§ SIR DE LACY EVANS
said, he would beg to ask the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for the Colonies, Whether there is any foundation for the statement which has lately appeared in the public journals that certain high functionaries in the Ionian Islands have declared their determination to shed their blood in an endeavour to cast off the control of the British Government; and, if the statement is well founded, what steps Her Majesty's Government are disposed to take in the matter?
§ MR. LABOUCHERE
Sir, I will state to my hon. and gallant Friend and to the House all that I know upon this subject. I have received no official account of the transactions to which my hon. and gallant Friend refers. But I have seen private letters containing, as far as I can recollect from them, the information I shall now proceed to mention. The House is aware, or at least those Members who have attended to the conduct of business of late years in the Ionian Islands are aware, that on the last two or three occasions on which the House of Assembly met they passed, early in their proceedings, Resolutions, striking directly at the 438 union between England and their country; and the consequence was that the Assembly was immediately afterwards prorogued. Upon the present occasion the Ionian Assembly have not pursued that course. They sat several weeks, during which time they transacted business and did not adopt any Resolution of such an offensive character as would justify the extreme measure of a prorogation. It appears, and I have no doubt it is true, from what I have seen in private letters, that very intemperate language was used, and scenes of great excitement took place in the Ionian House of Assembly, but no formal Resolution was come to of the description which had been adopted upon previous occasions. I believe the origin of these recent scenes and debates is to be found in a strange and singular misapprehension which arose out of the presentation of a petition by the right hon. Baronet opposite (Sir J. Pakington) from Mr. Montgomery Martin—a proceeding which attracted very little notice in this House, but which created considerable excitement in the Ionian House of Assembly. In that petition Mr. Montgomery Martin asserted that the Ionian Islands should so far be treated as a British Colony as that they should have Representatives sitting in this House. Some members of the Ionian House of Assembly thought that a petition of that kind could not have been presented by a gentleman in the position of the right hon. Baronet opposite, who had himself filled the office of Colonial Secretary, unless it had been the intention of the English Government to carry out the measure in question. It is also said that attempts were made to get up a similar petition in Corfu; but there was no foundation, I believe, for such a statement. Under the misapprehension which prevailed upon this subject, very intemperate language was used in the Ionian House of Assembly; but I repent that I have reason to believe that no formal resolution was to come on the part of that body which would justify the extreme measure of a prorogation. All I have now to add is, that Her Majesty's Government are quite aware of the necessity of watching the proceedings of the House of Assembly; but I hope that body will take no step which would render their prorogation indispensable.
§ SIR DE LACY EVANS
said, he wished to know whether it was true that some of the high functionaries who had particularly 439 distinguished themselves upon that occasion had been received at the Government House on the following day?