HC Deb 13 June 1845 vol 81 cc476-7
Dr. Bowring

begged to ask the right hon. Baronet the First Lord of the Treasury, whether the Government had received any official accounts of the destruction of persons and property in Syria, and whether any measures had been taken to put a stop to those outrages?

Sir R. Peel

regretted to say that the Government had received very afflicting accounts from that part of Syria; but the Representatives of the Five Powers and the Consuls at Beyrout had adopted every measure in their power to arrest the progress of these lamentable disorders. He understood that, without waiting for instructions, the Representatives of the Five Powers assembled at the house of Sir Stratford Canning, and agreed to make separate representations to the Porte, urging the necessity for taking immediate measures for the purpose of restoring tranquillity in the Lebanon. Nearly at the same time the Consuls of France, Austria, Prussia, and Russia met at the house of Colonel Rose at Beyrout, and determined on making a collective representation to the Pasha on behalf of those Powers, urging on the Pasha the necessity of making more effectual the measures that had hitherto been adopted. The last accounts received, dated the 20th of May, stated that the meeting had taken place, and that the collective representation had been made to the Pasha. Colonel Rose stated that desultory burnings and outrages were still going on, but that, generally speaking, tranquillity had been completely restored. In justice to Colonel Rose, he must say that that gallant officer had not only been actively engaged in carrying on these negotiations, but that by his exertions the lives of 575 Maronites had been saved. It appeared that a village had surrendered on condition of being allowed safe conduct. They informed Colonel Rose that they had agreed to travel through the Desert; and he therefore made up his mind to accompany them. He addressed the chief of the Druses, Stating that the civilized powers were interested in the safety of these people who professed the same religion, and they consented to let three of the Druse chiefs accompany them. By this means they were enabled to travel with safety through forty miles of country filled with bands of wandering Druses, who, but for this interference, would, in all probability, have massacred every one of these persons. Every effort had been made to put down those disturbances; and he trusted those efforts would be attended with success.