HC Deb 14 March 1845 vol 78 cc902-4
Mr. Cochrane

begged to ask the right hon. Baronet the First Lord of the Treasury, whether the English Government had made any representation, or were about to make any representation, to the French Government relative to the conduct of M. Piscatory, the French Ambassador, respecting the dismissal of General Church from the service of the King of Greece? The present condition of that country attracted very considerable, interest; and the recent occurrences there were such as to call for prompt and particular inquiry. M. Guizot had very often latterly made observations about the entente cordiale existing between France and this country; but certainly the conduct of the Representative of France in Greece was very far from exhibiting that friendly feeling. He had been in Greece last year, and he could state to the House that the conduct of the French Minister was denounced by every person in that country as shameful and disgraceful. He would also inquire whether any steps were to be taken about the payment of the Greek loan?

Sir Robert Peel

was not at all surprised at the interest which his hon. Friend had shown on all matters connected with the destiny of Greece. He believed his hon. Friend had the advantages arising from a personal knowledge of that country in discussing any questions connected with it, and he showed a praiseworthy desire that Greece should furnish an example to the world of a popular Government coexistent with liberal institutions. He believed his hon. Friend had been influenced throughout by the sincerest desire to promote the interests of that country. As to Sir Edmund Lyons, he might say that in some recent discussions in that House, observations had been made about the incapacity of naval officers in conducting civil affairs; but that gallant gentleman was an example that affairs of great importance connected with a great country might with safety be committed to the hands of a naval officer. The opinion of Government, therefore, with respect to Sir Edmund Lyons remained entirely unchanged. With regard to M. Piscatory, the hon. Gentleman would, he hoped, excuse him if he declined making any public reference, as a Minister of Her Majesty's Government, to the conduct of the Representative of another Power. In respect to General Church, he should own that he entirely concurred with the hon. Gentleman in his expression of deep regret at the removal of a man from his office under the King, in a country to the interest of which he had devoted all the best energies of his life for a period of twenty years. How the Government of Greece could be insensible to the claims of that gallant and distinguished officer, was to him a matter of the strangest mystery. With respect to the immediate relations between this country and Greece, respecting their guarantee, in conjunction with France and Russia, for the payment of the Greek loan, he could assure his hon. Friend that it was a subject which he had not lost sight of, and he trusted that Greece would be able to bear the burden of her own debt. He was sure that the House would excuse him if he forbore expressing any opinion as to the constitutional character of a Foreign Government, or as to the domestic acts of that Government. He had his own opinion as to the changes which had taken place; but he was bound to respect the acts of a Foreign Government, and therefore he would refrain from expressing any opinion.