HC Deb 17 April 1879 vol 245 cc525-70

, in rising to call attention to the portion of Protocol 13 of the Berlin Congress relating to a proposed rectification of frontier between Greece and Turkey; and to move— That, in the opinion of this House, tranquillity in the East demands that satisfaction be given to the just claims of Greece, and no satisfaction can be considered adequate that does not ensure execution of the recommendations embodied in Protocol 13 of the Berlin Congress, said, that in bringing forward his Motion, he wished to say a few words of explanation. Prom the commencement of the Session he had asked for Papers, but these had been persistently withheld; until at last he found that it was no longer possible to wait with the Motion in reference to Greece, of which his Notice had been down for a long while. Under these circumstances, he would have to claim the indulgence of the House, inasmuch as in the course of his statement he would have to rely on information that was not official. He trusted the House would believe that the information on which he ventured to rely was not mere rumour, but possessed some amount of value. The first who recorded his opinion was Count Capo d'Istrias, a Greek, it was true, and therefore perhaps a partial witness, but one thoroughly acquainted with the country. He drew up a Memorandum, in which he urged the necessity of not separating from Greece the Provinces of Thessaly and Epirus. In 1829 there was in Poros a Conference of Representatives of the three Powers to settle the basis for pacification of Greece. They drew up a Protocol of recommendations. The English name affixed to it was that of Lord Stratford do Redcliffe, a guarantee that the plan proposed was one formed with knowledge and political prudence. That Protocol demanded for Greece, not merely on the Continent territory almost identical with that proposed for cession by the Berlin Congress, but also the incorporation with Greece of Crete and Samos. So strongly did Lord Stratford de Redcliffe feel the importance of Greece being made to include these territories, that he resigned when the decision of the European Cabinets refused to accept this project. The principle from which he approached the subject under consideration was this—that, in his opinion, there was nothing which made it incumbent in defence of British interests to avoid an alliance with what was progressive, and seek an alliance with that which was retrograde, as Her Majesty's Government seemed to have done in reference to Geeece. Although the Government had shown an indisposition to produce Papers on this subject, yet he was not speaking from mere gossip when he said that it seemed to him proved that before, at, and after the Congress at Berlin, the Government turned their back upon principles which they ought to have strenuously upheld, showing a striking contrast to the generosity, sympathy, and Liberal instincts of Lord Palmerston with regard to the freedom of Belgium and Italy. When that noble Lord directed the affairs of this country, he was careful that nothing should dissociate the British Government from what was progressive in Europe, and should lead them to associate themselves with that which was retrograde. That policy, he (Mr. Cartwright) considered the policy worthy of a great statesman; whereas, in the action of Her Majesty's Government towards Greece, there had been exhibited almost a cynicism in the indifference which had been shown to the claims of that country. It was easy to say that there were shortcomings on the part of Greece. Where was there a nation without shortcomings? but where, on the other hand, would they find a more busy and active element than an industrious Greek? Turkey in Europe was dying out, physically and morally, and was shrinking. Was that the case with Greece? The population of the ancient Kingdom had increased from 752,000 in 1838 to 1,220,000 in 1870. It could not be said that there was a blight on the country, when they had such a fact as that. This progress had taken place under circumstances avowedly the most disadvantageous that any country had ever had to struggle against. If the Spirit of Evil had devised deliberately a configuration that was intended to be most adverse to the well-being of the country, that Spirit could not have devised a configuration worse than that into which the people of Greece had been squeezed by the unwisdom of European Cabinets. The fact had been recognized by a series of eminent statesmen. When the Kingdom of Greece was created in 1830, it was by a concurrence of testimony and authority established that what was then created was not a real Kingdom of Greece, but an abortion. In 1854, Lord Palmerston felt so much the importance of strengthening the Kingdom of Greece that he favoured the annexation of Epirus. Indeed, Lord Beaconsfield himself, last year at the Congress, admitted that the existing Frontier of Greece was an indefensible one, and that it "constituted a danger and disaster." The Greek Frontier, which was fixed in 1830, was not one which made the Kingdom, but one which truncated and crippled the country, while at the same time European diplomacy had weighted the nation with an exorbitant load of debt. His charge against Her Majesty's Government was that they had thoroughly broken the hopes they had held out to Greece. Greece had never concealed her desires, but she never unduly pushed them. In fact, it could be shown from the Papers, such as had been published, that from first to last what Greece said was, "If England will give us her promise that she will let us have a helping hand, we will leave to her the fulfilment of our hopes and aspirations." What was the result? Her Majesty's Government invariably assumed an unfavourable attitude towards Greece, although the greatest Ministers of England had always made it a cardinal point of their policy to promote the interests and extension of Greece as the proper course of England to adopt for the ultimate solution of the Eastern Question in accordance with the real interests of England. It was owing to the pressure put upon Greece by England that Greece did not join the late war against Turkey; and that being the case, the Government was bound to support the interests of Greece, and take care that the very moderate decisions of the Congress in her favour were carried out in their integrity. The impartial student of contemporary history, in so far as it related to this question, must, he thought, conclude that Her Majesty's Government had utterly broken the promises made to the Greeks, while the Greeks themselves had, on the other hand, in no way shown a want of confidence in the hopes they were led to entertain. When war broke out between Russia and Turkey, an agitation naturally sprung up among the Greek population; and Her Majesty's Government, anxious to circumscribe the dangers of Turkey, made representations upon that matter to the Greek Government. On June 9, 1877, Lord Derby wrote, calling the attention of the Greek Government to the subject of the agitation that prevailed, and urging them to take steps to arrest it, that agitation being upon the Turkish Frontier and among populations which were under Turkish rule. The Greek Minister replied, expressing confidence in the English Government, and he said that his Government would be entirely guided by Her Majesty's Government; but he asked for some assurance that Greek interests should not be allowed to suffer upon the conclusion of peace. This was the key to their language throughout. Greece, from first to last, said that all that was asked was that there should be a consideration of the Hellenic Question, whenever the questions arising out of the war came to be considered. There was no cloaking or concealing of what it was that Greece wished, for she said, from first to last, that she wished the Hellenic Question to be considered. On July 7, Lord Derby sent a reply to the appeal that had been made to him; and a very cautious and uncertain one it was. He asked what was the precise meaning of the phrase "the Hellenic Question?" and he said that the Govern- ment were not prepared to give assurances as to events that might occur; but he was ready to assure the Greek Government that so far as lay in the power of the English Government, when the time came for a settlement of the questions that had been raised, it would use its best influence to secure to the Greek populations any administrative reforms that might be conferred upon the inhabitants of other Provinces. It was a kind of stock phrase that ran through all that English Correspondence, that English Ministers would use to the utmost their ability, their influence, and their power in insuring a consideration of Greek desires. These assurances were accepted in good faith by Greece, and she never gave way in her confidence that to the best of our power we should secure the consideration of the Hellenic Question. In consequence of the advance of the Russian troops there was a great effervescence among the Greek population, which was at first supposed to arise from a kind of conspiracy. Her Majesty's Government, therefore, took a remarkable step. They spoke in terms of menace, and said that, as a protecting Power, we had a right to expect that Greece would follow the course which had been pointed out for her. Months passed, and at last the Congress met; and when it came to be a question of discussing the Greek Frontier, Lord Beaconsfield, though he spoke in no enthusiastic terms with regard to Greek claims, made one remarkable statement, for he said the movement of the Greek population in the Provinces of Turkey had not boon fomented by the Greek Government. He would now say a few words as to the Congress. When it was about to meet, on the 23rd of February last year, an official demand was addressed to Her Majesty's Government for the admission of Greek Representatives to the then approaching Congress, and then the assurance was given that the condition of the Hellenic population would be discussed at the approaching Congress. There was a reiteration of the Greek demand and the nature of it, and it was declared that it was a sacred duty on the part of the Greek Representative to plead the cause of the Hellenic population of the Ottoman Empire. The answer of Lord Derby was dated March 9, and in it he declared that Her Majesty's Govern- ment had considered the appeal which had been thus made to them, that they were of opinion the Greeks were fairly entitled to be represented at the Congress, and that they would signify this opinion to the other Powers. There was not one word of reservation here as to the Greek claims when the Congress was about to meet. When the Congress was about to assemble, Lord Salisbury, as Foreign Secretary, drew up instructions for the third British Plenipotentiary, Lord Odo Russell; and amongst the questions which our Ambassador at Berlin was told to prepare his mind for were those connected with the administrative institutions in Thessaly, Epirus, Crete, and other Provinces, and with the claims which w7ould undoubtedly be advanced by the Government of Greece to some of these Provinces—claims which ought to receive careful consideration. It could not be said that Her Majesty's Government did not understand the sense and meaning which the Greeks put upon the claims which they advanced. But when the Congress actually met, the British Representatives proposed to limit the right of the Greeks to be heard to parochial matters—matters of internal or ecclesiastical organization; school matters; matters of considerable local importance, but of a strictly parochial bearing. Thanks, however, to French, and not to English auspices, the Greeks were allowed to be heard in reference to political questions—in reference to the future of the Turkish Provinces bordering upon their country. The Conference was brought to a close, and the Treaty which was the result of it contained a clause—the 24th—providing that, in the event of Turkey and Greece not being able to arrive at a rectification of Frontier, in accordance with the lines which had been proposed by the French, and grudgingly accepted by the English Representatives, the Greek Government might apply to the Powers, with a view to obtain their mediation for the execution of that portion of the Treaty. In what he was now about to state on this head he was obliged, in consequence of the reticence of Her Majesty's Government, to speak from private information, but from information which he believed to be thoroughly trustworthy. The Congress was brought to a conclusion in July last; but it was not until after the lapse of six months, in December, that the Turkish Government could be induced to take the slightest step, not towards the execution of the provision of the Treaty to which he referred, but towards recognizing the fact that such a provision existed. On the 17th of July, according to his information, the Greek Government requested the Porte, in deference to the resolutions of the Congress, to appoint Commissioners with the view of carrying out or negotiating a rectification of the Frontier on the basis of the Berlin Treaty; but six weeks elapsed without there being a possibility of getting even an acknowledgment of the receipt of that demand. It would almost seem that the acknowledgment was considered by the Turkish Government to be sufficient, for no notice was taken of the request itself; and on the 2nd September the Greek Government again addressed the Porte on the subject, and asked that the Commissioners should be appointed within a week; and what was the reply? The Grand Vizier, Safvet Pasha, said—"I have had no time to take your demand into consideration. I must go to the Sultan, and I must also talk with my colleagues." Subsequently the Greek Minister at Constantinople was informed that, some weeks before, a Memorandum had been drawn up by Safvet Pasha and sent to the Powers, complaining of the decision which had been arrived at by the Congress on the question of the rectification of the Greek Frontier, and stating that he would not communicate with Greece with reference to it till he had received an answer to his Circular from the Powers. That was a Circular which had been sent out by Safvet Pasha with a view to secretly rendering altogether nugatory the decisions which had been openly arrived at by the Congress. Greece, being afterwards told that there was no chance of Commissioners being appointed and that nothing would be done in the matter, turned to the Powers and addressed a Circular to them, in virtue of the provision contained in the Berlin Treaty, calling for mediation; and out of this appeal had arisen the despatch of the 21st of October, from the French Government addressed to the English Government, in which M. Waddington drew attention to the danger of the claims of Greece being ignored, and of the importance of friendly and trustworthy relations being established between Turkey and Greece, remarking upon the great impropriety of Turkey being permitted to pick this and that out of the Treaty, and to accept or reject just what she pleased. M. Waddington concluded by saying that the moment had arrived to offer mediation between Turkey and Greece, and that he hoped Her Majesty's Government would join with France in offering that mediation. No answer to that despatch had ever been published; but as the proposed mediation had never been acted upon, the only conclusion to be drawn was that our Government were not willing to respond to the appeal made to them, and that they had thrown cold water upon the proposal. At length, on the 25th of December, the Porte informed the Greek Government that a Commissioner—Mukhtar Pasha—had been appointed to consider the proposed rectification of the Frontier, and two days afterwards Greece communicated the name of the Commissioner selected to act on its behalf. The Porte thereupon put a lamentable amount of miserable pettifogging obstructions in the way of the consideration of the question. A place of meeting for the Commissioners was appointed which did not exist save in the imagination of those appointing it, and then Mukhtar Pasha could not be found; the result being that weeks elapsed, and ultimately it was announced, on the part of the Ottoman Government, that they had not found time to draw up instructions for their Commissioner, whose departure must consequently be postponed. When these obstacles were overcome and the Commissioners at last succeeded in holding a meeting, which took place on February 8, it was said on behalf of the Turks that no instructions had been given by the Ottoman Government with reference to the interpretation put upon the Protocol, and that it was for the Greek Commissioner to say what the interpretation was. The Greek Commissioner, however, repudiated the responsibility, and the matter being referred to Constantinople, 35 days elapsed before any reply could be obtained. When the reply did come, the Turkish Commissioner proposed to give a little slice of territory to Greece—an offer which was naturally rejected—and the Conference came to an end without any settlement of the question. On the 21st March an appeal was made to the Powers to mediate according to the terms of the Berlin Protocols. By the Resolution which he (Mr. Cartwright) proposed he did not commit the House to this or that point of detail, but merely asserted that the rectification of Frontier proposed by Prance, and accepted by the Berlin Congress, was the minimum of that which was necessary to satisfy the legitimate aspirations of the Greeks. He disputed the allegations that such a rectification would be regarded with dissatisfaction by the Albanians, or that there was any rivalry between them and the Greeks. He could say of his own knowledge, at least, that a few years ago Janina was thoroughly Greek in character. It was the site of an old ecclesiastical see, dating from the beginning of the 14th century, and not many years ago more than half the population were Greeks. Moreover, in the darkest days of Greek oppression, when the Mussulman rode roughshod over the land, Janina was a place in which Greek letters and culture prevailed more than anywhere else. The Albanian population was not restricted to Albania proper; be had found them in the heart of the Morea and in Athens itself, and among those who had been foremost in all the wars of independence the Albanians were conspicuous. They should not, therefore, run away with the idea that because deputations had come from some places to protest against the destruction of Albania, therefore the Albanian population were animated by a strong anti-Greek feeling. He would not deny, however, that there were Albanians who had no Greek sympathies; they were in the northern part of Albania, and were of the Catholic, not of the Greek faith. The case which he put before the House was a melancholy one for an Englishman. The facts in the Blue Book showed that the action of the Government had not certainly been one of cordiality to Greece; they had not stretched out the hand to a nationality which contained the elements of progress and promise for the future. The Government had taken up on every capital occasion a position behind which the Turk had been able to screen himself. He believed, however, that before long the principal thing for which the Treaty of Berlin would be remem- bered was, that it was from the date of that Treaty that the Hellenic Question had become a reality, and an important reality, in the political development of the East, because, from the day that it had obtained a recognized place in the register of diplomacy, it could not be ignored. It was because he entertained a firm belief that there was no possibility of shelving the question, unless they laid violent hands upon and strangled the Greek population, that he had ventured to call the attention of the House to the subject, and to submit his Resolution, which affirmed that the proposed rectification of Frontier between Greece and Turkey, contained in Protocol 13 of the Berlin Congress, was the minimum of that which, was necessary to satisfy the just claims of Greece.


, in seconding the Resolution, said, that anyone who had heard the exhaustive statement of his hon. Friend the Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Cartwright) must be convinced that there had been a melancholy consistency in the action of Her Majesty's Government towards Greece. However individual Members might have been at variance with one another, Her Majesty's Government, whether represented by Lord Derby, Lord Salisbury, or Lord Beaconsfield, whether at an early or at a later stage of these negotiations, had invariably assumed a tone of discouragement, neglect—he had almost said dislike—towards the aspirations of the Greek Government and people. If Lord Derby and Lord Salisbury chilled them with their despatches, Lord Beaconsfield froze them with his speeches. If, when the Greeks appealed for better government, they met for the moment with a certain illusory support, they soon found themselves in the position of the person who, when he asked for bread, was presented with a stone; for when they required a rectification of Frontier, so that there should be a transfer of populations, Christian in religion and Greek in sympathy, to the rule of the Greek Government, they were met with illustrations of the desirability of improved local relations and better parochial government. The 13th sitting of the Congress of Berlin began with a curious speech from the Prime Minister, containing reflections on a predecessor of his own—one of the most eminent statesmen of this country. The Prime Minister denounced the settlement made by him with regard to the Greek Frontier as "imperfect and disastrous." It was the Duke of Wellington who was mainly responsible for the arrangements made at the time of the liberation of Greece. If the wide line which was asked for by the Count Capo d'Istrias, and of which Lord Stratford de Redcliffe had expressed himself in favour, had not been adopted, no one was more responsible than the Duke of Wellington, who was then at the head of a Conservative Administration. When, however, they found a Conservative Minister in 1878 denouncing the work of his Conservative predecessor as having been imperfect and disastrous, they were not obliged to show extraordinary deference to the recommendations of the present Prime Minister, who was animated by the same unfortunate dislike to the principle of nationalities, and of increasing the liberties of countries long oppressed, which had inspired the Duke of Wellington. He wished particularly to call attention to that part of the speech in which Lord Beaconsfield summed up the whole policy of Her Majesty's Government by asserting that he was not in favour of anything which could be called a territorial aggrandizement of Greece, and that he only unwillingly and out of deference to the opinions of his illustrious Colleagues consented to what he called a rectification of Frontier. Having drawn this distinction, the noble Earl proceeded to make that famous joke or sarcasm that contained much which was cruel when you considered its object. Comparing nations with individuals, he asserted that each had a future, and he told the Greek Government that the best thing they could do was to have patience and wait. In point of fact, however, the nations which had played a mighty part in the history of the world were not those which had relied upon a vague expectation of the future. They were those which had relied on their own strong arms and their diplomatic skill and on that Providence which, in the long run, always acted on the side of long-suffering nations. Since the Declaration of Independence and the Coronation of King Otho, Greece had upon the whole proved itself to be worthy of those great privileges of liberty and Constitutional govern- ment which, after much hesitation, the Great Powers of Europe were induced to confer upon it, and he believed that the paper bonds with which diplomacy had attempted to fetter its hands would be rapidly torn asunder. His hon. Friend had mentioned the increase of population. Quite recently a German work had been published at Gotha, which contained a carefully-prepared statistical survey of the present Kingdom of Greece and of the neighbouring countries. The fourth part, just issued, had especial reference to the Provinces of Thessaly and Epirus. The author adduced numerous facts to show there was every reason for believing that the Kingdom of Greece was in a fair way to fulfil, not, perhaps, those poetical aspirations which so entranced literary gentlemen many years ago at the time of its emancipation, but the hopes of men of business, who knew that before any great development could be made in the direction of intellectual work or literary performance a certain modicum of material comfort and wealth was absolutely necessary. We must, of course, ask ourselves this question—"Do the Greeks come into court with clean hands?" Could the Greeks say—"We have since 1830 so governed the lands you gave us, and also the Ionian Islands, that we can certainly say that the countries which we ask you to transfer to us will be improved in their lot." Since 1830, the population of Greece had almost doubled. In that year, owing to the centuries of despotism under which Greece had suffered, and to the devastation to which it had been exposed in the struggle against Turkey—a devastation which had not been equalled in Europe since Turenne ravaged the Palatinate—there were only nine towns of which it could be said that one stone stood upon another, whereas there were now no fewer than 130 "populous places," which were shown to be places of importance by the fact that they possessed post-offices. Then the German author showed that the area of cultivated land in Greece had, since 1830, increased by nearly one-third, and now stood at 2,500,000 acres. It would be said that that was not a large per centage out of a total acreage of 15,000,000 acres; but the land had been wasted for years by Turkish despotism, and a large portion of it could only be cultivated after an enormous expenditure of labour and capital. Again, Greece produced at the present moment three-fourths of the cereals necessary for its own consumption. In 1830 there were 380,000 mulberry trees, whereas there were now 1,300,000. The number of olive trees had also increased from 300,000 to 7,000,000, and the fig trees from 50,000 to 980,000. He would now consider whether the Greeks had been true to the ancient fame of their race as a commercial and maritime nation. In 1821 there were only 450 ships which could be fairly said to hail from Greek territory, and their tonnage was only 52,000. In 1878 there were 5,200 Greek vessels with a tonnage of 250,000. Turning to the subject of education, he found that their progress might not be so great as could be wished; but of the boys of school age two-thirds did make a certain attendance, and at the last Census in 1870, 33 per cent of the population were able to read and write. Those facts he considered very remarkable, seeing that they had been achieved in the very limited period since Greece became an independent Power. It was not long since England could say that only 33 per cent of her population were able to read and write, and surely they were not to condemn Greece. If the Greeks had not made all the progress which could be desired, still they were making honest attempts to improve their position and to prove themselves worthy of the great privileges conferred upon them. Indeed, considering that the mind of the Greek Government had been perpetually diverted by troubles on their borders, the material, moral, and intellectual advance they had made was really considerable. Again, the Greeks had shown themselves to possess in a singular degree the peculiar quality, which was a clear mark of a Sovereign people—he meant the power of assimilating whatever fragments of other nations and populations might be found within their borders. In 1830, when Greece was made independent, there was a very large Albanian population within it borders; and there was also in some of the Frontier districts in the North a considerable Wallach element, who had settled down to habits of industry and obtained employment. Mr. Martin's work showed the vast extent of the Albanian population within Greece proper. Since 1830, not only there had not been the smallest discontent on the part of that population, but to all intents and purposes the difference between them and the Greeks had disappeared, owing to the Greek tongue having become the tongue of the Albanians within the borders of Greece. Those Albanians were characterized by great social and industrial activity, and their race had furnished to the Greek soil the greatest number of cultivators, as well as a valuable maritime class. An enormous amount of excitement had been raised on the ground that a largo Albanian population, contrary to its own wishes and to all the principles of national justice, was about to be separated from its mother race, and incorporated in the Greek Kingdom. But in the Greek Kingdom the Albanian race found a natural homo, was welcomed by the Greek people, and had not rebelled; and it might be anticipated that when the Greek Kingdom got an extension of territory, even if in the territory so ceded there was a certain Albanian population, that population, being kindred to the Greeks in mind, in wishes, and in aspirations, would not prove a source of difficulty or of danger either to Greece or to Europe; but, on the contrary, like the Albanians within its present limits, be a fresh source of strength to the Kingdom, which they had illustrated by glorious deeds of naval daring during the War of Independence. He would ask the attention of the House to an article which he had yesterday seen in The Augsberg Gazette with regard to the population which was dealt with by the 13th Protocol of the Berlin Congress. The result of that article—the writer of which evidently had no leaning in favour of Greece, but a strong desire to do everything that was just to the Albanians—was that the whole of the district of Epirus, which it was proposed now to cede to Greece, with the exception of a small tract on the sea coast inhabited by Albanian Mahomedans, was entirely inhabited by Greeks or by Albanian Christians, who were closely allied by sympathy and by common traditions to the Greek nation. As to what was proposed with regard to Thessaly, he would observe that, although the Greek Government, with great wisdom and moderation, had agreed strictly to the Protocol of the Congress, and expressed their willing- ness to be satisfied with, the line of the Salembria river, yet he thought it would be impracticable to make that river a satisfactory boundary. It was laid down by high authorities that the worst Frontier was a river. Whatever discontent there had been among the Greek population South of the Salembria existed also among the population North of that river. In his opinion, Greece was entitled to hold the line of hills which would guard her Frontier. He felt that he had troubled the House too much with matters of detail; but he had noticed the tendency in conversations and in the discussions in the Press to advance this question of boundaries until it had become one of enormous importance; and the broad fact which he wished to impress upon the House and the Government was that Epirus, and certainly that portion of it which was included in the town of Janina, was inhabited by a population mostly Greek, but almost altogether Christian. The line of demarcation was more of religion than of race, and only on the coast on the Western side was there any appreciable number of Albanian Mahomedans. He hoped and trusted that the Government would abandon, if they had not already abandoned, the carping spirit in which apparently, in the Treaty of Berlin and since, they had approached the legitimate claims of the Greeks, and that they would once more identify the name of England with the great cause of liberty in the East of Europe. He did not believe that England had always followed one foreign policy, but that it had been repeatedly altered, according to the home policy of the Government of the country. He believed that if it had not been the will of Providence to take away Mr. Canning when he died, all the vexed questions which had troubled the present generation would have been settled, or placed in a fair way to be settled. He was, however, succeeded by the Duke of Wellington, who opposed the policy Canning had pursued, and desired to confine the Greeks in as narrow limits as possible. Although the arrangements which were made last year would not as a whole work, there was one thing which he feared would remain in the minds of the inhabitants of Eastern Roumelia, and that was a detestation of the English name, owing to the fact that they would believe that the mind of the English nation, as represented by its diplomacy, was opposed to the acquirement by them of liberty and good government. That being the case, he hoped Her Majesty's Government would fortify themselves with the support and goodwill of the Greek people. If they did not, he feared the day was not far distant when another English Prime Minister might have to say, like the Duke of Wellington, that there never had been any question in his memory so disastrous to the interests of England as the Greek question; and that once more the English nation might have to feel that the councils of her Ministers had brought contempt on the policy of England.

Amendment proposed, To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "in the opinion of this House, tranquillity in the East demands that satisfaction be given to the just claims of Greece, and no satisfaction can be considered adequate that does not ensure execution of the recommendations embodied in Protocol 13 of the Berlin Congress,"—(Mr. Cartwright,) —instead thereof.

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."


Sir, although I am desirous of saying a few words on the present occasion, I should very gladly, indeed, have refrained from doing so, if I had understood that the Government, or any individual of it, was prepared without delay to do so; because I feel that we approach the subject under very great disadvantages in the state of ignorance in which we unfortunately stand, having had no Papers placed in our hands and having no authoritative intimation of the intentions or of the actions of Her Majesty's Government. However, I hope that delay on the part of hon. Gentlemen opposite will be soon supplied, and that what we may say on the present occasion may not bear an adverse construction; and I am sanguine enough to believe that even in the present House of Commons there may be found a disposition on the part of many hon. Members to encourage the first of legitimate aspirations on the part of the Hellenic races after freedom, and I hope that the declaration of the Government will be such as to give satisfaction to the House and to the country. For my own part, I have been exceedingly desirous during these last few months, as far as my judgment could guide me, to avoid saying anything which could interfere with the fairest and best chance which the provisions of the Treaty of Berlin might have of taking full and unmixed effect, and for that reason I would not introduce into the discussion the slightest allusion to any of the questions remaining unsettled under the Treaty, except the question which has been now submitted to the House. With respect to that question, I think in every point of view we must acknowledge our debt of obligation to my hon. Friend the Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Cartwright) and my noble Friend (Lord Edmond Fitzmaurice), not only for the great care and ability with which they have treated the subject, but likewise for their having undertaken at the present time to bring it under consideration, because this is not a discussion which aims at interrupting or modifying the stipulations of the Treaty of Berlin. Had it been so, whatever I might have thought of those stipulations originally, I should have thought it a great responsibility to have taken it upon myself, as a Member of Parliament, to have endeavoured to interfere with the decisions of a European Congress, and that which it decreed or recommended; but on the present occasion the case is entirely different. The contention of my hon. and my noble Friends is not that the Treaty of Berlin has been maintained by Her Majesty's Government and is likely to be enforced upon the Hellenic population; it is directly the reverse. It is that the Treaty of Berlin contains recommendations which are valuable and important in the interests of the liberty and happiness of Greece, and that so far as we know we have as yet received no evidence whatever that our Government, the Government of this country, the whole of whose traditions are connected, inseparably connected, with freedom, has acted energetically in support of the provisions of the Treaty of Berlin. Now, Sir, that is really what we are entitled to ask of Her Majesty's Government. If Her Majesty's Government should state to-night that they are engaged in negotiations, that the matter is approaching maturity and has not yet reached it, I can well believe that the House may feel that there is necessarily great force in such a plea when used by a Government, because on the conduct of such negotiations a great deal may depend. I do not know what may be the intention of my hon. Friend with regard to taking a Division upon this Motion. I assume it may depend a good deal upon the tone adopted by the Ministry; but, Sir, we know that the case stands thus—we know that the Porte has gone back upon its usual resources of craft, and inert but obstinate resistance; and every device that ingenuity can suggest has been used to evade giving effect to the recommendations of the Treaty of Berlin, notwithstanding that the signature of its own Minister is appended to that document. And, further, we know this—that it is not a case in which, so far as our information goes, Her Majesty's Government have difficulty to apprehend upon the part of other European Powers. There is abundant evidence that France is in earnest. We have most unfortunately allowed her to take, with reference to the Hellenic races, the first place as the champion of their interests and the mainstay of their hopes. But that does not exclude us from active and energetic co-operation. Whatever comments may be made on the conduct of our Plenipotentiaries at Berlin—and I, for my own part, felt it my duty to make some severe comments upon it—the door is not yet closed. The expectations held out to the Greeks by Lord Salisbury in the despatch of the 8th of June, 1878, remain on record, and as it was only referred to without citing the words a short time ago, I should like to read the words of that despatch to the House. On the 8th of June, 1878, Lord Salisbury wrote— The claims which will undoubtedly be advanced by the Government of Greece in reference to some of these provisions will receive the careful consideration of Her Majesty's Plenipotentiaries, and, I doubt not, that of the Representatives of other Powers. That language was language as strong as it was possible for a Government to use in the view of a European Congress, and it conveyed, with as little reservation as diplomatic usages would allow, the distinct intention of the British Government. It was a pledge to the Government of Greece to support and to advance, within reasonable limits, the territorial claims of the Greet Government. I dwell upon this, because there was one sentence in the speech of ray hon. Friend from which I thought an inference might be drawn the reverse of what he intended—namely, that the pledges of the Government had been confined to administrative, or, as he called them, "parochial" claims. At the time this despatch was written, the territorial claims of Greece, and all of them, were entirely and bodily before the Minister who wrote it, and. it was with the fullest knowledge of what Greece sought that these words were used; and I am within the judgment of the House when I speak this opinion, with great confidence, that those who, under such circumstances, promised careful consideration to certain territorial claims on their part, and express an undoubted belief that similar consideration will be given them by the Representatives of other Powers do, in fact, convey their intention to grant and to promote those measures, within reasonable limits, so far as lies in their power. That pledge, so far as we know, remains, down to the present time, entirely unredeemed; but there is yet time for us to redeem it. It certainly was not redeemed at the Congress, because the only record bearing upon it in the Protocols was a record of scruple and difficulty raised by the British Plenipotentiaries in respect to the territorial concession made by the Congress. Turkey has used every effort to evade it; but the result of the Congress is that we now believe that no one of the Continental European Powers is antagonistic to the claims of Greece. France labours, and has done so, energetically, consistently, and wisely, as well as generously, to promote them, and what is required to procure their complete success—their success, I mean, according to the intentions and spirit of the Congress—depends upon the conduct of Her Majesty's Government. In these circumstances I do not wish to give to this debate a polemical aspect. I do not wish, so far as I am concerned, to press the Government at a given moment to go beyond the limits they may think those which discretion requires them to observe; but I do wish to convey to them, and to the House, my opinion that the claims on the part of the Greek Kingdom and the Greek races is a very strong claim indeed. For a long time the people of this country, and even many hon. Members of this House, allowed the same Russian antipathies and apprehensions to prevail upon them with respect to the Hellenic populations of Turkey as prevail upon them still, to a great extent, with respect to its Slavonian populations. What I must call the cant of a section of persons was, that all these Greek and Christian populations of Turkey would fling themselves into the arms of Russia. Now, at length, we have got rid entirely of that superstition. It has at length come to be understood that there is something of an antagonism and a sharp, perhaps a too sharp, and unwise antagonism between the Hellenic and the Slavonian Christians of the Turkish Empire. There do exist very strong sympathies indeed between the Slavonian populations, and probably also the Armenian populations, and the Russians. But as regards the Hellenic races the case is altogether different. The field is altogether and absolutely open. You have nothing to deter you from entering. You are invited to enter by the obligations of the Treaty of Berlin, by the co-operation of France, and, I will venture to say, by the strong and general feeling of the British nation. I do, therefore, hope that the declaration of the Government to-night will be of such a character as my hon. Friend desires, and one that will give us some hope that they are about to act in this direction. I take it for granted that my hon. Friend is not weighted with a pedantic regard to the precise terms of the Motion. That would be very alien indeed to his character. I was glad to hear him say himself that what he had in view was the spirit of the Treaty of Berlin, and not the exact observation of a line which may have been drawn in haste. I trust, then, that either this evening, or on some future occasion, we shall have favourable assurances from Her Majesty's Government that they will endeavour to give a full, an early, an energetic effect to the Treaty, not with injustice to Turkey, but in the interests of Greece. The time that has elapsed for its fulfilment is too long. There is no justification for it, and it is, in my opinion, absurd to set up the pretext that there have been real justifying causes for a delay of nine months before a single step is taken to give effect to the recommendations of this Treaty of Berlin. Therefore, I hope that my right hon. Friend opposite, or the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, will be able to give the assurances we desire to-night, in plain language that will satisfy the country, and will tell us that the subject has not been brought before the notice of the House with any undue degree of impatience. Ere long we shall look for a distinct and full account of the proceedings of Her Majesty's Government with reference to this important stipulation, for I must say that much of the happiness of the people of the East depends upon it, and much, also, of the honour and credit of our own country. I do not think it at all necessary that I should enter into detail upon all the topics upon which my hon. Friend and my noble Friend have dwelt so ably; but I entirely subscribe in substance, and I would almost say in detail, to the just and legitimate declaration which they made with regard to the present state and reasonable claims of Greece. No doubt there were expectations too sanguine and too high-flown at the time of the political regeneration of the country, and there is now a certain amount of disappointment. We must, however, look practically to the state of the country, and remember that great difficulties have been encountered. To one of those reference has not been made this evening—namely, to the unfortunate operation of the former system of government, under which the natural leaders of the people were driven out of the country, there was no aristocracy, and hardly any middle class, and foreigners, some of them not of the most sympathizing kind, came to take the direction of affairs, and a load of debt was hung like a millstone round the neck of the infant nation. But now the contrast is remarkable, for we have in Greece a free Press, an increasing population, a trade and a marine enormously augmented, a flourishing University—and, if I may venture to add a word on them, I would say that my noble Friend has done even less than justice to the extreme anxiety of the Greek people to obtain the blessings of education. There is also a regular, and it may also be a sound, administration of justice. At any rate, lately, when a most scandalous case of ecclesi- astical corruption occurred, in the shape of a simoniacal election of Bishops, it was disposed of by the regular action of the judicial machinery of the country and the infliction of condign punishment upon the offenders. No doubt, the administration of justice is occasionally discredited; but I do not think that there is, upon the whole, anything to justify those general invectives and that ill-natured and unkindly criticism of the condition of Greece which has sometimes been indulged in. Those who think that cases of brigandage are sufficient to condemn the Greek nation ought to bear in mind the condition of England, and even of London, 100 years ago, and how long it was since highwaymen operated on Hay Hill. However, I do not contend that the civilization of Greece is effective for all purposes; on the contrary, the Greeks are behindhand, and have so much to do that their resources may be strained in the accomplishment of their objects. The Government will not give countenance, I hope, to coloured and unfair representations of the condition of Greece, but will join us in deprecating them. My hon. Friend having reminded the House of this most solemn pledge, given by the Government in the most solemn manner before the Congress, I hope they will consider the force and vitality of that pledge still existing, and that they will also consider the manner in which the character of England is tied to its redemption. If our obligations on that branch of the Eastern Question can be satisfactorily redeemed, I am quite sure that there is no Gentleman sitting on that side of the House, however pugnacious he might be, who would not at once gladly feel that he could but too well afford to drop one out of the category of our political differences. I am rather sanguine as to what we may expect from the Government on this matter; and no one will be better pleased than myself if their declaration will be such as to remove it out of our way.


Sir, I can assure the House and the hon. Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Cartwright) that there is no feeling whatever on the part of the Government of objection to the course he has taken in bringing the matter before our notice. We have felt that the question naturally commanded the interest of Parliament, and that in the hands of the hon. Member it would be treated with knowledge and moderation; and we are conscious that he has for a considerable time exercised great discretion and consideration in not pressing the question forward at a time when it was inconvenient that it should be discussed. Now, on the part of the Government, I am not in a position, at the present moment, to enter into a full discussion of the large questions which are involved in this matter; but we have certainly thought that it would be improper on our part to check or to discourage any observations which hon. Gentlemen like the Mover and Seconder and others might wish to address to the House on a matter of such very great importance; and I only hope, if I am not able to speak on behalf of the Government with the same unreserve with which others have already spoken, it will not be understood that my inability proceeds either from any indifference or that it is owing to any desire to avoid a proper and full discussion of the question when it is ripe. The matter is now in a position in which it is by no means to be regretted that attention should be drawn to it in Parliament, but in a position in which it would not be possible for the Members of Her Majesty's Government to speak fully and completely. We wish to say that we feel, and have felt throughout these negotiations and throughout all these Eastern complications—we have felt that it was a matter of the greatest importance, in the interest of the general tranquillity in the East, as well as for the well-being of no country more than Turkey herself, that there should be a reasonable and satisfactory arrangement arrived at between Greece and Turkey. We have felt that it was a matter of great importance to the races of Europe—a matter of the greatest possible importance to Turkey herself—that there should be established something in the nature of a friendly relation, even if we could not expect it to be a very cordial one, between her and her nearest neighbour, and we have desired by every means in our power to promote and further any arrangement which might bring about that state of things. No one can look at the position of affairs and the relations existing between Greece and Turkey without feeling that any settle- ment of that character must be a settlement that would involve a rectification of Frontier, and would involve a concession on the part of Turkey of some portion of territory which might naturally be assigned to Greece. We have desired both in the earlier communications, and in the proceedings in the Berlin Congress, to assist and promote such an arrangement as might bring about that good feeling between them—a good feeling that must embrace on the one hand a rectification of the Frontier, and on the other hand some corresponding cordiality and readiness on the part of Greece to give assurances that might lead to friendly relations between her and her neighbour Turkey. Now, we have felt, and it was felt, I believe, at the Berlin Congress, that the best arrangement which could be made would be an arrangement which should be in the nature of a direct agreement between the two Powers. In the Conference there were, no doubt, certain direct lines indicated which would probably afford material for satisfactory settlement. In the 13th Protocol, to which reference has been made, the subject was brought prominently before the Congress, and something in the nature of a line was recommended and favourably received by the Representatives of the Powers, with the view of pointing out what concessions might fairly be made. If anyone will take the trouble to examine carefully the language of the recommendation, and examine also the map and geographical features, they will see there is a vagueness in the particular language used, and, probably, that vagueness was not unintentional. The recommendation does not mark out the precise line which should be drawn for settlement. It was the hope, and it has all along been the hope of Her Majesty's Government, that the arrangements founded upon and started from that recommendation, might be arrived at by a direct communication between Greece and Turkey, and it has been the earnest desire, and the best efforts of Her Majesty's Government have been directed, to promote and bring about a direct communication and agreement between the two Powers principally interested in this matter. We know that communications are still going on, and we are not without hope that some satis- factory result may be arrived at. But if those attempts which have been made to bring about a direct and satisfactory settlement between the Porte and Greece should, unfortunately, not be successful, then will arise the question whether the time has not come when the mediation which was proposed and indicated in the Treaty of Berlin ought not to take place. And, undoubtedly, if that should appear to be the only way left to promote a settlement, Her Majesty's Government will be ready to take their proper part as to the engagements into which they entered in the Treaty of Berlin. We believe the other to be the more excellent way of settling the matter if an agreement could be arrived at, and we do not altogether abandon the hope that it may be, though, no doubt, the question is one which involves a great deal of difficulty, connected as it is with questions of race and religion which are thorny and intricate. These are the considerations which have naturally led to delay and disappointment in the negotiations which have been set on foot, and from which, at one time, we expected better things. But I can, at all events, certainly say that the feelings and convictions of Her Majesty's Government are unchanged, for we believe that no proper settlement will be arrived at unless this great question is settled between Greece and Turkey themselves, and we are most anxious to promote in every possible way the establishment of friendly relations between these Powers. We do not all regret that the hon. Gentleman the Member for Oxfordshire has thought it right to raise this question. We certainly cannot complain of the language used in the course of this debate; but I hope the hon. Gentleman will not think it necessary to ask us to come to a vote on the subject. I think a vote would be embarrassing, and might be misunderstood. I hope he will be satisfied—as I gather my right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich will be satisfied—with an assurance that this matter is one which is engaging, and will continue to command, the full attention and earnest sympathy of Her Majesty's Government, and that he will allow us to endeavour to bring about a settlement without the necessity of having any Division on the subject in the House of Commons.


said, he could not think that the statement of the right hon. Gentleman the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be in the least degree satisfactory to the House. The right hon. Gentleman had told the House that the convictions of the Government on this subject were altogether unchanged; but the House wanted to know what the convictions of the Government were? From documents, the authenticity of which could not be doubted, the Government were known to have taken up at various times wholly different and inconsistent lines upon this question, and the House wanted to know what line they were going to take up now and in the future, and what were the negotiations in which they were now engaged? The right hon. Gentleman had said that the Government were not in a position to enter on the whole discussion to-night; but he had given no reason for thinking so. He had not communicated to the House the present position of the negotiations. [The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER: I said they were going on.] Undoubtedly; but, according to the Government, negotiations had been going on for about nine months. The negotiations were of a very puzzling kind; for although the Government had not laid documents on the Table, they were being carried on in a very public way, for there were many who had seen French, Turkish, and Greek despatches on the subject, and knew from them what had been going on, but the despatches of England and Germany had not been allowed to see the light of day. During live and a-half months nothing was done, and Turkey, having gained so much time, afterwards proceeded to gain other three months and a-half by pretending to do something. He would venture to tell the House, as far as he could, what the negotiations now said to be going on really were. The Turkish and Greek Governments both sent Commissioners to meet each other. In spite of the refusal of a passage to the Greek Commissioners, in spite of their yacht being twice fired upon, in spite of a meeting-place being appointed which did not exist and which was described as near another place which had no existence either, in spite of all these difficulties the Commissioners did meet. At the first meeting, the Turkish Com- missioners said they wished the Greeks to propose a boundary line. The Greek Commissioners very properly said their boundary was the boundary considered by the Powers at Berlin. The Turkish Commissioners said they could not negotiate upon that line, and there the negotiations stopped. After 35 days' delay the Turks telegraphed home as they pretended, and took three weeks to get an answer. Finally they produced fresh instructions, which were so ridiculous as to be not worth argument. It was proposed to give to Greece about one-sixth of the territory named in the Protocol. Turkey, so long ago as last September, informally but definitely proposed to give Greece a small strip of territory in Thessaly, so long as they would renounce any claim in Epirus. From that proposal they had made no advance. Greece had been driven to break up the Conference; and what chance was there of any settlement being reached without pressure from the Powers? The hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Bourke) had been in Paris, and he (Sir Charles W. Dilke) thought he must have heard there some very plain language. It was, he believed, highly probable that the hon. Gentleman was communicated with upon this subject, and that what he heard there was the gravest dissatisfaction in the French Government with the action of our Government upon it. When the French Chambers re-assembled, he (Sir Charles W. Dilke) would be astonished if a Motion were not brought forward, with the approval of the French Government itself, which would censure the conduct of the English Government on this question. The French Government had addressed a Memorandum to our Government, sounding them with regard to mediation. Was it not the fact that at present the sole difficulty in the way of European mediation was the obstruction of our Government—that every other Government was prepared for mediation, that France was strongly in favour of it, and that Italy alone had made its assent depend on what England might do? The Government were again putting pressure on the Porte; but were these negotiations of a kind to satisfy the House? The proposal of the Conference, it must be remembered, was in itself a compromise. It did not by any means give to Greece all she might have asked for. It gave up Crete without the Greek claims being so much as heard, and it gave up all chance of the establishment of a really natural boundary, which would have been the boundary of the Olympus range. Lord Salisbury's Circular, after he assumed Office as Foreign Secretary, indicated a wish to patronize the Greek claims—to run the Greeks against the Sclavs. That policy was largely supported, but it was altogether abandoned when the Congress met. At the first three meetings of the Congress it was still maintained in name; but it had been proved in debate in that House that the ultimate proposal, out of which all these difficulties had arisen, was the work of our Government. The reduction of the Greek Frontier claims to "the irreducible minimum" was the work of our Government, unassisted by any other Power. M. Waddington's first proposal was to give to Greece by the Treaty itself the Olympus range, her natural boundary. Ultimately a French proposal was accepted—a proposal reduced to the smallest limit by English pressure, and English pressure alone, which was continued until the very hour the Conference met, particularly in the interviews between Lord Beaconsfield and M. Waddington and Count Andrassy. There was another point which had been referred to before, but had not been mentioned that evening, and that was to the force of the word inviter in the Protocol relating to Greece. It had been inaccurately translated as meaning merely to "invite;" whereas the fact was it was one of the strongest words known to diplomacy. Her Majesty's Government had assumed all through that the word amounted to a mere recommendation to the Turks; but so far from being a mere recommendation, it was a most solemn declaration of the Powers of what they required Turkey to do, and he hoped Her Majesty's Ministers would regard it as such. The Chancellor of the Exchequer had said that the Government were not able to enter into the whole discussion of this Greek Question now, but surely there had been delay enough. Hon. Members on the Opposition side of the House felt that there was no more scandalous failure recorded in modern English history than the failure of our Government to maintain the claims of the Greeks in this matter; especially their action during the last 10 or 11 months as compared with their promises during the continuance of the war. It had been clearly shown by his hon. Friend the Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Cart-wright), from the Papers, what the character of those promises were, and how they were accepted by the Greeks; and surely, in these circumstances, it was not enough for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to come forward now and say he was not in a position fully to discuss the question, merely because negotiations were pending. Negotiations had been pending for nine months, and they might be pending for nine years or 90 years at the present rate, and we ourselves should not see the end of the controversies on the subject. The grounds of complaint on the part of Greece were well established. It had been shown that her existing boundaries had been spoken of as plainly cramping the development of the country; they did not give the country the means of living, as it were. It was the small extent of the Greek Dominion, and notably the way in which the boundaries were drawn, which prevented the late King Leopold from accepting the Throne in 1830. Another point that had been omitted was in relation to the town of Janina, respecting which the House ought to protest against the view of the Government that Turkey must be supported in holding out against its inclusion in the new boundary of Greece. He believed that when European pressure was brought to bear upon Turkey, as it would undoubtedly have to be brought, the question in dispute would be narrowed down to the town of Janina. The Porte would give way on everything except in regard to that single town. Now, if there was one point more important than another to which the Greeks must look it was the town of Janina, the home of the literature of the Greek race, the educational capital where a larger number of students were trained than in any other town; and it could not be left outside without leaving the question of the rectification of her Frontier still unsettled. Lord Byron spoke of it, in his notes to Childe Harold, as superior even to Athens in refinement and learning, and even in the purity of the Greek of its population. Sir Austen Layard, with his strong views, which he had consistently held for many years, could not be expected to express those opinions which he (Sir Charles W. Dilke) believed the great majority of the English people held with regard to the Greek Question. In a speech delivered in that House, not long ago, that Gentleman protested against the cession of Corfu to Greece, on the ground that it was Albanian and not Greek, and if ceded to any country, ought to have been handed over to Turkey. In the case of Janina, he endeavoured to prove that there was not a single Greek there; yet there were 39,000 male Christians in that villayet, and only 2,000 Mussulmans; and if, as he (Sir Charles W. Dilke), believed, two-thirds of the Albanians were Mohammedans, the Albanian population would be very small indeed. The deputation that was coming to this country spoke Greek, and one of them could not speak any other language; but as their expenses were paid by the Turks, he hoped that their views and their statements would not be seriously received in Paris or in the House. While saying that negotiations with regard to this Greek Question were still pending, Her Majesty's Government had all through kept the House in the dark to a most extraordinary and unprecedented extent with respect to the character of those negotiations. The patience of the House, in regard to the refusal of the Government to give information on that subject, was amazing. No doubt it was usual, when awkward Questions were put with reference to foreign affairs, for Ministers to refuse information while negotiating; but not when negotiations had been pending for so long a period as a year or more—the usual course in a case of that kind being to give information from time to time as the negotiations went on. The Government had not furnished Papers on this subject which could be of use to any human being. All that the Government had given was a mass of Blue Books, containing accounts of small outrages on single Mussulmen, while documents of importance relating to the Treaty of Berlin were kept back. It was monstrous that those documents should be kept back, and that the House should be kept in ignorance of what took place so far back as July, August, and September last. Hon. Members had, no doubt, become ac- quainted with the purport of some of these Papers, through the medium of the Press; but they had not obtained them from the Government. There were some German despatches, especially, which had still been withheld, although it was understood that they went in detail into the question of putting pressure on Turkey in regard to carrying out the provisions of the Treaty of Berlin and the Protocols of the Congress. The House, therefore, had reason to complain of the way in which information had been withheld. There was the promise of the Government before the Congress met that Greece should be represented at the Congress; then there was their action in the first two or three meetings of the Congress when they pretended to press the Greek claims; and then there was great delay until the 13th meeting before those claims were brought forward. Then, as they all knew, it was the British Government that cut down the claims of Greece and sheared them into the form they afterwards presented. Prom this they might judge what was likely to be the conduct of the Government in future. [Mr. ASSHETON CROSS: No, no!] Last year the right hon. Gentleman opposite said "No, no;" but the statement which he contradicted was declared to be true by the Leader of the House. Lord Beaconsfield and the English Plenipotentiaries cut down the claims of Greece as presented by M. Waddington. Looking at these circumstances, it could not be believed that Parliament would be acting wisely in trusting the Government with unlimited discretion on this subject. If the Government were left to follow their own devices months more might be consumed in these delays, and at the end of months and years the question might be no nearer settlement than at the present time. Our Government alone stood aside, or actually placed themselves in opposition, and it was for the House to tell them that it was now time that opposition should cease, and that they ought to join in mediation with the other Powers.


said, he cordially agreed with the concluding remarks that fell from his hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke). Nothing, in his opinion, could have been more unsatisfactory than the reply given by the right hon. Gentleman the Chan- cellor of the Exchequer to the appeal of the right hon. Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone). As the Forms of the House prevented him (Mr. Monk) from moving the Amendment to the Motion of the hon. Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Cartwright), which he had placed upon the Paper, and which ran as follows:— That, in the present circumstances, and having regard to the state of the relations between Turkey and Greece, it is essential that Her Majesty's Government should concur in the direct mediation of the Great Powers with a view to the early solution of the question of Frontiers between Turkey and Greece, he desired to take that opportunity of stating his views on the question before the House. He agreed with the right hon. Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone), that whatever might be the views of private Members on the question of the rectification of the Græco-Turkish Frontier, the only safe standpoint for Parliament and the country was the basis laid down in the Protocol of the Berlin Congress. For his part, although he considered the Protocol fell far short of meeting the justice of the case, and although he deplored the feeble policy and faltering steps by which the 13th Protocol was arrived at owing to the backsliding and egotism of Lord Beaconsfield, yet he unhesitatingly, though reluctantly, accepted the decision of the Congress; and he ventured to submit to the House that the time had arrived—many thought it had arrived long ago—when the machinery provided in that Protocol should be set in motion. At the same time, he did not abate one iota of his complaint that the interests of Greece had been cruelly neglected by the Premier at Berlin, when in his jaunty manner he informed the world that States, like individuals, which had a future, were in a position to be able to wait, and when he expressed his conviction that Greece and Turkey would proceed to a rectification of their Frontier, and so get rid of a cause of disorder, and secure a lasting peace. Could any prophecy be more absurd, or less likely to be fulfilled? Fortunately, the other Plenipotentiaries took a more sensible view of the difficulties of the case, and insisted on a proviso to the effect that the Powers were prepared to offer direct mediation. The object of M. Waddington, in his very moderate proposal, was to secure for Turkey, as well as for Greece, a condition of internal security and prosperity. Greece, said the French Minister, could never prosper within her present limits; or, in short, without the Gulfs of Arta and Volo and the adjacent territories. Even Lord Beaconsfield admitted that in the eye of every statesman the Frontier of 1831 was a danger and a disaster, as well to Turkey as to Greece, and was conducive to brigandage. And yet he not only refused to acquiesce in the first proposal of France that Thessaly and Epirus should be ceded to Greece; but he declared that he looked upon the more restricted boundaries of the valleys of the Salamyrias and of the Calamas as open to discussion, and at length withdrew his opposition to that more modest proposal in the most ungracious manner, only because he found himself to be in a hopeless minority on the subject. The noble Lord, however, expressed his hope, and even his conviction, that an equitable solution of the question of Frontiers would be accepted by the Sultan. Hitherto, his hopes had been unfulfilled. The present state of affairs was so unsatisfactory that, for the sake of Turkey as well as of Greece, it was incumbent on the Powers to exercise direct mediation. He (Mr. Monk) agreed with the hon. Member for Oxfordshire (Mr. Oartwright), that the boundary proposed in the Protocol was the least that Greece had a right to expect; and he thought that by such mediation Turkey might be induced to submit to the views of the Great Powers as expressed in the Protocol. But whatever might be the result of mediation, it would be infinitely preferable to the existing state of things. He wished to remind the House that Greece had deserved well of the Great Powers, and especially of England. At the request of the Government, Greece withdrew her troops when about to cross the Frontier, and refrained from attacking Turkey, when the Sultan was engaged in a death struggle with Russia. On the faith of British promises, Greece kept back her Army, and repressed disorders on the Frontier. In return for this, ail that England had done waste obtain a hearing for Greece at the Congress; and when Greece looked to England for support, a deaf ear was turned to her, and she was left to threw herself into the arms of France. He honoured France for opening her arms to receive her; while he regretted to say not a word of sympathy fell from Lord Beaconsfield's lips. Well might Greece exclaim—"Save me from such friends!" By this neglect of the interests of Greece, this country sacrificed a friend; nay, more, it lost the friendship of a race, which in days yet to come might prove of far more use to her than Turkey was ever likely again to be. Great was the dissatisfaction felt in this country at the action of our Representatives at the Congress at Berlin in respect to Greece—and great would be the dissatisfaction at the speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, when it was read in the papers to-morrow. It was a grievous mistake to allow an opportunity of redressing a grievance, which had existed since 1831, to slip from our hands at the Congress. Whatever territorial changes were to be made ought to have received the sanction of the European Congress. It was a gross blunder to postpone the question of the rectification of the Greece-Turkish Frontier; it was a still greater blunder to leave so difficult a problem to be solved by hereditary foemen. He would ask the House whether it was for the interest of Europe, or of this country, that a burning question like this should be left longer unsettled, or left to the chances of separate diplomatic action? It was true that Greece had a future, as she had had a past. There was life, and energy, and an unconquerable love of freedom in the breasts of the Greek populations in Thessaly and Epirus. It was useless to attempt to repress those feelings which prompted them to union with Greece by maintaining a boundary line which had been condemned by every European statesman during the last 40 years. "Annex those populations to Greece," said M. Waddington, "they will be for her a source of strength, while they are but one of weakness to Turkey." He hoped that the Government would, in the interests of both those countries, accede as soon as possible to the joint intervention of the Powers with a view to a final settlement of the Frontier Question.


remarked that a good deal had been said about Greece having a future. He not only believed in a great future for that country, but he had been persuaded for a long time that the whole policy of England—he did not say the recent policy, or the policy of the present Government alone—had for years past been consistently and persistently to ignore that future. Now, he was not one of those who were constantly finding fault and expressing nothing but dissatisfaction and disappointment at the Treaty of Berlin. No doubt that Treaty had its faults, and in one particular, the particular referred to that evening—namely, the question of Eastern Roumelia and the Balkan fortresses—he believed that the Government would find that it would be perfectly impossible to carry the Treaty into effect. There might be other blemishes; but he said now what he had said over and over again in the country—that it was a great step in advance of the state of things before. It was an enormous improvement upon the status quo ante. Treaties were not like the laws of the Medes and Persians, which could not be changed. There might be improvements; alterations might be effected in that Treaty; but his contention was that the blow dealt at the Ottoman Empire at Berlin was so severe that civilization and humanity might well rejoice that it would never recover from it; and the Plenipotentiaries at Berlin, however they might like it, would find their names going down to posterity as having done everything in their power to destroy the independence and integrity of the Turkish Empire. Reference had been made to several books on Greece; but in all that had been said no allusion had been made to a work which had been recently issued under the title of New Greece. In that work the writer, Mr. Lewis Sargeant, declared that the whole spell of the Porte had been broken, and demonstrated the impossibility of rehabilitating the Turkish power in Europe. In that view he (Mr. Baxter) entirely concurred. But, he would ask the House, was not this the exact "bag and baggage" policy of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone)? He supported the Motion of his hon. Friend, because it was the very least that they could do for Greece, and because he expected that if the recommendations of the Berlin Congress were not carried out to their fullest extent, they need not look for tranquillity in that country. He confessed that he would go much further. He did not believe in the adequacy of the concessions that had been granted, nor in the permanency of the Frontier, because the Hellenic element was predominant, and he believed would assert its nationality very far beyond. He had long felt that not only the Government, but the country, had not been sufficiently alive to the position and prospects of the Kingdom of Greece—a Kingdom which he believed it to the wisest policy on the part of this country to strengthen and extend in every possible way, whatever might happen to the tottering Ottoman Empire. It was surely high time, after all they had heard on the subject, for giving up and abandoning for ever the tradition, he might call it the superstition, that the Ottoman Empire was of the slightest use to Great Britain. Surely their true policy ought to be to support and do all they could to strengthen not a small disunited Bulgaria, but a large Bulgaria on the Danube, and on the Ægean the Kingdom of Greece, which would be a far more powerful barrier against Muscovite aggression or Northern ambition than any tottering Mohammedan Power. Reference had been made that evening to the policy of Canning, who called a new world into existence to redress the balance of the old. Well, could anyone read the history of that time without coming to the conclusion that Mr. Canning had no belief in, and no admiration for, Russia, nor any belief in her designs? At the same time, all through his despatches they saw that it was Mr. Canning's firm belief that Great Britain ought to take the lead in Eastern policy on behalf of the rising nationalities, to give up the delusion that we had anything to get from Turkey, and that we ought to be jealous of Russian power, and so compel those nationalities to throw themselves into the arms of the Czar. He thought the country was scarcely aware how very grievous were the errors committed by the Powers of Europe, and especially, he was sorry to say, by England, all through the history of Greece, from the breaking out of the insurrection to the time when King Otho was sent away. Notwithstanding that, everyone who had travelled in Greece knew that the Greeks had a very kindly feeling towards this country. They knew that we sympathized with them in their great struggle, for we had not only done that, but we had sent them arms and money, and whether the battle of Navarino was a blunder or not, every Greek knew it was, at least, the heaviest blow struck in favour of Greek independence. Nor had they forgotten the kindly part which England took at the time of the change of dynasty, and the cession of the Ionian Islands. What he would say was that the Government had had a golden opportunity lately to strengthen the good feeling of the Greeks towards this country, and to obliterate the recollection of former mistakes. But no one reading the Blue Books could fail to come to the conclusion that Lord Beaconsfield followed the example of Lord Castlereagh, and that in 1878 was done precisely what was done in 1821. They all knew that the British Government were alone responsible for the recall of the Greek Army; and that being so, he was extremely sorry that the Government had not, at the Berlin Congress, used their utmost endeavours, not by recommendation, but by distinct provision, to obtain for Greece as much territory as she would have obtained for herself by force of arms. Undoubtedly, the greatest blunder made in connection with Greece was the narrow limits within which she was confined. When the Throne was offered to Prince Leopold, he wrote to Lord Aberdeen, pointing out that it was not worth while to take the Kingdom unless Epirus and Thessaly and the Island of Crete were annexed. He supposed that no one who knew the country would deny that its chief requirement was a very large extension of territory, and his impression was that the extension proposed by Prince Leopold was the very least that could be accepted. For his part, he would go a great deal further, and say that he should gladly see annexed to Greece every contiguous Province and every adjacent island in which the Hellenic element was predominant, and which might exhibit a wish to be so annexed to what might be called the Fatherland. He was perfectly persuaded that when they should see Greece with 2,000,000 or 3,000,000 more inhabitants, with added provinces and harbours, they would then be much nearer the solution of the Eastern Question than they were at present. For these reasons he cordially supported the Motion of his hon. Friend.


said, that, having listened carefully to the remarks of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, he was free to admit that, in its general tone, the speech of the right hon. Gentleman appeared to be more hopeful for the future than the observations which had been recently made in "another place" by the First Minister of the Crown. At the same time, the language of the right hon. Gentleman was so vague, and conveyed such little information, that his speech could not be regarded as a satisfactory solution of this question. No one could read the promise made by Her Majesty's Government to the Greek Government without coming to the conclusion that they intended most definitely to take a leading part in the Congress of Berlin as a friend of Greece. When, however, Her Majesty's Ministry entered the Congress, their convictions underwent a marked change on that subject. Although the conclusions of the Congress were, at the instance of Lord Beaconsfield, to be treated as mere declarations of advice on the part of the Powers to Turkey, yet, after his return from Berlin, he spoke in the House of Lords of those conclusions as if they were faits accomplis. He was, therefore, rather surprised to hear that the feelings and convictions of the Government on this subject were now what they always had been, because it occurred to him that their policy had undergone three changes; and he thought it would be satisfactory if the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs would, before the debate closed, tell the House and the country which of the various phases of feeling and conviction animated Her Majesty's Government now. As to Crete, it was quite true that terms were agreed upon between the Cretans and the Turkish Government—he believed through the intervention of Her Majesty's Consul at Crete—which conceded to the Cretans for the first time some important changes for which they had long asked, although they would infinitely prefer, he believed, union with Greece. They obtained first a proportional representation of Christians in their local Assembly. In the second place, it was conceded to them that they should have a Christian Governor for a definite period of years; and, thirdly, that in the local Militia there should be Christians in proportion to the Christian population. How were those three provisions carried out? Christians had been elected to the local Assembly by a very large majority, and the Assembly had proceeded to make very important changes in the law; but those changes had not been admitted as valid by the Governor of Crete, who had referred to the Government at Constantinople. Months and months had passed without a ratification of the changes made by the Assembly. With regard to the second point, although a Christian Governor had been appointed to Crete, the arrangement that he should continue in that office for a definite period of years had not been carried out, for he had been promoted to the office of Foreign Minister of Turkey. As to the third important question—the local Militia—he was told the arrangement had not been carried out, and that they were still Mussulmans, the only change being that an English officer had been put at the head of the gendarmes. He was sorry to say, from all the accounts he had received, that the state of Crete at this moment was as bad as ever it had been. Turning now to Thessaly and Epirus, he would ask what had been going on there since the Congress at Berlin? He was informed that the Turkish Government had poured a very large number of troops into these Provinces, had armed the Mussulman population, and induced the Mussulman Albanians to go there, so that if the Great Powers were to force Turkey to give the Provinces to Greece, there might be an insurrection of the Mahomed an population. He had quoted these facts to show that time was an important element in the matter, that there should be no longer any delay, and that the Government should not be satisfied with mere words, but should proceed to action. Unless the Government, in concert with the other Great Powers, undertook to impose the will of Europe on Turkey, nothing could or would be done. It might be asked what right had Europe to impose her will upon Turkey? The answer was, the same right that Europe had to impose any of her wishes upon Turkey. When the question of giving up Bosnia and Herzegovina to Austria arose in the Congress, Prince Bismark said that the Congress had met, not for the purpose of securing to Turkey certain geographical positions, for the maintenance of which the Porte might be anxious, but in order to preserve the peace of Europe; and he went on to say that, as Turkey had secured by the action of the Congress the beautiful Province of Eastern Roumelia, it was only fair she should concede to Europe the Provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It was the right and privilege of Europe to insist that justice should be done to Greece in this matter. And not only was it necessary that these two Provinces should be added to Greece, but, in his opinion, all the Greek Provinces and the Greek Islands should follow in the same direction.


said, he wished exceedingly that the Chancellor of the Exchequer had found it in his power to make a more satisfactory reply to the very moderate and persuasive appeal of his right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich. He did not think it was possible that an appeal could have been made in a manner more likely to have met with acceptance than in the language employed by the right hon. Gentleman. But no answer had been given which the House or the country could understand, or to which Europe could attach any meaning whatever. The view of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was a very singular one. The right hon. Gentleman thought that discussion in the House was desirable; but he did not think it desirable that the Government should say anything. But what was the use of the House discussing the question except to obtain an expression of opinion from Her Majesty's Government? Everyone knew what the opinion of the House was. The expression of opinion to-night had come exclusively from the Liberal Benches; but they had heard nothing, not even a word of dissent, from the Conservative Benches. What was really wanted by the House, the country, and by Europe, was to know what Her Majesty's Government had done or were doing, or what they intended to do in regard to this question? On that subject not one word had they been able to extract from the Government. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said that they adhered to their convictions. But it was impossible to ascertain what the convictions of Her Majesty's Ministers were, for they re- fused Papers, and when asked for explanations, gave none. The nearest approach to a definite statement was when the Chancellor of the Exchequer said that the Government were in favour of a rectification of Frontier. Of course they were; so were the Turks; but the question was what rectification of Frontier were the Government in favour of? They would continue to ask the question until they got some answer. When Lord Beaconsfield returned from Berlin, he said he was for the plan of the Congress; that it was our plan; that it was proposed by the English Plenipotentiaries, and adopted by the Congress; and that it secured to Greece an opportunity of obtaining a larger accession of territory than any of the rebellious Provinces had got. Everybody knew what the French Government thought of the policy of Her Majesty's Government, and what the French Government papers were saying about it, and that Europe was complaining that England was acting under the influence of Turkey to stave off the settlement of the question. What was the question which was at issue between Turkey and Greece? It was whether Turkey was to give up Epirus or not. Turkey was ready to give up Thessaly, but would not give up Epirus. What he wanted to ask Her Majesty's Government was—Whether it was their opinion that Turkey ought to give up Epirus, and if so, what were they doing to bring it about? That was a definite question to which a definite answer could be given. It was said the plan of England was the plan of the Congress. Yes; but what was the way in which England cut down the proposals of France? France proposed to give a much larger territory to Greece; but it was through the influence of England that the territory was cut down. It was in that sense that the plan of England was the plan of the Congress. That was the minimum, and now England was minimizing that minimum. After Lord Beaconsfield had delivered the speech to which reference had been made, he said that the English plan was a suggestion of the French Plenipotentiary, and that it was one which bound nobody. That meant that Turkey would have the encouragement of England in saying that she would not be bound by the Congress. The language of the Chancellor of the Exche- quer to-night, though milder, came to very much the same thing. The right hon. Gentleman said there was "something like a line" drawn in the Congress. After all, this settlement which was to give peace to Europe had been defined by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to-night as "something like a line." Moreover, the right hon. Gentleman admitted that the language of the Congress had a vagueness, and he added that, no doubt, it was an intentional vagueness. Imagine the astuteness of statesmen who, according to the right hon. Gentleman, deliberately employed language of vagueness. What could it end in but confusion and war? How could it be expected that Turkey and Greece would settle this question when language of this kind was held? He did not know where the right hon. Gentleman borrowed the theory of intentional vagueness. In the negotiations preceding the Treaty of Washington, an unhappy phrase was used which led to the setting up of the Indirect Claims, and Mr. Montague Bernard said the words employed were selected on account of their intentional vagueness. This was not thought a very fortunate tiling at the time; but the plan seemed to have been transferred by Her Majesty's Government from the Treaty of Washington to the Treaty of Berlin. On returning from Berlin the Prime Minister said Greece was going to get as large a territory as the rebellious Provinces. Those Provinces got their territory, whether it was large or small, because they rebelled; and, consequently, the English Plenipotentiaries at the Congress did not, and could not, suggest that their claims should not be made obligatory on Turkey. Greece, however, did not rebel. [Lord JOHN MANNERS: She could not rebel.] He admitted the inaccuracy of the phrase; but, at all events, Greece might have gone to war. Therefore, he did not see that the quibble of the noble Lord the Postmaster General mattered much. He (Sir William Harcourt) thought Greece must very much regret that she had taken the advice of the Government, because if she had not done so, and had taken part in the struggle, it was perfectly certain she would have been in as good a position as that of the rebellious Provinces. She would have got what the rebellious Provinces had got, with an European guarantee binding upon Turkey. Now she was told, in a contemptuous phrase, that the plan of the Congress was only a French suggestion, binding nobody. Could it be wondered at that the people of Paris were indignant about that statement? What was that but an invitation to the Turks to persist in their obstinacy? Why did not the Government show one single step that they had taken from first to last to maintain the claims of Greece? If they had got any proof that they had been doing anything effectual for Greece, what reason was there why they should not come forward and satisfy the country and Europe that they had really been endeavouring to support, even moderately, the claims which they had put forward as having been approved of by them? It seemed to him that the Government had a most weighty responsibility for having proposed so foolish a scheme as that Turkey and Greece could settle the matter themselves. Suppose anybody recommended the Marquess of Salisbury to rectify the frontier of Hatfield with his next neighbour! Of course he would decline, and he did not wonder that Turkey declined. They had rectified the Frontiers of Servia and Montenegro, because they had the machinery for doing it; but how could they expect Turkey of her own accord to recognize a line which was "something like a line," and to observe language which was intentionally vague? The plan adopted by Her Majesty's Government was the one most calculated to lead to war. He was glad the present discussion had been raised, because, although it had extracted no satisfactory information from Her Majesty's Government, it had proved that the Party on that side of the House were not unfaithful to their traditions. They had maintained the honourable position which England held before the world as the Emancipator of Greece. Mr. Canning commenced, and Lord Palmerston continued, that great work; and although hon. Members on that side of the House did not possess the power to give effect to their traditions, they had shown by the protest entered to-night against the policy of the Government that they were not forgetful of their great inheritance.


said, the hon. and learned Gentleman who had just spoken had concluded with an ap- peal to the shade of Lord Palmerston; But he (Lord John Manners) ventured to doubt whether, had Lord Palmerston been alive the year before last, he would have taken the course which the hon. and learned Gentleman fancied. The hon. and learned Gentleman had made a very vivacious attack on Her Majesty's Government for their alleged reticence on the present occasion. It was no new thing, however, for Ministers charged with great responsibilities to be very reticent about negotiations that were still going on. The hon. and learned Gentleman knew that negotiations were at this moment in progress on the very subject now under consideration, and yet he taunted the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Government with not giving the House the most precise details concerning these negotiations up to the present moment of time. The hon. and learned Gentleman had had some experience of public affairs, and yet he had made charges against the Government, which he would never for one moment have tolerated if made against a Government of which he was a Member. The hon. and learned Gentleman must know that for the Government to give this minute information would not only be a departure from their duty, but that it would imperil the success of these negotiations themselves, and do an ill-service to that country of which the hon. and learned Gentleman now appeared as the advocate, if not the organ. Again, he would say not only would declarations of that sort have a very prejudicial effect on the negotiations which were pending and on the interests of Greece, but also on the spirit and temper of Turkey. It was all very well for the hon. and learned Member to put Turkey entirely out of the question, and to say that England had nothing to do but to impose her will on Turkey. But that was not the view of Her Majesty's Government. That was not the view of the House of Commons, and he ventured to say it was not the view of the people of England. And when the hon. and learned Gentleman went on to say that the conduct of the Government was censured and denounced in Paris, and opposed by the feeling of the whole of the Governments of Europe, he ventured to tell him, with all due respect to him personally, that he was speaking of subjects of which he showed that he knew nothing. He far was that from being the case, that in the matter of Greece Her Majesty's Government were acting in cordial concurrence and concert with the Great Powers of Europe; and the vision which the hon. and learned Gentleman had conjured up of an indignant Europe reprobating the insane conduct of England was one of those chimeras with which audiences out-of-doors might occasionally be amused, but which was unfit for the severer atmosphere of the House of Commons. The hon. and learned Gentleman had referred—and referred with great propriety—to the moderate and statesmanlike speech of the right hon. Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone), a speech certainly in marked contrast with the hon. and learned Gentleman's own; and the hon. and learned Gentleman said to his right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer—"How, after hearing such a temperate, moderate, and statesmanlike speech from the right hon. Member for Greenwich, could you fail to give an equally moderate and statesmanlike answer?" Well, he thought that the House and the country would be of opinion that the reply of the Chancellor of the Exchequer was couched in precisely the same tone and spirit as those which had animated the right hon. Member for Greenwich. He did not venture to draw any decided conclusion from the absence of the right hon. Member for Greenwich at the present moment; but, as that right hon. Member had not been in the House since the Chancellor of the Exchequer spoke, it was not altogether unfair to assume that he did not view his right hon. Friend's speech with the same marked disfavour as it had pleased the hon. and learned Gentleman to bestow on it. He did not pretend to speak with the same authority as the hon. and learned Gentleman for the Governments of France and of united Europe; but, notwithstanding the hon. and learned Gentleman's taunts, he believed that the people of England would not be disposed to regard with dissatisfaction the statement of his right hon. Friend—namely, that the suggestions made with respect to Greece and embodied in the 13th Protocol of the Congress of Berlin now formed, as they had for some time past been forming, the subject of negotiations between this country and those who were most inti- mately interested in it, and that Her Majesty's Government hoped that they would be brought to a successful and permanent issue.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 63; Noes 47: Majority 16.—(Div. List, No. 64.)

Main Question proposed, "That Mr. Speaker do now leave the Chair."