HC Deb 05 February 1857 vol 144 cc241-2

said, he rose for the purpose of asking leave to introduce a Bill to enable subjects of the Ionian State to hold commissions in Her Majesty's naval and military services. The inhabitants of the Ionian Islands were at present placed in an anomalous position, being in, a certain sense British subjects, while they were debarred from enjoying all the rights and privileges in which other of Her Majesty's subjects participated. One of the disabilities under which they laboured was, that no native of the Ionian Islands could hold a commission under the Crown, and the object of the Bill which he asked leave to introduce was to get rid of that disability. The matter had been brought to his notice by the circumstance of a young man of good family and character, a native of these islands, wishing to enter the military service of this country. The Commander in Chief was willing to grant him a commission, but the law officers of the Crown, upon being consulted, were of opinion that it would be illegal in the present state of the law. He found that several of the Lord High Commissioners of the Ionian Islands had expressed opinions in favour of the removal of this disability, and Sir John Young, the present Lord High Commissioner, had stated that he regarded such a step as most desirable.


said, that some years ago the Maltese were in the same condition, but by an Act of Parliament they had been regularly constituted British subjects. He wished to know whether the Ionian Islands were to be considered as a separate State, for if so, young men wishing to enter Her Majesty's service could only do it by letters of naturalization. He believed that great discontent was occasioned by thus closing two professions, for at present the study of medicine and the law were the only means by which the youth of those States could distinguish themselves.


said, the Bill would only place the inhabitants of the Ionian Islands in the same position as the inhabitants of any of our Colonies, and would not otherwise affect their status.

Motion agreed to.

Bill ordered to be brought in by Mr. LABOUCHERE and Mr. JOHN BALL.

Bill read 1°.