HC Deb 22 July 1879 vol 248 cc1027-90

, in rising to call attention to the non-execution of portions of the arrangements made at the Congress of Berlin; and to move— That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that Her Majesty will be graciously pleased to use Her influence to procure the prompt execution of those Articles of the Treaty of Berlin which relate to reforms in Turkey; and further praying that, in undertaking mediation under the 24th Article of the Treaty, she will endeavour to procure for Greece the rectification of frontier agreed upon by the Powers; said, that, in a few days, the Russian Armies would have evacuated the whole of the Turkish Dominions, both the tributary Principalities and those under the immediate rule of the Sultan. The occupation had been prolonged beyond the date named in the Treaty, and not by a fresh Agreement, as ought to have been the case, but by a straining of the provisions of the Treaty. Still, he attached no importance to the fact itself, and he only mentioned it, because the cessation of foreign occupation made the present the right moment to ask what had been done to carry out the reform clauses of the Treaty of Berlin. There was too much reason to fear that, when the Russian troops had left, reforms would be forgotten, until we were once more startled out of our propriety in a few years time by a Russian, or perhaps by an Austrian Ultimatum. At page 2 of the Papers "Turkey No. 7," which had been issued on the previous day, his hon. Friend the Member for Christ-church (Sir H. Drummond Wolff) appeared to have recommended, as long ago as April, that the organic Statute prepared by his Commission for East Roumelia should, with some changes, be applied to all the other European Provinces of Turkey. The answer of the Turks had been that they intended to apply it, not only in Europe, but in Asia too. Towards the end of May, however, his hon. Friend, finding that nothing had been done, declared— The necessity of not leaving the neighbouring populations with a grievance far more serious than many which had served the purpose of Panslavic agitators, and led to the gravest complications. He had then gone on to say— I cannot express in terms sufficiently strong my sense of the danger of further delay, which can be defended neither on the ground of want of money, nor of insufficient information. Now, Lord Salisbury, in his speech of the 27th of June, had said that want of money was the difficulty in the way; but, in this passage, his hon. Friend showed that the East Roumelian system was calculated rather to bring in money than to withdraw money from Constantinople. Nothing whatever had been done by Turkey towards carrying out Article 23. Was it likely that the English constituencies would put up with the rejection of all demands made by us upon the Turkish Government for reform, and, at the same time, remain resolved to defend its territory against all comers? Anarchy prevailed not only in Armenia, but even within 100 miles of Constantinople, upon the coast of the Sea of Marmora. If they were to compare the promises made a year ago with these facts to which he had called attention, he must point out that it seemed but little known that the Treaty of Berlin had promised Home Rule to all the European Provinces of the Turkish Empire. All were to have Parliaments of their own, similar to the elective Parliament of Crete. No step appeared to have been yet taken towards carrying out those promises which were guaranteed by Europe. The Eastern Roumelian Commission was to have sat for three months, and all the new Constitutions for the various Provinces of the Turkish Empire were to have been brought before it. It had now sat for 12 months, and not one of them had been heard of by its Members. Lord Salisbury had lately said that the Porte could not carry out reforms, because it had no money; but it was well known, at the time of the signature of the Treaty of Berlin, that the Porte had no money. As regarded Eastern Roumelia, the reforms appeared to be complete. They were not Turkish reforms, but reforms undertaken by the European Commission. They had, over and over again, been assured by the Plenipotentiaries of England that Eastern Roumelia was to "be under the direct political and military rule of the Sultan;" but, thanks to the hard work and admirable skill of his hon. Friend the Member for Christ-church, it was nothing of the kind. Eastern Roumelia could not in any natural sense of the words be said to be any longer "under the direct political and military rule of the Sultan." His hon. Friend had returned a repentant and converted "Jingo," leaving Eastern Roumelia as independent as were Servia or Moldavia and Wallachia a few years ago. No Turkish soldier or Pasha seemed likely ever again to be seen within its boundaries. Prince Alexander Vogorides, who refused to hoist the Turkish flag, or to wear a fez, could no more be described as a Turkish Pasha, though nominally appointed by the Sultan, than could Prince Alexander of Bulgaria, who also nominally received investiture from the Porte. His hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch had not formerly been regarded as a follower of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich; but none the less had he by his labours carried the "bag and baggage" policy completely into effect. Now, the Prime Minister, in a speech delivered rather more than a year ago, had said that in regard to all the subject-races of Turkey in Europe inquiry by local Commissions was contemplated. The Commissioners were to report to the Chief Commission—that was to say, to the Commission for Eastern Roumelia, and— After the firman of the Sultan had been issued, the changes would he made; it was supposed that in the course of three months from the time of the ratification of the Treaty of Berlin the principal arrangements might be made. Although a year had passed, the 23rd Article of the Treaty of Berlin, which had been thus alluded to by the Prime Minister, had not been carried into effect. The 23rd Article of the Treaty contemplated reforms in the portion of Roumelia which lay between East Roumelia and the sea, in Macedonia, in those parts of Thessaly and Epirus which were not to be given up to Greece, and in the Island of Crete. As regarded all these Provinces, Lord Salisbury, in his despatch, inclosing a copy of the Treaty of Berlin, had declared that their "institutions" were to be "determined by the European Commission." More than a year had passed since that despatch was written, and they had now to ask what steps had been taken towards carrying the pro- mises into effect? Scarcely anything had been done, except in Crete, and not enough in Crete itself. To show that they needed to go beyond the information supplied by the Turkish Government, and by English Consuls to the Government at home, he must point out that it had been admitted by our Government in the present year that the Turkish Regular troops, whose conduct had been declared at the Congress of Berlin to be uniformly satisfactory, had been emulating in Crete, during the sitting of the Congress itself, the worst deeds committed in Bulgaria before the war by the Bashi-Bazouks. While the reforms to be introduced into the Turkish Provinces of Europe were to be supervised by the European Commission for Eastern Roumelia, the reforms to be introduced into Turkey in Asia were not to be brought before its Members. Lord Salisbury, indeed, seemed to have been misled by a blunder in the English translation of the Treaty of Berlin, and to have thought that reforms for Asia, as well as for Europe, were to involve Constitutional Government, and, after being included in Clause 23, to be brought before the European Commission. But they now knew that reforms in Asia would be supervised only by the Ambassadors. By the 61st Article of the Treaty, the Great Powers were to superintend and to be informed of the steps to be taken with a view to the introduction of reforms into Armenia. Our own responsibility for the carrying out of those reforms, and of similar reforms generally throughout Asia Minor, had become immense under the terms of the Anglo-Turkish clandestine conditional Convention, commonly known as the Cyprus Convention. It was true that in the Convention Turkey bound herself to us with regard to those reforms, and not we to her subject-populations; but the responsibility which rested upon us was moral, and not legal, and had been fully admitted in the speeches of Ministers made at the time when the Convention was signed. Yet no language could be too strong to describe the horrible misgovernment now prevailing in Asiatic Turkey—a country to which the noble Lord the President of the Board of Trade (Viscount Sandon) had last year declared that it had, under the terms of the Convention, become the mission of England to introduce civilization in the shape of missionaries and steam ploughs. The Armenian Papers had lately been moved for by Lord Carnarvon in "another place," and the Motion had been agreed to, so that it was unnecessary that he should ask for them. A sad change, however, had been shown by the debate. Lord Salisbury's splendid list of reforms, included in his despatch of the 8th of August of last year, had become "impossible" in his speech of the 27th of June. Not only had the 61st Article of the Treaty not been carried into effect, but the 62nd Article, also, was shamefully violated in Armenia. The troops which were needed to restore order in the Provinces were sent to Thessaly, and placed under the command of that abominable miscreant, Chefket Pasha, in order to crush the Greeks and prevent the will of Europe being carried into effect. Lord Salisbury, as would be found at page 210 of the Protocols, had said the object of the proposal with regard to Armenia, which was ultimately agreed to by the Congress, was "immediate amelioration" as well as "future progress." There had been no "immediate amelioration"—there had been no amelioration whatever. The Government of England, which, on account of the Anglo-Turkish clandestine conditional Convention, ought to have been the first among the Powers to insist on the execution of the Treaty of Berlin, had, on the contrary, been the most inclined among them to hold back and to throw obstacles in the way. In December and in February last, he (Sir Charles W. Dilke) had asked for Papers on the subject, which were still withheld. The Government had never published the suggestions of Germany, made last year immediately after the end of the Session, for obtaining the execution of the Treaty of Berlin. As the Government assured them that the only difficulty was that with regard to money, and as the admission by Europe of the Russian Indemnity made it certain that Turkey never would have money, he thought that they ought, at the same time, to press for the Correspondence which had taken place with regard to the Indemnity Clause. England had undoubtedly assumed, in the eyes of foreign countries—all now by far less pro-Turkish than ourselves—by the Cyprus Convention, at least a responsibility for the de- struction of those institutions which cut off the Turkish Empire from Europe and from civilization. Throughout the Turkish Empire slavery existed in every household belonging to the ruling caste. It had been proved, last year that even in the capital itself—even in the homes of those Pashas whose names were well known to us as the so-called reformers of the present and of recent Turkish administrations—Christian children, some bought, but the great majority of them stolen from their parents, were detained in slavery. Whatever else had been accomplished in Eastern Roumelia slavery had disappeared. There was no reason to suppose that in imitating the Constitution of Eastern Roumelia in other portions of the Empire, the Turks, in the absence of serious European pressure, would abolish slavery. The probable return to power of Mahmoud, the enemy both of England and of reform, made this, if possible, more certain even than before. He had now justified the first portion of his Resolution. He passed to the second portion of the Resolution, which dealt with the unexecuted arrangement with regard to the Greek Frontier. The Blue Book (Greece, No. 1) was like a modern novel in its construction. The beginning and the end of it were both good; but the middle would not bear investigation. Lord Salisbury, with the intelligence of a popular writer, had trusted to the well-known fact that people habitually read the beginning and the end, but not the middle, of a thick volume. The excellent despatch with which its contents concluded was contradicted by the principal portion of those contents themselves. The Turks all along had said—"This is an awkward question for us; force our hand, and we will submit." The whole of Europe, as represented at Berlin, was willing—nay, was anxious—that the course which the Turks themselves proposed should be adopted, and it was our Government which, by changing the French-Italian proposal, endorsed as it was by the three other Powers, had prevented rectification of the Frontier from becoming a distinct Article of the Treaty. After the Congress had concluded its deliberations, the other Powers again began to press that something should at once be done, and our Government again held back. At page 35, our Minister at Athens sent home the rumour that Great Britain, had refused to act with Germany, in August or September, to procure the immediate settlement of the question. He added, to please the Minister, that this was Probably one of the daily reports circulated by the telegraph throughout Europe, which has little or perhaps no foundation in fact; but it was true, as would be seen by the despatch of Germany, for which, in December, in February, and again tonight, he most pertinaciously had asked. At page 39, they had a fresh example of Lord Salisbury's powers of delay, which were quite Turkish in their strength of resistance. He described how, in October, he had told the Representative of Greece that he "expected no advantageous result" from mediation at that time. Why? Because the Consent of the Porte was not sufficient to procure the cession of territory in which the Mussulman population was predominant. But to say this was to beg the question; because in the particular portion of Thessaly and Epirus not only was the "Mussulman population" not "predominant," but it formed only a most miserable minority. At page 52, they would find a further application of Germany for action, and the manner in which it had been received. This was in November, for each time Lord Salisbury had contrived to hang the matter up for a month. The German Ambassador had called upon him to ask him to answer the French Circular of the 21st of October, saying that— Germany, as well as Austria, Italy, and Russia, had resolved to adhere to the French proposal. In face of language of this kind, Lord Salisbury was obliged to promise "that England would not refuse her general concurrence;" but "the proposal" which the whole of Europe except England had accepted "must be modified, and must not be a menace addressed to Turkey." "The time," also, "was inopportune." Lord Salisbury "regretted that the Powers had not thought fit to delay the step." This was throwing a good deal of cold water upon the action recommended by the five Great Powers. Although Lord Salisbury had promised not to refuse his "general concurrence," they saw, by page 53, that, six days after, M. Waddington told Lord Lyons— That he had received from all the Governments, except from that of Her Majesty, an unconditional assent to the proposal he had made, that a simultaneous and identic representation should be addressed to the Porte on the Greek question. It would be seen from page 57 that, owing to the delay of England, more than another month elapsed—for there was a complete gap between the 12th of November and the 17th of December; but, at last, owing to the pressure exercised within those walls in the December Session, the Porte appointed Commissioners at Christmas. The Papers showed that those Commissioners were appointed only for the purpose of gaining time; and the French Government had informed Lord Salisbury that the time so gained had been utilized by the Commissioners themselves in importing Mahomedan Albanians from the North into these particular portions of Epirus, so as to alter the balance of the population. The House would find how our Ambassador at Constantinople had tried, in the despatch—No. 100—to help the Turks, by finding apologies for their conduct; but, at page 68, there was a despatch from him as to which it was necessary to make even more severe remark. Sir Henry Layard, writing in January, did not hesitate to urge that the line named by the Congress did not give Janina to Greece. He said— I am not acquainted with the intention of the Congress as regards the exact nature of the frontier line proposed. Judging from your Lordship's despatch to me of the 28th of last May, it would not, in your Lordship's opinion, include Janina. A more monstrous statement could not be imagined than that the line suggested by Lord Salisbury before the meeting of the Congress was to override the deliberate will of Europe, afterwards agreed to by Lord Salisbury himself. It had been proved by France, and it was believed by Germany and by the rest of Europe, that Janina was a Greek town, the capital of a district purely Greek. He himself had received an address, which had been signed by the whole of the aldermen and town councillors of Janina, who, without exception, were favourable to the concession of the boundary line which had been named in the Protocols of Berlin. He had spoken of Europe as agreeing in this view; but Italy had for a time been an exception to that concert. Happily, the Italian Prime Minister of last year, who was a member of the Greek Committee, had now returned to power, and a Government had sprung up at Rome in the plane of that which, intriguing in Albania on its own account, had pretended to support Lord Salisbury's views. A document, which had come to light two months ago, had shown that the late Italian Administration had been in secret correspondence with the Turkish Commissioners in Epirus for purposes of its own. Lord Salisbury, in one of his despatches—No. 141—most clearly showed his desire to prevent Janina becoming Greek; and Sir Henry Layard went even far beyond his Chief, for he said that he himself was convinced that unless the Porte kept Janina it would be impossible to retain Albania. Another circumstance worthy of notice was the falsity of the statements made by the Albanian delegates, in which they claimed Prevesa, Arta, and Janina, as Albanian towns; for the truth was, as was indisputably proved in another part of the Blue Book, that eight out of nine of all the inhabitants of Prevesa were Greeks, and that all of them spoke Greek; while at Arta the whole of the inhabitants were Greek, and in the town of Janina the Greeks were three to one, the district outside the town being wholly Greek. These facts were completely confirmed by the information supplied by the French Government, by Mr. Macdonald of Janina, and by another gentleman. Lord Salisbury was indeed slow to learn; for after he had received this information from our Minister at Athens, and also from the Government of France, it would be seen that, although the Austrian Government, of which he had had some hopes, had deserted him, and although Germany had declared to him that "the matter was one in which the German Government took great interest," and that "it would be necessary to bring the controversy to an issue," Lord Salisbury still pleaded for delay. It was evident that if our Government had spoken throughout, as had the Governments of Germany and France, the present deadlock would never have occurred. Even when Lord Salisbury was stirred up to act, the language which he used should be contrasted with the plain language of Germany— The German Government will give the French proposal their cordial support, so that the stipulations of the Berlin Treaty may be carried out with as little unnecessary delay as possible. At another part of the Blue Book there was a Note upon an intrigue which was closely connected with the Italian intrigue of which he had already spoken, but which, being a Turkish intrigue, was of an even more corrupt and an even more stupid nature. It was there stated that the Porte had paid the travelling expenses of three gentlemen whom they had sent on a tour round Europe, and who had been described as delegates of the Albanian nation. Now, he could prove that those gentlemen were Turkish functionaries, that they were paid by Turkey, and that they did not come from, or know anything of, that portion of Epirus which it had been proposed that Turkey should cede to Greece. At page 190, a simple-minded British Consul, Mr. Greene, had written that— Two Albanian nobles, Abdul Bey, of Pharsala, and Mehemet Ali Bey, of Berat, had recently visited Rome, and were in Paris, and— That the mission of those Beys to Italy and France does not appear to have caused the Turkish authorities any uneasiness. Now, considering that the Turkish Government had paid the salaries and expenses of those gentlemen, it was hardly conceivable that their mission should have caused uneasiness to that Government—unless, indeed, it was uneasiness of the breeches' pocket. At page 203, there would be found a statement of those persons' views, which was an imposture from the first line to the last. One of those two gentlemen had asked pay from the Greek Government in order to come upon the Greek side and support their views, and, being very properly refused, he sold himself to the Turks. Lord Salisbury was aware of this fact; but he received that gentleman, and, probably, shook him by the hand. The other, Abdul Bey, was brother-in-law to the Turkish Ambassador at Rome, who had been concerned in the Italian intrigue, and had no connection with Janina, in the name of which town he, however, spoke. Lord Salisbury, who had just refused to receive the Bulgarian delegates, never- theless saw these gentlemen at the Foreign Office and reported their views to Constantinople, although these consisted of the most outrageous misrepresentation of the facts, without remark. After seeing Lord Salisbury, the two Albanians went to Berlin to see Prince Bismarck. Prince Bismarck, who also knew their character, at once informed them that he would not see them. They then sent to him to say that they had seen Lord Salisbury, upon which the Prince replied that that made not the slightest difference. As they still persisted, Prince Bismarck presented his compliments to them, and said that he did not believe that an Albanian nationality existed; that if it did exist, its existence had no bearing on this subject, inasmuch as Janina was not an Albanian town; but although he protested against the Albanian question being raised, as they asked his opinion, he must add that if there were such a thing as an Albanian nationality in North. Albania, "the sooner, in the interests of civilization, it was stamped out the better." In Lord Salisbury's last despatch, he tried to disguise the fact that he had been throughout hostile to the full satisfaction to the Greek claims, as they had been admitted by the Powers at Berlin. He (Sir Charles W. Dilke) hoped that the words of that despatch might be taken as a promise of amendment for the future; and he would only add that in the six weeks which had passed since it was written no progress had been made, and that they saw as little prospect of the termination of the controversy as they had 14 months ago, at the time of the meeting of the Congress at Berlin. In conclusion, the hon. Baronet moved the Address of which he had given Notice.


I rise, Sir, to second the Motion of my hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke) with reference to the first part of it, relating to the reforms in European Turkey and Armenia which were so solemnly promised by Turkey and the Treaty of Berlin. I think everyone will be of opinion that the time is come when it is right and reasonable to ask what has been done by Turkey to carry out her obligations? More than a year has elapsed since the conclusion of the Treaty; all those parts of it which are in favour of Turkey have been carried out, or are rapidly being carried out. The Russian troops have all but completely evacuated both Roumelia and Bulgaria; what, then, has Turkey done? I will not recapitulate the obligations, they are partly under the Treaty of Berlin and partly under the Anglo-Turkish Convention. In view of them, I think hon. Members opposite must have been greatly surprised to learn from a recent debate in "another plane" that our Foreign Minister not only repudiates, but actually ridicules, the idea that this country is under any responsibility towards the people of these Provinces to see that these obligations towards them are carried out by their Government. I am the last man in the House to wish to extend the responsibilities of this country; we have enough and to spare already in every part of the world; and, however sad it may be that Governments in remote parts of the world should oppress and misgovern their people, it is no part of the duty of this country to enter upon a crusade on behalf of the oppressed; but where we have interfered in the interests of this country, or the supposed interests, to prevent a decaying, corrupt, and brutal rule from being overthrown, and have interfered to save it from destruction, I think there is a heavy responsibility upon us to see that obligations entered into should be carried out. It is due to us mainly, if not wholly, that nearly the whole of what remains of Turkey in Europe has been restored to the direct authority of the Porte, and that a large slice of Armenia was also restored. Surely, then, upon us more than upon others lies the responsibility of calling Turkey to account for the non-performance of those parts of the Treaty which must be considered as the condition on which they were restored. Now, what has been done by Turkey since the Treaty? Absolutely nothing. I challenge the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to produce a vestige or scintilla of evidence to show that the Porte has made any effort to improve the condition of her European subjects, or of the Armenians. It is not merely a question whether any attempt has been made to frame new institutions; but there is not a sign that any single step has been taken to redress those evils, which do not depend so much upon a constitution as upon the very first principles of honest administration. So long ago as August 8th of last year, Lord Salisbury wrote— The immediate necessity of Asiatic Turkey is for the simplest form of order and good government, and for such security from rapine, lawless or legal, that industry may nourish and population may cease to decline. The same necessity exists, and, indeed, is far more pressing at this moment, not only in Armenia, but in European Turkey. In all these districts, things have been going from bad to worse ever since the war was over. Of Armenia we have a recent statement of the Armenian Patriarch, which is confirmed by independent witnesses, that anarchy prevails there; that the Christian population is harassed and plundered by Kurds and Circassians; that an organized brigandage is being carried on by the officials in a more shameless and open manner than ever. Thousands of the wretched inhabitants are seeking refuge in Russia, where, if they find a severe and despotic Government, they find, at least, security for life and property. When we look at the condition of Macedonia, we find a counterpart of these evils. I have only this day seen a well-known gentleman, a Mr. Rose, who is recently returned from Macedonia, where, I believe, he has been one of the very few who have been able to penetrate at all beyond the coast. His accounts of the condition of the country are most appalling. Anarchy and murder prevail. The Turkish Government has planted over it small bands of Circassians, who terrorize the people, and plunder and murder freely. The officials are in league with these people, and are more shamefully corrupt than ever. What makes his account more interesting is that he has so recently been in Eastern Roumelia. He reports of this Province that, notwithstanding all the sufferings it has gone through during the two years of war, it is rapidly recovering. The Province is in the hands of a native Administration; and the result is that it is perfectly safe for travellers. Property and life are already as secure as in any other part of Europe. How great a contrast is this state of things with that in Macedonia. In the latter it is unsafe to go a mile beyond the large towns without an escort. It seems that the army of petty officials and zaptiehs who have lost their occupation in Bulgaria have drifted into this Province, and are feeding like locusts on the country. The Pashas who have been sent there are the worst of their kind; most of them should be expiating their crimes on the galleys. There is Salik Pasha, who was recalled from Crete at the instance of Consul Sandwith on account of his cruelties and misconduct; ho is now holding an important command. There is Amous Pasha, who was responsible for the murder of Mr. Ogle, who is also holding an important post. There is Chefket Pasha, whose crimes are so notorious; he is now holding an important post in Thessaly. Now, let me ask the House what must be the result of such a contrast, how long can the present state of things last? There is already extreme danger of another outbreak. I observe that in May last the hon. Gentleman the Member for Christ-church (Sir H. Drummond Wolff) wrote that— He could not express in terms sufficiently strong the sense of the dangers of further delay, which can neither be defended upon the ground of want of money, nor of insufficient information. The hon. Member has elsewhere stated that he has the highest authority for saying that the Porte is animated by the best intentions; but he must know that the approaches to the Porte have been always paved with good intentions. Meanwhile nothing has been done; the influence of England appears to effect nothing. Sir Henry Layard has not even succeeded in preventing the employment of Chefket Pasha. His policy of coaxing and flattery, and of praising the poor vacillating and weak man who fills the throne of Turkey, seems to be a total failure; surely, then, it would be wise to try some other tone; at all events, it would be well that this House should speak out, so that the Porte should see that its conduct will not escape the attention of this country. I now come to the case of Greece; in adverting to it I shall endeavour to avoid any controversial matter. I know there are hon. Members opposite who are as anxious as any one of us on this side that a settlement should be effected in the most liberal spirit to Greece. There are, however, some points which arise on these Papers which I hope the Government will explain. In the first place, the Papers give us, for the first time, the negotiations which preceded the Congress on the subject of a proposed accession of territory to Greece. We now know that, in June last, Sir Henry Layard made a proposal to the Turkish Government to give up territory to Greece, to an extent bounded by, what I shall call, the Salisbury line. Sir Henry Layard reports that when he made this proposal to Safvet Pasha, who was then Grand Vizier— The latter seemed at first but little inclined to entertain the idea of making any territorial concession to Greece. He said that no Turkish Minister could do so, and that if Turkey were to be deprived of territory it were better that it should be in pursuance of a decision of Europe pronounced by the Congress, to which she would have to submit. This letter must have reached Lord Salisbury at Berlin a few days before the Greek question was decided. It is most important as showing that the Turks preferred that Congress should deal with and decide the question. Now, I would ask the House to compare this letter with the statements made by Lord Beaconsfield on his return from Berlin. The most full account he gave us of the reasons for the mode adopted in the Greek case was at the dinner given to him at the Duke of Wellington's Riding School. He there boasted of what had been done for Greece; he treated it as an accomplished fact; he claimed that Greece, by trusting to England, had got a larger accession of territory than any of the rebellious Provinces of Turkey which had aided Russia; and he then went on to give this explanation— Before the Congress the Sultan had shown a disposition to meet with favour the proposals of England for an accession of territory to Greece; but he had said that what he was prepared to do he wished should be looked on as an act of grace on his part, and of his sense of friendliness to Greece in not attacking him during his troubles; but as Congress was now to meet, ho should like to hear the result of the wisdom of Congress on the subject. I wish to point out that this statement is not in conformity with the information now before us. If it be accurate, then the Turkish Government has deluded and taken in our Government, and has induced it to agree to the decision of the Congress, taking the form of a recommendation under the belief that he was really prepared to accept its con- clusions. If, however, it be inaccurate, we are entitled to an explanation why it was that, knowing that the Turkish Government preferred a decision of Congress, our Representatives did not state this in the Congress, and obtain from them an authoritative decision. The next point I have to notice is that Sir Henry Layard, in the same letter, states that he pressed upon the Porte Lord Salisbury's line of Frontier, on the ground that a comparatively small concession might settle the question; while if it were left to Congress to decide it might come to a decision more disadvantageous to Turkey. This leads to the fact that the Congress did, undoubtedly, recommend a wider concession of territory than that previously proposed by Lord Salisbury. I think no one can doubt this. If Lord Salisbury's line had been agreed to, it would have been adopted in his language; but the line recommended by the Congress was to follow the valleys of the Kalamas and Salameria, and I think no independent person can come to any other conclusion than that it was intended to include Janina. Yet no sooner was this done than we find the Turkish Government repudiating absolutely and obstinately not only the line of Frontier recommended by Congress, but also Lord Salisbury's line; and we find Sir Henry Layard throwing himself into the cause of Turkey, so far as Janina is concerned; and from that day to this he has been the strongest opponent of the line proposed by the Congress. In page 68 there is a letter from Sir Henry Layard, expressing the strongest opinion that Turkey ought not to be called upon to give up Janina, and again another at page 100; audit is well known that the whole of his influence has been used to support the Turks in their opposition to this concession. There is also a despatch to which I must call attention. It is that from Lord Salisbury to Mr. Corbett, our Minister in Greece, dated October 22nd, in which he expresses the opinion that none of the Great Powers will be prepared to coerce the Turkish Government in order to carry out the conclusions of the Congress; and he adds that, inasmuch as moral persuasion is the only weapon at hand, it could obviously be used with better chances of success if an interval were allowed to elapse during which the excitement among the Mussulmans were allowed to calm down. Now, I would ask what effect upon a negotiation such as we are now engaged in must such a statement have? We may presume that the Turks also have been informed that moral persuasion is the only weapon we have at hand, or intended to use. I ask, where in the history of the Turkish Empire has moral persuasion been of any use, or effected anything? It may, or may not, be wise to use coercion; there are many degrees and methods of coercion. It does not necessarily mean the actual use of force, and history shows that where Europe is agreed and determined on a particular course a mere demonstration is sufficient; and I may remind the House that the settlement of the Greek question was only effected by France sending a Force to Greece; and later, in our own day, the settlement of Syria was only effected by France sending a Force there. In neither case was there resistance; but in both the demonstration was necessary, and without them nothing would have been done, and so it may be again in the future. If Europe agrees, and shows that it is in earnest, the Porte will not, and cannot, resist; its hope consists in dividing the Great Powers; and if one of them says, we will use nothing but moral persuasion, the Porte knows well enough what that means, and that she may safely refuse. It seems to me that to publish such a statement at this moment, at a time when mediation is pending, is to court failure, and to repeat the mistake made after the Conference of Constantinople, when the Turks were politely informed that whatever their decision England would never join in compelling them to do anything. Now, Sir, the letter I have quoted, and many other despatches in the Book, frankly admit that the Government has not objected to the delay which has taken place; they have thought it better that time should elapse, during which the Mussulman feeling should calm down. With all deference to the motives of the Government, I cannot but think that great evil has already arisen from the delay. The Turks have occupied the interval in preparing for local resistance. They have filled Thessaly and Epirus with troops; they have incessantly agitated among the Albanians; they have imported Albanians, Mussulmans, and Circassians into Epirus, and they have armed the small Mussulman minority; and, meanwhile, the Provinces are a prey to disorder; all this might have been avoided by more prompt action on our part. Now, I will willingly admit that the last despatch of Lord Salisbury, in reply to the invitation from France for mediation, is far more satisfactory than any previous document; but it must betaken in connection with the previous Correspondence. It does not disclaim Sir Henry Layard's objections to the surrender of Janina. It is quite consistent with it that Sir Henry Layard will continue his opposition on that point, and that we may find, on conclusion of the negotiations, that all the influence of England has been used to limit and curtail the recommendation of Congress. What we desire is, a full and frank statement from the Government that the influence of England will be used to obtain for Greece the widest extension of territory which the recommendations of the Congress are capable of, in lieu of the smallest, and that they will abide by the spirit of the conclusions of the Congress, and will endeavour to carry it out. If it be said that it is an unusual course to interfere with a debate in this House while negotiations are actually pending, I would venture to point out that we are only repeating the precedent set us by much greater men in 1830. The present position is almost identical with what it then was. The question what should be the limits of the new Kingdom of Greece was then referred to a Conference of the Ambassadors of the Great Powers at London; and it having leaked out that British influence was being used to curtail the limits, Motions were made in both Houses of Parliament, at the beginning of 1S30, by Lord Russell in one House, and by Lord Holland in the other, calling upon the Government to use its influence to secure a sufficient accession of territory to the new Kingdom. Lord Russell, Lord Palmerston, and Sir James Mackintosh argued most strongly that the two Provinces of Thessaly and Epirus, and the Island of Crete, were essential to the new Kingdom. I wish I could quote their speeches at length; they would serve word for word for the present occasion. They argued that without these Provinces Greece would not have territory enough for her proper development; they said that to leave outside the new Kingdom. Provinces whose inhabitants were so largely Greek would lead to constant agitation and prevent a settlement of a lasting character. Time, however, has proved the truth of the arguments of Lord Russell and Lord Palmerston. Unfortunately, those arguments did not prevail, and we now know, from the memoirs of those who carried out the negotiations, that under a false idea as to the interests of England all our influence was used to curtail the limits of Greece. We have the additional arguments drawn from a comparison of a free independent Greece with the condition of those Provinces left to wither and decay under the rule of Turkey. I ask those who doubt to visit these districts, and to compare Athens with Janina or Larissa, or go from Syra to Crete, or from Patras to Prevesa. He will find it is as going from light to darkness, from civilization to decay, or from the land of freedom and progress to the region of decay and desolation. It is admitted, on all hands, that a grave mistake was made in 1830; it was admitted by Lord Beaconsfield in the Congress, and by Lord Salisbury in his last despatch; the grounds alleged by both were—first, that the Frontier lines were badly traced, and encouraged brigandage; and, secondly and mainly, that it left outside Greece districts in which the Greeks largely predominated, and that it was not to be supposed that, with such a Government as Turkey, there could be contentment among the population thus left out, or that the people of Greece could not do otherwise than sympathize with their kinsmen left under cruel bondage, and that hence, from the very nature of things, there must be continued agitation and perpetual danger to the peace of Europe. We have now an opportunity of rectifying the mistake of 1830; for God's sake, do not let us repeat it again. The line drawn by Congress is already too narrow; by excluding the district of Janina we shall be repeating the mistake, for no one can doubt that it is essentially a Greek district. Just in proportion, then, as we extend the Frontier, so as to include all that is really Greek, we shall make that settlement a lasting one, one in the interests both of Turkey and Greece, and the best security for the peace of Europe.

Motion made, and Question proposed, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that Her Majesty will be graciously pleased to use Her influence to procure the prompt execution of those Articles of the Treaty of Berlin which relate to reforms in Turkey; and further praying that, in undertaking mediation under the 24th Article of the Treaty, She will endeavour to procure for Greece the rectification of frontier agreed upon by the Powers."—(Sir Charles W. Dilke.)


, in rising to move the following Amendment:— That this House desires to express its gratification that the main portion of the stipulations of the Treaty of Berlin has been successfully carried into effect, and approves the steps which Her Majesty's Government have already taken to secure the full accomplishment of those portions of the Treaty which are still in course of execution; said, that if the Motion which had been brought forward had been simply an abstract expression of opinion there would have been no occasion for his Amendment. If the Motion of the hon. Baronet merely conveyed to him the fact that the Powers of Europe, and especially this country, were interested in seeing the provisions of the Treaty of Berlin carried out speedily and completely, all parties would be equally ready to accept it. Turkey had given to her one more chance of life; and it would, of course, be the extremity of folly and little short of suicide if she were to refuse to carry out, with all possible speed, the proposed reforms, and to make use of this last opportunity. But when he came to treat the proposition of the hon. Baronet as a practical proposal, he found that it meant a great deal more and a great deal less than the truism he had enunciated. What had been the course taken by the Government down to the present moment? By advice, by remonstrance, and by rebuke the Government had pressed and forced upon the Porte the absolute necessity of setting its house in order. He appealed to hon. Members with confidence, and asked whether it was possible for the Government to have done more by diplomacy than they had done—at least, short of bluster and menace? Would the hon. Baronet have the Government persuade the Porte that reform was even more to our interest than to its own? Such a suggestion would surely prove to be very mischievous. When he listened to the speech of the hon. Member for Reading, who had just sat down, and heard him hint rather vaguely at coercion, he seemed to hear him advocate, not diplomacy, but the old, discarded method of physical force, which was not the way of the Government, and which, if adopted, would require, as an indispensable condition, the assistance of a confederate. But now the nation that might have been the confederate had good reason for keeping its charity at home, even if it were inclined to have a reformed country on its Frontier. It was neither the wish of England nor of the Ambassadors at Berlin that Turkey should be coerced. They said to her—"You must reform or perish; we put before you the choice; and the responsibility, if you refuse, must rest with the Porte, and with the Porte alone." There was, however, another principle in the Treaty, which was conspicuously absent from the terms of the Motion, and that was the elementary principle of fair play. By that principle, Christians and Mussulmans ought no longer to be judged by two different standards. It was a principle applicable, in the first place, to the Empire of the Sultan, but not more so to the Pashas of the Porte than to the Benches of the House of Commons; and when he found the hon. Baronet taking out of the Treaty just those portions that suited him, and setting aside, as mere verbiage, other portions that were equally important, he felt that he was not giving fair play to the country he attacked. The hon. Baronet singled out Turkey, a country demoralized by intrigue, still staggering from its death-struggle, and oppressed by a more gigantic task than had ever fallen to any other Government, and, under such conditions, expected it to reform in the course of the 365 days that might be called by courtesy a year of peace. Were there no other nations equally bound by the Treaty, and bound to give to their peoples the liberty for which they cried so loudly in the case of Turkey? Were the inhabitants of Bulgaria—where, by-the-bye, the fortresses had not been utterly dismantled—yet in the enjoyment of their farms and villages? Were not the Jews of Servia and Roumania as far as ever from freedom? The hon. Baronet left them on one side, and heaped all the vials of his wrath upon unfortunate Turkey. It seemed to him that it was most inconsistent of hon. Members, in so short a space of time, to bring such charges against the Porte. They usually described Turkey as a festering mass of corruption. How, then, could they expect that its rotten body could take up its bed and walk, immediately after being relieved from the terrorizing and galvanizing influence of the bullets of the Czar? The hon. Baronet had brought forward many Motions in the course of the Session, and in one of them he had complained that Cyprus had not yet been made a paradise. They might quarrel about the occupation of the Island, but not as to the fact that an English Governor would try to procure for it the best government he could. Cyprus, in all its conditions, could compare favourably with the gigantic Empire of Turkey, and, moreover, had not been ravaged by war; yet the hon. Baronet had come forward to complain of its government. Possibly, the hon. Baronet might say that, with the present Government in Office, English Governors were as bad as the Turkish; but, in that case, he could not very well ask the Government to give a lesson and example to Turkey. Reform was always a very slow process in the East; and, at the present moment, the word "prompt" was a remarkable word to put upon the records of the English Parliament. It had taken them four months to discuss the discipline of the Army, and yet it was urged that a year was enough to recover and re-model a great Empire in the East. Did the hon. Baronet suppose that there was no such thing as obstruction in Turkey? He ought to have remembered that the East was the natural home of obstruction? The Bishops and the Pashas alike misrepresented the people. He knew from personal experience that they were about the most sober, industrious, and patient people in this world. He had travelled several times over that country, and, therefore, he had an opportunity of seeing what the people were. It was not only the Christians who complained of bad government at Constantinople. Hon. Gentlemen opposite would fall into the mistake of supposing the Conservative Party to be friends of the Pashas instead of the people of Turkey. Their object really was to bring about good government for all, and he had no hesitation in saying that the Mahommedan Government of Turkey was as much de- tested by the Arabic and Syriac populations as by the Christians. If there was to be a speedy and effectual reform of that country, the change must come from below rather than from above; from the country districts, instead of from the pandemonium of Constantinople. ["Hear, hear!"] He was glad to hear those cheers from the opposite Benches, because what he was leading to was this—that a short time before war broke out a remedy was prescribed, which he believed to be the best and most speedy way of effecting a reform. A Turkish Parliament was suggested; but by Members on those Benches the suggestion was treated with the greatest scorn, and it was to a great extent owing to the bad reception that Parliament had met with in this country that, in dealing with the question of reforms in Turkey, it was with the Sultan and the Pashas they had to take account. It could not be expected that the Government of Turkey would show any great activity in carrying out reforms, if the engagements entered into with it by this country were not fulfilled. At Berlin a promise was given to Turkey that if she would give her people freedom and good government we would give her Empire rest. The signatures of our Ambassadors were hardly dry on the Treaty of Berlin before the engagements we had entered into, not only in that Treaty, but in the Anglo-Turkish Convention, were criticized and condemned by the rank-and-file, as well as by the Leaders and ex-Leaders of the Liberal Party in that House. Was it not, therefore, possible that the Sultan and the Pashas were at this moment waiting to see whether they were dealing with a country that respected its pledges, or with one that repudiated, in one year, the pledges and obligations it had entered into the year before? With regard to that part of the hon. Baronet's Motion which referred to Greece, he would observe that it was vague, like many previous Motions expressing want of confidence in Her Majesty's Government. The language was such as to convey to people outside a totally different idea from that conveyed to persons who were intimately acquainted with the subject. The hon. Baronet asked Her Majesty to endeavour to procure for Greece the rectification of Frontier agreed upon by the Powers, What did the hon. Baronet mean by a rectification of Frontier? It was quite possible he meant two things. If he meant a general rectification of Frontier, he (Mr. Hanbury) agreed with him. It was agreed there should be a rectification of Frontier. But if he meant any particular rectification of Frontier, then he entirely disagreed with him, because they had only to read the Protocols to find that the line recommended was a most vague and general line indeed. Lord Salisbury said Her Majesty's Plenipotentiaries understood a line to be indicated in a general way, and M. Waddington made a statement explicitly to that effect. In quoting from the despatches of Sir Henry Layard, the hon. Baronet gave the House to understand that our Ambassador was not acquainted with the intentions of the Congress as regarded the exact nature of the Frontier line; but, only two lines below the extract quoted by the hon. Baronet, Sir Henry Layard gave the recommendations of the Congress, and said that the line did not give Janina to Greece. He maintained the line was very vague; and, as a matter of fact, looking at the map, he did not believe that Janina was actually included in the line. Then it was urged that if the proposals of Berlin were carried out Greece would have all she claimed. That was by no means the case. Mediation did not mean that one side was to have all it claimed and all the advantages of the bargain. It would be necessary to consider the attitude of Greece, and Greece had declared that not one inch less would she take than the line laid down at the Congress in Berlin. That was all very well, but the line was a vague one. No Frontier was agreed upon; there was simply a recommendation that Turkey should accept a vague, general boundary, as proposed at the Congress. When the hon. Baronet brought the charge against Her Majesty's Government of not having taken sufficient interest in the cause of Greece, he seemed to ignore what England had done for her. At the Congress England had been the best friend of Greece. He had heard it said on the front Opposition Bench by the noble Lord the Leader of the Opposition that the Treaty of San Stefano was, in many respects, a Treaty much preferable to that of Berlin; but if the Treaty of San Stefano had been carried out, then good- bye to Greece and her extensions. Therefore, it could not be said that the English Government had taken insufficient interest in the cause of Greece. The Greeks were perfectly satisfied with the efforts of Her Majesty's Government. Both the King and the President of the Council thanked the British Minister at Athens for what this country was doing for her; and even the right hon. Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone), writing in The Nineteenth Century, said— Her Majesty's Government assumed, to the great and general satisfaction of the country, the charge of the Hellenic cause. It was, therefore, somewhat curious that, after so short a time had passed, a Motion should be brought forward which virtually impugned the conduct of the Administration with reference to the Greeks. A good many reasons were assigned why something should be done for Greece. There was a sentimental idea abroad upon the subject, and he had no doubt that in that idea many hon. Members shared. But what sentiment was there in the matter? The Greeks were simply the inhabitants of a country in which there lived some 2,000 years ago the famous men who might or might not have been their ancestors. Then they were referred to the plea of good behaviour; but Frontiers were not given to nations for good behaviour; but even if that was the case he did not think Greece could put forward such a claim. He was told that England was under obligations to Greece. Why, it was exactly the other way. When, during the Turkish War, Greece was likely to do mischief, England interposed and saved her from what would have been well-merited punishment at the hands of Turkey. Again, an appeal was made on the ground of nationality; but here they were on dangerous ground, for there were Mahommedans in these districts, and even in Janina. Did the people of this district wish to be annexed to Greece? In addition to interfering with the affairs of Thessaly and Epirus, Greece had followed a similar course in Crete, and had created so strong a feeling of disgust that a riot occurred among the Cretans, and several of the Greek agents were massacred. He could not think that, on the question of nationality, speaking on the nature of all the evidence before Parliament, there was anything to be said in favour of the proposed annexation on the ground of nationality. Then, again, it was said—"You are going to set the Greeks up as antagonists to the Slav; and, to prevent the Slav going further South, you ought to encourage the claims of Greece." It was a little too late in the day to make that objection, after the Treaty of Berlin had been agreed to, which gave such great powers to the Slav in Roumania and Bulgaria; but, even if it were not too late, had the Greeks ever shown any likelihood whatever of being able to cope with the Slav? A noble poet, who took the utmost possible interest in the condition of Greece, once wrote— We have the Pyrrhic dance as yet, Where has the Pyrrhic phalanx gone? and this seemed to him to explain, as nearly as possible, the condition of the country at this moment. What was the one reason for which the recommendation of the Congress of Berlin was made? Simply and solely in order that Turkey might have rest on this subject, and on condition that Greece herself should give no further trouble to Europe. What did that imply? It implied that the Frontier which was to be drawn between Greece and Turkey should be a strong one; but it was impossible to read the statements of the Turkish Generals without feeling that, if the line roughly proposed by the Congress were adopted, they would have no kind of natural Frontier between Greece and Turkey. That was a formidable difficulty; but the real difficulty lay in the fact that Greece herself proclaimed most distinctly that, even if what was now proposed were given to her, she would not take it as a final settlement; and in this refusal he was sorry to say she was encouraged by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich in one of his numerous contributions to periodical literature. Greece was now meddling in Crete and in Cyprus; she was maintaining as loudly as even the possibility of a Byzantine Empire; and in all these instances it was much better for Her Majesty's Government to say to turkey and Greece, "Settle this matter between yourselves," that to follow the course of those friends of Greece who proposed that a line should be imposed by an outside Power. If Greece entertained these indefinite ideas of extension, it upset the whole principles upon which the recommendations made in the Treaty of Berlin were founded. It was the want of finality in these arrangements which made Turkey hesitate before she took up these reforms. Indeed, the hon. Members who took up this line were playing into the hands of the unpatriotic Pashas, who would lose a great deal if real reforms were granted to all these Provinces, and into the hands of Russia, which Power did not want to see a reformed country on her Frontier. The hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea declared that recent intelligence from Turkey showed that she was going from bad to worse. He maintained that that assertion was the very contrary of the fact, for the news received from Constantinople that very day showed that Khaireddin Pasha had gained a triumph over the Sultan; that was of the greatest importance, and was full of promise for the future prosperity of Turkey. In spite of all her difficulties, a great deal had been done by Turkey during the past year. In the first place, she had gone through the difficult operation of handing over vast Provinces to her conquerors. She had assisted in giving good government to Eastern Roumelia; she had given good government to Crete, the latter having been made a model Province. She had appointed able Governors to several Provinces, and given to some of these Governors a long term of office. She had also got the bad Pashas out of the way. [Cries of "Chefket Pasha!"] Of course, it was possible to point to the case of Chefket Pasha, and his retention in office was undoubtedly a great slur upon Turkey; but, certainly, some dangerous Pashas had been got rid of. Again, the organization of justice had been re-modelled, and, on the recommendation of Lord Salisbury, the tithe had been confined to a single Province. In many important respects Turkey had acted upon the recommendations of Lord Salisbury. She had appointed Europeans to control the gendarmerie and the Judges, and in this respect she had exercised a very wise discretion. Turkey had two great difficulties—one with reference to money, and the other with reference to men. The first of these difficulties ought not to be too much insisted upon, because Turkey must reform herself whether she had money or not, Turkey was, how- ever, an agricultural country, and probably she could recover from her distress more easily than many other nations. He hoped, therefore, that in future they would hear less of this difficulty of money. As to foreigners, he was bound to say they were not a panacea for the evils of Turkey, for some of the foreigners formerly employed in that country had turned out to be as great scamps in their way as the Turks themselves. He considered that the Motion of the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea was premature. After all, they had to deal with the Sultan and the Pashas, as being for the present the only possible Governors of Turkey. They must endeavour to do them justice, bad as they might be or good as they might be. If the Turks failed, who were to come in their place? They could not divide Turkey in Asia as they had divided Turkey in Europe. If the Turk fell, the Russian must come. Turkey in Asia was largely a Mahommedan country, and what would be the fate of the Mahommedans under Russian rule? Many of the Christian population were not of the Greek, but of the Latin Church, and they might judge of what would be their fate from their experience of the treatment of the Latin Christians in Russia itself. He advocated also, in the interests of his own country, that they should give this the only possible Government in Turkey a fair chance, because, if the Turkish Government were to fall, there would be an upheaving of the great deep and a beginning of trouble, which would involve us and Europe in a long and costly struggle, of which no man could foresee the end. The hon. Member concluded by moving the Amendment of which he had given Notice.


rose, but gave way to—


, who said, he regretted to stand between the House and the right hon. Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone); but he was about to second the Amendment. He desired to express his gratitude to his hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke) and the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Shaw Lefevre) for the kind manner in which they had spoken of his recent labours in Eastern Roumelia. Although he and his noble Friend (Lord Donoughmore) might have been chosen as Party men to serve on a Bulgarian Commission, they were determined to execute their task irrespective of Party politics; and the instructions they received from Her Majesty's Government were that they should carry it out on the principles of local self-government and free institutions, which had been so successful in this country. He also expressed his acknowledgments to the right hon. Member for Greenwich for having said, in a letter he had written to some Bulgarians who had sought to enlist the right hon. Gentleman in favour of setting aside the arrangements of the Treaty of Berlin, that he would offer no opinion on the matter until he had seen the results of the Commissioners' labours. Before he went into the question of the non-fulfilment of this Treaty he would point out that there were other Treaties, the stipulations of which had not been fulfilled. The Treaty of Vienna was still unfulfilled in many points, and in 1848 or 1849 Lord Palmerston used some forcible language about its non-fulfilment in regard to the City of Cracow. In 1856, shortly after the Treaty of Paris was signed by the Representatives of the Powers, the English Government was obliged to adopt the strong measure of sending the Fleet to the Black Sea before it could compel Russia to comply with the stipulations of that instrument. The hon. Member for Chelsea had not treated the matter fairly in merely singling out the non-fulfilment of certain stipulations by Turkey; for, as his hon. Friend the Member for North Staffordshire (Mr. Hanbury) had already pointed out, there were many other unfulfilled stipulations of the Treaty, though they had heard little of them. For instance, the fortresses of Bulgaria had not yet been destroyed, and the Jews had not yet been emancipated in Roumania, and were not entirely so in Servia; but he could bear testimony to the fact that the Turkish Commissioners on the Commission in which he acted were the strongest in supporting the principles of civil and religious freedom on which the Constitution drawn up for Eastern Roumelia was based. The hon. Member for Chelsea said they had not re-established the direct rule of the Sultan in the Province, and that the "bag-and- baggage policy" had been carried out. Well, it was not for the hon. Baronet to blame the English Commissioners even if that were so. But he thought that the direct rule of the Sultan existed quite as much in Eastern Roumelia as that of Her Majesty did in the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. The Queen had the right of garrison in the Channel Islands, and of giving her assent or dissent to the Acts passed by their local Legislatures. The Commissioners were instructed to establish the direct political and military rule of the Sultan as far as concerned the external defence and protection of the country; but they were also instructed to give the Province an autonomy based on the law of the vilayets and on the decision of the Conference of Constantinople, in which Lord Salisbury took so prominent a part, and which conceded the widest local liberty. The hon. Member for Chelsea said that Aleko, the Governor of Eastern Roumelia, was not a Turkish Pasha. If he was not that he did not know what he was. He had been all his life in the Turkish Service. At one time he was a Secretary of Legation, and afterwards he became Ambassador at Vienna. He was a Turkish subject, a Greek by education, and a Bulgarian by birth. He had arrived at the Frontier in a fez. The Russians had then sent to him what is usually called a "billycock" hat as a compromise. His Excellency had, however, assumed the kalpak. He (Sir H. Drummond Wolff) thought the importance of the question had been much exaggerated. To put on the kalpak, which was the national head-dress, could hardly be said to involve a formidable attack on the authority of the Government. If they could suppose such a thing possible as an insurrection in Scotland, it could hardly be thought, when it was appeased, that if a Governor went to that country in a kilt he thereby made a great attack on the integrity of the British Empire. The hon. Member for Chelsea said that the Turks were prepared to extend the Eastern Roumelian statute to the other Provinces of European Turkey only as far as claiming tribute was concerned. But this statute placed the whole question of taxation and its collection entirely under the control of the local Legislatures, so that it would be impossible for the Turks to lay hands upon any portion of the revenue not assigned to them without the consent and assistance of the local authorities, who would have the matter completely in their own hands. His hon. Friend had also spoken of a statement of Lord Salisbury's to the effect that the Commission was only to last for three months, within which time the other reforms ought to have been completed. They met for the first time on the 30th of September, and the three months would have terminated at the end of December. But the Commissioners felt it would be utterly impossible to finish their labours by that time, and in answer to communications from them the different Governments agreed to extend the time. But even if, for certain purposes, their Commission had expired after three months' time, it was provided by the 19th Article that the European Commission should continue to administer the finances of the Provinces till the new organization was complete. As it happened, they only handed over the administration of the finances to the local authorities about the 1st or 2nd of June; and, therefore, he thought that complaint fell entirely to the ground. The hon. Member for Chelsea had quoted a statement of his to the effect that the want of money was no excuse for the Turkish Government, and contrasted it with something Lord Salisbury had said in "another place." But the hon. Member seemed to him to be in some error, inasmuch as Lord Salisbury's language referred to reforms not in European but in Asiatic Turkey. For his own part, he still maintained that the want of money was no excuse for delaying such reforms as the drawing up of reforms for the European Provinces. He thought Turkey was very much to blame in this; and, though he could not support the Resolution of his hon. Friend opposite, he believed that a strong expression of opinion on the part of that House was most desirable in order to force upon the Turkish Government the necessity of carrying out such reforms. The hon. Member had also alluded to certain atrocities now occurring in Macedonia. He (Sir H. Drummond Wolff) had gone with no preconceived opinions, and had been most particular in inquiring into the question of atrocities. He had sent his Private Secretary, Mr. Walpole, Times' Correspondent, who was by no means a Turcophile, into a neighbouring village, and later alone into Macedonia, and he must say that there were very great atrocities being committed on Turks by the Bulgarians. One case was reported in the Blue Books. In another case he had been informed by some Turks that they had been driven out of their village by the Bulgarians with the cognizance of the Bulgarian head-man, and their wives had been violated. These Turks refused some money which he offered them, saying it was no good taking it because they would be at once deprived of it. These facts would all appear in the Blue Books. The two gentlemen whom he had mentioned went at his request to examine into the matter, and they certified to the truth of all these statements. There was another very recent case in which some Bulgarian zaptiehs went into the house of a Turk and asked a woman where the money was. On her refusing to tell, they stabbed her in one or two places and put burning coals on her breast until she gave the information they demanded. He had sent his private secretary and his official secretary, who took a deposition as to the fact. He did not dwell upon these cases very much, because in times of war and disturbance great horrors would happen. But it was not quite fair to charge these horrors entirely on the Turks. The object of the Commissioners was to establish such a system of police in Eastern Roumelia as to prevent this kind of hostility between the races in the future. He was convinced it might be done away with. In some parts of Eastern Roumelia the Turks and Bulgarians were, at the present time, on very good terms; and he had great hopes that when the Russian Forces were withdrawn, and the country had become absorbed in agriculture and commerce, the two peoples might live very well and happily together. He did not deny the existence of Turkish atrocities; but they ought to acknowledge that there were atrocities on the other side as well. He would not go into the question of Greece, as he had not been able to follow it closely; but he was of opinion that the wisest thing Turkey could do would be to come to terms with Greece as speedily as possible. The House would recollect that the question did along with Mr. Mackenzie Wallace, The not affect Greece only, but also a very large population in Turkey who sympathized with their Greek brethren outside. This Greek element was at present well-affected towards Turkish rule; but they sympathized with their brethren in Greece proper, so that it would be best for Turkey not to refuse their demands much longer. He need hardly say that one of the standing difficulties of Turkey was the chance of a war with Greece. There were still other questions to be grappled with in Turkey; and as Khaireddin Pasha, the present Grand Vizier, whose opinions were liberal and enlightened, had always shown himself disposed towards carrying out the necessary reforms, he believed that his tenure of office would conduce much to a satisfactory settlement of the difficulties. For his own part—speaking with a strong sense of responsibility, and being desirous of maintaining the Turkish Empire—he felt convinced that that Empire could only be maintained by a complete system of decentralization. The state of Constantinople was something perfectly appalling, and he scarcely liked to tell of all the instances of corruption that had come under his notice. The House would be able to judge from one or two instances. It was generally known that the import duties were to the amount of 8 per cent ad valorem. A friend of his had imported goods to the extent of £800, and wished to have the boxes opened at his own house and not at the Custom House. At the Custom House he declared their value, and offered £64, the duty of 8 per cent, together with a fee to cover the expenses of the Custom House officer. Nothing would induce the Custom House officer to accept the offer, and a broker at last tried his hand and obtained the boxes for £8, the £64 being taken as the basis of the duty. Of this £8, 8 per cent on £64 was paid to the Government, the rest being appropriated by the officers as back-sheesh. He was informed by a gentleman who had had access to the Papers relating to the Revenues of Turkey that, at the present time, only about £12,000,000 went into the Treasury Chest; while he was convinced that no less than £25,000,000 were paid by the taxpayers, and the country was thus reduced to poverty. Notwithstanding that, the informant said that the country did not require the services of any heaven-born financier in order to overcome the difficulties and to set things straight. If only the present arrangements were honestly worked, the revenue would rise to its proper amount. Every attempt had been made to patch up the finances of Turkey. An offer had been made by M. de Tocqueville, and had fallen to the ground; and, again, a plan had been suggested by which the Ottoman Bank should relieve the wants of the country. These offers comprised a loan of the sum of £6,000,000, which was wanted for the disbandment of troops, the redemption of the caime, and establishing a gendarmerie; but if that proposal had been accepted, it would have been all but fatal, as it would have given Turkey the means of going on for another six months. Then there would be another crisis, with the old story over again. If Turkey wanted to live she must look into the question as a whole, and institute reforms to last, not for six months, but for many years. That could only be done by decentralizing. If the finances were mismanaged in the capital, how much more were they likely to be mismanaged in the Provinces, where there was no check upon them, and whence an appeal could only be made to the mismanagement of the Metropolis. So, why not allow the Provinces to govern themselves and pay for their own police? Why should they depend upon the police, which were said to be sent down from Constantinople; but which he knew, in many instances, were really not sent down at all? Turkey ought to adopt the plan which had been suggested by England—namely, to lay by so much of the annual revenue of the Provinces for State purposes—for the Army, Navy, Diplomacy, and Public Debt, and spend the rest of the money in the Provinces under supervision. There were some who were now prophesying smooth things for the Turkish Government, and endeavouring to maintain them in their old traditions, saying—"Hold out, for England must in time come to help you;" but, for his own part, he submitted the Turkish Government must help themselves. Although he could not, for the reasons he had stated, support the Motion of the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea, he felt that it would be well if there was a strong expression of opinion from the House of Commons to the effect that we had done all we could for Turkey, that we were friendly, that we felt the necessity of her existence as a barrier to Russia; but that, at the same time, she must execute the stipulations she had entered into, and show herself capable of carrying out the reforms which had been marked out for her. For this purpose he thought the Amendment quite preferable to the Motion.

Amendment proposed, To leave out from the word "That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words "this House desires to express its gratification that the main portion of the stipulations of the Treaty of Berlin has teen successfully carried into effect, and approves the steps which Her Majesty's Government have already taken to secure the full accomplishment of those portions of the Treaty which are still in course of execution,"—(Mr. Hanbury,)

—instead thereof.

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


Sir, I need not say I bear in my mind the fact that no hon. Member in the House, excepting those who have moved and seconded the Motion, and the Amendment, have yet been led to address it, for want of time. I confess it appears to me little less than a mockery to commence a general discussion, upon a question of this vast extent, after midnight. That is the condition, however, in which we are placed; and if this were the time to discuss obstruction, there are many things with regard to the Business of the House that I could say that only the extreme pressure of time prevents me from saying. The effect will be that I shall, myself, avoid a great many topics of great interest and importance, and a great many observations that have been heard in the speeches delivered, of which I should wish to take notice, but which are not absolutely essential to the main purpose that we have in view. Allow me to say, Sir, however, that I have listened to the hon. Gentleman the Seconder of the Amendment (Sir H. Drummond Wolff), in the main, with lively satisfaction. I am obliged to make that qualification, "in the main," which he will thoroughly understand; because no one could listen otherwise than with pain to the statements which he made in regard to the outrages, which, as I have always said, if committed by Christians upon Mahommedans and Turks, are even worse than outrages if committed by Turks and Mahommedans upon Christians. These are matters of investigation, on which I give no opinion, beyond the general principle; but, as regards the speech of the hon. Gentleman, I will not say it has surprised me, after what I have seen and. heard of his labours elsewhere; but it demands from me an expression of lively satisfaction. What the Mover of the Amendment thought on the subject it would be difficult for me to conjecture; but there are indications frequently in the course of speeches and at the close of speeches by which one can judge, in a certain measure, of the impression that they make on the two sides of the House. The speech of the hon. Member was greeted, during its delivery, and at its close, with the liveliest expressions of sympathy and satisfaction from this side of the House; but I am sorry to say that I did not catch, though I listened anxiously and intently, any corresponding amount of similar expressions from the hon. Gentlemen among whom the hon. Member sits; but having endeavoured, as well as I can, to compliment the hon. Seconder upon the character of his speech, will he permit me to offer a single criticism? My criticism is this—I am at a loss to connect the speech with the vote he proposes to give. He stated that he should vote against my hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke) on account of reasons which he had given; but it appears to me that those reasons were a part of the hon. Member's purpose, which he had been obliged to drop in consequence of the pressure of time. I do not detect these reasons in any portion of his speech, and that he may be assured that I am not indulging in captious criticism I will just call the attention of the House to the two branches of the Motion of my hon. Friend, and I will consider the bearing of the speech of the hon. Seconder upon the two branches of that Motion. In the first branch, my hon. Friend invites the House to pray Her Majesty to use her influence to procure the prompt execution of those Articles of the Treaty of Berlin which relate to reform in Turkey. Upon that portion of the Motion the hon. Seconder recorded a very strong opinion that a decided expression of sentiment from this House, urging Turkey forward in the path of reform, and conveying to Turkey the conviction it entertains as to the policy of her excuses, would be an expression of the utmost value. Then, with regard to the rest of the Motion, it appears that Turkey will endeavour to procure for Greece the rectification of the Frontier agreed upon by the Powers. Well, Sir; but the hon. Gentleman, in the same spirit of ingenuousness as well as intelligence which characterized his speech at large, stated, in his judgment, as totally distinct and different from, and at variance with, and in contradiction to, the Mover of the Amendment, that it was essential to the interests of Turkey that she should proceed to a prompt settlement on the lines of the Treaty. Well, Sir, I entertained very lively hopes, under these circumstances, that we might have had the benefit of the vote of the hon. Member. Not having the benefit of his vote, I am still more grateful for the strength and encouragement we derive from the whole tenour of his speech. Let us hope it will be reported, as having come before the hour of midnight; it will be reported with greater accuracy and precision than those who, like myself, fall upon still more advanced hours. I trust it will be circulated far and wide; for I am sure, coming as it does from a Gentleman of intelligence, who has had the confidence of the Government, and has lately been engaged in important duties in Turkey and has come back from there, and from his knowledge and experience of the country, that it will have a most beneficial effect. When I turn to the speech of the Mover of the Amendment (Mr. Hanbury), I am very sorry to say that I am unable to hold a similar strain of language. The Mover of the Amendment, Sir, is desirous of appearing as a supporter of the proceedings of Her Majesty's Government; but it is evident that he altogether disapproves of the important despatch written by Lord Salisbury on the 12th of June, which is, in point of fact, a manifesto of the prospective policy of the Government. If it is not a manifesto of the prospective policy of the Government, it would be a gross delusion on the House, coming, as it does, at the close of the volume; but, on that point, I do not entertain the smallest doubt. I accept it as a clear and luminous description of the bases on which they mean to proceed, and it is totally at variance with the views and sentiments of the hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment. He is not only at variance with the Government, but he is at variance with the Treaty of Berlin. He objects altogether to that Treaty. He says the Frontier, in the first place, is a very vague and unintelligible one; and, secondly, that it is a very bad one. He says what is necessary is not that the Powers should intervene, that the Treaty should be fulfilled, and that the operations should take effect; but he thought Turkey and Greece should be left to settle it between themselves. That is to say, that they should go to war with one another—[Mr. HANBURY: No, no.]—Is not that the meaning of "settling it between themselves?" Does the hon. Member suppose that a settlement between them can be attained in any other way excepting by the authority of the Powers? If he does think so, I believe he is the only man in this House who thinks so; and he certainly is the only man who is governed by a credulity which I should be sorry to impute to a Gentleman of his intelligence. A settlement between Turkey and Greece either means nothing at all, or it means a settlement by the strong hand—by force of constant rebellion, fed and fomented in the Turkish territory by the direct sympathy of Greece, by the invasion by Greek Forces to support that rebellion, and by the occurrence of a state of things so dreadful that the interference of Europe would be an absolute necessity for the purpose of bringing about a settlement. The hon. Gentleman appears simply as an enemy of the Treaty of Berlin—in that point of view in which he touches the Treaty in a definite manner. I do not suppose he regards the earlier portion of the Motion. No objection can be taken to the desire of urging the Turkish Power forward. "In the immediate execution of reforms" is an expression in itself so general that it conveys no inconveniently rigid demand upon Her Majesty's Government so as to fetter their discretion. The definite part of the Motion of my hon. Friend is that to which I will now address myself—namely, that which proposes that the Government shall endeavour to procure for Greece the recti- fication of Frontier agreed upon by the Powers, because, he says, this rectification is bad, and a rectification which ought not to be made. What are the reasons the hon. Gentleman advances in support of his extraordinary attack on the Treaty of Berlin? With regard to the character of the recommendation, he says it is extremely hard to attack Turkey, for that in Turkey the people are very good, and the Pashas and the Government are very bad. He speaks as if my hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea was anxious to apply force to the people; but it is to the Pashas and the Government that he wants to apply force; and, therefore, the Mover of the Amendment ought to be extremely glad that this corrupt Government, whose faults he has described, and takes credit to himself for describing, are to be placed under pressure on the authority of the Powers of Europe. He makes all manner of charges against the Greek Government and peoples; and against me he makes charges the most groundless that I have ever been subjected to, though they are not very serious. He made them out by quoting, as my own sentiments, the account I gave of the Greek Memorandum.


I beg pardon. I distinctly quoted the right hon. Gentleman's words. I quoted four instances—half the first were his, and the whole of the next.


I know the hon. Gentleman did. He began his main quotation, and the only quotation which, in the slightest degree, went to the point, with words in which I have described the purport of the Greek Memorandum; next he read words which are historical, which are perfectly true, which are perfectly just, and to which I adhere; and they do not bear one shred of the meaning the hon. Gentleman ascribes to them. It is perfectly true that the principle on which the Congress proceeded at Berlin was a principle that would have justified the wider recommendation that France had asked for, and that Lord Palmerston, and Lord Russell, and the Cabinet of Lord Palmerston in 1862 had made a wider recommendation. But he did not quote these for the purpose of insinuating and saying that the Greek ought not to be satisfied with what the Congress had recommended. Not one word can he find to justify that. He may choose to suggest the insinuation; but, with the recollection of what I wrote, I challenge him to produce it, showing one word to that purpose. What I did was this. I showed that the wider recommendations that had been made by France, that had been made by Lord Palmerston, and that might have been involved in the proposal, were so many reasons why Turkey should promptly acquiesce in that settlement now made, and why Her Majesty's Government should vigorously set about promoting that settlement, in order that Turkey might get—what I always desired she should have—the best settlement of which the circumstances permitted for the disposal of this part of the question. The hon. Gentleman says the Greek Government has been meddling in Crete and Cyprus. What do we know of that? The hon. Gentleman has given us no details, no particulars, has quoted no authorities; but seeks, by raising a vague prejudice against the Greek Government, to draw the House off from the purpose we have now in view. The hon. Gentleman charged the Greek Government with one act which, he said, was an act of misconduct—the sending of the Army across the Frontier. But that was done before the Congress at Berlin, and before the time when, for a very short period, the British Government made themselves champions of the Hellenic nation. It has acted in good faith since the judgment given by the Congress—since the mediation recommended by the Congress. The hon. Gentleman says that the people of Epirus and Thessaly do not want to be annexed to Greece. Where is his authority for that? That is his opinion, and in that opinion he is perfectly in conflict not only with—I will not say the opinions on this side of the House—but he has here also come into conflict, and in direct conflict, with the opinion of Lord Salisbury. He thinks that Epirus and Thessaly may very well remain under the rule of the Sultan. [Mr. HANBURY: I quoted the opinion of Sir Henry Layard.] Does the hon. Gentleman think that Epirus and Thessaly will remain under the rule of the Sultan? But, if he quoted Sir Henry Layard, I can only say he is in complete conflict with Lord Salisbury; because his Lordship, with great good sense, in the despatch of the 12th June, after urging upon the Sultan the consideration that the territory in question is rather a source of weakness than of strength, adds, that if he retains this district under his dominion it will Bear him a reluctant allegiance. Being Christians, they do not add to the number of his Army; that in time of trouble their discontent is a standing source of danger and a steady drain upon his defensive power. The desire, which has been chronic among them for so long, prevents them from yielding any revenue compatible with the cost which it imposes. The hon. Member comes here as a friend of Turkey. I have no doubt that he is the friend of Turkey, but he is one of those friends who have lured on Turkey to her destruction; and now he is advising Turkey not to give way, not to accede to the demands of the Powers, and not to listen to the authority of Europe. That was the whole tenour of his speech, and it wound up with a recommendation that the Powers should abandon their solemn conclusion, and leave the matter to be settled between Turkey and Greece. Well, Sir, I do not recollect whether there is any other important allegation made by the hon. Gentleman that it is necessary for me to mention; but he spoke, I remember, of the impossibility of regenerating the Turkish Empire in 12 months, and then of certain things which had been done in the way of reform. When he spoke of making a good appointment, he was naturally reminded of the case of Chefket Pasha, perhaps one of the greatest miscreants on earth, who was so described solemnly by the British Government, and who was indicated by the British Government as a man whose crimes called for condign punishment. That man has been favoured, petted, kept in good offices, placed in disturbed districts, invested with the power of determining the happiness and misery of hundreds of thousands of people by the Sultan and by Pashas upon whom the hon. Gentleman said—"For God's sake do not exercise pressure." Then the hon. Gentleman spoke of Midhat Pasha. I know that Midhat Pasha is, among all their enemies, the most formidable, and more than formidable, the most repugnant to the subject-races. The hon. Gentleman says the Sultan has appointed him for five years. I do not know whether he is so appointed, and I confess I care very little if he is so appointed. A man of that class is certainly likely to be appointed somewhere; but I decline entirely to accept that appointment as a proof, such as he wishes me to take, of the commencement of reform in Turkey. Then the hon. Member has spoken of the appointment of Photiades Bey in Crete for five years. I believe he has not received an appointment of an irrevocable character. I believe if Photiades Bey were appointed under a valid instrument not revocable that he would probably be a very good Governor of Crete; but I am obliged to confess myself in conflict with the hon. Gentleman on the point of fact, and judging from my information, derived at least from a man of great experience in Crete who ought to be well informed, Photiades Bey holds his appointment from day to day, depending altogether on the breath of the Sultan and the officers by whom he is surrounded. Well, now, Sir, if I may leave the question—Oh, yes! there was the other point. We have recently heard of the re-organization of the Judges, of the reform of the Judicial system. We have been so profitably busy about it in this country for the last 50 years that the hon. Gentleman was quite justified in supposing that that would sound to us as if it were a great title for commendation. The statement he made was that 183 Judges had been appointed—which was more than the whole Judicial Staff in this country—and that out of these 166 were Mahommedans. [An hon. MEMBER: 83.] The hon. Gentleman may be better informed than I am; but I must speak from the information I have received. But out of these Judges nearly all are Mahommedans. The appointment of a number of new Judges is no sign at all of the reality of improvement in Turkey. Let us hear from the lips of responsible Ministers that progress is being made, and then we will begin to believe it. The hon. Gentleman is old enough to reflect and to remember what took place in former times in Turkey—after the Hatti-Cheriff in 1839. After the Hatti-Humayoun in 1866, there arose a great promise of reform—nay, more—there were real beginnings of reform. It is only just to Turkish statesmen to say that after the Hatti-Humayoun of 1866 there were some real beginnings of reform. But we have now given Turkey 12 months, and we have not heard from the lips of responsible Ministers of the Government, who would not speak without knowing that they are well informed, any real assurance of any real progress made—of any district better governed, and in the single instance which amidst the pressure of Parliamentary Business a particular case has been cited—namely, the case of Armenia, the language held has been totally different. Not a project has been advanced, not a hope even has been ventured that any improvement has been made. Well, now, Sir, it was necessary for me to notice these points of the speech which referred to the case of the Greeks, and which were intended to prejudice the Greek Government in the eyes of the House, as the hon. Member also thought to prejudice the case in the eyes of the House by talking about the dangers that were to follow the downfall of Turkey. Perhaps dangers would follow the sudden downfall of Turkey; and, if so, that was the more reason for not following the advice of the hon. Member, because it was to him and other so-called friends that a very large part of the dangers of Turkey are now due. They have had their way. What has happened during the last three years? Who is responsible? Are not you in the majority? Have not you had countless triumphs in this House? Have you not had the whole power of the Empire at your back? Do you think, then, you can come here and say that the minority has marred your valuable efforts, or has baffled you? If you are a majority, you are the Parliament of England. You are the Queen's Government. You are the House of Lords and the House of Commons. You say you also have had the people at your back. I should think, then, the hon. Gentleman himself would be ashamed that the handful of persons sitting on these Benches have been enabled to baffle the operation of that enormous powerful machinery, or to say that by its combinations the whole forces of your policy have been so enfeebled and made useless that its efforts have resulted in the prostration of Turkey, in the humiliation and mutilation of Turkey, in the increased weakness and corruption of Turkey, and in the aggravation of every danger which it was your duty to avert. I hold, on the contrary, that the best friends of Turkey are those who, at an early stage of the controversy, in plain and decisive language, without any of those innuendoes which sometimes destroy the force of language, laid before Turkey the necessities of the case, and cast upon her the responsibilities of the evils that her misconduct or folly might entail, and did not exclude from their view that ultimate possibility, which was then first brought into action, that Europe, for the sake of peace, even for the sake of Turkey itself, might be obliged with strong hand to interpose. Moderation in the demands that you may make of her, firmness and earnestness of purpose, and no equivocation in the manner in which you press them—that, I believe, is the proper policy to pursue. But the Amendment of the hon. Gentleman is totally different from the Motion in more than one particular. The point of difference, however, to which I would draw the attention of the House, is this. The Amendment of the hon. Member is entirely a retrospective Amendment. It expresses satisfaction with what has been done, and approves the steps that the Government have taken. My hon. Friend entirely avoids that ground in his Motion. Having the Papers in his hand, he felt it necessary, in his most able statement, and my hon. Friend near me (Mr. Shaw Lefevre) also felt it necessary, to go over that ground. But it is his Motion with which we have to do. That is entirely and wholly prospective. But it does not imply any censure whatever on Her Majesty's Government. Now, Sir, if I am to go back upon the past, I am bound to say I must agree with him in all his criticisms on the course Her Majesty's Government took; but I do not wish to go back upon the past, for there is something better we can do. I say there is something better; and that is, to do what my hon. Friend invites us to do—to look straight to the future, and to endeavour to do so without prejudice and without animadversion upon Her Majesty's Government, and to assist Her Majesty's Government with the weight and authority of this House in procuring the general fulfilment of those portions of the Treaty of Berlin essential to the happiness of the people of Turkey, for whom my hon. Friend is so solicitous, and particularly and specifically to procure the carrying out of the clauses of the Treaty, and the consummation of those relating to the Frontier of Greece. No doubt, it is our duty to call Her Majesty's Government to account—to criticize their conduct, and to find fault with them in whatever way our understanding and conscience may dictate. That, no doubt, is a part of the duty of a Member of Parliament; but it is a duty which he certainly need not be so enamoured of as to flaunt it about, and resort to it on every occasion, particularly when it may come into conflict with the attainment of useful objects. If it be a duty to animadvert on the policy of the Government where we think they have gone wrong, it is certainly a much higher duty to waive retrospective criticism, and to use the influence of the House to mitigate the serious evils which afflict the East, and to promote the happiness of the populations of the Turkish Empire. This is what my hon. Friend asks the House to do. He asks the House to do no more than that. He begs you generally to press for the prompt execution of the Article relating to reforms, and that an undertaking may be given that the Articles of the Treaty may be carried out, thereby endeavouring to procure for Greece the rectification of the Frontier agreed upon by the Powers. Is there anything improper in that? I am sure Her Majesty's Government will not tell us that we must not interfere because negotiations are going on. There is a perfectly distinct Article in the Treaty that is the completion and consummation of a great negotiation, and what we want is the application of that, and that is not a matter which ought to be or which could be affected by complicated negotiations when the views of the Powers are unknown. The Mover of the Amendment seems to think that the Treaty is very difficult to understand upon this subject. He says, and says quite truly, and quotes Lord Salisbury as his authority, that the Frontier line was generally indicated, and not indicated with precision, by the Treaty of Berlin. That is perfectly true; but is that any reason why we should not ask the parties who are competent to interpret their own words to proceed to do so, because the hon. Gentleman may happen to think, or I may happen to think, or anybody else, that these words are difficult to construe? That is no reason why the words should not be construed by the proper authorities. We are not the proper authorities. The proper authorities are the Powers who conducted the negotiations. I presume they know their own meaning. I believe they do know their own meaning. I believe that these difficulties are perfectly airy and theoretical. The French Government, at the foundation of the Greek Kingdom, made most intelligent studies of the whole question of the Frontier, and contributed very greatly at that important period, if not to secure to the Greek nation a good Frontier, at least to prevent her having a much worse one than she actually got. If you will procure them, you will find they knew perfectly well what this Frontier is, and ought to be. That is not a question, at any rate, to be regulated by talk about vagueness, encumbered with words that are nothing to the purpose. There is no fear of the result. What is our fear? It is that we are interrupting the peace of the land. We should raise our voice in defence of those arrangements which are for the interests of justice, peace, and reform in these countries; and, for that reason, what we ask is that Her Majesty's Government will work in co-operation with other Powers in order to bring this matter to a speedy consummation. Let the hon. Gentleman say, if he likes, that this question can end in but one way. I have never incited, and I will not incite, or endeavour to incite, the Government of Greece not to regard this as a final measure. The only communication I have had with any person connected with the Greek Government on this subject is this—namely, to make known my belief that Lord Salisbury was perfectly justified in saying that if Turkey acquiesced in the arrangement contemplated at Berlin it might be fairly asked of Greece that she should give satisfactory assurances for her future good conduct. I charge the hon. Gentleman with misrepresenting me, and he enabled me to refute what he has said, by referring to actions of mine in a totally opposite sense. I entirely disclaim the intention, and I am perfectly willing to sympathize with the hon. Gentleman and the Pashas in their desire for finality, if that were really a difficulty. As I have said, this can only end in one way. Greece, weak as she may be, is yet strong in the principles on which she rests. She has the assertions made by the Turkish Government; she has the strong sympathy of these populations; she has the assertion of the uselessness of these populations to the Sultan; she has, on record, the engagements by this country, now some 13 months ago, promising our careful consideration, which is well known to mean the favourable consideration of some of her territorial claims. She has got certain words inserted in the Treaty; she has got a description of a certain line of Frontier. That line of Frontier is a line which, like every other line, is different from a line drawn along the surface of the earth; but the subsidiary arrangements are such that they must be made by the same authority which declared the line in principle. What we ask is, that the declarations of Her Majesty's Government ever since Lord Salisbury and Lord Beaconsfield came back from Berlin shall be fulfilled. One of the earliest declarations, constantly repeated over and over again, was that "the Treaty of Berlin shall be fulfilled in the spirit and in the letter. We have never receded, and we do not believe and cannot believe that anybody will recede, from the Treaty of Berlin; but, whoever does recede from it, the Government of England will not be the people to do so." This was accompanied by the announcement that the Greeks had now the opportunity of obtaining a larger share of territory from Turkey than any of those rebellious subjects, as they were called, who had taken part in the war had previously obtained. These assurances held out by this Government cannot be forgotten. They weaken your hands, if you are to attempt to interrupt the fulfilment of that arrangement. Greece may be weak, but, rely upon it, she will not recede; and I will go further, and say, she will not recede from that which Europe has promised her. She cannot have higher sanction than that of Europe. In my opinion, it was very mistaken policy to sever Eastern Roumelia from Bulgaria; but so strong is my respect for that settlement that during the whole period of that arrangement I have never opened my mouth for one word of criticism. We must, Sir, respect these conclusions at which the Powers of Europe arrived. In combinations and circumstances so difficult and complicated as these, if you are to unsettle them on small cavils and private opinions, there never can be peace, there never can be progress towards the settlement of national questions. We have now reached a point at which our duty is to form the best judgment we can upon the policy of Her Majesty's Government so described. As I understand, the despatch of Lord Salisbury refers to previous proceedings of the Government in which a more limited settlement of territory was proposed. It likewise refers to a preference which the Government had entertained, as I should say very mistakenly, in favour of a postponement of further proceedings; but it is purposely stated at the bottom of page 234 that they have not thought it right to insist on their views in this matter in opposition to the Powers' expressed opinion, and, therefore, that line had been abandoned. Lord Salisbury goes on, in the course of a rather lengthy statement contained in page 235, to express the views upon which Her Majesty's Government intend to act. Of course, Sir, I do not pretend, and have no right to pretend, that I have any information as to their meaning beyond what I can draw from their official language. I read that official language with great care, and with as much candour as I can apply to it. I understand it to mean that Her Majesty's Government, reserving, of course, to themselves, and properly so, the same right of interpretation that belongs to every other Power, yet, notwithstanding that, they intend to require from Turkey that she shall accept the general line of recommendation at Berlin. Sir, if the general line is kept, upon that very little difficulty will remain. It is impossible to admit the claim as to Janina. I am reluctant, independently of the lateness of the hour, to enter into the argument about it, because I feel that the authority of the Treaty is something very much higher and stronger than any argument I can use. But this I will say—and the hon. Gentleman himself did not for a moment contest the fact—that the people who inhabit the district of Sandjak and Janina, and who form about one-half of the whole population of Epirus, are, in an overwhelming majority, Greeks by language. Of that there is no doubt whatever. A handful of Turks dwell in the town of Janina, and they are, unfortunately, men of station and posi- tion; but the population are a Greek-speaking population, and they are very strongly Greek in their sympathies. That is declared in Lord Salisbury's despatch. More than that, I doubt whether this House is aware how intensely Greek the City of Janina is. It is more Greek than an ordinary Greek city. Five hundred Epirot students are in the University of Athens. I need not say that they have got no Turkish University. But, Sir, I will go a little further, and I will quote the unprejudiced and unsuspected testimony of Lord Byron in the year 1810, before these troubles began. In that year, commenting on the statement that Athens is still the most polished city of Greece, he says, in these few interesting words— Perhaps it may be of Greece, but not of the Greeks, for Janina in Epirus is universally allowed amongst themselves to be superior in the wealth, refinement, learning, and dialect of its inhabitants. Three thousand years ago, this was the cradle of the Greek nationality. I do not mean that the precise site of the city was the centre; but, at any rate, there, or within six miles of it, was the cradle of the Greek nationality, and of the Greek religion. The hon. Gentleman who moved the Amendment says there have been mixtures of races there. Have there been no mixture of races in England? Are we Danes, are we Saxons, are we Romans, are we Normans, are we Celts? [Laughter.] If laughter is to be excited in that way, very good laughter indeed could be made at the mixture of races which prevails among ourselves. I cannot but believe it is one of the greatest conditions of the excellences of human nature. Such is the case with Janina. It is Greek, which is not to be disputed; but it is Greek with a singular and marked character. The Turks do not claim Janina. Nowhere, that I can find, have the Turks said—"Give us Janina, and then we will be satisfied." Their old argument is—"No, we must have the whole country down to the Gulf." They are vitally at variance with the whole of the Powers, and the best mercy that the Powers can show will be to do to-day what Safvet Pasha recommended some 12 or 14 months ago—that the will of Europe should be announced to them, and that they should be made to attend to it peremptorily. I cannot conceive myself anything more unfortunate than that we should continue to keep Turkey in the midst of her difficulty by the sort of encouragement given to her, and that has been given to her to-night by the speech of the hon. Gentleman, by these vague apologies and vague professions of friendship to her, of which she has had enough. If we say, "We have had enough of her promises of reform"—and I think we have—I think she is entitled to retort upon us that she has had enough of our promises of friendship. Bleeding as she is at every pore under our encouragement, groaning under the burdens which we have encouraged her to undertake, I think that Turkey has great reason to complain, and I think she has a very great disposition so to complain. I do think it is most important to her to have a friend. We cannot expect, at any rate, we do not in this House believe, that Russia is likely to be that friend. The Empire of Austria is assuming, almost from month to month, a position more and more formidable, and of more and more undisguised hostility to Turkey. It is laying its plans for distributing the Provinces, for acquiring and appropriating these dominions, and for opening to itself the territorial frontier to the Ægean Sea. To endeavour to create some friendship between Turkey and the Hellenic race would be a wise and judicious policy, and it is that policy which we ask you to-night to adopt. I believe it is fairly founded on the basis that is described in this despatch—that is to say, the suggestion indicated is a reasonable suggestion by the Congress at Berlin—and, on the other hand, the giving of assurances and guarantees from Greece for the observance, and the faithful observance, of good neighbourhood to Turkey. That is what we ask the House of Commons to pronounce. I believe it is a demand not only agreeable to all the interests in view, but a demand which is most agreeable to the vast mass of the people of this country—a people who have been much divided in regard to the questions between Russia and Turkey, who have suspected everything connected with the Sclavonic progress, because of its supposed association with Russia, but a people whose sympathies with the Hel- lenic interests are unquestionably large now, as they have been in former times. We ask you, therefore, to adopt this step, to allow this House to express its views for the fulfilment of the Treaty of Berlin. The Prime Minister said, on the 9th of November last, that, if necessary, he would appeal to the people to obtain the full accomplishment of the Treaty of Berlin, in the letter and in the spirit. Sir, it is not necessary for him to go so far as that. If he appeals to the House, we know that upon that side of the House his application will be favourably entertained, and he certainly will have on this side a warm and enthusiastic answer to his appeal. We trust that Her Majesty's Government will not take upon themselves the responsibility of forbidding these attempts of the House of Commons to concur with them in giving effect to the concert of Europe for a purpose declared by European authority highly favourable to the interests of freedom, but that they will be disposed to give their assent to the Motion—I think the most reasonable Motion—of my hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea.


Mr. Speaker, I am quite sure that every hon. Member now present will admit that there is nothing more irksome, or more disagreeable, than addressing a weary House of Commons. I regret, Sir, that it should have fallen to my lot on this occasion to do so. At the same time, I do not think it would be respectful to the House, occupying the position I have the honour to hold, if I were to abstain from stating, as I will do very shortly, my views on the Motion now before us. And first let me say that I think it is very satisfactory that we have so many prominent Members of the Liberal Party in this House who are anxious to advocate the more perfect fulfilment of the provisions of the Treaty of Berlin. After the many vigorous denunciations, uttered both in this House and in the country against the Treaty, and considering that it has been declared by eminent Members of the Party opposite that it would be absolutely impossible to carry out its main stipulations—considering also that the provisions, the execution of which has been characterized as impracticable, have now been either executed, or are in process of execution, it is consoling to my mind that we have now a proposal made to us by the hon. Baronet opposite (Sir Charles W. Dilke) for an Address to the Crown, praying that the Crown will use all its endeavours to secure the carrying out of the other Articles of this Treaty which remain unexecuted. The Motion of the hon. Baronet points to two distinct things—the first is, the reforms in Turkey; and the second, the claims of Greece. Now, I say most sincerely, and without the fear of contradiction, that both of those subjects have, from first to last—from the beginning of the protracted struggle which has gone on in Turkey for a period of four years—been prominently before the mind of Her Majesty's Government, who have, in fact, never ceased for one moment to be fully awake to their importance. Sir, amongst the many subjects which the hon. Baronet opposite has treated, there was one that he touched upon rather lightly, and which was afterwards adverted to by the hon. Member for Reading (Mr. Shaw Lefevre), to which I wish to allude at the outset, because I fear that, in my short address, I shall have to say some very disagreeable things; and, therefore, I wish to begin by saying something that is more agreeable than those topics to which I have alluded. I was, I must say, considerably relieved by finding that those hon. Gentlemen, although they made an attack on the Government in respect to nearly every point to which they referred, did not attack the Government on the question of Crete. It has, on many occasions in this House, certainly been insinuated that the Government have not been alive to their duty in many particulars; and they have even been charged with being dead to their duty. But now that the Papers have been produced, and the policy of the Government has been fairly placed before the House, it is satisfactory to find that no fault is imputed to them in regard to Crete. And I must here pay a tribute to our Consul in that Island which I think is well deserved, because it will be seen from these Papers that that gentleman has, from the first, endeavoured to obtain for the Christians in Crete all the liberties which they are entitled to enjoy. Sir, on many occasions, the good offices of England were solicited by the Cretans; and we have the satisfaction of knowing that although, quite lately, the Cretan Assem- bly did make the most formidable demands upon Turkey—demands which a short time ago we could not have supposed that Turkey would concede—yet, mainly owing to the exertions of the English Government and to English influence, all the demands made by the Assembly have been agreed to by Turkey with one exception. As it is now, we have some chance of getting a good Government in Crete, provided only that Photiades Bey, and other good Governors who have the welfare of the people at heart, shall be really secured in the government which they at present hold in that Island. Sir, now with regard to the 23rd Article of the Treaty, and the reforms in Turkey in Europe; that subject has already been so exhausted by my hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch (Sir H. Drummond Wolff) that I do not think it is necessary that I should weary the House by entering upon it. But I think I should not be doing my duty, as this is the first time I have had an opportunity of speaking of the labours of my hon. Friend, if I were not to take this opportunity of saying that I believe no portion of the labour which has been bestowed upon Turkey of late will be of so much good in the end, or will produce so many valuable results, as that great work in which my hon. Friend has been engaged in concert with my noble Friend, Lord Donoughmore. But, the hon. Baronet opposite (Sir Charles W. Dilke), I must say, in treating this subject was, as I am sorry to say he has been before, rather hard upon Sir Henry Layard; and I must certainly take this opportunity of pointing out in the strongest terms that Sir Henry Layard, in addressing the Porte on this occasion, used no less energetic language than my hon. Friend the Member for Christchurch employed. Sir Henry Layard is not here to defend himself, and the hon. Member for Christchurch is. And I must say that when absent persons are performing their duty as well as they can to this land, it is, above all things, the first duty of those who represent them in this House to take care that their actions are not misrepresented in this House, and that they do not receive a less favourable construction than they deserve. Now, Sir, the hon. Baronet mentioned the remonstrance of Sir Henry Layard as being a very mild remon- strance indeed to the Porte upon the subject of their defaults.


explained, that what he had said was this—that the remonstrance was very strong in its terms; but that it was made in the form of a note verbale, which was the mildest form of diplomatic interference.


I really cannot follow the hon. Baronet in the distinction which he draws, because whether a note verbale is the mildest form of diplomatic interference or not is of very little consequence. If the words used are strong, it does not matter much whether they come in the shape of a note verbale or of the most solemn and binding Treaty. The words used by Sir Henry Layard were these— Her Majesty's Ambassador has on many occasions brought this very important matter to the notice of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and has received from his Excellency verbal assurances that the Règlements to be introduced into the European provinces of Turkey were being considered, with a view to being submitted in each province to the special Commissions, in which the native element is to be largely represented. But no steps in that direction appear yet to have been taken, although more than ten months have elapsed since the Treaty of Berlin was ratified. Her Majesty's Ambassador trusts that the Sublime Porte will enable him to inform his Government that the new Règlements have now been referred to the above-mentioned Commissions, and that they will soon be ready to be submitted to the European Commission instituted for Eastern Roumelia for its advice, as provided by the XXIIIrd Article of the Treaty. I cannot imagine anything more direct, or which would more plainly give the meaning of Her Majesty's Government and of our Ambassador, than these words. Therefore, I think it was rather hard that the remonstrance of Sir Henry Layard should be contrasted in that manner with that of the hon. Member for Christchurch. It seems to me that it is quite as strong. Now, Sir, the hon. Baronet then went on to speak of Asia, and he said we had peculiar responsibilities with regard to Asia. He spoke of the responsibilities that attached to Her Majesty's Government, not only in consequence of the 67th Article of the Treaty of Berlin, but also of those accruing in consequence of the Anglo-Turkish Convention. Sir, it is not my duty, on this occasion, to retreat in any way from the responsibilities [of Her Majesty's Government with regard to Asia; for they have, from the first, been perfectly mindful of their duties. And, in August last, Lord Salisbury drew attention to this subject in one of the strongest despatches that has ever appeared in the Blue Books. He pointed out the necessity for reforms in the Police, in the Judicial system, and in the collection of the Revenue. Since that despatch was written, two Commissions have been sent to Asia Minor. We have received Reports from the Consuls who accompanied, those Commissions, and I am sorry to say that those Reports reveal the existence of a very unsatisfactory state of things in that part of the Turkish Empire. In fact, I do not think that anything can be much worse than the condition of some parts of Armenia. I feel that the Armenians are entitled to the sympathy of this country, and I hope that they will obtain it, and enlist on their side the exertions of all to gain the reforms that we consider necessary; but, at the same time, much as we sympathize with the oppressed races, I beg to protest against the inference that Her Majesty's Government is responsible for the existing state of things, and that we are to blame for the non-fulfilment of Turkish promises. We have done our best, and have brought all these matters under the notice of the Porte. I, for one, have no wish, to make excuses for the Turkish Government. More might have been done by them than has been done, for the state of things revealed by the visits of our Consuls in Asia Minor is, in some places, shocking and revolting. The misconduct of the Pashas, the corruption and extortion of the officials, the tyranny and cruelty of those in authority, is as bad as anything we have ever heard of. It is useless, however, to denounce the Turkish Government in one breath, and in the next to taunt Her Majesty's Government that reforms have not as yet been carried out. We ought rather to try to remedy and improve the condition of Asia Minor. The difficulties, I admit, are great, and have been much increased by the emigration of a large portion of the Mussulman population; but, bad as the condition of the country certainly is, it does not become us to be discouraged. Political questions of the highest importance have occupied the attention of the Porte, to which it has been necessary to give great attention. Such questions as the settle- ment of Bulgaria, of Eastern Roumelia, of Montenegro, of Albania, and the Frontier of Greece. It has been absolutely necessary to deal with these questions, which are of vital political importance, particularly from an International point of view. The Sultan has been opposed, from first to last, by a most fanatical Party at Constantinople, who have opposed all concessions. I believe the Sultan is perfectly convinced that the steps which Her Majesty's Government have recommended to him are the only means of giving prosperity to his country. With regard to the immediate future of Asia Minor, Lord Salisbury has lately written a despatch, from which I will make one or two extracts, to show what, in the opinion of Her Majesty's Government, are their duties with respect to Asia Minor— By Article LXI. of the Treaty of Berlin the Porte engages 'to carry out, without further delay, the improvements and reforms demanded by local requirements in the provinces inhabited by Armenians, and to guarantee their security against the Circassians and Kurds.' It further undertakes 'to make known the stops taken for this purpose to the Powers, who will superintend their application.' Further, in Article I. of the Convention between Great Britain and Turkey of the 4th June, 1878, the Sultan 'promises to England to introduce necessary reforms, to be agreed upon later between the two Powers, into the government, and for the protection of the Christian and other subjects of the Porte' in his Asiatic territories. Under these two Treaty stipulations the Sultan stands bound not only to promulgate new and improved laws, but actually to carry out reforms in the administration of the provinces situated within the sphere of Major Trotter's observation. Any proceedings inconsistent with the spirit of that promise furnish an ample ground for remonstrance—by the Consul in the first instance, and afterwards, should occasion arise, by the Ambassador. Judgment must, of course, be used, both as to the expediency and the manner of such representations, and great care should be taken not to act upon information the accuracy of which is open to doubt. But, subject to these precautions, Great Britain is bound to spare no diplomatic exertion to obtain good government for the populations of Asiatic Turkey. Under these Treaty stipulations, Lord Salisbury has pointed out that the Sultan stands bound, not only to promulgate new and improved laws, but to carry out reforms in the Provinces of Europe and Asia. But, subject to these precautions, Great Britain is bonnd to spare no diplomatic exertion to obtain good government for the populations of Asiatic Turkey. These are the views of Her Majesty's Government at the present moment. They do not desire to withdraw from the course they have marked out for themselves; and, certainly, the suspicions of the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea are not well-founded. Six Consuls of experience and ability have been appointed in Anatolia. Her Majesty's Government have perfect confidence that wherever there is bad administration, or tyranny of any kind, these Consuls will perform the duty imposed upon them by Her Majesty's Government—namely, to report the matter to Her Majesty's Government; and I myself have known many instances of Reports of that kind doing much good, and bringing to light abuses which have subsequently been remedied. Well, Sir, if nothing else had arisen, the recollection of what took place after the Crimean War would have induced Her Majesty's Government to take the course they adopted; because, beyond a doubt, much of the evil which has fallen on the populations of Eastern Europe in recent years is to be attributed, in my opinion, to the neglect of opportunities which have arisen subsequently to the Crimean War. Sir, when these accusations are made against a Conservative Government—accusations which are now made, and have been made for some years past, in every shape and form that it is possible to make them—when these accusations are made, it is as well to recollect that between 1856 and 1874, a period of 18 years, Liberal Governments were in power for 14 years. I should like to know what evidence there is to show that, during those 14 years, the Liberal Governments were alive to those duties and responsibilities incurred after the Peace of 1856? Sir, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone) has mentioned the Hatti-Houmayoun. I have studied all the documents which arose out of it, and, I must say, I cannot find that the Liberal Government, or any Government in Europe, was really alive to the responsibilities which they undertook; and this is the more surprising, because not only did they undertake those responsibilities as to the improved condition of the various races in Turkey, but they also entered into the famous Tripartite Convention binding them to protect Turkey, so that they had the strongest possible inducement to bring about an improvement of Turkey. They knew that they had guaranteed the integrity of Turkey—of the Turkish Empire—and they must know that the only way to preserve that integrity was to get Turkey to reform herself and her institutions. Now, Sir, I come to that portion of the hon. Baronet's speech which alluded to Greece. It appears to be the wish of the hon. Baronet opposite (Sir Charles W. Dilke) to represent Her Majesty's Government as being totally indifferent to the cause of Greece, and as a sort of drag on the other Powers of Europe, before and after the Berlin Treaty. I do not think anyone can peruse these Papers without seeing that Her Majesty's Government have been, from the first, animated by the most sincere desire to better the relations which exist between Turkey and Greece. Sir, there have been other occasions on which I have been called upon to address the House upon this subject, and I have been obliged to treat it with considerable reserve, because, as the House is aware, ever since the Treaty of Berlin, negotiations have been going on, with reference to Greece, with all the Powers of Europe; and, under these circumstances, it would be impossible for me to state anything in relation to what was going on then without being guilty of bad faith towards some or all of the Governments of Europe. Several hon. Gentlemen have to-night treated this rather as a Party question than otherwise, and have endeavoured to show that, while other Governments were inclined to show sympathy with Greece, the Government of Her Majesty displayed no such feeling. I remember that, on a former occasion in this House, and on other occasions outside its walls, the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea has endeavoured to show that Her Majesty's Government were opposed to the terms of the Treaty of Berlin as far as Greece was concerned. But what is the real truth concerning the matter? So far from Her Majesty's Government lagging behind, it is, I think, clear, from the Papers before the House, that they have approved the course suggested by, and made part of, the Treaty of Berlin in reference to Greece. And, as a matter of fact, Her Majesty's Government suggested the line of the Greek Frontier some months before the Congress met, and that at the instance of Sir Henry Layard, who had conferred with Sadyk Pasha upon the question. That rectification of Frontier would have been agreed to before the meeting of the Congress, but for the unfortunate fact that Sadyk Pasha fell, and that Rashdi Pasha, who succeeded him, did not take the same view. Later on, when Sefket Pasha spoke to Sir Henry Layard on the same subject, he said that if this alteration or rectification of Frontier was to be effected, it must be done by means of pressure brought to bear by the European Powers; but, in using this language, he did not express the opinions expressed either by his predecessors or his successors. It was just before the Congress that Sefket Pasha expressed the opinion which I have quoted to Sir Henry Layard; and the only question remaining was whether it should or should not be taken into consideration by the Congress. What, then, are the facts? It must be well known that during the late war Greece distinctly refused to discourage the attacks which were made on the Turkish Frontier, and, after the important successes of the Russian Army, determined themselves to invade Turkey with irregular Forces. This proceeding was lost sight of by Her Majesty's Government, who sent two officers to Greece to endeavour to induce the Greek Government to desist from the course upon which they had entered. Furthermore, when Her Majesty's Government found that there was an intention on the part of the Porte to take strong retaliatory measures, they took steps to dissuade the Constantinople Government from sending their iron-clad Fleet to bombard certain towns on the seaboard of Greece. Greece was assured that she would lose nothing by abstaining from attacking Turkey, and we endeavoured to persuade the Porte that the most prudent and politic thing it could do was to observe a policy of conciliation towards Greece. We were successful in obtaining a truce between the two Powers. At that time we had reason to the believe that Greece would be satisfied with the line of delimitation mentioned by Sir Henry Layard. Under these circumstances, I do not think that Greece has any right to complain of the advice given by England. Greece ought to recollect this now, and did recollect it at the time, because she acknowledged that Turkey had a large Army and a large Navy, and it was only by the earnest desire of England that that Army and Navy were not used against Greece. It would have been a great evil and a great misfortune for Greece, if that country had been made the theatre of a contest between the two nations. At that time there was a great alarm in Greece, and the Greek Government not only besought Her Majesty's Government to interpose, but thanked Her Majesty's Government in the warmest terms for having prevented Turkey from attacking her. Well, Sir, it has been always the opinion of Her Majesty's Government that Turkey would do wisely to make such arrangements with regard to her Frontier as would restore peace between the two countries. I quite agree with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich that the question is not as to one particular town or one particular line. The great object is to restore peace, and to do it in such a way that it will be a permanent peace, and that populations which for centuries, or, at least, within the memory of men, have not been able to live peaceably, might for the future be able to do so. We have impressed on Turkey that if she makes a territorial sacrifice she will be amply compensated for that sacrifice by being relieved from the necessity of keeping up a large Army on her Frontier, exhausting her resources by continual expeditions, keeping up large garrisons, receiving no tribute, and having a population on her border in a state of insurrection. It may be said that one of the difficulties of the situation is to find a defensible Frontier. I believe that the present Frontier may be said to be the most defensible Frontier that can be obtained, and I wish to say that, because I think it one of the strongest points that Turkey has. But when one comes to think of it, I do not think it, in reality, a strong point at all; because a Frontier may be one of the strongest Frontiers in the world, but it may be a very bad Frontier for the maintenance of peace. One of the greatest enemies of peace is brigandage. Sir, the very fact of the Frontier being a mountain in which brigands abound is a reason why it should remain a strong Frontier; but that does not render it a good Frontier. Sir, when the Congress took place, Her Majesty's Government did what could best be done by mediation. There is no evidence whatever to show, in all these Papers, that any Power of Europe was prepared to force the opinion of Congress upon Turkey. In fact, I am prepared to state that there was no Government in Europe prepared to do so. There was no Government in Europe prepared to force the opinion of Congress upon Turkey; and, therefore, that being so, Her Majesty's Government thought that the best, and really the only, way to bring about the agreement between the two Powers, and to effect the object they all had in view, was to endeavour to get the two Powers to agree among themselves. This is really the whole key to their position. They have never held back for one instant. What they said was this—"We believe the best way to arrange this matter is to endeavour to get these two Powers to agree. At the same time, when the proper time arrives, if they do not agree, we are ready to go forward with mediation." The hon. Baronet says in October we broke off the concert of Europe. We did the exact reverse. We got the Powers to adopt our views. We received the support of every Government. We received the support of France, of Italy, of Germany—notwithstanding all that was said by the hon. Baronet. We received the support of Austria, and we received both the support and gratitude of Greece. I will just read one or two quotations from the despatch of Mr. Corbett to the Marquess of Salisbury, dated Athens, December 26, 1878, in which he says— M. Delyanni showed me yesterday the note mentioned in my despatch of the 25th instant, which he has just received from the Turkish Chargé d'Affaires, and expressed the satisfaction felt by the Greek Government that at last the Sublime Porte had recognized the principle of a cession of territory by Turkey to Greece. All this time we had been endeavouring to press on Turkey the advisability of making that concession. His Excellency and M. Coumoundouros, the Prime Minister, both requested me to convey to Sir Henry Layard the thanks of the Greek Government for the interest he had shown in the matter of the rectification of the frontier, as reported by the Greek Minister at Constantinople. They attributed to his friendly cooperation the present favourable aspect of the question. Sir Henry Layard was publicly thanked by the Greek Government for the in- terest he had shown in the matter of the rectification of the Frontier; and now the hon. Baronet comes forward and charges him with being cold and lukewarm on the subject. I think the House will agree with me that, considering the mediatorial attitude which, at this moment, both Her Majesty's Government and the other Governments of Europe are occupying with regard to Turkey and the Greek question, I may be excused from going into matters of detail respecting the boundary. If I were to do so, I should really break faith with the other Governments of Europe. I observe that only a few days ago the Italian Prime Minister made a remark of that kind in another Assembly; and, therefore, I hope the House will excuse me from going into minute detail with regard to the boundary line between the two countries. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Shaw Lefevre), and the hon. Baronet (Sir Charles W. Dilke), both mentioned the case of Janina. I do not believe there can be any doubt that the general description given of Janina is correct. I do not think anybody can read descriptions of Janina without coming to the conclusion that it is practically Greek. But I do not wish to be supposed to be in favour of the cession of Janina or against it. That is the question now to be decided at Constantinople. Therefore, it would be extremely improper to give an opinion one way or the other. Although. I admit that it is, no doubt, a Greek town, at the same time, I cannot help thinking that there is a strong Albanian nationality, and that there is a strong feeling in Albania against the cession of Janina; and it really is not wise in those who will have great influence in acting as mediators in this case to ignore the strong points on one side, whilst giving effect to the strong points on the other side. I am not disposed to think lightly of Albanian nationality. They are an ancient and historic race. We find the Albanians in olden times described by Herodotus and Pliny as being a wild and uncouth race, brave, and primitive in their modes of living. All the characteristics attributed to them are those of the Albanians of the present day. I do not believe there is any evidence to show that Albanians will peacefully submit to absorption of any kind. That is a question that is to be decided hereafter, and it is unwise to shut our eyes to that question. It may be taken for granted that any cession of territory which may be made must be such as to meet with the approval of the Albanians themselves; otherwise, more harm than good will result. I have no doubt whatever that it is most expedient for Turkey to make a cession of territory, and a liberal cession of territory, for the reasons I have already mentioned. Everybody must also agree that it is most expedient for Greece to be reasonable in her demands, and to live on friendly terms with Turkey. She must recollect that there are other Powers which may be more dangerous to her than Turkey; for, after all, whatever may be said against the Turkish Government, it cannot be denied that Hellenic institutions have been allowed to nourish under Turkish rule. I believe it, therefore, to be of the greatest importance to Greece that she should entertain friendly relations with Turkey. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Gladstone) says it is exceptionally hard for Greece that Her Majesty's present Government should take a less favourable view of her aspirations than any Government who have preceded them. Well, there is no person in this country who knows the political history of England better than the right hon. Gentleman, and I would just carry his recollection back a few years. I would ask him whether, in 1854, Her Majesty's Government did not make the strongest representations to Greece with regard to her tendency to insurrection? I would also ask him whether, later, in 1862, when the cession of the Ionian Islands was first spoken of, Her Majesty's Government did not tell Greece that whoever was on the Throne of Greece must renounce all ambitious ideas with regard to Turkey? More than that, I would ask him whether, in 1870, Her Majesty's Government did not use the strongest threats towards Greece, to induce her to desist from her projects for an extension of territory? Under these circumstances, it seems to me somewhat unfair to accuse Her Majesty's present Advisers of taking a less favourable view of the affairs of Greece than their Predecessors. With regard to the Resolution before the House, I cannot agree with the right hon. Gentleman that it has not a retrospective effect. The whole of the speech of the hon. Baronet who moved it (Sir Charles W. Dilke) was an indictment against Her Majesty's Government for what has taken place. Therefore, I need not say that the Government cannot accept the Resolution of the hon. Baronet. They concur, certainly, in the Amendment that has been proposed by my hon. Friend behind me. I am afraid I have wearied the House by going into details which, certainly, are of a somewhat difficult character; but I hope the House will be satisfied with the statements I have made. The House may rest assured that reforms in Turkey, both in Europe and Asia, will continue to have the best attention of Her Majesty's Government, and that Her Majesty's Government will use their best endeavours to secure a settlement of the boundary question in such a manner as to conduce to the establishment of a permanent peace.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(Mr. Monk.)

Question put, and agreed to.

Debate adjourned till Tuesday next.