say, therefore, that we are entitled, both in our capacity of creditors of Greece, and in our capacity of guaranteers of the independence and integrity of Greece, to give strong advice, and to make urgent representations to its Government on these matters. I have stated the nature of the disorders that prevail in Greece; there is no security for life and property in any part of the kingdom; and assassinations occur even in the very capital of the country. But these depredations are not confined to Greece and Greek subjects. There is an organized system of rapine established on the Greek frontier, to be exercised on the neighbouring districts of Turkey; and thereby the most serious differences are liable at any time to arise between the Turkish Government and the Government of Greece. Therefore, we who are the parties that guaranteed the independence of Greece, and who may be called on to defend Greece, if she be attacked by the Turks, have a right to require that the Greek Government shall abstain from proceedings which are so calculated to bring them into collision and hostility with the neighbouring country. Now, perhaps, I shall be told that all this has arisen from the struggle which is constantly going on in Greece between the various parties who range themselves under the standard of different Foreign Powers. I shall be told that it is owing to the disputes between the "English party," and the "Russian party," and the "French party." What Russian party or French party there may be, it is not for me to say; but I do take upon myself to assert that an English party there is not, never has been, never will be, and never can be in Greece, any more than in any other independent country in the world. Sir, we want no party in any country. The English party in Greece—that which is called the English party in Greece—is that which was the English party in Spain, and which is the English party in every country in the world with which we have any relations, or in which we can exert any influence; it is the national party; it is the party who look only to the interests of their own country; and it is only according as any party in a foreign country are animated by such feelings, that we can have any motive for supporting or assisting them in our relations with them. Why what earthly advantage — English advantage—can we expect or wish to obtain from Greece? I am sure I speak not only for the late Government, but also for the Government that now exists, when I say, that the only interest which England can have to consult in its relations with Greece, is to give such support and countenance as we can properly give to parties in a foreign country — to those men who are best calculated and most disposed to promote the welfare and prosperity and political independence of their own country. But then it is said that there is a struggle between these parties; that Mavrocordato was considered as the representative of the English party, and that his dismissal was wholly and solely upon that account. Now I am quite sure that Mavrocordato would repel with disdain the imputation of having exercised any influence, or of having entertained a wish, to serve the views or objects of any foreign country, if those views did not promote the interest and independence of Greece. Colletti, to be sure, may also suppose that he is promoting the interest and independence of Greece. He may imagine that constitutional governments are very bad things, and that by driving the Greeks to despair, and creating discontent and dissatisfaction throughout every part of the country, be may produce outbreaks which will tend to make men believe that the Greeks are unfit for constitutional government; and that he and that party who wish to establish arbitrary power will then be able to appeal to experience for the purpose of showing that their system of government is the only one suited to the present condition of the people of Greece. But such an opinion would be utterly unfounded, because any man who has attended to the course pursued by the Greek Assembly in establishing their constitution, will admit that it was impossible for any men of any nation to show themselves more deserving of the liberties and privileges they thereby acquired. I cannot believe that the Government of France can really partake in the views which alone appear to to me as offering an explanation Of the conduct of Coletti. What possible interest can France have in crushing the rising liberties of Greece? What possible interest can France have in preventing Greece from gaining that degree of prosperity and happiness which its limited extent permits it to acquire? Greece never can become formidable among the Powers of Europe. Her small size prevents it—her limited population and her geographical position prevent it. Greece never can be anything but a prosperous, commercial, and intellectual community. That she will be; and I think that the French nation, who attach such value to the constitutional liberties which they have acquired, ought to sympathize with the people of Greece, and, instead of desiring to support any faction which endeavours to overthrow the constitution and to tyrannize over the people, ought, on the contrary, to wish for the maintenance of Grecian independence, and desire to see the Greeks enjoy those constitutional blessings which the French pride themselves upon. I would urge Her Majesty's Government to appeal to the French Government on this matter, to press upon their attention the horrible cruelties and abomi- nable abuses which are now going on in Greece, and to remind them of the obligations which France, as well as England, has contracted by the Treaty to which France, as well as England, is a party; and I cannot but believe that if England and France were cordially to unite, not caring about the name of the individual who may act as Minister, and casting aside all those little jealousies and petty vanities which sometimes are permitted to influence the conduct of the agents of Governments, and were to express a firm determination that order should be re-established in Greece, and that the constitution which has been granted, according to the promise of the Three Powers, should not be set aside by the unjustifiable exercise of arbitrary power (and I cannot persuade myself that Russia would not also concur in such a course)—I sincerely believe that such joint efforts would be successful. But even if we are left to act alone, we are entitled to demand the execution of the Treaty—we are entitled to demand that the first produce of the revenue shall be set aside for the payment of the interest of that portion of the debt which we ourselves have guaranteed; and I think that a display of energy and firmness on the part of Great Britain in that matter, would not fail to have the best, the most desirable effects on the course of events in Greece. It may suit the views of those who labour to produce disorganization in foreign countries, to represent England as anxious everywhere to establish political ascendancy; but, Heaven knows, the alarm of these people, if there be any who entertain such alarm in sincerity, must by this time have pretty well abated; for, as to "political ascendancy," or influence in any part of the world, of that charge the present Government of England may be most entirely acquitted. But the people who make that charge, make it with an utter ignorance of everything belonging to the political condition and possible views of England. We cannot be like the old Romans, whose motto was, Regere imperio populos. England never can look—the feelings of the country never can permit that we should look—to foreign conquest, or endeavour to obtain political influence, other than that which is for the good of the country in which such influence may be exercised. I can quite understand that when we may have the misfortnne to be at war with a great Foreign Power, we might then endeavour to establish an English party in the Cabinet of a third Power, whose aid we might look for in the course of hostilities; but in time of peace, we can look for no political influence except that which is beneficial to those over whom it is exerted. I consider the love of conquest by war as one of the distinguishing marks of a barbarous age: in proportion as nations advance in civilization, in that same proportion they cease to think it a glory to inflict upon their neighbours that greatest of all wrongs which consists in conquest by violence; they cease to seek glory by conquest. They aspire to those greater glories which consist in the cultivation of the arts of peace. It is in the spirit of the people of this country, and it ought always to be in the spirit of the Government of this country, to endeavour, as far as the political influence of England may extend, to take care that such influence shall be exerted to protect the weak, to rescue the oppressed, to extend civilization, and to confer, as far as we are able to do so, the blessings of peace, independence, and happiness upon all nations with which we have any relations whatever. I say, then, that there ought to be no jealousy with regard to England in the minds either of the French or of the Russian Government; that in Greece there is no conflict of foreign interests; that we have no selfish objects to pursue; but that we are bound, in the performance of a duty, to exert all the influence which either Treaties or our political position may give us, to secure happiness to the Greeks under an independent and constitutional Government—to confer which upon the Greek nation was the object, as it ought to be the result, of the Treaties of 1827 and 1832. Sir, I have no Motion to submit to the House upon this subject. I could not see that which I have read in the newspapers of the atrocities now going on in Greece, and permit the Session to pass over without offering some observations thereupon to the House. I have no doubt that the Government shares in the anxiety which I myself feel; but I have a doubt as to the energy with which they will give effect to their feelings. I trust, however, that I may be mistaken; that they will do that which I think they may do successfully; and that the Greek nation having, in the first place, owed greatly to this country the establishment of their independence as a free and separate nation, may also owe to us the further obligation of being secured in the enjoyment of those constitutional privileges which have been conferred upon them with the sanction and concurrence of their Sovereign.

Mr. Baillie Cochrane

said, it was now only two years since a change took place in Greece which astonished the whole of Europe. He did not use the term "revolution," because the people themselves disclaimed it, declaring that they had only asserted their just and unalterable rights. He was no advocate for appeals to the people, or declarations of right; but he conceived that to Greece must be applied very different principles to those which should regulate other European organizations. She had shaken off the yoke of Turkey, and whatever might be our opinion of the advantage of preserving the integrity of the Ottoman empire, she had exercised her sovereignty of Greece with as much violence as she had used in its attainment. The independence of Greece was acknowledged in most flattering terms by the great Powers. They were supposed to be consulted in the selection of a Sovereign. Every proclamation exhorted the Greeks to rally round their glorious constitution, to cherish their liberties. King Otho was received with all the enthusiastic confidence of a people who, when they lost their original power, still retained their original greatness of mind. It was a glorious dawn for a young nation. Every heart warmed at the idea of giving back happiness to that country to which we were indebted for the first rudiments of art and civilization. But the feeling was very general, that no man ever ascended the throne under happier auspices. His own language on assuming the Government was, "Place your trust in me, O Greeks, as I place mine in you; then will your happiness and intelligence be augmented." He would in courtesy extend to the King of Greece the same great elemental principle, that "the King can do no wrong," which was the basis of constitutional monarchy; nor would he be wanting in that respectful language which should always be heard at the footstool of the throne in the few remarks with which he should trouble the House. He should assume that the King, equally with the people, was the victim of a low intriguer—the victim of M. Coletti. That was not an exaggerated term. He would appeal to any hon. Member who was in communication with Greece, whether the accounts from that country of M. Coletti's conduct did not fully bear out his assertions? In this country of well-regulated and established institutions, it was impossible to conceive the excesses which had been practised upon the people under the authority of the Government. The barbarities exercised under orders were so atrocious, that the officers in command declined to enter into particulars. In one of the recent papers he read a letter from M. Crieyis, Governor of Etolia, a man not too well disposed towards the moderate party; from that letter this was an extract:— After having presented this statement to the Minister, it is now my duty to observe to him, that it is absolutely essential the Government should take prompt and efficacious means to remedy this state of things, or otherwise I request the Government to accept my resignation; because it is repugnant to me to remain in the government of a province where the other officers in command, whether designedly or unintentionally, exercise such gross violence, that they excite the population to acts of rebellion, compel them to take up arms against the Government—anything to relieve themselves from that oppression, personal, material, and moral, with which these officers endeavour to crush them. That extract gave them great insight into the case. The people were driven to violence, so that their conduct might convey an impression to Europe that their nation was not fit for constitutional government. From all accounts, that appeared to be the real sense of M. Coletti's policy. And now, who was the fountain-head of all this mischief? He was well known to all Greece as M. Piscatory. M. Coletti was the mere tool in the hands of the French Minister. Even so far back as 1841, M. Piscatory boasted, "He had overthrown the English party of Mavrocordato, and established the French Government of M. Christides." Now, he must humbly suggest, that it was most pernicious policy for any foreign Minister to embark in intrigues in the view of overturning any particular Government. To speak of French influence, English and Russian influence, was insulting to the country. He appealed against M. Coletti's Government, because it was absolutely noxious to the country; because it heaped insults on the heads of those among our countrymen who sacrificed themselves in the war of independence; because it set aside all British interests—the interests of those who were, after all, the chief supporters of the Greek cause. He looked to M. Mavrocordato, because he was universally ac- knowledged to be the ablest statesman in that country, and far superior to all those petty party distinctions which were so paramount in the consideration of inferior men. At the period when the negotiations were carrying on between MM. Coletti and Mavrocordato, the latter insisted on the necessity of forming a coalition of all parties, as the only method which could give stability to the Government. Now, let them fairly consider M. Piscatory's conduct in April, 1844. He was of Sir E. Lyons' opinion, that any Ministry which did not comprehend MM. Mavrocordato and Coletti, would be imperfect. He said of M. Coletti, "It is evident that M. Coletti is not fit for a regular Government." What, then, was the cause of the sudden change in M. Piscatory's policy? Why, the attacks of the French press, which, with that jealous vanity which was the great instinct of the nation, charged him with weakness for allowing M. Mavrocordato to remain in office; moreover, at that time some little misunderstanding between the two Governments arose. M. Piscatory thought he would anticipate events, and become one of the great leaders of the war party; and, therefore, that he could never sufficiently entangle the affairs of Greece. Those were considerations which made him take so active a part with M. Coletti—driving him in his own carriage to the council chamber, and showing his interference in the most public and officious manner. And how had this Government, supported by-French influence, the offspring of French intrigue, conducted themselves? He had mentioned the atrocious conduct of some of the subordinates of the Government; one-third had been expelled at the will of the Minister, and it was now proposed to create twelve new members of the Senate. General Grivas, a notorious rebel, who commanded a troop of brigands, and had been exiled to Constantinople by Mavrocordato, was released by M. Coletti, and made commander of the forces. The town of Athens was full of irregular troops, who lived by the wildest excesses. There was a perfect stagnation to commerce. The provinces were in revolt, the Chambers controlled by illegal means, the national lands were seized and distributed to all the most worthless; and if the statue of Law was not wholly overthrown, it at least tottered to its base. Promotion through every grade was lavished without measure or selection, save that of the most licentious; for it was the reign of license. Such was the condition of a country which we fostered, over whose growth and education we pledged ourselves to watch; and yet the blame was not to us all had been done by Sir E. Lyons that could by any possibility avert these calamities. In the pages of the history of modern Greece, some gallant British names were chronicled; and what had been the fate of those who made every sacrifice for the land of their adoption? Take the case of General Sir Richard Church, a name which would remain in Greece when his persecutors would be forgotten, or only remembered with scorn. General Church was a distinguished officer in the English service, and sold his commission in order to enable him to devote his money to the Greek cause. Had General Church not convoked the Council of State after the 3rd of September, the King was lost; and the Council, had it not been for the influence of Sir Richard Church and Sir Edmund Lyons, were prepared to propose such terms as would have compelled his abdication. And now, after all that, the conduct of the Government was so insulting, that Sir Richard was compelled to resign all his offices. Sir Edmund Lyons, whose exertions for ten long years had been devoted to the real interest of Greece and its Sovereign—who during that period had never once returned to England—after ten years of absence, and ten years of unremitting toil, found all his efforts were fruitless. But Sir E. Lyons and Sir R. Church had gained that saddest of all rewards—the affection of the natives among whom they resided—the approbation of their Sovereign. That approbation, so strongly expressed by the right hon. Baronet at the head of Her Majesty's Government, had filled them with gratitude. Sir R. Church but a few days since wrote to him (Mr. Cochrane) thus:— You placed me in the most enviable position in the world—that of receiving the approbation of my conduct by the Prime Minister and my countrymen. It was, indeed, the proudest moment of my life when I read that the mention of my name was received with approbation there, and which so amply repaid my wounded feelings. I wish I could convey my feelings in a suitable manner to Sir R. Peel and the Members of the House. Such a man might be deprived of his honours, but never lose his honour. It might be asked, where was the utility of commenting so earnestly on the conduct of M. Coletti and his hirelings? Could the Government interfere? Were they justi- fied in requiring that a Minister should be appointed worthy of the nation and possessing its confidence? Would such interference be regarded with jealousy by the people themselves? These were vast considerations, on which it would ill become him to venture an opinion. The influence of M. Piscatory was secretly exercised. Like the mole he worked in the dark, and in the dirt. What representations, then, could be made, what rules enforced, which might not be evaded? Under no circumstances could it be viewed as a casus belli, for it could not be doubted that the Government of this country were considered in Greece their best friends, and whose kindness had been proved on many occasions; but there was not a reasoning man who did not see the difficult position in which they were placed. The very name of English, French, and Russian influences was odious to the pride of the Greek nation. But, even though the Government must remain silent, he still was rejoiced that the noble Viscount had directed the attention of the House to the present condition of that country; people who perhaps were wont to take but little interest in foreign affairs could at least know the poor result of all our exertions; and it might shame the French Government into a course of conduct more worthy of themselves. He had visited the country on different occasions, and had always left it with regret; and if ever he should again visit it, he should hope to find still undiminished the confidence which the nation placed in the good faith, the generosity, and the sympathy of Her Majesty's Government.

Sir R. Peel

Sir, I quite admit to the noble Lord that this country does stand in special and peculiar relations towards Greece. We are responsible for the foundation of that kingdom, which was established on the separation of Greece from Turkey, and upon that account this country must always feel a special interest in the prosperity and good government of Greece. We are also guarantees of the integrity of that kingdom, and we are, therefore, specially answerable that the course of Government in that country shall be such as not to provoke just reclamations from other Powers, and submit us to the obligation of defending Greece from the attacks of foreign countries. We stand also in another relation to Greece—the relation of a public creditor. We have advanced the money of this country towards the establishment of an independent Government in Greece, and the debt contracted by Greece has not been repaid. As, therefore, guarantees of the integrity of Greece, as having acted liberally towards her with respect to pecuniary matters, and Greece having contracted obligations towards this country which she has not been able and willing to discharge—on all these accounts it is impossible to deny that this country is peculiarly interested in and has a special right to interfere in the affairs of Greece. At the same time it is most desirable that we should reconcile the fulfilment of the obligations which Greece owes to us, with that which was our paramount object in interfering at all—namely, the maintenance of self-government, and of the integrity and independence of that country; and we ought, therefore, to be very careful that, in enforcing the engagements upon Greece which we certainly have a right to enforce, we do not destroy that which was our paramount object in interfering at all, namely, the power of Greece, by the administration of its own affairs, ultimately to acquire the position of an independent State. No one could have witnessed with more satisfaction than I did—and I am sure in this I speak the feeling of the whole Government — the prospects that opened in Greece when despotic rule terminated in that country, and, through the exertions of its own inhabitants a popular and constitutional form of Government was established; and though we felt it incumbent upon us to institute proceedings to insist upon the satisfaction of those engagements into which Greece had entered to us, though we had long complained of the non-fulfilment of those engagements, and had declared to Greece that the period had arrived when we could remain indifferent and passive no longer, still as we were interested in the establishment and maintenance of a popular and constitutional Government in Greece, a Government founded permanently on sound principles, on principles likely to insure the permanent prosperity of Greece, we were unwilling to press hardly upon her, and were most unwilling also to interfere with the acts of that Government in its course of reform, by pressing too eagerly for the fulfilment of those engagements by which she is bound to us. Therefore we have unwillingly consented to the postponement of those engagements into which Greece has entered for the payment of the debt due to this country. I admit that we have the right, under our Treaties with Greece, to enforce the payment of this money, and I am aware of the strong power the Government of this country have in their hands, in case of non-payment, to enforce it. I know we have the power, and the Government of Greece ought to bear it in mind. We have the power by our own separate and independent act, without reference to what may be the intentions of the other Powers who are parties to the same engagements. We have the right to call for the immediate payment of the debt due to us, and of enforcing it by taking possession for ourselves of portions of the revenues of Greece. At the same time the House will see that we could not resort to that extreme power which we possess under the Treaty, without bringing on a crisis, fatal, perhaps, to the existence of that popular form of Government in Greece, which we have been instrumental in creating, and which we are anxious should continue. I will not go into any discussion of the conditions under which we are entititled to exercise that power; there can be no doubt, however, that the power exists; and it is wholly from the influence of the motive I have referred to, by which we have been guided from the first—the desire to see Greece possessed of a Government that should command the confidence of its subjects, and which should be enabled to lay a foundation for the permanent prosperity of that kingdom, that we have refrained from exercising that power. The House will readily understand that I have not the same desire which is felt by the noble Lord and the hon. Gentleman who last spoke, of discussing the merits of particular individuals. I may as well as others have strong feelings on the subject. I may have my own particular sentiments as to the conduct of this or that public man; but, as the Minister of England, I feel that the proper duty of the Executive is to make such representations to the Government of Greece, as we believe the duty imposed on us require; but, acting with a desire to respect the integrity of Greece and the independence of its Government, I feel that it is not my duty to pronounce any opinion in this House of the conduct of M. Coletti, or the acts of his Government. If I was to discuss here the conduct of Mr. Coletti, or of M. Mavrocordato, or the policy of this or that Foreign Minister, or if I were here to go into the consideration of the question of why this or that man was turned out of office, or why this or that man was appointed, there is no limit to the extent of the discussion which might, and doubtless would, be provoked as to the conduct of Foreign Governments, and which would extend not merely to Greece, but to every other country with which we have diplomatic relations. And, upon the whole, nothing could be more unsatisfactory than such discussions, and nothing would less conduce to the maintenance of amicable relations between great countries than that their respective Ministers should be liable to be called upon in great representative assemblies like the House of Commons to enter into reciprocal discussions—for that they would be reciprocal there can be no doubt, as to the conduct of particular Ministers, and the acts of particular Governments. I abstain altogether, therefore, from commenting on the conduct of individuals who have been, or who are now, connected with the Greek Government, or of the acts of that Government. Those matters have formed the subject of representations from Her Majesty's Government to the Government of Greece, and that is the proper mode of proceeding. I may, however, be permitted so far to transgress the rule my duty compels me to observe, as again to repeat, that the conduct of the Government of Greece, and the conduct of Greece towards the distinguished man who has been alluded to already to-night — I mean General Church—does involve, on the part of the Government of Greece, and on the part of that country, if it approve of the act, a liability to the charge of having been guilty of as base an act of ingratitude as I ever heard of being perpetrated. I believe General Church is too proud to make any complaint, and he may rest satisfied that no dismissal by the Government of Greece can affect his high and unblemished character, or lessen the importance of his services in the eyes of Europe. It is some consolation also to know, that the real sufferers from such acts as those of which General Church has been made the victim, are not the objects of them but their authors. The noble Lord must, for the reasons I have stated, excuse me if I decline following him into the details into which he has entered. As I said before, these are subjects which are fit matters for representation and remonstrance between the Executive Government of one country and another, but they are not fit matters for discussion on my part in this assembly. The noble Lord has laid down a rule as to what should be the character of our interference with Foreign Governments; but he must excuse me for saying that his rule is not very distinct or definite. The true way for England to obtain influence with foreign countries, and to retain that influence, is to do justice to all countries, and to show itself superior to all views of mere self-interest, and to disclaim the ever-meddling and mischievous policy of dictating to any other country who shall be its Minister, and of requiring the dismissal of those who are supposed to be opposed to our interests, and the appointment of those who we may imagine are friendly to us. Let us exact from foreign countries only what we have a right to exact; and let us render strict justice to all, and I, for one, shall never despair of England obtaining by those fair and legitimate means every influence over foreign countries that it is becoming the character of a great country, or worthy of this country, to possess. It is true we may occasionally hear of the influence of some other country being predominant to day; but, with respect to Greece, all I can say is, that if any Foreign Government has brought about the present internal condition of Greece, I wish that Government joy of its influence. I hold that our position, in the confidence of having attempted no such interference, is a proud one, and a position which will ultimately most conduce to the permanent influence of this country and the prosperity of Greece. But the noble Lord says that no country ought to be jealous of the interference of England, as we never interfere but to promote the accession to power of those who are known to be most deeply interested in the prosperity of their own country, and our only object being to promote the welfare of the country which is the object of our interference. Why, that is the excuse which every country would make. No country would be so unwise as to say we interfere to promote our own interests. The most meddling countries profess in their interference to have no object in view but that the best and most patriotic man should be the Minister, and that he should pursue the well-defined and well-understood interests, not of the particular country that interferes to appoint him, but of the country of which he is the Minister. There is no end of the declarations on the part of such countries that any interference of theirs with the government of other countries is most uninterested and unselfish, and that the Government with which they interfere ought to be most grateful on account of the interest which has dictated the interference. Therefore, I say, the rule laid down by the noble Lord is not sufficiently defined to justify its adoption. In the general principle for which he contends, I fully concur, namely, that it is our true policy to seek for the establishment of no English party in foreign countries, but to establish English influence by the manifestation of a desire to promote commercial prosperity, and to promote the real welfare of the people. That, I believe, is the foundation of true influence, and that is the influence which England seeks to obtain, and which England, by pursuing that course which she has hitherto adopted, will obtain. The noble Lord says there never was a period when England possessed less influence abroad. If he mean that influence which arises from a mischievous, active, and constant intermeddling with Foreign Governments—the directing who shall be Minister, the continually watching and spying into every act of Foreign Governments — if he meant that, we have not influence founded upon such a basis. I admit it. But if he mean there never was a time in the history of this country and of the world, when the influence of England, founded upon a confidence in justice, and a respect for our power, was less, I offer to the noble Lord a denial as distinct as his asseveration. And on account of the period of the Session, and the state of the House, I will follow his example, and allege no proof of what I assert; but I trust the House, in its desire to be relieved from further attendance, will place my asseveration against that of the noble Lord, and rejoice that neither I nor the noble Lord could have adduced any of the facts upon which our respective assertions are founded.