§ MR. HUME
said, that he was sorry to occupy the time of the House; but having taken a warm interest in the affairs of the Ionian Islands for many years, and having introduced the subject early in this Session, with the view of obtaining the fullest information on a subject which had attracted the attention of all Europe—he meant the proceedings of Sir Henry Ward as Commissioner of the Ionian Islands—he could not allow the Session to pass without making an effort to procure for the inhabitants that which they had so long desired. The melancholy situation in which they were now placed was much to be regretted by any man who looked back to the history of the Ionian Islands. He had had a former opportunity of alluding to this question, but the House having been counted out, the decision did not appear upon the Votes of the House, and it became necessary to renew this notice. The noble Lord the Member for Aylesbury was anxiously looking forward to finish the speech which he had begun, but he was confined to his bed and was unable to attend. He (Mr. Hume) was anxious that the hon. Secretary for the Colonies should have the opportunity of offering any answer he could give as to the proceedings of Sir Henry Ward, of which he complained; and he should be pleased if he could learn from the noble Lord at the head of the Government that he was willing to concur in the object of his Motion, which was to send out a Commission to the inhabitants of these islands, in order that the facts connected with their misgovernment might be brought to the ears of the Government at home; believing, as he did, that our Government had not been in possession of the real truth as to the state of these islands. In order to show that he had ground for that, and that the House ought to listen with attention to any thing that came from that quarter, he would only refer to the proclamation which had been alluded to on a former occasion. It was the proclamation of Her Majesty's Commissioner in the year 1813, for the government of the islands at that time when the Ionians put themselves under the protection of the British Government. General Campbell said— 977I am directed by the Prince Regent, to impress on the minds of the inhabitants the deep interest his Royal Highness feels in the prosperity of these islands, and recommend the adoption of such measures as may be best calculated to secure the general happiness of the Ionian islands, and support freedom and prosperity.This was on the 30th of April. On the 24th of June following, General Campbell issued another proclamation stating that it was the desire of the British Government to afford every facility to their enjoying such a constitution as they had, and such improvements as might be made. General Campbell said that such had always been the rule of conduct held by the British Government, and great had been the sacrifices on all occasions made by Great Britain in maintaining the sanctity of her engagements. For six or eight years it had been his (Mr. Hume's) lot to complain of the conduct of Sir Thomas Maitland, who at that time possessed the constitutional power of the island, and he wished he had nothing more to complain of. He was sorry to say that since then the islands had fallen into the hands of worse men: but he would not enter into that further than to express his regret that those hopes which had been entertained by the islanders, and those promises which had been made by the British Government, had altogether failed; and they were now ruled by Sir Henry Ward, who called them semi-barbarians, not entitled to the free institutions which they claimed. The noble Lord at the head of the Government in one instance wrote a letter to them. They had applied for more liberal institutions, and difficulties were thrown in the way by Government. The noble Lord himself found it right to grant certain advantages to them, to enable them to carry on their improvements. In one sentence of the letter he argued freely against those who were unwilling to give the Ionian islanders this increased liberty which they wanted. The noble Lord said that it would not have been to the honour of this country to have occupied the Ionian Islands without having advanced the inhabitants to a better condition than that which they enjoyed before they were placed under the protection of this country. The islanders were in the hands of a clique who got round the Lord High Commissioner. Hence the discontent that had taken place. He regretted that the noble Lord was not better acquainted with the state of these islands. His object then was, and his object now was, to obtain from this Government the 978 mission of two or three men able to make inquiries upon the spot, to see with their own eyes the grievances which the Ionians had suffered, and the remedies by which they should be relieved. He would now state the complaints he had to make against Sir Henry Ward; and he would not refer to any publications or statements but those which had been made by Sir Henry Ward himself. It appeared from the papers on the table, for which he (Mr. Hume) had moved early in the Session, that on the 29th of August last a most atrocious murder was committed in Cephalonia upon a member of an aristocratic family, possessed of large property, who had long resided there, but between whom and the people, he believed, no very good feeling existed. Two or three men had vowed his destruction, and they murdered him in his own house, which they burned down with all who were in it. That event excited considerable alarm, and the report arriving at Corfu, where the High Commissioner was, at 10 o'clock A.M., on Thursday, the 1st of August, at 11 o'clock A.M.,: according to the letters of Sir Henry Ward, he proclaimed martial law. Considerable alarm was immediately spread throughout the country, and it appeared from a letter, that what was called an outbreak was an assembly of a multitude, who, it was admitted, were brought together to obtain what they could from the attack, and therefore it was called an outbreak. In a despatch of the 7th of February, Sir Henry Ward said, that he had proclaimed martial law, he knowing nothing whatever of the subject. His (Mr. Hume's) complaint was that any man representing the British Government, and holding in his hands the liberties of British subjects, should not so lightly place himself in the situation of declaring military law. [The hon. Member then referred to one or two paragraphs in the despatch of Sir Henry Ward, from which it appeared that there was a gang of assassins, and that, instead of punishing these assassins, Sir Henry Ward had declared martial law, depriving every inhabitant of the protection of the civil law, and placing the island in a state of blockade.] Admiral Parker hastened down, surrounded the island, and kept the island in a state of siege. In one paragraph Sir Henry Ward had stated that in the measures which he had felt it his duty to take, he had used the power with which he was armed under the English Government, he being protector under the British Govern- 979 ment. It was againt these powers that the inhabitants had long contended. Sir Henry Ward went on:—As Her Majesty's representative, I have the right to proclaim martial law—I have the entire disposal of Her Majesty's forces—I have a right to lay an embargo on shipping—I can order persons to leave the island, and take up their residence on other islands; and all these powers I have used.He went on—I am perfectly aware I ran the risk of being denounced as a persecutor and a tyrant for taking these steps, but I had no choice. I had to deal with semi-barbarians, and I must treat them as such; they respect nothing but actual force.So far from their being barbarians, judging from his experience of them in 1810, a period when he had spent some time in the Ionian Islands, he should say that for intelligence they exceeded the people of any of the Italian States. He had always regarded Sir Henry Ward as an excellent man and a good reformer, and he hailed his appointment to the post of the Lord High Commissioner as a prudent act. He expected that in his new capacity he would have acted up to those principles of freedom which he had advocated when in the House of Commons, and which had never had a warmer defender; but he had been grievously disappointed. The object of his present Motion, however, was not the removal of Sir Henry Ward; he was anxious, on the contrary, that an opportunity should be afforded him of meeting the charges brought against him. He, therefore, under these circumstances, complained of British protection, and he took Sir Henry Ward as a witness, and asked the House now to concur in his resolution to send out a commission which they had asked for from year to year. How could it be expected that Sir Henry Ward could report otherwise than in his own favour? It was very well known that when men were engaged in conflict with popular bodies, or even with each other, they were not to be taken to be the judges of what was right, and allowed to tell their own story; and on that account, looking at the sentiments of the noble Lord at the head of the Government, which he had before stated, he said that there was a great right to complain. He thought that the course taken by Sir Henry Ward showed a great want of judgment; and it was scarcely possible to calculate the injury that was done to the whole island by the mismanagement that had taken place. There were a number of persons, amounting to 68, tried by court- 980 martial; out of those 44 were sentenced to death, of whom 21 were shot, and the sentences of the rest were commuted. The number of persons flogged in 1849 amounted to 80. These things had taken place, and were passed by as a matter of course. And he would tell the House that if such a violation of liberties and civil rights were allowed to take place at their extremities, it would soon come nearer home. He would beg to remark before concluding, that those were mistaken who fancied that on a former occasion he made any reflection on the conduct of the military; in looking for this commission he had no other object than that of discovering the truth.
Motion made, and Question proposed—
That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, that She will be graciously pleased to appoint a Royal Commission, to proceed to the Ionian Islands, there, on the spot, to inquire into the causes of the disturbances that occurred in the island of Cephalonia, and into the measures taken by Sir Henry G. Ward, the Lord High Commissioner, to restore peace, and into the manner in which forty-four persons were sentenced to death, and twenty-one of them executed, and also into the manner in which ninety-two persons were flogged and others banished from the Island without trial, and generally to institute inquiry into the causes of discontent in these Islands, and to recommend the best means of promoting their future peace and welfare.
§ MR. HAWES
said, he could not regret that an opportunity was at length afforded him of offering a defence, and making a vindication, to the best of his power, on behalf of an hon. Friend, who, he believed, when the case was fairly stated, and the circumstances were known—when the papers before the House were not garbled, and the true nature of the outrage was exposed, would not be found open to the censure to which for months he had been exposed. For months his hon. Friend had been the object of attack and abuse for acts alien to his nature, and altogether foreign to his disposition; he was a man whose feelings were altogether opposed to violence and cruelty, and it would be found that he had not forgotten those principles of constitutional liberty, by adherence to which he won his reputation in that House, and would win like reputation in the Ionian Islands. He (Mr. Hawes) was not about to speak with indifference of the proclamation of martial law, and was quite aware of the fearful character of that proceeding, and of the great responsibilty resting upon any one who restored to that tremendous 981 power for sustaining law and government; but he must protest against the matter being presented as if there was sympathy due only to those who suffered under that law, and as if we were not to regard the mischief, the misery, the anxiety, the robbery and plunder, to which innocent and industrious parties were exposed before that power was put in action. He should rely upon a plain statement of the facts, many of which had been altogether suppressed in discussion. Sir Henry Ward arrived in the Ionian Islands in the end of May, 1849. He found the islands in a state of considerable excitement, as would be easily understood when it was recollected how recently most stirring events in Europe had occurred, and which had been felt in many of the most distant colonies of the British empire. He found the finances in great disorder. He found a large and comprehensive scheme of reform prepared by his predecessor incomplete and immature. His first duty was sedulously to devote himself at once to relieving the islands from their financial difficulties, and, more than all, to complete the reforms entered upon by his predecessor. He was employed in this duty. In August the insurrection broke out. Was it owing to any act of his or of his Government? If not, he must not be blamed on account of it. Was there, then, an insurrection? Was it dangerous? Did it require the utmost powers of the Government to suppress it? And did Sir Henry Ward commit any act of which he, as the constitutional Governor, ought to be ashamed? The hon. Member for Montrose began with adverting to a despatch of September last, and he gave the House to understand that there had been a murder, which to be sure, he said, was atrocious. Four persons were murdered; the house was burnt; it was doubtful whether they were not burnt alive. It was, as the hon. Member said, undoubtedly an outrage; and for all that the House knew from his speech, the whole insurrection consisted in that outrage; and to arrest the parties to it the Lord High Commissioner resorted to martial law. But what was the account in the despatch written shortly afterwards? Here was one passage:—The insurrection has not yet spread beyond the district in which it commenced; but the most horrible atrocities have been committed by the peasantry, who have burnt the houses of ten or twelve of the resident proprietors—cut off the heads of two men who refused to join them, and the feet of Signor Rodoteo Metaxa, killed the pri- 982 mates of Scala and another village, and driven back the constabulary everywhere upon the military posts.Was that anything like the account the hon. Member gave of this insurrection? Did it, or not, convey to the House that there was a general and alarming excitement prevailing, that the most atrocious acts were committed, and that the mischief was spreading? The hon. Member for Montrose, while he referred simply to that outrage as comprising the whole of the insurrection, altogether omitted to refer to portions of the papers on the table which gave a vivid and alarming description of the state of matters at that time. Thus—The insurrection broke out by the attack upon the constabulary on the 27th and 28th of August, and the firing, on the same day, of the house of the Cavalier Metaxa at Scala, at whose murder, and that of four of his servants who were burnt with him, Vlacco and the priest Nodaro presided, while the whole population of Scala looked on with flendish exultation. Between the 28th and 31st of August the houses of seven other resident proprietors were burnt, murders of the most diabolical character were committed, property to an immense extent was destroyed, men were seized and imprisoned in order to enforce compliance with the most iniquitous demands, and, although the actual outrages were confined to the four districts which I have so often named, attempts were deliberately made to extend the system of terrorism throughout the country, every resident proprietor being informed that he and his family were to be the next victims. Many slept in the churches, others wandered for days and nights together, with their wives and children, in the woods, and, so general were the alarm and confusion thus created—so imminent was the danger that the example of Scala would be followed, and that the peasantry generally, fanaticised by the appeals made to their passions, and by the temptations of easy plunder, would join in the movement, that I am satisfied that within a week that island would have been a desert, had the Government shown the slightest symptom of vacillation, or failed in applying the promptest and most stringent remedy.The hon. Member might sneer at that passage if he pleased; he might disregard it; he might say Sir Henry Ward was not to be believed: it was one of the remarkable features of our colonial discussions now, that any tale that was taken up against a British officer was believed, and the honour of a gentleman and an officer was thought altogether insufficient to be set against such a tale. But was it Sir Henry Ward alone who described this state of things? Let the House hear a passage in the pastoral letter of the Archbishop of Cephalonia:—Such monstrous, barbarous, and inhuman acts have terrified the entire population of this island, and disturbed the tranquillity of the peace- 983 able inhabitants, and obliged the hon. Government to adopt measures to prevent their remaining unpunished, as well as to preserve the public tranquillity and security; and, being unexpected, have troubled the conscience of the Church.Such was the state of things which burst upon Sir Henry Ward in August—a state of things for which he was not responsible, and which was justified by no act of his Government, and at the very time he was occupied day by day in considering the reforms so long desired and so often promised. Now, who were the leaders in this insurrectionary movement? There was the Papa Nodaro, whose last words, just before his death, were—We have been robbers, murderers, and everything that is horrible, and we justly deserve the punishment we are about to receive.There was Vlacco, who said—It was not the Government or the English that destroyed him, but his countrymen; the village of Dargata sold him for gold.These men had raised an excitement which they could not control, and Sir Henry Ward preferred his duty to the Crown and to the people he governed to courting popularity by shrinking from the responsibility he was bound to take upon himself. On the 30th of August, then, martial law was proclaimed, and the civil power was of course suspended; martial law was the suspension of all law. But who was responsible for its being brought into action? Not the Governor, who was bound to uphold order, but those who, taking up arms without just or sufficient cause, provoked it. Did the people of Cephalonia consider that Sir Henry Ward used undue severity, or exercised powers not called for by the occasion? What said the Senate?—That to his Excellency the Lord High Commissioner, Sir Henry George Ward, should be conveyed the full concurrence of the Senate in the provident and necessary measures so opportunely taken by his Excellency in the exercise of his high powers; as well as the gratitude of the Senate, for having restored to Cephalonia that peace which so long and so seriously has been disturbed, and re-established order over the whole island; and, for this signal benefit, that the distinct thanks of the Senate should be expressed to his Excellency.Let it be granted that these were the opinions of men acting under the influence of Government, if the hon. Member pleased to say so. There was further proof yet. There was the address of 500 proprietors, merchants, and heads of families in the towns of Argostoli and Lixuri in Cephalonia, in which they said—They are not ignorant that the heart of your Excellency has been deeply pained, as would be 984 that of every good citizen and Christian, in consequence of the examples of rigour to which a sad but dire necessity has obliged the Government to have recourse; but you have the consolation of thinking that these measures of rigour were carried out with such prudence, and that such was the promptness and ability of the gallant garrison charged with the execution of them, that they have been less oppressive than could have been looked for in circumstances so calamitous.Less certainly could not have been done to subdue a revolt, marked by acts of atrocity and blood unexampled in the history of the country, even in remote times.Let the House bear in mind that this Address was presented while martial law was in operation. Again, he could appeal to the opinion of the Legislative Assembly, who, so far from having objected to these proceedings, has given the Lord High Commissioner their most entire support. They stated in their reply to the Address—The Legislative Assembly, therefore, feels that it is its duty to unite with the Senate, with the local Government, and great mass of the population of Cephalonia, in thanking your Excellency for the prompt and efficacious measures justly adopted to suppress an insurrection of which it trusts the Ionian Islands will present no other example.And the more willingly is this obligation fulfilled, for having, in the performance of its duty, examined the documents laid before it, and which will be published, the chamber is persuaded that amongst the sentences which from the necessity of prompt punishment were executed by the courts-martial, there was not one which had not been merited by the gravity of the crime or crimes for which it was applied.And these punishments, the injuries suffered, the rigour used, and all dire consequences, are but the natural results of the extraordinary measures which the extraordinary state of the country rendered indispensable; which the generous spirit of your Excellency has not ceased to deplore; which the Assembly equally deplores, and which it can only attribute to the infamous assassins and unworthy promoters of the disorders which have now ceased.His hon. Friend the Member for Montrose had complained of the embargo; but all he (Mr. Hawes) would say to that was, that every measure which would have the effect of putting down an insurrection marked with such atrocity ought to be taken, and was at once humane and wise. Talk of the atrocities committed by the courts-martial Why, let any one refer to the papers, and then he would be enabled to judge of the cruelty and atrocity of those engaged in the insurrection, and whose crimes the courts-martial were called on to punish. His hon. Friend had inferred that those persons, having been tried by courts-martial, had been probably subjected to a summary jurisdiction, 985 in which a very rough measure of justice was meted out to them, and under which they had been deprived of the ordinary protection afferded by the forms of the civil courts of law. Let them listen to the statement of the Lord High Commissioner:—The total number of capital punishments inflicted in Cephalonia between the 26th of August and the proclamation of the amnesty, on the 26th of October, was twenty-one, in which are included Theodore Vlacco, the priest Nodaro, and the other leaders and sub-leaders of the conspiracy, who have taken part in every crime committed between the 26th of September, 1848, and the massacre of the Cavaliere Nicolo Metaxa with his four unoffending servants, in August, 1849, at Scala. But were these twenty-one criminals condemned without proper opportunities of defending themselves? I have directed a full report of the trial of Theodore Vlacco, to he laid before you; and I affirm here, in the face of Europe, that in every other case the same forms were observed and the same opportunities of defence afforded. Vlacco called no witnesses; but in some cases eight and ten witnesses for the defence were examined. Most of the trials lasted a whole day. Many were adjourned because the prisoner wished to produce further evidence. Each court was attended by a sworn interpreter, and presided over by an officer of known experience. As an additional precaution Dr. Rivelli, the Advocate Fiscal 'of Cephalonia, was present, by my directions, during the whole of the proceedings at Sisi and Gerasimo, and Dr. Tommasi at Scala, in order that the officers presiding might be enabled to consult them if necessary. Not a doubt has been raised by either of these gentlemen as to the perfect equity of the sentences passed. I have myself read the whole of the evidence in every case of capital punishment, as well as in those in which the sentence of death was commuted into imprisonment, with or without other penalties; and I can vouch not only for the earnest desire evinced to spare life where a reasonable ground for clemency could be found, but for the fact, that not one man suffered for the single offence of bearing arms against the Queen, or firing upon the Queen's troops, though these are acts which are dealt with as high treason by the laws of every civilised community. All were proved, upon the clearest evidence, to have been guilty of assassination, robberies of money, plate, or bonds, incendiarism, attacks upon female honour—crimes for which they might have been made amenable to the ordinary courts of justice had not the restoration of order depended upon the promptitude of their punishment.So that the Lord High Commissioner, at all events, took ample means to secure to the accused an opportunity for making the fullest defence, although he did not for a moment doubt, any more than he (Mr. Hawes) doubted, but that justice would be done by Colonel Trollope and the gallant officers who acted on those occasions. Sir Henry Ward further stated—I will not trouble your Lordship with the details of the painful duties thus imposed upon me, 986 I but I can assure you that in no one instance, except in the case of two of the murderers of Signor Metaxa and his four servants at Scala, whose instant execution I took it upon myself to authorise, without referring the proceedings to Argostoli, has a capital sentence been carried into effect without the most anxious consideration of the minutes of the court, both by myself and Colonel Trollope; and that out of the seven persons already executed, there is not one who has been condemned for the mere offence of carrying arms against the Crown, or for any other act that could be construed into simple political hostility. All have been convicted of crimes of the most heinous character: murders, rapes, robberies, houseburnings, threats to rip up women big with child, and to kill children, if their husbands and fathers refused to join the banditti, whose favourite plan of raising recruits seems to have been to strike terror into the hearts of the villagers. Every one of these men would have been just as amenable to justice in a criminal court as before a court-martial; but the effect of the example would have been lost by the delay that always, in this country, attends the administration of justice.He (Mr. Hawes) complained of the hon. Member for Montrose, for having kept back these facts from the House, and for not having laid before them the real state of Cephalonia, which he could have done from the papers in his hand; and, in justice to his absent Friend, he was bound to have stated the whole of the matters which were so important in coming to a right conclusion as to the real merits of the case. Well, the insurrection was put down, and tranquillity was restored. What was then the course of Sir Henry Ward? Had he relaxed in the smallest degree his exertions to bring about those municipal reforms which he had been previously engaged in considering? Quite the contrary—he carried them out as strenuously as before. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Montrose had alluded to a despatch of his noble Friend at the head of the Government, written in 1839, in which were shadowed out the very reforms which had since been carried into effect by Sir Henry Ward, and had been put into practical operation. Great gratitude was certainly due to Lord Seaton, who had preceded Sir Henry Ward, and who had sketched out a plan of municipal reform of great importance; but it had been the good fortune of the present Lord High Commissioner to have carried out those plans, incomplete and immature when he arrived, and to give the people of the Ionian Islands the full advantages of free representation. He thought the hon. Member for Montrose, when bringing such charges against his absent Friend, was bound to tell the House, that Sir Henry Ward had not altogether neglected 987 to advance those principles to which he had ever been attached; but that, on the contrary, he had steadily adhered to them, and had carried into practice large measures of useful reform, which must be ultimately a great means of improving the condition of the people. He (Mr. Hawes) must say, however, in future the time (if the Assembly must not be wasted, as it had been in the last Assembly, discussing idle and visionary notions of establishing a Greek empire, and subverting the British authority. He believed, indeed, that the people were beginning to see, more especially in Cephalonia, that those men whose bad counsels had for a short time influenced the late Assembly, were not their true friends, and that they were disposed to look for wiser and better objects on which to occupy their time in future. If one thing more than another could prevent the success of free institutions, it would be such violence and disorders as had already occurred. The great complaint of his hon. Friend the Member for Montrose was, that the Ionian people had not received the full measure of reform which they were entitled to expect (under the rule of Great Britain. Now, he (Mr. Hawes) asserted that Her Majesty had granted to them a larger measure of reform than they could ever have elsewhere looked for. If they had not been under the British Crown, who would have granted them equal privileges? Where could they have obtained such rich markets for their produce? and where have found the same amount of capital? He would admit there had been delay in granting these reforms, and he, in common with most hon. Members, regretted they had not been granted earlier; but they now enjoyed free institutions to a greater extent than they could have expected from any other Power. He was very certain that, when the hon. Member for Montrose was in the Ionian Islands in 1810, not a man spoke to him of reforms which had since been carried into effect. He hoped the House would now let them set about to work out those reforms without stirring up and reviving angry passions and prejudices now almost forgotten. Would they make themselves the receptacle of every feeling of hostility to Great Britain, and give a ready ear to the stories of every Greek newspaper? As a proof of the spirit in which these stories were conceived, he would do no more than refer to the charge which had been made in the same quarters against British officers who 988 had been accused of cruelly flogging 400 persons. Now, the whole number of persons flogged by sentence of courts-martial was seventy; and though papers had been laid on the table to prove that fact, the first statement had never been retracted, nor had the slightest attempt been made to correct the original gross exaggeration with respect to the punishment inflicted. The hon. Member for Montrose stated, in the course of his speech, that Sir Henry Ward had called the Ionians semi-barbarians. That was not the case. Those words were applied by the Lord High Commissioner to the perpetrators of outrages which every man must detest; and it was a libel on his right hon. Friend the Lord High Commissioner to say he had used those words towards the inhabitants generally. Every despatch he had sent disproved such an assertion; but it must be admitted they were justly applied to those who had been guilty of such atrocious outrages. He believed he had now touched all the charges preferred by his hon. Friend the Member for Montrose. No one regretted more than himself that martial law should have been found necessary. No one deplored more deeply the suffering which must have necessarily followed; but it was the bad men who had brought about those bad times to whom the consequences that had fallen on their countrymen were to be attributed, and not to a British governor, charged with the preservation of order and the maintenance of the authority of the Queen. Convinced that the House would do justice to Sir Henry Ward, notwithstanding the misrepresentations which had been put forth against him, not only in the English but in European newspapers; and, satisfied that he addressed those who would make every fair allowance for a British governor, who, surrounded by peculiar and painful circumstances, and by persons hostile to the British rule, had only acted in conformity with the feelings of all the legislative bodies and of the great mass of the people of the islands, and whose conduct had met with opposition from none of the authorities on the spot, but had received the general approbation of all, including the learned Judges of the Ionian Islands, he called on them to agree with him in saying that Sir Henry Ward was fully justified in availing himself of martial law, as the only means of restoring peace and tranquillity in the Ionian Islands.
§ MR. BRIGHT
was not in the least degree surprised at the speech of the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Colonies. There seemed to be an esprit de corps which induced, and seemed in their minds to justify, gentlemen in office making off-hand defences of any transaction which might occur under the direction of a colonial governor. He had heard him make a statement like it, but more energetic, in defence of Lord Torrington's conduct in the Island of Ceylon; but he was glad to perceive that the experience which the hon. Gentleman derived from that case had somewhat moderated his tone. He (Mr. Bright) considered that the hon. Member for Montrose was perfectly justified in bringing this question before the House; for he could not comprehend what the House of Commons was worth at all, or what they were there for, if they were not to take under their consideration cases of this nature, whether occurring in the united kingdom, or in any other portion of the empire. It was a question of that moment and magnitude that the House of Commons and the Government ought to know the facts; and if they did not know them, they should inquire into them. There was no statement made by his hon. Friend in bringing forward this Motion that was not to be found in the despatches of Sir Henry Ward. He admitted that those despatches might be read in two or three ways. They appeared to contain a frank exposition of the extreme panic under which Sir Henry Ward was acting, and led one to the conclusion irresistibly that he was blundering on in the dark under exceeding fear. In part of the despatch a person was led to believe that the most imminent danger existed, and in the next paragraph it was admitted that the whole thing was grossly exaggerated, and, in point of fact, there was no political insurrection whatever. There was one thing, on opening the papers, which astonished him very much, but the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Colonies did not refer to it, probably because the hon. Member for Montrose had not mentioned it. He perceived that the first letter from Sir Henry Ward was received at the Colonial Office on the 10th of September, and it was not answered until the 6th of October. Twenty-six days elapsed before the answer was sent, and in that time five other despatches were received from Sir Henry Ward at the Colonial Office. He would 990 like to ask the noble Lord at the head of the Government, in case he should make any observations after what he (Mr. Bright) was about to say, how it happened that the Colonial Secretary had in his possession for twenty-six days a despatch announcing what was called an outbreak in Cephalonia, and yet that he did not, during the whole of that time, make any reply to Sir Henry Ward? He knew very well the answer would be given, that the despatch of Sir Henry Ward contained information of so meagre a character that there was nothing distinctly to be answered—that it was necessary for the Colonial Secretary to learn more of the matter before he could express an opinion upon it; but, in a subsequent despatch, Sir Henry Ward admitted that, in the two first despatches sent to Earl Grey, he had afforded the whole of the information on which he suspended the constitution, and ordered martial law to be proclaimed over certain districts of that island. It appeared to him (Mr. Bright) that the office of Colonial Secretary was ill performed under those circumstances. He was not to place implicit confidence in every person he sent out to govern a colony. When he received a despatch from Sir Henry Ward, it was the duty of the Colonial Secretary to have written to him, and called his attention to the importance of the steps he had taken, and the necessity of being quite certain that the events warranted those steps; and the Government of this country should expect that he would not maintain martial law in the island one moment beyond the continuance of the danger which he supposed had existed, and which had made him proclaim martial law. If Earl Grey had written such a despatch—he did not mean in the way of rebuke, but that kind of friendly hint which a Secretary of State should send to a governor abroad—the consequence, in all probability, would be this, that when Sir Henry Ward received an answer of that kind he would look over the course he had taken, and see if there was a great necessity to continue martial law so long as he had continued it. His hon. Friend the Member for Montrose had stated several details of a most extraordinary character; and he (Mr. Bright) would not ask any man of ordinary capacity to do more than read the despatch of Sir Henry Ward, and how was it possible he could say that the course taken by Sir Henry Ward was justified by the circumstances, and was not discreditable to some 991 extent—he did not wish to use that word, and would say the course taken by him was one which they must deplore he did take? It appeared that, about eight o'clock in the morning, Sir Henry Ward heard that an outbreak had taken place, but did not hear the particulars—whether 10, or 500, or 5,000 men were engaged in it. He sent at once a message to an obedient senate, and proclaimed martial law, and he allowed it to remain in force six weeks, though he admitted that in three days after he proclaimed it there was not a shadow of reason that it should continue. The only reason alleged was, that two villains were at large and not captured. He put an embargo on the trade of the island, thereby paralysing it, in order that those men should not escape. The measures he took with the view of capturing those men had subjected the whole population of the island to the rigours arising from the suspension of the constitution. He begged to call attention to the way in which he had proclaimed martial law. The proclamation said—Martial law is proclaimed throughout the districts of the island of Cephalonia, to which the late insurrectionary movement, marked by acts of such atrocity, extended, and to such other districts as it may have spread to.He said martial law was proclaimed "throughout those districts," not mentioning the districts, or pointing out the districts to which it extended; for when he proclaimed martial law he had not a particle of information about it. What could be more vague or indefinite? He would ask any lawyer in the House whether in any country where constitutional government was preserved, martial law had been proclaimed in phraseology like that? It showed how vague were his ideas in taking this very severe step in regard to the circumstances that were occurring. To show how unfortunate were the proceedings, the officer employed to carry out the law could not speak Greek. He could not speak the language of the people amongst whom he was going to introduce the rigours of martial law. It appeared that the number of insurgents was not more than 300 or 400. That they were not all armed, and that most of them were armed with knives. Of course a knife was a weapon with which a man might commit murder; but it would appear that it was not that sort of movement for which it was necessary to proclaim martial law. It was said, that the hon. Member for Montrose expressed sym- 992 pathy for those by whom crimes had been committed, and that he had no sympathy for the condition of the Governor. He (Mr. Bright) had every sympathy for the Governor; he was in a dreadful fright—he knew not what he was doing. He had great sympathy—as he had for every man in a panic. He had no sympathy for the two criminals, and he thought if they were caught, they deserved their fate. He had read the papers over with great attention; and he must say there could not be a more ridiculous or childish case for the proclamation of martial law, and maintaining it for six weeks; for calling into action ships of war and blockading the island, and destroying everything like security in ordinary transactions. Sir Henry Ward himself admitted that it arose out of what he called a local feud; and yet for a local riot martial law was proclaimed over the whole island, and remained in force for six weeks. To show how very insignificant the cause was, he stated himself that the movement broke out on the 28th of August, and in September, in three days, the people, he says, fell back dispirited, seeing they were engaged in a hopeless struggle. All the followers of the leaders fell away, and there was no proof, in fact, that more than forty-five persons were engaged in the movement—in another account the number was stated to be forty-two—and for that martial law was proclaimed. The hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Colonies had failed to justify that proceeding. He denounced martial law, and they all denounced it. He spoke highly of Sir Henry Ward, and he (Mr. Bright) had always thought highly of him. His only fault was, that he was under a strong impulse. There was alarm first, and what succeeded to alarm generally—unnecessary cruelty. That was all he had to bring against him on this occasion; but he confessed the exaggerations in the pa-papers were of the most ludicrous kind. He heard, he said, that large masses of men were passing over the Black Mountain; but afterwards he said it was a gross exaggeration. There were found only to be forty-five men, who were reconnoitred by an officer, and if he had had assistance he could have captured them. The hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Colonies said that a discussion of this nature was calculated to create ill-will. In the same way he was against a discussion on Ceylon, and against inquiry; but the hon. Member for Montrose had for two 993 years pursued that inquiry, and at last developed such a state of things connected with the government of that island (cruelty amongst all the Government officers of the island) as had never before been exhibited in the House of Commons. [Mr. HAWES: That is utterly unfounded.] The hon. Gentleman said it was utterly unfounded; hut he was one of the individuals who had endeavoured to suppress the evidence. The hon. Gentleman said they would stir up ill-will in the island by bringing the case before the House of Commons; but nothing could tend more to render the people of the Ionian Islands satisfied with what was called the protectorate of England, than to perceive that the House of Commons took an interest in their affairs, and that when it was thought they were aggrieved, their case was brought before the House. His hon. Friend the Member for Montrose asked that a Commission should proceed to the Ionian Islands, to ascertain the real truth of the case, and submit it to Parliament. His (Mr. Bright's) opinion was, that when events of so disastrous and deplorable a nature occurred as had taken place in Cephalonia, it was the duty of the Government (unless they had the clearest and most uncontrovertible facts before them) to make an inquiry for the satisfaction of the people of this country and of the colony. It was no use to attempt to screen the conduct of their officers abroad. If they did their duty, it was clear their character would be saved by inquiry, and in such case no person would be more ready to praise them; but if it appeared that they did not act wisely, and had violated the constitution, it was necessary for the contentment of the colonists, and the pacification of England, that an inquiry should be made, and their conduct exposed.
§ LORD J. RUSSELL
said, that the speech which the House had just heard from the hon. Member for Manchester called for a few remarks. That speech appeared to him to proceed, throughout, upon the assumption that Sir Henry Ward was grievously to blame for having suppressed the outrages which were being committed in the island of Cephalonia. What were the facts? A horrible murder had been committed: surely that was to be punished? A house, in which a family resided, was deliberately and wilfully set on fire; the house was surrounded by armed men, lives were lost; various bodies of insurgents appeared in arms in different 994 parts of the country; and when those insurgents endangered the peace of the Ionian Islands, it was in the House of Commons treated as presumption that the Lord High Commissioner should take measures for preserving to Her Majesty the authority which she was entitled to support in those islands. What happened? The insurrection was quelled, the insurgents were pursued with success, and it was treated in that House as presumption in the Lord High Commissioner to have taken measures for its suppression. When they heard of peace and harmony having been restored, they found the hon. Member for Manchester getting up in his place and accusing Sir Henry Ward of being under the influence of panic, and implying that that panic amounted to cowardice. ["No, no!"] By implication he imputed cowardice, adding that the panic by which Sir Henry Ward had been affected, was followed by its natural consequence—extreme cruelty. Now, what were the proofs of this panic and of this cruelty? He sought for them in vain. Sir Henry Ward heard of an insurrection in Cephalonia, and he at once proceeded to the spot; he exposed himself personally to danger. Without incurring any blame whatever, he might have remained quietly at Corfu. He would ask them, was Sir Henry Ward's thus throwing himself into the midst of the danger a proof that he was struck by the panic which the hon. Member for Manchester supposed him to be suffering from? Upon that occasion Sir Henry Ward felt as men of sense and spirit usually do feel in such emergencies; he felt that that which begun with one murder might thereafter lead to a great sacrifice of life and property if measures for its immediate suppression were not instantly adopted and carried out. In pursuance of that principle, he endeavoured to put down the insurrection; and he trusted that no one who looked at the papers would say that those were any fancied dangers. Sir Henry Ward was himself in danger of being shot; and he rather apprehended that it was not the part of the Secretary of State for the Colonies in this country to censure a Governor or High Commissioner for putting down an insurrection, or for punishing murder. Was the Secretary for the Colonies to write him a despatch, saying, "What is the meaning of all this? You have been suppressing rebellion; what are you about? you pursue and punish great criminals." That was the sort 995 of language which the hon. Member for Manchester seemed to think should be held; that was the sort of conduct for which he appeared to imagine that the head of the Colonial Office ought to administer a severe censure to the High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands. The hon. Member maintained that there had been great cruelty; but he was obliged to admit that those who were punished were the parties who were engaged in the insurrection. The hon. Member behind him contended that, at the most, the insurgents did not amount to much more than forty men, and that Her Majesty's troops were never opposed. Now, what was the evidence of Major King, an officer who was on the spot? Why, Major King states—Finally, in reply to the sixth assertion, namely, that Her Majesty's troops were never fired on or opposed, I beg permission briefly to state what occurred on the afternoon of the 31st of August last, on the disembarkation of my detachment at Catoleo, and march up to the village of Scala. On arriving off Catoleo, in the Ionian steamer, on the above afternoon, we saw the hills in that neighbourhood occupied by considerable parties of the country people, all in arms, and in the direction of Marcopulo, one body, consisting of some hundreds, with a banner, was assembled. Two or three shots from the steamer seemed to deter them from venturing into the low ground at Catoleo, I but large numbers were seen taking the line of hills in the direction of Scala. By four o'clock the detachment had disembarked, and commenced the march up to Scala, the advance led by Captain Boyd. He had proceeded little more than half a mile when a shot was fired (apparently directed at him) from the high and broken ground on the left. This appeared to be the signal for a general attack on the troops, as it was immediately followed by continuous discharges from behind the rocks, banks, and olive groves scattered along the heights on our left flank. The left of the advanced guard was consequently reinforced, and a strong support placed in rear of it, the skirmishers at the same time inclining to the left, in order to gain the high ground and turn the right flank of the insurgents. This movement gradually forced them back, and evidently disconcerted their preparations, as they seemed to be extended, under cover, along the heights, expecting the troops either to make a flank march under them, or attack them in parallel order. Whenever the ground, however, presented extraordinary difficulties in their favour, they still held it with some determination, and especially at one point directly under the Scala, where a very deep and narrow gully intervened between the troops and the hill on which that village is situated. The greatest part of the line was obliged to cross this gully; and such was the fire and opposition offered by the insurgents, who were behind walls, and in a thick olive grove on the steep ascent up to the village, that whilst the skirmishers were descending into and climbing up the further side of the gully, the supports on the opposite side were obliged to keep up a brisk fire over their heads, in order to keep under that of their opponents.996 Were these knives—had the people who formed this insurrectionary movement no other arms than knives? The facts, as stated by Major King, were those which he had detailed; and further, he stated that wherever the ground permitted it the troops were fired on. Wherever they could be got into a narrow pass they were exposed to the violence of the insurgents, who frequently maintained against them a brisk fire; and, if further proof were required, he might cite the statements of other officers to the same effect: and yet, in the face of all this evidence, they were told that there had been no outbreak. Again, they were told that the measures taken by the Lord High Commissioner had interrupted the commerce of the Ionian Islands. But what were the opinions of those most interested in commercial matters—the merchants themselves? They were perfectly satisfied with what had been done by Sir Henry Ward. It might be all very well to talk of constitutional rights and liberties in the Ionian Islands, but those places were not like England and Scotland; and it was obvious that the principles of constitutional government could not be applied to those islands in all cases, as they might be in Great Britain; and then, as to the persons who had been punished, they were well known to have been engaged in those disturbances, and well known to be the greatest miscreants in existence. They had before that time been engaged in outrage, as was fully shown in the papers now in the hands of Members; and, looking at the whole circumstances of the case, if he could blame Sir Henry Ward for anything, it might perhaps be for the haste with which he had granted an amnesty. It was true that the Lord High Commissioner had proclaimed martial law—it was true that that state of things was allowed to continue for six weeks; but before the end of October the amnesty was issued. And he now came to the conclusion, which he did not see how it was possible to avoid coming to, that the policy of Sir Henry Ward was not to be blamed. The accounts before the House left this impression on his mind, that much bloodshed had been prevented and many lives saved by the decision which Sir Henry Ward manifested; and it was a matter almost certain, that if he had allowed the meditated attack to be carried into effect, disorder would have spread over the whole territory under his government; and he would have caused much more loss of life if he had shown 997 less decision and energy. As to the general government of the Ionian Islands, the present Lord High Commissioner was worthily following in the footsteps of Lord Seaton. A large amount of freedom had been given to the people of those islands, liberal institutions had been conferred on them, and he was sorry to say that their representative body had not shown a very just appreciation of the advantages which they possessed. He was quite ready to admit that in the year 1839 he had expressed an opinion favourable to the establishment of free institutions, and of a free press in those islands; and he was sorry to see that, when they obtained those privileges, they found nothing better to do than forwarding an address to the Lord High Commissioner, containing a most violent attack upon him. Regard being had, then, to the whole of those occurrences, and upon the grounds which he had stated, he could not help opposing the Motion of the hon. Member for Montrose, that a Commission should be issued to inquire into the conduct of Sir Henry Ward—conduct which appeared to him fully to deserve the approbation of the House.
§ LORD D. STUART
denied that the Members of that House who were disposed to support the Motion did in any respect sympathise with those who in the Ionian Islands were guilty of crime and outrage. It was said that the proclamation of martial law had become necessary in the Ionian Islands. Now, that was what he wanted to see proved. He would not go into the details of this question, but there was one point which affected the character both of Sir Henry Ward and of the Government, upon which some explanation was necessary. He (Lord D. Stuart) had supported Sir Henry Ward in some of the Motions he made when he was one of the Liberal representatives of the people, and he had learned with pain and sorrow of things done by him in his government which it was impossible to justify. He was informed that a proclamation had been issued by the Governor of the Ionian Islands during these troubles, in which he offered a reward for certain criminals to be brought to him dead or alive. Now, was it true or false that Sir Henry Ward had made such a proclamation? If it were not true, the Government would rejoice at having the opportunity of contradicting a statement so injurious to the Lord High Commissioner. But if it were true, he (Lord D. Stuart) stood there as a 998 Member of Parliament to do his duty by recording his detestation of such an act. What! was a British Governor—the representative of the Queen of England—to have recourse to measures such as this? By such a proclamation, Sir Henry Ward had merited the epithet of "Dead-or-alive Ward," which he had heard applied to him. Such a proclamation was in direct violation of the principle of British law, that a man was to be considered innocent until he had been proved to be guilty. It was, in fact, prejudging the case, and, by declaring these persons to be guilty, to cause them to be put to death without any trial at all. Such a proclamation was more worthy of that detestable Government that ruled in Austria—of the policy of Metternich or the conduct of Haynau—than of the British Government, or of a man who had been formerly considered as one of the most distinguished Liberals in that House. He blushed for the commission of such an act. He said—Shame to the Governor who had issued such a proclamation, and shame to the Government at home that had not passed any reprehension upon the act. He should be told that the proclamation had not been acted upon. But that would not do. The Governor had issued it, and it was not his fault if persons had not been put to death under it without any trial at all. The Government might be able to resist the Motion; but unless a full and searching inquiry took place, the honour and credit of Sir Henry Ward, as well as that of the Government, would not be vindicated.
§ COLONEL DUNNE,
having been many years in these islands, attached to the staff of the late Governor, wished to remind the House that the Ionian Islands were not a colony, but were living under their own laws, and under a constitution very different from ours. It was under these laws of the island that Sir Henry Ward proclaimed martial law. He had submitted his acts to the Senate, and they were the only body he was responsible to. If the Senate of Corfu had complained of him, then Parliament might have taken cognisance of his conduct. But his conduct had not only been approved by the Senate of Corfu, but also by the local bodies and by the inhabitants of the islands generally. It was all very well to say that 900 troops were surely able to put down 400 insurgents; but those who spoke thus must be ignorant of the nature of the country, because the rocks, passes, and steep mountains, ren 999 dered it impossible for a body of men to act. From his knowledge of the country he was satisfied that 900 men, or a much larger body, could not put down an insurrection if the whole people chose to rise. Again, it might not be generally recollected or known that a peculiarity of the Venetian law, which prevailed in these islands, would not admit any of the persons who were attacked to give evidence; so that a recourse to martial law was a matter of absolute necessity. It should also be recollected that there was a previous insurrection only the year before, and Vlacco was one of the leaders in both. What right had the House to send a commission to the Ionian Islands? Could they summon a single witness before them and compel his attendance? Then, the members of the commission must be able to speak modern Greek, which was a very different language from that which hon. Members learned at Oxford. Were they, then, to learn Greek before they went out? They must also learn the law and custom of the country relative to the division and tenure of land, which was at the bottom of the whole affair; and then they must get the authority of the Senate before they could examine these Greek witnesses. Unless these circumstances could be insured, no useful result could attend the commission. He thought Sir Henry Ward was wrong in going to Cephalonia after he had proclaimed martial law. It would have been much better if, instead of mixing up the civil and military authority in his own person, he had left the matter to the troops, and made the military commandant responsible. With regard to the condition of the population, he (Colonel Dunne) did not know a more happy or more wealthy peasantry. The taxes were light, and they were for the most part in a very comforable condition. What, then, were their grievances? They were a small State, and there was no vent or occupation for the better classes, who had only two professions which they could follow: they must become either doctors or advocates. The advance made by these islands in wealth and civilisation since he left the country was most remarkable. It was said there was a party in the islands desirous of annexation with Greece. He believed we should not suffer any inconvenience from giving up every island except Corfu. But the people of these islands knew that if they were made over to Greece, instead of having no taxes to pay, they would have 1000 to pay to make up the debt due from the kingdom of Greece. He was persuaded that if we offered to hand over the Ionian Islands to Greece, the inhabitants would appeal to us upon the treaty to protect them.
§ MR. HINDLEY
said, that having been only a few weeks since in the Ionian Islands, he was surprised to hear of the Motion of his hon. Friend, because from all he had heard in Corfu he was convinced it was not supported by public opinion, at least in that island. It was rather hard to call upon that House to judge harshly of the conduct of officials abroad, without knowing all the particular circumstances of the case. He had spoken to persons who were perfectly disinterested on the question, for they had no personal or political relationship with Sir Henry Ward, and he found that they entertained the highest opinion of the Governor in consequence of the manner in which he put down these disturbances. It should not be supposed that these disturbers of the public peace were persons who sought to vindicate the liberties of their country, but they were persons met together for the purpose of pillage, plunder, murder, and every crime of which human nature was capable. He hoped that House would show no sympathy for such persons, but would prove, by rejecting the Motion, that they had regard to the property, safety, and liberty of the inhabitants of the Ionian Islands. Sir Henry Ward had reduced the expenditure of the island 19,000l., and reduced his own salary 500l, He had acted in such a manner as might be expected from his former conduct in that House. He said not this from political or' private friendship, but from a desire to do justice to an absent man.
§ LORD C. HAMILTON
said, that although he was generally opposed to the views maintained by Sir Henry Ward whilst he was a Member of that House, he felt that he would be acting the part of a coward if he did not come forward and state that circumstances had come to his knowledge which seemed to him completely to justify the steps which had been taken. Sir Henry Ward had acted on open manly English principles, and he was only surprised that the attack upon him should have proceeded from those who were the former supporters and admirers of his views and opinions, at least on certain points, in that House. He believed that the hon. Member for Ashton-under- 1001 Line had correctly stated the feelings of the inhabitants of the Ionian Islands regarding the conduct of Sir Henry Ward. The Governor of the Ionian Islands had been subjected to the grossest misrepresentation in connexion with this matter. He had been held up as having gone over with the cruel intention of letting loose upon the people a rude and licentious soldiery, and as having introduced a new system of punishment—that of flogging—he had read most harrowing statements of from 300 to 400 persons having been subjected to the torture of the lash, and of great numbers having died under the infliction. Now, when a man was held up in his absence as capable of being guilty of atrocities like these, it became that House, acting upon a strong sense of justice, to take care that it not only did not sanction, but that it utterly repudiated such charges. In considering the circumstances that had occurred, they must remember that Sir Henry Ward was not administering English laws, and that he found himself fettered by the position in which he stood as a man bound to carry out the laws of the people among whom he was placed. It should be borne in mind that in no single instance had any one been punished as a political offender. The crimes which Sir Henry Ward punished were those which were dealt with as criminal offences in every civilised community in the world; and, unless it could be shown that he had it in his power to put down and punish those crimes, without resorting to the means which he employed, there was not the shadow of a case against him. So little did the inhabitants of the Ionian Islands look upon him as a tyrant, that they had testified in the most public way to the humane and merciful manner in which he had conducted himself throughout the whole of the unfortunate disturbances that had taken place.
§ SIR DE L. EVANS
thought, from the long experience they had had of Sir Henry Ward in that House, that they should be very slow in listening to the injurious statements which had been made against him. A good deal of stress had been laid upon the small number of people against whom Sir Henry Ward had to act, and on the circumstance that his troops suffered nothing from their firing; but these afforded no proof that they were not insurgents. A body of 400 insurgents in the mountains were very capable of keeping at bay even 4,000 of the best troops in Europe. Look 1002 at the case of the Russian troops in the Circassian mountains, where for twenty years they had been carrying on war, and where only a month ago they suffered a heavy defeat, and lost a great amount of artillery. Take the case also of General Mina in Spain. He commenced with only fifty men, but they in course of time increased to 14,000, and very seriously annoyed a French army of 40,000. A force of 400 insurgents in Cephalonia, therefore, might have become a very serious matter, and Sir Henry Ward was bound to take the strongest possible measures to put them down at once. The greatest mistake that could be committed in insurgent warfare was to delay operations. By neglect a small insurrection might become a terrible war. He could not, on a fair and impartial consideration of the case, vote for the Motion of the hon. Member for Montrose. The whole of the particulars were not before them, and yet the hon. Gentleman prejudged the case. If they were to condemn every governor whose conduct was arraigned in that House, because his troops, when brought into contact with insurgents, had not suffered, the consequence would be that a governor would be apt to allow insurrection to make some head before he ventured to send troops for its suppression.
would have admitted there was force in what had been urged on the impropriety of attacking an absent man, if unhappily he had not been before them in the shape of his own statement. They had heard him, and they had not heard anybody else; in fact he had it all his own way. There had not been one allegation on the part of the hon. Member for Montrose that was not based solely and entirely on what had been laid before them as the evidence and declaration of the principal agent in these transactions. For instance, some doubt had appeared to be entertained as to whether a certain proclamation contained the words "dead or alive;" they had been mentioned in a way which had led himself to doubt, whether there was not something apocryphal or overstrained about the story. But at page 12 of the printed papers he found the words—"I have offered, on the part of the Government, 1,000 dollars for each of the two leaders, if brought in, living or dead." There, therefore, could be no longer any doubt upon that point. It had further been said that nothing had been done on political grounds; but at page 9 it was writ- 1003 ten—"I have no hesitation, therefore, at present, in expressing my belief that the political element has greatly preponderated in the disturbance that occurred." But the prisoners were tried for something else, though the political element was stated to "greatly preponderate" in what had occurred. [Mr. HAWES: No one was punished on account of politics.] That was exactly what he meant to note. The prisoners had committed political offences, and they were tried for something else. They were not tried for what they were declared to have committed; which was a pretty strong argument that they were tried for what they had not committed. The hon. Member for Montrose had asked the question—"What is martial law?" He (Colonel Thompson) had been trying for fifty years to find out what it was, and he was unable to answer. He knew there was a law to punish a soldier for making away with his necessaries, or for sleeping on his post or deserting, but where the law was which gave the power of punishing a man who formed no part of the Army, and putting prisoners to death, he was wholly at a loss to understand. Where was that law to be found, by which prisoners were put to death after they were captured? Who had seen it? Where was it to be read? Was it written anywhere? Could anybody point to it? It had often occurred to him to think, in fact he had been haunted with the idea, of what he should do if it fell to his own lot to be asked to take a part in what he was glad to have the opportunity of here denouncing as a sanguinary fraud. And as no man should undertake to say beforehand, how he would deport himself if called to martyrdom, so in this case he would leave the question to be settled when it came. After this, he trusted nobody would be surprised if he supported the Motion of the hon. Member for Montrose.
§ MR. G. THOMPSON
denied that the question before the House implied a vote of censure on Sir Henry Ward. The commission applied for was with a view to inquire into the origin and causes of these events, that the best means might be taken of hereafter avoiding them, and promoting the welfare of the people. He thought great injustice had been done his hon. Friends the Members for Montrose and Manchester by the noble Lord at the head of Her Majesty's Government. That noble Lord had represented them as shameless defenders of murderers and robbers. 1004 ["No, no!"] He had noted the noble Lord's words, which were, "The hon. Gentlemen seem to complain because murder was punished and insurrection put down." He asserted that every word uttered by his hon. Friend the Member for Manchester bore a totally opposite sense. Nothing could be more proper in a Member of that House, looking at the condition of those islands, and seeing what they had become since the advent of Sir Henry Ward, than to ask for an explanation; and so far from such a course causing discontent there, he believed it would have a most healing and salutary effect. Everything which had been said to-night impugning the proceedings of Sir Henry Ward had been said in conjunction with an expression of admiration for his previous character, and sorrow that he should have misconceived the course which he should have pursued. Every one must appreciate his past conduct, but that should not prevent them asking an inquiry with regard to the serious matters which had occurred, and which might occur again,
§ MR. C. ANSTEY
said, that it appeared that forty-four persons had been sentenced to death, of whom twenty-one had been executed under the orders of Sir Henry Ward, and that the noble Lord the Member for Tyrone, who had on a former occasion been the defender of Haynau, had ventured to defend the atrocious conduct of the Commissioner of the Ionian Islands.
§ LORD C. HAMILTON
denied that he had ever expressed his approval of the conduct of Marshal Haynau. This was the second time the hon. and learned Gentleman had made the assertion, and the second time that he (Lord C. Hamilton) had given it a distinct denial.
§ MR. C. ANSTEY
would state, without fear of contradiction, that when the atrocities committed by the Austrians in Hungary were represented in that House, the only Member who rose, not to express his indignation at those atrocities, but to be the apologist of them—whether committed by Marshal Haynau, or by any other instrument of Austrian tyranny, he cared not—was the noble Lord. And now what said the noble Lord? He said that the offences for which these persons were put to death were not political offences. In point of form the noble Lord was right; but who could doubt that the original motive of these offenders was political? One very important question remained to be considered—one on which they had no information, owing to the unfortunate silence 1005 of Her Majesty's Government—namely, from whom did this insurrection proceed? In what interest did the movement commence? He had reason to believe that the result of an inquiry would be to exculpate Sir Henry Ward altogether from that blame which many hon. Members now attached to him. It was true, at present, judging from such information as Her Majesty's Ministers had thought proper to lay before Parliament, grave suspicions rested upon that high functionary. He wished to relieve Sir Henry Ward from that suspicion, but that could only be done by the institution of a full and searching inquiry, and therefore he should support the Resolution.
§ The House divided:—Ayes 13; Noes 84: Majority 71.
|List of the AYES.|
|Anstey, T. C.||Thompson, Col.|
|Arkwright, G.||Thompson, G.|
|Cobden, R.||Wakley, T.|
|Greene, J.||Walmsley, Sir J.|
|Hall, Sir B.||Williams, W.|
|Mowatt, F.||Hume, J.|
|Stuart, Lord D.||Bright, J.|
|List of the NOES.|
|Anson, hon. Col.||Hamilton, Lord C.|
|Baines, rt. hon. M. T.||Harris, R.|
|Baring, rt. hon. Sir F.T.||Hatchell, J.|
|Bellew, R. M.||Hawes, B.|
|Bernal, R.||Hindley, C.|
|Blackall, S. W.||Hobhouse, rt. hn. Sir J.|
|Bouverie, hon. E. P.||Hobhouse, T. B.|
|Boyle, hon. Col.||Howard, Lord E.|
|Broadley, H.||Howard, Sir R.|
|Brotherton, J.||Hutchins, E. J.|
|Buller, Sir J. Y.||Labouchere, rt. hon. H.|
|Bunbury, E. H.||Lewis, G. C.|
|Carter, J. B.||Locke, J.|
|Chaplin, W. J.||Martin, J.|
|Chatterton, Col.||Martin, C. W.|
|Christy, S.||Matheson, Col.|
|Clay, Sir W.||Maule, rt. hon. F.|
|Cockburn, A. J. E.||Mitchell, T. A.|
|Cowper, hon. W. F.||Morris, D.|
|Craig, Sir W. G.||Mullings, J. R.|
|Dick, Q.||Newry & Morne, Visct.|
|Divett, E.||O'Connell, M. J.|
|Dodd, G.||Paget, Lord C.|
|Duke, Sir J.||Palmerston, Visct.|
|Duncan, G.||Parker, J.|
|Dundas, Adm.||Rich, H.|
|Dundas, rt. hon. Sir D.||Roche, E. B.|
|Dunne, Col.||Romilly, Sir J.|
|Ebrington, Visct.||Russell, Lord J.|
|Elliot, hon. J. E.||Sandars, G.|
|Evans, Sir De L.||Seymour, Lord|
|FitzPatrick, rt. hn. J. W.||Sheil, rt. hon. R. L.|
|Forster, M.||Somerville, rt. hn. Sir W.|
|Fox, S. W. L.||Spooner, R.|
|Frewen, C. H.||Stanford, J. F.|
|Grey, rt. hon. Sir G.||Stanley, hon. W. O.|
|Gwyn, H.||Stuart, H.|
|Halsey, T. P.||Thornely, T.|
|Turner, G. J.||Wood, rt. hon. Sir C.|
|Vyse, R. H. R. H.||Wood, W. P.|
|Willcox, B. M.|
|Willoughby, Sir H.||Hayter, W. G.|
|Wilson, J.||Hill, Lord M.|