HC Deb 23 May 1876 vol 229 cc1113-5

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether Her Majesty's Consul at Salonica has made any report on the circumstances which led to and accompanied the recent massacre at Salonica; and, whether he has any objection to state its purport?


Some Papers have been received within the last few days. They relate to the whole subject, and it would be inconvenient to lay a part of the Correspondence on the Table before the rest. In answer to the first Question, I have to state that Mr. Consul Blunt, the Consul at Salonica, has made a Report to Her Majesty's Government upon the lamentable occurrence which took place there the other day, and that the purport of that Report is to this effect: A Bulgarian girl of a village in the district of Salonica, having embraced Mahomedanism, had to come to Salonica to make before the Grand Council a declaration to that effect, a formality required by the local law in regard to Mahomedan converts. On her arrival at the railway station, some Greeks, who, it appears, expected her, seized her and tore off her ferijah and yashmalk. The Turks who accompanied her interfered, a scuffle ensued, and the police on duty at the station separated the disputants, and succeeded in taking charge of her. While they were conducting the girl to the Konak they were assailed by a crowd of Greeks, who got possession of her and put her in the carriage of the American Vice Consul, which was driving by at the time, and she was conveyed to the American Consulate. The next day, about 11 a.m., some Mahomedans called on the Pasha and insisted that the girl should be brought to the Konak. The Pasha thereupon sent a message to the American Consulate requiring the immediate presence of the girl at the Grand Council. In the absence of the American Vice Consul, his brother is stated to have declared to the bearer of the Pasha's message that the girl had left the Consulate. The Turks became impatient at the non-appearance of the girl, and warned the Pasha that if he had not the power to deliver her from the Franks they would attack the Amecan Consulate, and from the Konak they proceeded to a mosque in the vicinity where other Mahomedans had assembled. About this time M. Moulin, the French Consul, and Mr. Henry Abbott, the German Consul, went in the vicinity of the mosque, where they were surrounded by the Mahomedans and forced to enter. The mob became furious, notice was sent to the Pasha, who proceeded to the spot with some of the principal Turks, some Beys, and a few officers of police. The crowd refused to disperse. The Consuls promised to have the girl brought to the Konak, and wrote to the brother of the German Consul to give her up. On learning the danger his colleagues were in, Consul Blunt started at once for the Konak; he was met by several unarmed Turks, with some of whom he endeavoured to get to the mosque. The French Chancellor begged him not to try, as the crowd would let no European approach. At the earnest request of the French Consular Cavass and several Turks, who represented the state of affairs as most critical, he ran to the Konak and wrote a hurried note to the American Consulate, insisting that the girl should be given up. The girl was not there, but she was discovered in the house of M. Avyerinos and given up to the British Consular Cavass, who took her at once to the Konak, but too late to save the French and German Consuls, for they were already murdered. These were the facts of the case. The whole of the Papers bearing on the subject would be laid on the Table of the House.