HC Deb 12 May 1863 vol 170 cc1586-610

said, he rose to move an Address for Copy of Memorials presented by Sir George Marcoras and Sir Typaldo Xydras on the 16th day of September 1862 to his Excellency Major General Sir Henry Storks, Her Majesty's Lord High Commissioner in the Ionian Islands, and Copies or Extracts of Correspondence relating thereto. He should think it a grievous thing if the Secretary of State should refuse to accede to a Motion for placing on the table the Memorials of those two gentlemen. He believed that the noble Duke at the head of the Colonial Office fancied that there was something in the Return of which he ought to be afraid, and had therefore refused to produce it. It would soon be seen whether that was the case. By the constitution of the Ionian Islands, as the House was probably aware, the judicial and administrative officers went out of office every five years. These two gentlemen, for whose Memorials he was about to move, went out in their turn in the year 1862; but though they had served England for a period of about forty or fifty years with the utmost ability and loyalty, were not re-appointed, without a single precedent being shown or reason given for so unusual a course on the part of the Executive. They were Judges and Members of the Supreme Council, and throughout all their lives they had acted with honour and honesty to the English Government. The course which had been taken towards them was not only unjust to them, but it was impolitic as regarded England. He was glad to see the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his place, because once on a time the right hon. Gentleman made an excursion to Barataria. Sancho Panza did the same thing once, but he proved himself a clever administrator, and there he (Mr. Roebuck) would stop. These two gentlemen, whose names he found some difficulty in pronouncing—one of them, he believed, was called Sir George Marcoras and the other Sir Typaldo Xydras—had been passed over, as he had said, without any notice and without any cause. They had therefore presented Memorials to the Lord High Commissioner complaining of the way in which they had been treated. He had the Memorial of one of them in his hand, but, unfortunately, it was not in the hands of all hon. Members. If it had been, he would have had no difficulty in the matter, for the case was so plain that even the ingenuity of the Under Secretary for the Colonies would have been at a loss to answer it. Sir George Marcoras began public life in Cephalonia in 1826, where he attracted the attention of Sir Charles Napier, at whose request he took part in public life, and acquitted himself entirely to the satisfaction of that great man. As time went on, he was employed by various Lord High Commissioners, and in every case gave satisfaction. At length he arrived at the summit of his profession, and became Member of the Supreme Council of Corfu, and one of the Judges of the land. He was not complaining of the illegality of the manner in which these two gentlemen had been treated. James II., when he dismissed the Judges who gave judgment in favour of the seven bishops, did what he had a perfect right to do by law—but he lost his throne in consequence. The two gentlemen to whom he referred, as he had before stated, had passed about forty or fifty years in the service of the British Crown, and had ever shown themselves loyal and honourable. Notwithstanding the valuable services they had thus rendered, at the end of the five years, when, according to the constitution of the islands, all the judicial functionaries vacated their offices, they were suddenly passed over by Sir Henry Storks, and were not re-appointed to the offices which they had held for so long a time in a manner honourable to themselves and serviceable to this country. Sir Henry Storks, who had thus acted, was a rude, ill-conditioned soldier. ["Oh, oh!"] Hon. Gentlemen had better not drive him a great deal further, or things might be stated which would prove to the letter what he had said. The Seven Ionian Islands had been given to England by the Treaty of 1815, to hold as a sort of deposit for the protection of Europe. It was thought necessary that England should hold them, but it was also requested that England should govern them with justice and honour. To do that, one thing was necessary. We might grant to a people powers which they might not be capable of exercising, but there were things connected with good government which did not belong to the people, but to the Government. We gave them a constitution—and there we were wrong; but we had not dealt fairly by them in the administration of justice—and there we were wrong again. The inhabitants of those islands could not govern themselves as an independent constitutional country; but it behoved England to govern them as England ought to govern her dependencies. England had not done that. The noble Duke at the head of the Colonial Office had indulged in dark insinuations concerning these gentlemen, but he (Mr. Roebuck) asserted that there was nothing against their character; and if anybody said there was, he challenged them to come forward and prove their charge. They had passed their long lives in honour and in doing service to England, and the treatment they had received was a bad return to make to them. The indepencence of the Judges was of the essence of good government. He did not confine himself to constitutional Governments, but wherever civilized men had banded themselves together for the purposes of government, the independence of the Judges had been found to be imperatively necessary. These two gentlemen were made Judges on the supposition that at the end of five years they might be dismissed, but no instance could be cited of a Judge of the Supreme Court being dismissed on his quinquennium, as it was called. That was what he wanted to be answered. It was true that four Judges of inferior courts had been dismissed by Sir Thomas Maitland, but the Colonial Secretary of the day thought that so great a breach of good government that he desired their immediate restoration. They were restored accordingly; one of them retained his office until death, another retired from old age, and the other two were still actually in service. [An hon. MEMBER: They must be old now.] The same Lord High Commissioner dismissed a member of the Supreme Council, because he kept a mistress, following the example set him by the Lord High Commissioner himself, but the Colonial Secretary ordered his immediate restoration. The man was restored, but unfortunately he had died from vexation in the mean time. That was the sort of thing which happened in Barataria, but the place was so small that the great eye of England passed over them. We might send a great man out there, and he might "play fantastic tricks before high Heaven," but the world did not note them. And yet men lived there, died there, were miserable there, and were ill-governed by the Colonial Office. He wanted a distinct answer to the question, Why had these two gentlemen been passed over? Let not the Under Secretary indulge in dark insinuation against these gentlemen. They had not mingled with politics; they had done their duty simply as Judges. He remarked the hon. Gentleman's manner as he said this, but he defied him or anybody else to prove that they had mixed in politics, or that they had lent themselves to the enemies of England. Some people, he knew, had indulged in the hope that the Ionian Islands might be handed over to Greece; but he warned the Goverment, that though they could withdraw from the protectorate, they had no power to hand the islands over to Greece. They had power to dishonour England by ill-governing the Colonies, but they could do nothing to alter the fate of a Colony by attaching her to any other Power. He wanted to know why the Memorials of those gentlemen, who considered themselves ill-used by Sir Henry Storks and the noble Duke at the head of the Colonial Office, were not laid on the table of the House. Their Memorials were most proper in form, most admirable in the terms in which they were drawn up. No objection could be made to them on that head. Why, then, should not those Memorials be produced, so that the Members of that House and the world generally might be able to form some opinion as to the reasons for their dismissal? The noble Duke who was at the head of the Colonial Department of Her Majesty believed, no doubt, that his judgment was infallible. He (Mr. Roebuck) should think that experience would have taught the noble Duke the errors of his ways. Experience, it was said, makes fools wise; he did not think so—it makes wise men wiser, but fools are ever what they have been. No application to that noble Duke would induce him either to re-consider his judgment or to give any reason for it. Perhaps in that he was wise. But those gentlemen, who were English subjects, wanted to know why they were thus ill-treated because there happened to be a man over them who mistook obstinacy for firmness, and who believed that what he had once decided should for them at least be irrevocable. In this country, unfortunately, great men were picked up by chance. "Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them." What was the case in that particular instance with the noble Duke? One thing, however, he was sure of, that the great name of England could be left with safety in charge of the House of Commons, which would not see that great name sullied by any act of injustice, no matter how weak or how small the person upon whom it was inflicted. They were in that House to overlook all those great men, and to do justice between the Queen and her dependencies. He would now appeal to the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone), who had acted a certain part in those islands, and who had done a great deal, as he had said, to make the Supreme Council independent, and he would ask how their independence could be maintained if, upon mere caprice and without reason given, two of its Judges should be thus dismissed. He would state one fact more. They were two English Judges in that court, and neither they nor any other persons who by the Constitution of the country ought to have been consulted were consulted; and the Judges who were put aside discovered their suppression first from the Gazette, and not from any information that was communicated to them. In short, they had made a breach in the independence of the judicial bench, and they had done what they could to make the Ionian people feel that English Government was a curse, not a blessing. He begged to move— That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that She will be graciously pleased to direct that there be laid before the House, Copy of Memorials presented by Sir George Marcoras and Sir Typaldo Xydras, on the 16th day of September 1862, to His Excellency Major General Sir Henry Storks, Her Majesty's Lord High Commissioner in the Ionian Islands.


said, there would be no difficulty about the production of the papers moved for; the Memorials would be at once laid upon the table, and also the correspondence to which the Memorials had given rise. They had been already moved for in another place, and they would be laid before both Houses without delay. But though the Motion was, in fact, unopposed, he could not feel himself exonerated from the duty of saying a few words, by way of comment, on the observations of the hon. and learned Gentle- man. He did not intend, however, to subject his noble Friend at the head of the Colonial Office to the indignity of defending him from the aspersions thrown upon him in language not usually heard in that House. If any reasons had been given which would justify the use of terms very unusual from one Gentleman to another, and still more unusual when the person assailed was absent, it might have been necessary for him to go into the matter. But the world would, of course, perceive that the sole reason which the hon. and learned Gentleman had for applying those epithets to his noble Friend was, that the noble Duke chose to differ in opinion from the hon. and learned Gentleman. The hon. and learned Gentleman had dealt very largely in what might be called righteous indignation on this subject. Righteous indignation was a very good thing, but in some minds it was apt to create the food upon which it lived, and first to imagine the unrighteousness and then give vent to the indignation. The hon. and learned Gentleman had disposed of this case more suo. He formed a syllogism which he presented to the House in this wise:—Any Government, in any part of the world which ever removed a Judge was deserving of condemnation: the Government of the Ionian Islands had removed a Judge; therefore, that Government and the Secretary of State for the Colonies were deserving of the condemnation of the House. But the matter, though in one sense simple, was not simple in the sense in which the hon. and learned Gentleman had spoken. It required to be dealt with, not upon broad and sweeping principles, but with a knowledge of the constitution and the state of affairs in the country where it had taken place. That the case was to be judged solely by the laws and constitution of the Ionian Islands, and not by the laws and constitution of Great Britain, was a consideration which lay at the very root of the matter. His hon. and learned Friend had not gone so far as absolutely to deny the written law of the Ionian Islands as it might be found in the library of the House, but he made very light of it. Now, there could be no doubt that the absolute irremovability of the Judges by the Executive was a principle unknown to the laws, constitution, and practices of the Ionian Islands. The people of these islands had ideas different from ours. They felt, and had reason to know by experience, that the principal danger to the independence of their Judges arose not from the Executive, but from other quarters. There were dangers from the popular Assembly, on which the Judges were as much dependent as on the Executive, their salaries being subject to the revision of that body. There were dangers from the long possession of office by gentlemen themselves, and by their relations and adherents. All these things constituted, in the Ionian Islands, the real danger to the independence of the Bench; and if there was not always an actual danger, there was often a suspicion of danger in the minds of the community. The words of the Charter of 1817 plainly and clearly laid it down that all appointments of every kind should terminate every five years, with the termination of the Parliament, and the Judges were expressly included, for they were coupled in the same sentence with the Ministerial officers of other departments. But then it was said that that provision was a mere dead letter—an antiquated piece of law which it was monstrous to revive. So far from that, it was a real living portion of the Ionian Constitution, one which the Ionians themselves had kept in existence within their charter until that day, and one which had been frequently acted upon by the Senate, with the approbation of the Lord High Commissioner. In 1838, Sir H. Douglas the Lord High Commissioner of the day, had brought that particular provision of the charter under the notice of the Home Government, but it was thought, that taking into account the peculiar position of the Ionian Islands, it was not desirable that it should undergo alteration. Again, in 1842, Mr. Stuart Mackenzie submitted a Bill to the Ionian Assembly with the view of converting the commissions of the Judges into commissions for life; but that Bill had met with so violent an opposition that the Lord High Commissioner was obliged to withdraw it, while his conduct in proposing it had been censured by the Secretary of State, Lord Derby. In 1848, he might add, when the most sweeping changes were made in the Constitution of the Ionian Islands, none took place in respect to the provision in question. It was evident that all this was not the result of accident, but was in accordance with the wishes of the Ionian people. As to the practice, it was true that cases of non-re-appointment of members of the Supreme Court at the end of five years had been rare; still such cases had existed, and there was one which was exactly parallel to the present. He could not admit the existence of any difference in principle between the case of members of the Supreme Council and the other Judges in the Ionian Islands. In the highest judicial offices of all it was evident that the changes could be few, in consequence of the small-ness of their number—two only—and of the small number of men capable of filling them; but in respect to other judgeships changes had been frequent. In 1852 there were four cases of non-re-appointment and substitution; in 1850 there were eleven. [Mr. ROEBUCK: Those were removals.] Those cases were not removals, but non-re-appointments and substitutions. If the hon. and learned Gentleman would look to the list furnished by Sir Henry Ward to the Duke of Newcastle some years since, and published in the Parliamentary papers, he would find that Sir H. Ward distinguished between the numerous cases of removal to another post, and the cases of non-re-appointment and substitution of another Judge. The Judges of whom he spoke were not Judges of petty courts of no consequence in the islands, but Judges who transacted all the ordinary judicial business of the islands. In 1834 Lord Nugent, then Lord High Commissioner, reported to the Secretary of State, Mr. Spring Rice, that it was thought advisable by the Senate to leave out the names of two Judges of the Supreme Council of Justice, and to appoint two other gentlemen in their place, and that course was taken, not on account of any charges or insinuations of judicial malversation, but for reasons of public policy which seemed sufficient to the body who had the right and the power of judging on the question—the Senate of the Ionian Islands. Their decision was approved by the Lord High Commissioner and the Secretary of State. The question of the legality of such a step was not allowed to sleep, and having been referred by the Secretary of State to the Law Officers of the Crown, Sir John Dodson and the late Lord Campbell, they pronounced the course pursued to be perfectly legal and constitutional. Such as he had described being the law and practice of the constitution, the Senate had deemed it right to act as they had done in the present instance. There was no doubt that they were acting within both the letter and the spirit of the constitution when, in 1862, upon the formation of a new government, they came to a determination that two members of the Supreme Council should be allowed to retire on their pensions. That course was approved by the Lord High Commissioner, and sanctioned by the Home Government. But it was contended that the fact, that under the pension law annual contributions were made from the salaries of the Judges was in itself a proof that the provision of the constitution to which he referred was meant to be set aside; but that law, which laid down that there should be a pension at the end of twelve years, and that at the end of three years more, the close of a quinquennium, it should be increased, and be further increased at the end of twenty and twenty-five years, on the very face of it took into account the provision affecting the tenure of office. It was, however, urged, that if the two gentlemen to whom the Motion related had been allowed to remain in office ten months longer, they would have been entitled to a higher rate of pension, of which it was a hardship to deprive them. Now, while he was happy to say that those gentlemen, who had served the Ionian Islands long and well and against whose characters he made no charge, were in the enjoyment of the pensions which they had earned, and which, judged by the standard in the Ionian Islands, were of very large amount, be thought that to allow them to remain a certain time longer in office in order to entitle them to an increase of pension would be to set a very bad precedent. And how, let him ask, had the action of the Senate and the Lord High Commissioner in the matter been received in the Ionian Islands? In this country it had been received with severe criticism in a very limited quarter, and had called forth the righteous indignation of the hon. and learned Gentleman; but in the islands it had been received with universal satisfaction by all, save, as was but natural, by the persons concerned and their friends. The newspapers there had not a word to say against the proceedings; while the two Judges themselves had never appealed to public opinion to pronounce in their favour through their own press—a press which for years past had turned liberty into licence, and which always rejoiced when an opportunity offered of finding fault.

Strictly speaking, he had said enough to satisfy the House that there was no sufficient reason for its interference in the matter; but surprise might, perhaps, he felt that the principle of the irremovability of the Judges, except for great and proved judicial misconduct, to which so much value was attached in this country, had been received with so little favour in the Ionian Islands. If hon. Gentlemen reflected a little upon the nature of the constitution of those islands, their surprise would be diminished. If the Judges were to be independent, they must be independent not only of the Executive but also of the Legislature. At present they were entirely dependent for their salaries upon the vote of the popular Assembly, which revised them every two years, without the concurrence of the other House of Parliament. It had been the opinion of every Lord High Commissioner, including Sir H. Storks himself, as would be seen from the papers when they were produced, and of every Secretary of State who had considered the subject, that the two changes must go together; and that if the Judges were to be made absolutely independent of the Executive power, it was absolutely necessary that they should be made equally independent of the popular Assembly. It was that consideration which made the Ionians object to the alteration of the existing system. The hon. and learned Gentleman stated, and he challenged contradiction, that those two Judges had been absolutely unconnected with politics. No assertion could be more entirely opposed to the real facts of the case. On the contrary, these gentlemen had, indirectly at least, through a host of relations and dependents filling every department in the State and having seats in the Legislative Assemby, been notoriously, closely, and intimately connected with politics in the Ionian Islands. Until of late years, the Government of the protectorate was carried on by a party very much resembling that which was known by the name of the "family compact" in Canada. The Government was carried on through a small party who were called the friends of the protectorate, and, as its friends, had at their disposal all the good things of the Ionian world. The great changes which took place in 1848, in many respects imperfect and unsatisfactory as they were, struck a blow at this system, and the party to which he was referring—he said nothing against the private character of any of its members—including these gentlemen, had ever since been, more or less openly or covertly, the enemies of the existing system, He did not find fault with any one, either English or Ionian, who desired to remedy the evils which existed under the constitution by entering upon a constitutional course, and substituting realities for what were, in many respects, only mischievous semblances; but the party to which he referred only wished to alter the existing state of things by re-action and retrogression. That had been, to a great extent, the action of a party to a great degree existing within the Government itself; so that the Government constantly found that the real centre and source of opposition to its policy arose from the heart of its own ranks. Sir Henry Storks, of whom the hon. and learned Gentleman had spoken in a way in which he was ashamed to hear, had, from the first, set his face against this system. He had governed the Ionian Islands in a fair, manly, and upright spirit, and had done his best to free England and the protectorate from every suspicion of underhanded manœuvring. He had established a system of competitive examination for entrance to appointments, which had effected a complete administrative revolution. He had put an end to all interference with the elections, had thrown himself upon public opinion, and had endeavoured to show that he was governing the Ionians in their own interests, and through legal, constitutional, and generous methods. Last year it became necessary for him to make up his mind whether he should go on in the same good course, and crown the work which he had undertaken, or whether he should shrink from a task which was certain to subject him to great obloquy, and to lead to his being vigorously attacked by those who had an insufficient knowledge of the subject in this country. It became the duty of the Senate, in conjunction with Sir Henry Storks, to remodel the Government of the Ionian Islands. The long, almost unprecedented tenure of office by these gentlemen—considering how notorious was their indirect connection with political pacts—considering that in the public departments the habit had long prevailed of filling up all the offices with the relations, friends, and dependents of these three gentlemen; that the inevitable tendency of such a state of things was to excite suspicions, whether well founded or not, in the minds of the public—considering that the party in question were undermining the constitution they pretended to respect, and paving the way for something in the nature of a coup d'état— and considering, further, that this opportunity, occurring at the end of every five years, was one provided by the constitution itself to carry out the changes required by public policy, and not necessarily as a punishment for judicial corruption or mal- versation, the Senate and Sir Henry Storks made up their minds to allow these three gentlemen to retire, and they appointed in their stead three of the best men whom it was possible to select. The noble Lord at the head of the Colonial Department, and the noble Lord at the head of the Government, thought it would require very strong grounds to justify interference on their part with the Ionian Executive, especially as the Senate and the Lord High Commissioner had been acting within the spirit of the constitution. And, for his own part, he conscientiously believed, that if Sir Henry Storks—who had been handled so roughly by the hon. and learned Gentleman, but whose character, he was convinced, had suffered no stain—were destined to be the last Lord High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands, his firmness, uprightness, fair and honest dealing, and his sincere wish to promote the real interests of the Republic, would do credit to the protecting Power which appointed and which maintained him.


said, he was perfectly aware that it would be improper for any one to allow himself to be influenced by private friendship in the consideration of a matter that related to the performance of a public duty; but as the discussion had taken place in the absence of the individual whose conduct had been impugned, he should not he doing justice to his own feelings, in reference to the Lord High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands, if he did not express his opinion, founded on an, intimate knowledge of the character of Sir Henry Storks, that he was the last man likely to be guilty of an unconstitutional or arbitrary act. While holding the position of Secretary of State for War he (General Peel) was brought into constant and confidential communication with that officer, who had been appointed Secretary for Military Correspondence by his predecessor in office; and such was his opinion of his zeal and ability, that when applied to by his right hon. Friend (Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton), he could not avoid expressing his opinion that he was eminently qualified to fill the high position then about to be bestowed upon him. There was no opportunity of judging at the War Office of the politics of any gentleman, because they all performed their duties without reference to politics; but his private knowledge of Sir Henry Storks enabled him to say that they did not agree in political opinions. He believed the gallant officer belonged to the more "advanced" class of politicians—but what that meant he was sure he did not know. His right hon. Friend was entitled to credit for having appointed him to fill the office of Lord High Commissioner, on account of his personal qualifications, and not from any political or private reason. Since Sir Henry Storks left this country he had naturally paid great attention to his Government, and he was bound to say that no man, placed in a most difficult position, had ever performed his duties with greater advantage to the public or greater credit to himself. It was perfectly notorious that to govern the Ionians was an arduous task, for part of the population was always dissatisfied. They were described as two parties—one in and the other out of office; the one that was out of office being always opposed to the Government, though that was by no means exclusively an Ionian peculiarity. The difficulties of the Lord High Commissioner's position, however, were greatly increased by the course which this country had taken. After the celebrated despatch by Earl Russell on the 27th of October 1860, in which he laid down that people were the best judges in their own affairs, and that Her Majesty's Government turned their eyes with pleasure to the gratifying prospect of a people building up the edifice of their liberties and consolidating the work of their independence amid the sympathies and good wishes of Europe, how could they be surprised that the Ionians should feel anxious to gratify the noble Lord with a similar spectacle? He, for one, did not find fault with them, but at the same time hon. Members should recollect the position of the Lord High Commissioner. So long as the Protectorate endured, it was clearly the duty of the Lord High Commissioner to maintain the authority of the Government which he represented, in spite of the anomalous position in which that protecting Power was placed by the declarations of its own Foreign Secretary. Could any reasonable man, under these circumstances, say it was possible to draw any comparison between the case of the Ionian Islands and this country, or to lay down a rule which would be applicable to both? No one who read the constitution of the Ionian Islands could say that the step which had been taken in the case of these three gentlemen was illegal. He was not going to defend the motives either of the Senate or of Sir Henry Storks, for he did not know what they were. He only asked hon. Members to believe from him that Sir Henry Storks was the last man who would be guilty of an unconstitutional, illegal, or even of a harsh act. If, moreover, Sir Henry Storks, before making other appointments, had submitted his intentions to the Home Government, and had received their approval, clearly the responsibility rested no longer upon him, but upon Her Majesty's Ministers.


said, he agreed with every word which had fallen from his right hon. and gallant Friend regarding the talent and capacity of Sir Henry Storks. It was quite right that in doubtful cases a witness to character should be called, and a better witness to character than his right hon. and gallant Friend could not be found in the House. But he thought the matter ought not to be looked at solely as one affecting the Lord High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands personally. He wanted to ascertain for what reason something, which on the face of it looked like a very serious wrong, had been inflicted upon two gentlemen who for all the House knew, were totally guiltless of misconduct. The hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary for the Colonies occupied by far the greater part of his speech in proving, what nobody had attempted to deny, that the removal of these gentlemen had been legal. His hon. and learned Friend below the gangway (Mr. Roebuck) had not said a word to show that the step was illegal. No doubt, according to the constitution of the Ionian Islands, all civil offices without exception were voidable after a term of five years, and the re appointment of the officials after the expiration of that period was optional with the Government. But hon. Gentlemen opposite seemed to contend, that because an Act did not transgress the letter of the law, no objection could be taken to it in a constitutional point of view. He would put an analogous case. In this country those who were called the permanent civil servants of the Crown held their offices absolutely at the pleasure of the political heads of the department, and there was nothing, as far as the law was concerned, to prevent any Secretary of State coming into a department from making a clean sweep of those employed in it, and putting in his own friends. But, however legal such a step might he, was it not evident that any person taking it would commit a monstrous violation of the well-understood constitutional rule? What was the test by which the proceedings in the Ionian Islands was to be tried? Surely this— was it according to precedent or the established practice of the country? The hon. Gentleman opposite, with all the advantage of the archives of the Colonial Office, had only been able to point out a single case in half a century in which a similar removal had taken place; and that case, if he recollected right, was one with which political reasons had nothing whatever to do. He did not think the hon. Gentleman had made matters much better when he had argued in favour of the unlimited right of removal of these Judges. The hon. Gentleman said, that in a small community, broken up into political parties, personal prejudices and animosities ran so high that it was absolutely necessary—to do what? To protect those persons holding official stations, who might be the innocent victims of such prejudices? No, but to hand them over without protection or hope of redress to the mercy of a dominant political party. Was that the tenure on which Judges in any country ought to hold their offices? The hon. Gentleman seemed to refer the removal of these Judges to political causes, and said that their removal was very popular with the press of the Ionian Islands. It might, however, happen that it was popular with that portion of the press which had been for years declaiming against British power in the Ionian Islands. It might be right or wise that the British protectorate over the Ionian Islands should, under certain circumstances, be abandoned. Upon that point he expressed no opinion; but if the abandonment were decided upon, the Government ought to be especially careful not to surrender as victims to popular opinion those whose unpopularity might have been caused by the supposition, that they had been on the side of the protecting Power. It was stated, as an excuse for Sir Henry Storks, that the Senate were primarily responsible for this act, and stress had been laid on the independence of that body; but would the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who knew the condition of these islands as well as any man, say that the Senate would have ventured on such a step unless they had known beforehand that they would have the sanction of the Lord High Commissioner? If the Colonial Office could exercise any control in such a matter, the present case appeared to him to be one in which it would be very fittingly brought to bear. All that his hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Roebuck) or himself asserted was, that these gentlemen were placed, by the act of the Ionian Government, in a position most unfair to them and prejudicial to the public service. No charge or imputation had been brought against them. They had been dismissed without cause or explanation; and if it were contended that no disgrace had been inflicted on them, and that their term of office had expired, the answer was that their removal might be legal and not contrary to the letter of the constitution, but that, as a matter of fact, they had been subject to an act of arbitrary, authority, for which only one precedent could be found in half a century. Such a proceeding did, therefore, cast an imputation on them, and he thought they had a right to ask, as in the case of a naval or military officer when he demanded a court martial, whether there was anything against them or not. If any charge could be brought against these gentlemen affecting their characters, simple removal was scarcely a sufficient penalty. If, on the other hand, no allegation could be made against them—and this was, he believed, the fact—he was bound to say that, from whatever motives or ideas of public policy, a very rare and exceptional act of injustice had been committed, and a precedent set which was liable to be grievously abused.


said, that having the honour of being acquainted with the gentlemen in question, he must express the great disappointment with which he had listened to the account which the Under Secretary for the Colonies had given of the matter. No doubt, the Judges were removable in the Ionian Islands, but the hon. Gentleman had failed to show that these gentlemen had given any cause for their removal. He thought it very likely that these gentlemen, as his hon. Friend suggested, had taken a part in the politics of the island, and that they had assisted the Government. It was, however, rather hard, that because they had been unable to accommodate themselves to the new system of things in the island, they should therefore be removed. The Secretary to the Senate, who had been a most faithful servant to his country, had been removed under precisely similar circumstances to the two Judges. He thought that some sufficient reason ought to be given for the removal of these gentlemen. They were men of long services and high character, and he certainly thought they had not had justice done to them. When it was said that their removal was perfectly legal, he might reply that so would be the removal by the Crown of all the magistrates throughout this country; but unless some good reason were given for such a step, it would hardly be considered proper or constitutional.


said, that some curious points had suggested themselves in the course of the discussion. The hon. Under Secretary for the Colonies had laid great stress on the pensions afforded to these gentlemen; but in what position were the Ionian Islands to guarantee those pensions? He thought they were hardly treated in this way. After the despatch of Earl Russell, which had been referred to by the late Secretary for War (General Peel), there was great agitation in the Ionian Islands in favour of annexation to Greece, and these two gentlemen expressed opinions more or less in accordance with it; but that agitation arose from the despatch of Earl Russell, and therefore Her Majesty's Government were responsible for such agitation. There was, however, another point to be mentioned. He yesterday asked the noble Lord at the head of the Government whether it had been arranged that Prince William of Denmark would accept the throne of Greece, but he answered very vaguely. He (Mr. B. Cochrane), however, could almost undertake to say—at least, that was the nature of the information he had received from those best qualified to form an opinion—that Prince William would not accept the throne; and he wanted to know, if that were the case, how Her Majesty's Government would be able to maintain and carry on the Government of the Ionian Islands, after they had expressed such strong opinions as to their annexation to Greece? The fact was, that the question of the Ionian Islands was becoming one of the greatest importance. He believed that Sir Henry Storks was a most distinguished officer, and a right-minded man, but he agreed with the noble Lord that these two gentlemen had been placed in a false position,


said, that as he took a considerable interest in the Ionian Islands, he had listened attentively to the debate, and what he had gathered was that no one doubted the power not to re-appoint these gentlemen. The hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Roebuck) had laid that down distinctly, and the only question was one of discretion. Then, as to the practice, it appeared that there had been only one in- stance of the removal of a high judicial functionary in forty-five years. The records of the Colonial Office might show what reason existed for that removal, but the Under Secretary for the Colonies had not condescended to tell the House what it was. He had tried to gather why these two judicial functionaries had not been re-appointed according to the almost universal practice, and he understood the Under Secretary to say, because there existed in the Ionian Islands something like a family compact—though what that meant he (Mr. Henley) did not know. Because these gentlemen were the friends of this family compact, which was working inconveniently to the Government, these Judges were not to be re-appointed. The plain English was that these judicial functionaries were not re-appointed, because they were supposed to have something to do with the political opinions of those who were not in accord with the Government. He did not think that that was very sound ground for exercising a discretion in the re-appointment of persons in a community so graphically described by the hon. Gentleman when he said it was quite clear the Judges were corrupted either by the popular or by the executive body. The hon. Gentleman said they were liable to be placed under a double fire, either of being pressed upon by the Houses of Parliament, who would not pay them, or by the Executive, who would not re-appoint them. If that were so, he did not think it was very fair to turn them out when no judicial act of misconduct was alleged against them, and only because they were supposed to be members of some compact not quite agreeable to the present state of things, and rather favourable to adhesion to this country. It seemed an odd reason for dismissing Judges, and their non-re-appointment after so many years really did amount to dismissal.


said, he had listened to the discussion with some regret, because he thought that the House was necessarily, from an insufficient acquaintance with the state of society, politics, and constitution in the Ionian Islands, in a position of extreme difficulty for comprehending its own relation to the matter before it. The hon. and learned Member for Sheffield, in his speech, proceeded on the principle of the Ionian Islands being a Colony which was governed from Downing Street. The Ionians, by the law of Europe, were an independent State, and it was extreme rashness to say that it was a gross error to give them a constitution. We gave a solemn pledge, in the face of Europe, to give them a constitution; and having given them the pledge, we gave in the name of a constitution what in reality was a most corrupt despotism. Of late years efforts had been made to convert it into a constitution, and efforts had been made by Sir Henry Storks, under great difficulties, imposed by the nature of the amended constitution, to govern in the spirit of a constitution. It might sound ridiculous to say that the Ionian State had a Government of its own. He granted that for a length of time that Government had been almost entirely nominal. But of late years a series of Acts and measures had been passed, the whole aim of which was to give reality to the action both of Ionian opinion and Ionian authority. Therefore, the hon. and learned Gentleman laid down a basis which could only mislead the House when he asked them to discuss this question as if it were a colonial one. He would state how the matter stood, and he would ask hon. Gentlemen to observe the condition of things in this country and as they existed in the Ionian Islands. Much had been said as to the length of service and as to the judicial character of the persons who had not been re-appointed. In England, if a man who had served for twenty or thirty years was removed from office without sufficient cause, every one would call out that the grievance was aggravated by the length of service. But in the Ionian Islands the general rule was, that all persons quitted office at the end of five years. In the Ionian Islands, civil office was almost the only mode of rising in life for the more intelligent portion of the community. The protectorate had the disadvantage of closing to the Ionians many careers which would otherwise have been open to them. There was no career for them in military service, in representing their country abroad, or in filling many of the highest offices of the executive Government. But he must say that the corrupting influence of England, ever since the time we undertook the protectorate, must be kept in view, in order to estimate matters rightly. The Ionian Government had been carried on by a compact between a certain portion of the Ionians and the earliest representatives of British power, by which the former were to be friends to the British protectorate, and were to hare a monopoly of office in return. The monopoly raised many candidates, and the candidates were satisfied with quinquennial dismissal. Therefore, in the Ionian Islands office was no reason why the holders should continue to retain it, but was a primâ facie reason why they should quit it. With regard to the judicial character of the office, in this country judicial office was happily separated by a broad line from other civil offices. It was not so separated in the Ionian Islands. There the Judges were looked upon in the main like other officers, not so much with a view to the duties to be done, as with a view to the benefits and emoluments to the holders. There could not be a more remarkable instance than when Sir Henry Ward, finding what the law was, gave the first impetus to the constitutional system. He thought it right to govern upon constitutional principles, and those principles required that patronage should be distributed not so much in regard to the duties to be performed as in respect of the several claims put forth in proportion to the population. He believed that Ithaca, or at any rate Santa Maura, was one of the smallest islands. [An hon. MEMBER: It is nearly the largest.] He spoke of the population. The Government of the islands did not consider the number of the Judges ought to be according to the space of the islands, but they said that some of the islands had a larger share of the judicial offices of the country than, according to the population, they were entitled to; and thereupon the Senate, in Sir Henry Ward's time, allowed some of the Judges to drop out of office in order that they might dispense the patronage among other applicants. Now, could there be a clearer proof of the practice which prevailed? It was impossible to comprehend the politics of the country unless they made themselves acquainted with all classes of people there. He had spent many months in the islands for the purpose of obtaining information, and he could assure hon. Gentlemen that they had gained very little insight into the character of the Ionians if they had not made themselves acquainted with all classes. He knew the channel through which the noble Lord (Lord Stanley) had derived his information. But he would venture to warn hon. Members against placing reliance upon the testimony of this or that individual. A spirit of deceit prevailed among the upper classes of the islanders. It was hardly possible to bring home anything to anybody; and when they were endeavouring to find out who had done this or who had done that, it was like a game of blind man's buff, where the unfortunate man with the handkerchief folded over his eyes tried to get hold of some one, and every one with his eyes open was endeavouring to escape. The only view of Ionian politics, to be sound, was to be acquired, not from this or that person, or from a dominant clique, but from the endeavour honestly and impartially to collect from every quarter the sentiments of the people. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman (General Peel) had described the condition of the Ionian Islands as that of a place where a certain number of people who were in office approved the measures of the Government, and a certain other number, out of office, disapproved all the measures which were proposed. When the right hon. and gallant Gentleman gave that description, he thought he need not have travelled so far to find the original of his picture. But, in point of fact, the picture, though fairly drawn as a picture of this country, was not fairly drawn as respects the Ionian Islands. There was a party who called themselves the friends of England. It was the fate of many institutions to be ruined by its friends, and it had been the fate of England to receive the greatest wounds to its character and reputation from its friends in the Ionian Islands. They were friends to England on condition of England withholding from the people the entire reality of free Government, and continuing to them a perpetuity of office. That party held office until 1848, undisturbed, and since the change made in 1848 they had felt some discomfort at the prospect of losing office. That was one party, and they called themselves the Friends of the protectorate. The next party consisted of the demagogues of the country, always trumpeting forth union with Greece; and he must say that it was not easy to determine which of the two parties had the smallest claim to the favour, confidence, or approval of their countrymen or of that House. There was very little to choose between them. Besides these parties there were in the islands gentlemen of high character and constitutional principles, which would secure for them regard if they were Members of that House. Such were the different parties; but the party described as the Party of the Protectorate, had, in fact, been the greatest enemies to the protectorate; because they were only friends to it on condition that all office was to be continued in their hands; and whenever they saw a disposition on the part of the authorities to establish in reality a constitutional régime, that moment they joined hands with the demagogues, and roused the people against the Government. Judges in the Ionian Islands, as he had before said, were not separate from party, but were supposed to enter into the transactions of party just as much as other persons in those islands. He could speak highly of Sir Giorgio Marcoras as a man of honour, integrity, and accomplishments; but Sir Giorgio Marcoras did not conceal his connection with the party of the Friends of the Protectorate. He did not mean to say that the practice of the abandonment of office was so uniform or so frequent in the case of Judges as in that of other functionaries; but it would be a great error to suppose that certain broad distinctions between the two classes of cases were acknowledged to exist in the Ionian Islands, as in England. The question had been brought before the House in reference to the dismissal of the President of the Senate. [Mr. ROEBUCK: I did not refer to him.] That showed the superior knowledge of the hon. Member for Derbyshire (Mr. Evans). The hon. and learned Gentleman had only referred to the case of Sir Giorgio Marcoras and Sir Typaldo Xydras. Speaking of the President of the Senate, he would take upon himself to say that his non-re-appointment as President was not only a righteous but a wise act, and the only course which it was possible for the administrators of the Government, whether Ionian or British, to take, to establish themselves in the confidence of the Ionian people. He was satisfied that for that act alone Sir Henry Storks deserved the favour, and not the disapproval of that House. With respect to that gentleman, he felt that he was under no reserve at all, but of the other two gentlemen who had been referred to, he was not prepared to say anything.

He had been arguing the question as if it was to be decided on its merits, but he submitted that it was not to be decided on its merits. The Ionian authorities were not amenable to that House, which had no power in the matter but the power of calling the Duke of Newcastle and Sir Henry Storks to account. The noble Lord the member for King's Lynn (Lord Stanley) thought that the Ionian Senate would not have ventured on the proceeding without being assured of the concurrence of Sir Henry Storks. That was possible, but the Senate was an independent authority, and was not the servant of Sir Henry Storks. It was the head of the Ionian State, and was at once a legislative and executive body. It was invested by the Constitution with the power of appointing to all offices, and the members of that body were ready to justify themselves for having adopted a step which they deemed to be necessary, in order to persuade the Ionian people that Great Britain was in earnest in the intention of giving them a constitutional government. Let them place themselves in the position of the Ionian authorities. England was discredited in Europe on account of the way in which affairs had been administered in the Ionian Islands. In Paris, Brussels, and every foreign capital the unanimous cry was that the fair fame of England was not adequately represented in the government of those islands. Now, it was well known that a certain party had been fomenting every sort of opposition at the risk of throwing the country into disturbance, because their monoply was in danger, and it was natural that the people of the islands should say that they could not believe England to be sincere as long as the heads of that party were allowed to be in possession of the monopoly of offices, continually chopping and changing them about among themselves. The Senate determined to convince the people of the reality of their intention to establish honest, constitutional, and free government, as far as they could under the laws in force, and they felt it their duty not to re-appoint those gentlemen to office, but appointed others in their place. What was the situation of Sir Henry Storks? He had no power to require the Senate to re-appoint, and all he could have done was to put a veto on the appointments made by the Senate. Now, he did not hesitate to say, that if Sir Henry Storks had made use of his veto, he would have deserved to be condemned for his conduct in that House, because as to character, efficiency, public standing, reputation, and command of the confidence of the Ionian people, there could be no comparison between the three gentlemen who had held the offices referred to in the course of that debate and the three gentlemen who had been appointed in their place. It was not a case on the merits of which the House could form a judgment, because they were not realy cognizant of them. Sir Henry Storks had strictly confined himself to the discharge of his constitutional functions. He had acted in conjunction with the Senate, and the House could not condemn him without condemning the Senate also. In his opinion, there were no grounds to warrant such a condemnation.


said, he had listened with unbounded astonishment to the very unsatisfactory speech just delivered by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who, in his opinion, had granted the whole case, for he distinctly admitted that these Judges had been superseded for having dabbled in politics. After having told them that this country was to give lessons to other countries in constitutional practice, such was the lesson they were to teach. He thought the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Roebuck) deserved credit for having brought the matter before the House, and that no thing could be more unsatisfactory than the explanation given by the Under Secretary for the Colonies, and more astounding than the defence set up by the Chancellor of the Exchequer,


said, that amid the cloud of words with which the Chancellor of the Exchequer had overshadowed the subject, one thing came out clearly, and that was that the real ground of objection to the gentleman whose case he had brought forward was that they were friends of England. He could perfectly understand that coming from the right hon. Gentleman, because he recollected his doings in the Ionian Islands, and was able to explain them only by supposing that he was not a friend of England. It was said that England had no power in the matter and that the Senate had done it all. Now, he had in his pocket at that moment a letter from Corfu, written by a gentleman living in that country, of the highest possible character, and not attached to any of the parties the right hon. Gentleman had described, who was an Englishman and an English lawyer, and he told him distinctly that the Senate was the mere tool of the Lord High Commissioner, and that the President of the Senate called in the morning before the sittings took place to take his orders like a footman, and that he took his orders from the Lord High Commissioner; and so far from having an opinion of their own, the Senate only obeyed the commands of the Lord High Commissioner. But the right hon. Gentleman told him he knew nothing of the Ionian Islands. Thank God, be had not had the experience of the right hon. Gentleman, but he knew this, that they might ask people to govern themselves constitutionally who had not the capacity of so doing. But there were certain rules that were applicable to the good government of any peo- ple, and one of these rules was that they should have an independent judicature. If they had not that, they had no means of securing the pure administration of justice, He listened to the Under Secretary for the Colonies with great care, and what he did was to raise up fabrics in order to dissolve them. He (Mr. Roebuck) admitted that the thing was legal, and he gave an illustration. He said that James II., when he discharged the Judges who had given judgment in favour of the seven Bishops did that which was perfectly legal, but he lost his crown. And so on that occasion they did that which was quite legal, but they did that which was unjust to the men who were dismissed, and impolitic as regarded England. And he had heard no answer to that. He should not occupy the time of the House about the language used respecting Sir Henry Storks and the Duke of Newcastle. Were they not servants of this country? They had brought this country into contempt and disgrace, and the conduct they had pursued was not to the honour of England. He had only moved for the memorials. The Under Secretary talked about certain correspondence. If there were any correspondence, he hoped he would add it. He had been told that there was no answer, and he should be glad to learn that there had been, as then they would not have added arrogance to their other faults. He must say, that if the conduct of the Colonial administration was illustrated by this case, it was high time that they should reform it altogether.

Resolution, as amended, agreed to.

Address for, Copy of Memorials presented by Sir George Marcoras and Sir Typaldo Xydras, on the 16th day of September 1862, to His Excellency Major General Sir Henry Storks, Her Majesty's Lord High Commissioner in the Ionian Islands, and Copies or Extracts of Correspondence relating thereto." [Parl. P. No. 329.]