HC Deb 05 April 1852 vol 120 cc718-34

said, the House would recollect that he had announced his intention of bringing the condition of the Ionian Islands under the consideration of the House. Some time since he had moved for certain papers for the purpose of bringing on a discussion with respect to the state of those islands. It had been impossible, as he understood, for the Government to produce those papers when he moved for them, and consequently it would be very unfair to proceed to the discussion without having documents which he deemed to be important. He did not, therefore, intend, as he had already intimated to the right hon. Baronet the Secretary of State for the Colonies, to bring on the Motion which appeared on the paper for the following evening; but it was his intention to bring on that Motion after the Easter recess. With regard to the Vote for the Kafir war, which was to be submitted to them on going into Committee, he must remark it was usual in such cases that the amount required should be specified. Without such information they could not accurately estimate the amount which that colony would cost them. But of this they might be confident, that the expense incurred in the last year, and the amount that was about to be called for in the present year, had been caused by gross mismanagement at the Cape of Good Hope. He thought the late Government were responsible for that, because the noble Earl lately at the head of the Colonial Department did not pay attention to the suggestions that had been offered to him, and give to the people of that colony the power of carrying on the Government there. On the contrary, he had pursued a system that had led to the greatest possible injury in that colony. He (Mr. Hume) had last year and the year before vainly advised them to avoid the evils which he foresaw, and the expense that must necessarily be incurred, unless his advice was adopted. He did not know what further expenses were to be incurred; but seeing the mistakes and expense into which the late Government had been led, in consequence of the course adopted by them at the Cape, he was induced to express a hope that the present Government would take into consideration the state of the Ionian Islands, and not incur additional expense by persevering in the system of misgovernment that was carried on there. In the year 1850 he had called the attention of the House to the subject, and to the number of individuals who had been tried by court-martial, as appeared by papers that were laid on the table. He had also directed attention to the number of executions and military floggings, and all the consequences arising from misgovernment and oppression on the part of the Government there. The House, however, was satisfied by the statement of the noble Lord then at the head of the Government, that he took upon himself the responsibility, and would promise that all should be right. The division in the House on the occasion was thirteen to eighty-four, and they were called upon to give Sir Henry Ward a fair trial. The first Session of the House of Assembly had been dissolved after a very short time in consequence of their refusing to allow an inquiry into the proceedings at Cephalonia. Again, the Parliament was dissolved by proclamation, even without meeting, and thus the people of the Ionian Islands, with a Representative Government, and having avowedly the right to possess a voice in the management of their own affairs, were deprived by Sir Henry Ward of the opportunity of assembling to discuss those questions which affected them, thereby causing the greatest possible dissatisfaction amongst them. The people had a right to think that the elections should take place in a proper manner, and that there should be full opportunity for discussion of their affairs by men fairly and fearlessly elected; but it would be seen that the late elections had taken place at Zante and Cephalonia under the bayonets of the 30th and 41st Regiments. The greatest consternation was caused by the course which had been adopted to carry that election. They might talk of the mode which had been adopted by Louis Napoleon to carry the elections in France; but they were not half so bad as those which had been adopted in the Ionian Islands, where the Lord High Commissioner had sent down to the Regent a list of candidates to be elected. Directions were issued that every individual connected with the Government should, at the peril of losing his office, vote for certain candidates. He (Mr. Hume) would beg of the right hon. Baronet the Colonial Secretary to look to those matters, and by a timely interference prevent the renewal of such proceedings. The liberty of the press had been suppressed, and the editors of the newspapers had been banished to every rock around the island over which the Government possessed power. No person could express an opinion through fear of the vengeance of the Government, but he thought the time was come when those unfortunate islanders should receive some- thing like justice. An end should be put to those tyrannical proceedings, and the inhabitants of the Ionian Islands should have some of the benefits of the constitution which, when they were transferred to this country, it was stipulated they should enjoy. The Parliament met on the 3rd of March; but such was the disgust of the Members at the proceedings which had taken place at the elections, that the Government were not able to assemble the quorum of twenty-two, which was necessary for the transaction of business. The Members refused to attend, and the Parliament having been previously prorogued for eighteen months out of two years, was again prorogued for six months. And why? Because some of the Members complained that other Members had been illegally elected, that Sir Henry Ward had taken upon himself to alter the election laws, and that the Assembly had never met to sanction those laws. Consequently the laws were illegal, and every one elected under them were illegally elected. That was the reason assigned by them for not attending to do their duty. Two years ago, the noble Lord lately at the head of the Government said he had no doubt that Sir Henry Ward would conduct the affairs of the islands in a manner that would create contentment and peace; but on considering their present state it would appear that the noble Lord's assurance had not been realised. It appeared that the Senate named by Sir Henry Ward had made an alteration affecting the representative system. In Cephalonia the electors by this illegal interference were reduced from 6,000 to 1,500. He had received two letters—one from a representative and another from an inhabitant of Cephalonia detailing such atrocities on the part of the authorities, that he was almost afraid to mention them, because he could not expect such conduct from any British officer. The Government at home must know that the Governor had prorogued the Parliament because he could not obtain a quorum; and he trusted the right hon. Baronet the Colonial Secretary would not be led away by any representations on the part of those who took upon themselves formerly to patronise the acts of Sir Henry Ward. They had not heard any complaints of this kind during the time of the previous Governor; but since Sir Henry Ward was appointed, everything had been changed. He trusted the right hon. Gentleman would take care that the documents moved for, and such other documents as were necessary, should be laid upon the table. It appeared that twenty-two men—part of whom were tried for their lives—had been brought before military courts martial, and these, strictly speaking, were not properly conducted. Twenty-three persons were confined in one of the fortresses in Cephalonia, and every rock around it was occupied. No man could regret more than he (Mr. Hume) did the conduct of Sir Henry Ward, who had, in that House, been the advocate of freedom, and the anxious supporter of the rights of the people, and he scarcely could believe that any such conduct as he had referred to could be sanctioned by him. He must say that it would be unwise policy to allow Sir Henry Ward to remain; and it was the duty of Government to withdraw an individual who had become so obnoxious to the people. He did not understand how the Government could refuse to comply with the wishes of the inhabitants by sending out a Commissioner to make inquiry on the spot and report the truth. They could not get the truth from the authorities—the press was suppressed—and every person who wished to state the facts was instantly transported. It would be discreditable to the right hon. Baronet and to the Government if they allowed such charges to pass without inquiry, and they should endeavour to ascertain why these military executions had taken place—why there was so much discontent amongst the people—and why the island should have been placed under embargo at one time for three months, with the whole British fleet from Malta surrounding it. He begged the right hon. Baronet would seek information from the officers of the 30th and 41st Regiments, who seemed to have been engaged in preventing the people from voting. It was not his intention to oppose the Vote which was about coming on, because the present Government was not responsible for the acts that rendered it necessary; but it should prove to them that such expenses must be incurred where discontent was allowed to exist. He had never known that discontent existed in any country, ending in military execution, except there were some grounds for it. They should ascertain the cause of that discontent, and remove it at once. He believed the inhabitants of the Ionian Islands were now as capable of being good citizens as they were some years ago. He (Mr. Hume) had been there forty years since. They were then very good citizens, and he did not think they were much altered at present. If they went to any part of the Levant or Asia Minor, they would find that the Ionians were sharp, clever men, and were much superior to any other class of Italians he had ever met.


said, that he thought he had some reason to complain of the course which the hon. Member for Montrose (Mr. Hume) had taken upon this subject. The hon. Gentleman moved, a short time ago, for the production of numerous papers relating to the affairs of the Ionian Islands. He (Sir J. Pakington) consented to the production of those papers, but, at the same time, he told the hon. Gentleman, that as it would be necessary to obtain a large portion of them from the Ionian Islands, a considerable time must of necessity elapse before they could be laid upon the table. The hon. Gentleman, however, told him on Thursday, that as the House was to be asked to-night to sanction a Vote for the Kafir war, he thought that would be an appropriate opportunity for discussing the affairs of the Ionian Islands. The hon. Gentleman had placed him in this difficulty—that he had made no Motion; and had it not been for his concluding observations, indicating his opinion that, from the conduct of Sir Henry Ward, it was the duty of the Government to recall him, he (Sir J. Pakington) would not have been able entirely to make out to what points he had to reply, or what was the object of the hon. Gentleman. But as the hon. Gentleman had touched upon this subject, he (Sir J. Pakington) considered that he would be shrinking from his duty if he did not tell the House what the views of the Government were. The House would recollect that the present Government had had no past political connexion, and no political sympathies, with Sir Henry Ward; and that the conduct of Sir Henry Ward in the Ionian Islands, whatever it might have been, had not been under the direction of the present Ministry. On the other hand, he had no hesitation in saying that no party distinctions or party feelings should for a moment deter the present Government from doing justice in a generous spirit to any absent servant of the Crown, who they believed had, under difficulties and embarrassments of no ordinary nature, exerted himself to support the authority of the Queen, and to put down rebellion against Her Majesty, as the Protectress of the Ionian Islands. He was not called upon to be the champion of Sir Henry Ward; he was not now disposed to weigh in a nice balance every word Sir Henry Ward might have uttered, or every act he might have done; he was not prepared to say that, under the extraordinary difficulties with which Sir Henry Ward had had to contend, he might not have here and there been led into indiscretions. He (Sir J. Pakington) gave no opinion one way or the other; but he had no hesitation in expressing his opinion that Sir Henry Ward had done his best to preserve the just authority of the Crown under circumstances of very great difficulty, and that he was therefore entitled to the generous and fair support of the Government. He believed the House would feel that he was not called upon to reply to the greater part of the observations of the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Hume), which referred to matters conducted under his predecessor in the Colonial Office, and which had received the sanction of the late Government. He might, however, remind the House that these charges against Sir Henry Ward had previously formed the subject of Parliamentary discussion. In 1850 the hon. Member for Montrose brought forward all the circumstances connected with the rebellion of 1849, and attacked Sir Henry Ward in much the same strain in which he had now indulged; but the result was, that he could only find thirteen hon. Gentlemen to vote in support of the Motion he then submitted to the House. Although, however, under these circumstances, he (Sir J. Pakington) did not feel it his duty to re-enter upon these subjects, one or two points had been adverted to by the hon. Gentleman which, in justice to Sir Henry Ward, and that there might be no misunderstanding in the House or in the country, he thought he was bound not to pass over altogether without comment. One of these points was the reference which had been made by the hon. Member for Montrose to the execution of twenty-one men in Cephalonia in 1849; but the hon. Gentleman had failed to remind the House that not only were those twenty-one men taken with arms in their hands, in rebellion against the Sovereign Protectress of the Ionian Islands, and therefore guilty of high treason, but that every one of them, he believed, had been, in addition, convicted of murder, rape, and the gravest possible crimes. He believed that if ever men were justly dealt with, these men were, who received capital punishment for the accumulated crimes they had confessed to their priests they were guilty of. These men had also been guilty of one of the most detestable outrages ever committed—the burning alive of Count Metaxa and his family. The hon. Gentleman next complained that the recent elections had been carried on under armed interference, and he particularly referred to the elections for Zante and Cephalonia. The hon. Gentleman seemed, however, to have forgotten that the elections there were unfavourable to the authority of the Government, so that, whatever the interference might have been, it had entirely failed. The hon. Member went on to complain of this interference with the civil rights of the Ionian people, and to lament that under what he termed the meddling and mischievous policy of the present Lord High Commissioner, they were not allowed to exercise self-government. He (Sir J. Pakington) would ask the hon. Gentleman's attention to some evidences of the fitness for self-government of the Ionian people in former years and at the present time. He would quote, not the opinions of Sir Henry Ward, or of any Englishman, but the opinions of some of the most distinguished among the Ionian people. From 1800 to 1807 the Ionian Islands had self-government; but they had not—he was going to say enjoyed, but he would rather say—suffered the miseries of that freedom for two years, before the state of things was such that it was thus described:— Fortunately, ample official materials were extant to prove that before two years had elapsed of this golden age, all the Seven Islands had been guilty of treason and rebellion against its local Government. Horrors resembling those of the old Corcyræan factions described by Thucydides were of frequent occurrence. In Zante alone assassinations have been so numerous as one for each day in the year—a fair average for a population of less than 40,000. Alarmed and disgusted by this situation of their affairs, the Ionian Senate sent, in 1802, a deputation to the Emperor of Russia, to implore his immediate interference, as the only means of putting an end to such scenes of bloodshed and anarchy, the sole result of that power which he had left in their hands. The negotiation was carried on with the Emperor of Russia, its conduct being intrusted to an Ionian gentleman named Neranzi, and for his guidance in the negotiation instructions were drawn up by the Senate, one of which was in these terms:— Lastly, M. Neranzi was directed to impress on the mind of His Imperial Majesty that, 'in a word, the inhabitants of the Seven Islands, who have thus attempted to establish a republican constitution, are neither born free nor are they instructed in any arts of government, nor are they possessed of moderation, so as to live peaceably under any political system framed by their own countrymen.' He would now request the hon. Gentleman's attention to the statement of a witness of the highest possible authority, a gentleman of large fortune, and bearing a name beloved by all Greeks—Count Salamos, who spoke of the fitness of the Ionian people for self-government now. Count Salamos, who had been Regent of Zante under Lord Seaton, having felt it his duty to resign the presidency of the Ionian Senate, wrote thus to Sir Henry Ward on the 25th of April, 1851:— My Lord—The present state of the Ionian Islands is, indeed, most lamentable. It was not the will of Heaven that the reforms effected in the constitution should be granted by such gradual steps as would have enabled the people to receive them in a proper spirit, and to make a wise use of them. Introduced too suddenly, and at a most inopportune time, the result was such as might have been anticipated. They awakened the most extravagant expectations, inflamed minds by nature too easily inflammable, offered to the British nation, by which they were conceded, instead of thanks, proofs of the most flagrant ingratitude, and plunged these islands into a state of the greatest confusion and disorder. Your Excellency's well-known abilities and paternal care were unable to provide a remedy for these evils: nor have the good intentions and the remonstrances of the executive power proved more successful. The present system takes from every man, however well-intentioned, the power of promoting in any way the good of his country, and consequently renders unavailing my labours as President of the Senate. These statements, he thought, would show how far, in the opinion of their own countrymen, the Ionian people were fitted to possess those institutions of which the hon. Gentleman complained that they were deprived. He must express his surprise at what fell from the hon. Member for Montrose as to the conduct of Sir Henry Ward towards the editors and conductors of the public press, who, he said, had been imprisoned under the high police powers, and were now deprived of their liberty. He (Sir J. Pakington) would be doing the greatest injustice to Sir Henry Ward if he allowed these observations to go to the country without some explanation. He must remind the hon. Gentleman that the freedom of the press was one of the most ill-advised of those unhappy concessions which Lord Seaton made before he left the Ionian Islands, and which had been the real cause of all the distractions and difficulties which had taken place. Lord Seaton passed a new law giving freedom to the press, and assured the Home Government that his precautions were amply sufficient—those precautions being, that any offences against propriety on the part of the press should be tried by juries. It so happened, that under the new system in the Ionian Islands offences against the criminal law of the country were not tried by jury, the only offences tried by jury being the offences of the press. The result was, that within three months after the law was passed, Lord Seaton himself, without any trial by jury, resorted to what was called "the high police power," and imprisoned two editors of newspapers for the scandalous manner in which their journals were conducted. What was the case under Sir Henry Ward? He (Sir J. Pakington) had no hesitation in saying that he shrank from reading to the House the gross, flagrant, disgusting libels, which disgraced the press of the Ionian Islands—libels, many of them directed against all that, in this country, men most revered, respected, and honoured; and he certainly thought that Sir Henry Ward would have been involved in gross culpability if he had allowed the conduct of the press with regard to these libels to have passed un-visited by any punishment which it might be fairly, legally, and justly in his power to inflict. He (Sir J. Pakington) must observe, however, that Sir Henry Ward did not at once resort to the high police powers. He first tried trial by jury, but he found it was vain to expect redress from an Ionian jury. In justice to Sir Henry Ward, he must also say that, entertaining as every Englishman must do, a sincere dislike to power in the nature of these high police powers, if it were possible to carry on the Government without their exercise, Sir Henry Ward, in the Session of the Ionian Assembly in 1850, offered to abandon the high police powers if the Assembly would only pass a fair and just law, which would enable the Government to deal with the libellers without resorting to those police powers. The Assembly refused to pass such a law, and an Ionian nobleman, who had recently sent home the strongest petitions against the conduct of Sir Henry Ward, was one of the very majority who would not allow him to abandon that high police power in exchange for a just and equitable law for the restraint of the press. One of the concessions which Sir Henry Ward had also announced his intention to make to the Parliament which ought now to have been sitting, was the abandonment of this high police power, on condition of receiving as an equivalent a fair law for restraining the press. The hon. Member for Montrose censured Sir Henry Ward for the manner in which he had dissolved the late Parliament. The fact was, that the Ionian Parliament was not dissolved in the summer of 1850; it was prorogued. In December of the same year the House of Assembly again met, and was again prorogued; but the cause of that prorogation was, that the Assembly was proceeding to pass a vote for annexing the Ionian Islands to Greece, and repudiating altogether the authority of the Queen of this country; and he left the House and the country to judge whether blame attached to Sir Henry Ward for having prorogued the Assembly under such circumstances. The hon. Member for Montrose had said that Sir Henry Ward and the Ionian Senate had, previously to the last dissolution, made alterations in the electoral law which required confirmation at the next meeting of the Assembly, and that, not having received such confirmation, the elections were illegal, and the present Assembly was unduly constituted. It was true that Sir Henry Ward and the Senate did, in the course of the last autumn, make certain alterations in the electoral law; but those alterations were made under the authority of a special power which existed in the Ionian Islands, under which the Lord High Commissioner and the Senate, during the recess of the Assembly, could pass laws upon subjects of necessity, such laws requiring to be sanctioned or disallowed at the next meeting of the Assembly. It was, however, he believed, undenied and undeniable, that though the acts must be either confirmed or reversed at the next meeting of the Assembly, all things done pending the approval or disapproval of the Assembly were valid by the constitution. The alterations in the electoral law were consequently valid, and he believed the hon. Member for Montrose had not the slightest pretence for saying that on this ground the present Assembly was not properly constituted. He now came to the transactions which had recently taken place in the Ionian Islands. He thought one of the main defects of the present constitution of those islands was, that upon the assembling of a new Parliament the High Commissioner in constituting his Senate took five (he believed) of the Members elected to the Assembly. The consequence had been, that on the first assembling of Parliament the best and most valuable members were taken away from it. Sir Henry Ward, on the first meeting of the Assembly, selected five members of that Assembly as senators. There were other members who, from disloyalty to the Queen, would not take the oaths, and from various causes a number of vacancies occurred. A difference arose upon the Address proposed to be voted to Her Majesty upon the opening of the Session; and, when he mentioned that the very gentleman who drew the draught of the loyal Address was one of the factious minority who would not afterwards allow the House of Assembly to carry it, declaring as the reason their objection to the supremacy of the British Crown, he thought the House would he able to form a good idea of the class of persons with whom Sir Henry Ward had to deal. The House being reduced in the manner just stated, it was in the power of a factious minority to prevent there being twenty-two members assembled; and accordingly on two, if not three, successive days, they prevented a quorum being made by refusing to attend, and thus prevented the voting the Address. Under these circumstances the Lord High Commissioner had to consider the course that he ought to take; and he determined, finding such factious proceedings resorted to, to prorogue the Assembly. The hon. Member (Mr. Hume) said that for this conduct it was the duty of Her Majesty's Government to recall Sir Henry Ward. He (Sir J. Pakington) had to state that such was not the opinion of Her Majesty's Government. Sir Henry Ward was no partisan of theirs: they were not called upon to defend his conduct in every particular; but it was their belief that, under circumstances of extraordinary difficulty, he had honestly and anxiously endeavoured to support the authority of the Crown, and at the same time had offered, almost, perhaps, too freely, to make every concession to popular feeling which he could possibly with prudence do. Under these circumstances, he (Sir J. Pakington) held that Sir Henry Ward was entitled to a fair and frank support from Her Majesty's Ministers. If the hon. Member for Montrose thought fit to persevere in his intended Motion after the recess, the Government would be prepared to meet it as they might think the justice of the case required. As at present advised, however, their opinion was, that Sir Henry Ward had endeavoured honestly to do his duty, and was therefore entitled to their support.


said, that the observations which fell from the hon. Member for Montrose had been so fully, and to his mind so satisfactorily, answered by the right hon. Gentleman opposite (Sir J. Pakington), that he (Mr. F. Peel) did not feel called upon, however much he might have wished it, to enter into any explanation of the general grounds on which the administration of Sir Henry Ward might be justified. He was very glad to collect from the speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary, that whenever the hon. Member for Montrose might bring forward a Motion of which he had given notice, Her Majesty's Government would not support that Motion, which was for the appointment of a Committee to inquire into the causes of the insurrection which took place in Cephalonia in 1849, and into the present condition of the Ionian Islands, He (Mr. F. Peel) did not believe that an investigation of that kind would be attended with any advantage, while, undoubtedly, it would convey a very grave censure on the conduct of Sir Henry Ward; and having given much of his attention to this subject, it was his opinion that, although, perhaps Sir Henry Ward might not have earned, he had entitled himself to the gratitude of the Ionian people, and to the approbation of that House; for he (Mr. F. Peel) was persuaded it was to the energy and ability which characterised the administration of Sir Henry Ward, that peace and order were restored in 1849. But there were several reasons which made him desirous to take some part in this debate, and to offer to the House some information bearing upon what had fallen from the hon. Member (Mr. Hume), which happened to lie within his reach. The hon. Member had adverted principally to two topics, one of which had reference to the constitution of the Ionian Islands, and the liberties and independence of that people. The hon. Member also referred to the personal administration of Sir Henry Ward, and considered that in the insurrection at Cephalonia Sir Henry Ward was guilty of great excesses—that he employed a military force for the suppression of that rebellion where the civil power would have sufficed—that he proclaimed martial law, and continued it long after the ordinary tribunals should have resumed the exercise of their functions—and that he al- lowed courts-martial to sentence to death a number of individuals, and a considerable number of others to imprisonment. With regard to those transactions, he (Mr. F. Peel) thought a sufficient reply was made by the right hon. Gentleman the Colonial Secretary, that was, that at a time when that subject was still fresh in the recollection of that House, and when the attention of hon. Members had recently been paid to what had been passing in the Ionian Islands, the Motion of the hon. Member, on the first occasion on which he sought to bring it forward, was met, he would not say with the indifference of the House, but hon. Members were so convinced of the propriety of Sir Henry Ward's conduct, that they did not remain in sufficient numbers to constitute a House; and when the hon. Gentleman brought forward the game Motion a second time, and succeeded in raising a discussion upon it, and carrying it to a division, not more than twelve or thirteen Members were found to vote for the proposition of the hon. Member. That was the answer with regard to the case of Cephalonia. In reference to the imprisonments and executions which had taken place under sentence of court-martial, they had the authority of Sir Henry Ward for stating that not a single individual was executed or imprisoned, simply for having borne arms against Her Majesty's authority. Sir Henry Ward, on the contrary, had stated that all the individuals who had been punished by execution or imprisonment were so punished because they had taken part in the outrages and crimes which had marked the progress of the insurrection, and some of them in the atrocious murder of Count Metaxa and his four servants. With reference to the petition adverted to by the hon. Gentleman from twenty-three individuals in the Ionian Islands, under sentence of imprisonment for the part they took in the insurrection of Cephalonia, he (Mr. F. Peel) must say, after the statement he had made on the authority of Sir Henry Ward, with regard to the part which those parties who were punished had taken in the insurrection, and seeing that only two or three years had elapsed since those sentences of imprisonment were passed, it would not be a proper even if it were a constitutional course for that House to interfere to procure the liberation of those prisoners. But he wished to draw the attention of the House to a subject connected with this petition. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Hume) had brought very grave charges against Sir Henry Ward in that House; but he had not confined his charges to the House of Commons. On the contrary, he had made statements out of doors, where there was no opportunity of giving immediate contradiction to his allegations. The hon. Gentleman would recollect a letter he had addressed to the Daily News at the latter end of last year, enclosing a letter which he had received from two prisoners in Cephalonia, and the contents of which the hon. Gentleman adopted by sending them to that journal, and requesting their publication. [Mr. HUME: I sent a copy of the letter.] In that letter was a charge to the effect that Sir Henry Ward, on the occasion of a visit last autumn to Cephalonia, had induced some of those prisoners to withdraw their signatures from the petition referred to by the hon. Gentleman, by offering bribes of money to their wives, and by holding out hopes of pardon to the prisoners themselves. That was a charge of a very serious character, and reflected very gravely on the conduct of Sir Henry Ward. But Sir Henry Ward had written to him (Mr. F. Peel) on the subject of that charge, and he should take leave to read a paper he had received from him in reference to it. In the first place, what was the authority on which that charge was made? It was made on the authority of two persons, of the respective names of Steculli and Lambrinato, the latter of whom was concerned in the burning of Count Metaxa and his four servants. This person had written a paper, which Sir Henry Ward had forwarded to him (Mr. F. Peel). It was written in modern Greek, and dated from Corfu. He had a translation of it, which was as follows:— I, the undersigned, do declare that I have not signed any other petition respecting my present condition, in consequence of the events of Cephalonia, excepting one addressed last year to the Minister of the Colonies (Earl Grey), and another to the Lord High Commissioner, dated the 9th (21st) of September last. With respect to the letter dated the 18th of October last, bearing my signature and that of Fotino Steculli, and addressed from Cephalonia to a Member of Parliament in England, and inserted in Galignani's Messenger, No. 11,516, I declare that it was not written by me, nor could have been so, as I was then confined in the Penitentiary at Corfu, and I never knew anything about it until explained to me now. (Signed) "ANASTASIO LAMBRINATO, of Gerasimo. Having taken the trouble to ascertain the real truth as to that particular charge against Sir Henry Ward, he (Mr. F. Peel) would not be making an unreasonable request, if he asked the House to believe that the source from which the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Hume) derived his information in regard to Ionian affairs was enough to vitiate every charge he advanced against Sir Henry Ward. He would now say one word upon the question of the high police powers. The hon. Gentleman had said that Sir Henry Ward had imprisoned the writers and editors of articles in newspapers, and in so doing had violated the freedom of the press. He (Mr. F. Peel) would undertake to say, that Sir Henry Ward was as stanch an advocate of the freedom of the press as the hon. Gentleman himself. He was quite sure that Sir Henry Ward would always correctly appreciate the services of a press which was content to discuss public questions within the limits of the law and constitution, and with a due respect for the personal rights of individuals. The columns of the press in the Ionian Islands, however, had from time to time been disgraced by articles of the most slanderous and seditious description; and he (Mr. F. Peel) thought Sir Henry Ward was entitled to credit for having had the courage to put down that vice, regardless, in doing so, of being exposed to the charge of restricting the freedom of the press. But Sir Henry Ward had not shown any desire to retain those powers of the high police, as had been stated by the hon. Gentleman. The only other course which Sir Henry Ward could have taken would have been to have prosecuted the parties in question under the law of the Press. A few years ago there was a complete censorship over the press in the Ionian Islands; and when that censorship was removed, Earl Grey advised that a law for punishing immorality, slander, and libel on the part of the press should be passed similar to that which existed in this country. Lord Seaton had procured the passing of such a law, which he fancied would have been amply sufficient for the end in view; but experience had since proved that the law was utterly futile and ineffectual. Sir Henry Ward had conducted prosecutions under that law, but he found it was quite impossible to obtain a verdict from an Ionian jury, and he had consequently no alternative but to exercise his constitutional power of "high police." He proposed, however, in the course of the last Ionian Parliament, to surrender that power, provided the Assembly would substitute for it a proper law in reference to the press. That proposition was rejected by a majority of twenty-two to eighteen; but that majority, the House should know, was composed of the party who had always been opposed to the policy of Sir Henry Ward. With regard to the constitution, he (Mr. P. Peel) considered that from 1817 to 1848 the Ionian people did not enjoy that full measure of independence and constitutional government which were guaranteed to them by the Treaty of 1815. They had freedom in its appearance, but not in it reality. The electoral body was limited in numbers, and aristocratic in its composition; and its power of election was only nominal, as it was required to choose between two candidates submitted to it by a Board nominated by the Executive. But the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Hume) must remember that in the course of 1849 various reforms were carried; among others, the electoral body was increased from 1,500 to 6,000, and, which was a more important right, they were empowered to choose directly the Members sent to the Assembly. The people, therefore, who were now possessed of a Constituent Assembly chosen by themselves, had an instrument of working out any reform—commercial, legal, or representative—provided only they showed themselves qualified to exercise and enjoy the liberties of constitutional government.

Motion agreed to.