§ On the vote of £29,000 as a grant in aid of the revenues of the Island of Cyprus,
§ SIR C. W. DILKE
said, that estimate, although it came in course of payment for the present financial year, really represented expenditure for the previous year. In addition £35,000 appeared in the Civil Service Estimates published that morning as the Cyprus deficit for the present year, and no doubt there would be a deficit in the financial year about to begin. We appeared, therefore, to be entering upon an era of heavy Cyprus expenditure. Ever since 1879, when the series of grants in aid of the revenue of Cyprus was first begun, a large number of Members of the House had always been found to debate and divide against them. The whole history of our financial relations with the Cyprus Protectorate was of such a character that it was almost impossible for anyone to vote with an easy conscience in favour of a grant in aid of Cyprus. In 1891, the last occasion on which a debate and division had taken place, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, then Leader of the Opposition, had made several speeches on the subject. He did not wish, as the Prime Minister, Lord Derby, used to say, to "Hansardise" the Chancellor of the Exchequer, because doubtless, his right hon. Friend held the, same views now which he held then, but his right hon. Friend forcibly expressed the views 684 always entertained by himself on this question. On that occasion the Chancellor of the Exchequer pointed out that we robbed Cyprus of a large sum of money, which should be devoted to its administration, to the extent of something like £100,000, and that we so impoverished Cyprus that we were obliged to devote the money from the English taxpayers in order that we might carry on the affairs of the island, and he concluded by saying that "we ought to make arrangements of a different kind which would not be so unjust to the people of Cyprus as the present arrangements." Now, of course the Government had had plenty of other matters to attend to, and they ought not, perhaps, to be blamed because they had not come to Parliament with new proposals. He thought they were entitled to ask on this occasion that some new departure should be taken and some policy should be announced which should not be open to the very grave statements made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the former occasion. With regard to Cyprus generally, it was originally occupied as a military station, but there was now no great military or naval authority who said it was of any military value to this country. One of the best documents ever prepared on a military or naval subject was the naval prize essay which was read before the Royal United Service Institution by Captain Craigie. In that naval prize essay Captain Craigie proved that we should be stronger in the Mediterranean without Cyprus, and that was given as the conclusion of military and naval experts, who all agreed that Cyprus was worse than useless to this country. At the Royal United Service Institution, on the occasion of the discussion on this essay, although there was an equal division of opinion as to the retention of Egypt and holding the Mediterranean as the route, these words of Captain Craigie passed as accepted generally by all military and naval experts. The garrison had been withdrawn and Cyprus given up as a military station, and therefore, they must look at the matter as one of civil administration. The Cabinet of which the present Leader of the House and many of his colleagues in the present Government, as well as the right hon. Member for West Birmingham, and the Duke of Devonshire, were members, 685 put on record, in a public despat settled by the Cabinet itself and laid before Parliament,—that the acquisition of Cyprus is, in their view, of no advantage to the country either in a military or political sense.Various proposals were made at different times for getting rid of the difficulty in which this country found itself, because Cyprus must be looked upon as the whitest of white elephants, which was kept up at great cost and which was of no value to them. A proposal was made in 1881, with which the name of the right hon. Member for St. George's was connected, for handing Cyprus over to Greece, but no doubt great political difficulties arose to such a course. Without raising any such large questions on this vote, there was ground for pressing the financial situation. What was the financial situation as to which the Chancellor of the Exchequer used such strong language in 1891? It was this. The whole of the tribute and land revenue of Cyprus was remitted to the British Treasury, and they kept the money for the service of the Turkish Loan of 1855 (guaranteed by England and France) so far as it was not provided for by the available portion of the Egyptian tribute. The Cyprus tribute was £92,000, and the available portion of the Egyptian tribute was £72,000, the two slightly exceeding £154,000 a year, which was required for the service of this loan. Between £9,000 and £10,000 remained over, which the Treasury kept for a sinking fund. On the other hand, the Treasury came to that House for irregular contributions towards the revenue of Cyprus. When the sum of £92,000 a year was drawn from Cyprus as tribute it left insufficient money in the island for administrative purposes unless the natives were taxed in an extortionate way. That £92,000 represented a great deal more tribute than the Turks themselves ever drew from the island, whilst one of the great hardships to Cyprus had been that whilst England insisted on levying the tribute in gold, the taxes which were paid during the Turkish administration were paid in paper money, and amounted to very much less. The condition of the island was extremely miserable, and the complaints of the people were very great. The cost of our administration was 686 greater than the cost of the Turkish ad ministration, because our people, not being familiar with Turkish or Greek, had to employ a much larger staff, and for these reasons the government was inefficient and the people were oppressed. It was not in his power to make any practical proposal for a new departure to the Committee; but he hoped the Government, who were in possession of far more information on which these proposals could be based, would do so. He could only bring before the Committee what was a painful and miserable situation, and express his intention to vote against the amount now asked for as a whole, which was what he had always done.
§ SIR W. HARCOURT
I am in the position of agreeing with almost all my right hon. Friend has said. I have not altered the opinion I originally formed and expressed over and over again as to the impolicy of the acquisition of Cyprus, and the great error made in the Anglo-Turkish Convention, as it was called. Of all that Anglo-Turkish Convention Cyprus is the only miserable remnant. The idea that we were to reform Turkish administration, to give good administration to Asia Minor, and especially to Armenia—what has become of all that? That is all in wreck and ruin. There is no doubt that at the period of that Convention there was a sort of phantasmagoria of Eastern splendour. I remember the speeches of the period, and how we were told that Cyprus was to be a bright jewel of the English Crown. I remember there were splendid visions—a sort of dream of Alnaschar; and one noble Lord said that the result of the acquisition of Cyprus would be that the steam plough would be seen in Asia Minor. I am afraid that the number of steam ploughs that go to Armenia at the present time is of very limited dimensions. But the whole of that bright vision has disappeared. There were speculations at that time, and when a Government speculates it may expect good fortune and bad fortune. I fully admit that the speculation as to the Suez Canal was a fortunate speculation, but the speculation in Cyprus has been a most unhappy speculation. That speculation has cost the British taxpayer about half a million of money. What has been the benefit that has accrued from it? 687 At that time I remember that Lord Beaconsfield said that it was to be a place d'armes where our most distinguished generals would settle immediately with 25,000 troops. That is the way we began with Cyprus, but presently it was found to be so unhealthy and so entirely useless that Lord Wolseley with 20,000 men had to retire from Cyprus. The next stage was that it was to be a great naval harbour, but it was found to be of no use to our vessels. I remember my friend Lord Brassey declared that Papho would make an admirable coaling station. I remembered, when he said so, that the cohabitation of Venus and Vulcan had not been a fortunate one, and I thought that Papho was not adapted for a coaling station. Papho has not turned out to be a coaling station; no Vulcan is there, and I am afraid that even the remnants of Venus have disappeared. All these bright visions have vanished into thin air, and what remains? There remains an obligation. We took this property subject to an obligation, and there has happened to this country what has happened to many gentlemen who have dilapidated estates subject to mortgage and who find out that they are not profitable acquisitions. After Lord Wolseley and his army left Cyprus, and after it was shown not to be suitable for a naval station, it was stated that, at all events, Cyprus might be used as a sanatorium for the army in Egypt. But the Secretary for War informs me that it does not even answer in this respect, and that it is found much better and cheaper to send the soldiers of the Egyptian army home to England rather then to Cyprus. Therefore the last resource Cyprus has for any purpose has, as far as I know, disappeared, for the last soldiers have been removed from this place d'armes. That is the history of what has happened in Cyprus. Cyprus is not on the way to anywhere. If you want to occupy Egypt you do not go to Cyprus, but to Alexandria. If you wanted to operate on the Dardanelles or the Bosphorus you should have an island near the mouth of the Dardanelles, but Cyprus has absolutely turned out, as far as I can see, to be no road to anywhere. We have taken on ourselves the responsibility of the administration of the island, and what that responsibility costs 688 the British taxpayer is £30,000 a year. That is the price we pay for the possession of Cyprus. What we get in return for our money it would be extremely difficult for anyone to say. I believe the idea at the time that we took possession of the island was that it was to be a sort of basis from which ultimately, somewhere in Asia Minor or in the neighbourhood of Alexandria, the great battle of Armageddon would be fought, which would retrieve the condition of the East. But our relations with other Powers is such that we hope that the battle of Armageddon may be, for a time at least, postponed. I have before me what has been the revenue and what is now the revenue of Cyprus. I am sorry to say that the hopes entertained that the English Government would be able, by some way or other, to develop the agriculture and industries of Cyprus have been entirely disappointed. I saw also in one of the reports on the island that crime, so far from having diminished, has increased in Cyprus; and the representations made by the Bishop who was over here was that the condition of Cyprus was worse now than it was under Turkish rule. These statements are, no doubt, exaggerated, but, at the same time, it is impossible to say that progress has been made in that country. Lord Knutsford's expression was that there had been no actual retrogression in the island; but that is not an encouraging description of 15 years of British rule in that country. Of course, this mortgage to which the country is subject diminishes the resources that would naturally be applied to the development of the country. But that is part of the bargain. If you choose to take an estate subject to a mortgage, that prevents the possibility of your developing it, and of doing what you would otherwise naturally do, and as a consequence everybody on the estate suffers. That was the original error that was made in connection with the Anglo-Turkish Convention. It was all done in a hurry, without any inquiry into what the resources of Cyprus were; and, indeed, so difficult was it to arrive at the value of the tribute that it was many years before it was ultimately fixed at £92,000. I do not know on what foundation it was made, but I believe it was made on the basis of what Turkey had previously received. Well, I find 689 that for two years, and two years only—1891–92, 1893–94—there has been no vote in this House for a grant in aid. That was because the receipts were larger then than now. But Cyprus, like all countries in the world, especially being an agricultural country, has suffered from the low prices which depress agriculture everywhere, the consequence of which is that the produce of the revenue this year has been less than in former years. Indeed, I am afraid that the fall in the revenue will be greater next year, and probably that the grant in aid will be larger. I do not say that it will be a permanent condition of decadence and ruin in Cyprus. I hope not. The revenue of the country has been considerably higher than it is now, and it may yet be made to pay its way after some fashion. But we have accepted the responsibility of what has turned out to be what I can only call a very squalid possession under the notion that it was going to be of great value to this country. There we are, however we have accepted the responsibility, and we must do the best with the situation in which we find ourselves. My right hon. Friend says we should find some way out of it. One way is to lay a heavier burden on the British taxpayers. But is it fair to ask the British taxpayers to do more than they are doing now for the purpose of keeping up this dilapidated property? I do not think it is. If we could say, "Here is a place of great importance to the Empire; here is some great strategical position for which it is necessary you should make great sacrifices," it would be a different matter. To my mind, the British taxpayer has got quite as much as he can bear, or ought to bear, and to make a proposal in this House that an additional burden should be put on the British taxpayer, in order that more money might be paid to Cyprus, would be an unreasonable demand, and one I am not disposed to make. I admit that we have taken the responsibility and the liability, and that we ought to do our best fairly to administer the country and to do justice to the people. But that we should ask the British taxpayer to produce large sums of money for the purpose of employing it in Cyprus, when it is so much needed at home, is a most unreasonable demand.
§ SIR C. DILKE
said he had made no such suggestion. The only suggestion of the kind that was made was made by his right hon. Friend himself, when he suggested a few years ago an arrangement of a different kind that would be just to the people of Cyprus.
§ SIR W. HARCOURT
I should be glad if my right hon. Friend would make a suggestion, for I am not prepared to make one. I know my right hon. Friend says he will vote against this Vote. But he will not improve the condition of Cyprus in that way. We are bound in honour to make good the deficit to such Government as we have in Cyprus—I admit that it is not a very brilliant one—and we should be glad to do more in Cyprus; but, unfortunately, the country is seriously hypothecated for the price paid to the Turkish Government and its creditors, that, from its very inception into our hands, it was impoverished, and though we are prepared, year after year, to make greater sacrifices for the purpose of carrying on the concern, I am not able to think that the British Government can do more than they are doing at present, in order to discharge the liabilities with which they find themselves burdened.
MR. J. W. LOWTHER
confessed that he had some difficulty in following the Chancellor of the Exchequer through the somewhat unexpected speech to which the House had just listened He listened carefully to that speech, and he fully expected that, at the end, the right hon. Gentleman would come to what seemed to be, the natural consequences of his premises—namely, that he was prepared to announce to the House that it was the intention of the Government to withdraw from Cyprus, or to make some arrangement by which it would be returned to Turkey, at the earliest possible opportunity. But, instead of that, the conclusion to which the right hon. Gentleman came was that we were to remain in Cyprus, though there was opposed to that conclusion nearly every word which fell from the right hon. Gentleman in the course of his speech.
Mr. J. W. LOWTHER
said, the right hon. Gentleman had got into Egypt, and had not got out of it yet. 691 He presumed that the right hon. Gentleman was so pleased to hear a speech of his own from which he did not depart—was so pleased to feel that he was still in agreement with a speech he made some years ago, that he could not refrain from revelling in it; and he also made merry about the statements which were made at the time Cyprus was acquired by us. That, however, was before he had the honour of a seat in the House, and a great many years before he had any official experience, so that he did not fell competent to defend the action which was then taken, but, at the same time, it seemed to him that something should be said on behalf of it. This matter occurred in 1878, and we were not then in Egypt. The right hon. Gentleman had asked what was the good of Cyprus when they wanted to get to the East, and pointed out that he and his Party did not go to Cyprus, but went to Alexandria. But it was not until 1882 that the right hon. Gentleman was able to go to Alexandria. He supposed that Lord Beaconsfield at the time consulted naval and military opinion before taking the island over, and that he and his Government did not enter into a solemn engagement with Turkey, without, first of all, ascertaining whether it was capable of being made a useful naval base, and would be a valuable acquisition for strategic purposes. Times, however, had altered, and we now found ourselves in a different position in the Mediterranean. Our position in Cyprus at the present time might be described as obsolete, but that did not justify the right hon. Gentleman in his attack on the Government of the day for having gone there at all. The right hon. Gentleman had made merry over the financial loss we had sustained, and said that if they would go into speculations they would be bound to find themselves at the end of a few years considerably out of pocket. When the Suez Canal shares were bought he violently denounced that speculation, and they were told over and over again that it was a ridiculous financial operation, and a sham, and similar expressions were used, but they had not been found in the mouths of right hon. and hon. Gentlemen lately. Now he ventured to say that if they were to put Cyprus and the Suez Canal shares together and strike a balance 692 between them, that we should be gainers by the transactions. The right hon. Gentleman had told them that the subsidies we had to pay amounted to £30,000 a year, but he found that they varied from £55,000 in the year 1888–9 to nil in the year 1892–3, which made an average of something over £24,000. In 1889–90 it was £45,000, in 1890–1 £35,000, and in 1891–2, £10,000. Last year, however, we had to pay a subsidy, but that was due to the fact that the great agricultural depression, which, falling upon the rest of the world, had not neglected; to fall on Cyprus too. He could not help believing, however, that, by proper development, the island might yet be made to pay. At any rate, they might be able to put it in a position as not to have to fall back upon the subsidies of the British Exchequer. A question of policy, however, involving as large a subject as the retention or surrender of Cyprus could not possibly be raised without more notice than had been given on that occasion, and before he could give his assent to either one view or the other he should require something more than the statements they had had during the Debate, and something more from the naval and military authorities than a more reference to a prize essay from Captain Craigie.
§ SIR JOHN LUBBOCK (London University)
could not understand why this country should go on finding money for the deficiencies in the revenue of Cyprus—a course which was not pursued in regard to India or any of our great Colonies, who were left to make both ends meet. He had hoped the right hon. Gentleman would have held out some prospect of a discontinuance of this continual drawing from England, but there had been no practical suggestions leading to that conclusion. If the Government expected the Island would improve, it would be better to make a temporary loan, and if there was no prospect of improvement, why should we go on paying? The Chancellor of the Exchequer had put the amount at a very moderate figure. Including, as of course they ought, our military expenditure in Cyprus, the total reached more than £1,000,000. But why was Cyprus reduced to such a sad condition? In former times it was fertile and prosperous. The change was mainly due to 693 the destruction of the forests; and to restore the prosperity they must restore the forests. It was no use merely to plant a few thousand trees here and there. They must close certain tracts one after the other until the trees had attained a sufficient height. He asked the Government to take the matter into their serious consideration. He saw no reason why the deficiency should continue to be made good by the people of this country. He regretted from this point of view that the right hon. Gentleman had no practical suggestions to make. The Chancellor of the Exchequer said that the Island was not of any value from a naval or military point of view. If it was of no value, then he could not see why this country should continue to pay, year after year, when the money was so much required at home.
§ SIR G. BADEN-POWELL (Liverpool, Kirkdale)
agreed that this was not the time to discuss Imperial policy with regard to Cyprus, but after what had been said by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, he felt compelled to make an earnest protest on two points. The words of the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be read all over Europe with surprise that a statement of that kind should come from the Leader of the House of Commons. He had not been surprised at that speech, because it was one of the many speeches on his policy of the shrinkage of the Empire. He had some personal experience of that part of the world, and he had consulted naval, military, and commercial men, and he protested earnestly against the idea that Cyprus should be given up by this country. One of the greatest naval authorities, whose death they all mourned—Admiral Hornby—had pointed out that in the next naval war Cyprus, or some port in that region, would be absolutely essential to their naval supremacy. He looked with apprehension on the peoples of Europe learning that this country was prepared to retire from Cyprus.
§ SIR G. BADEN-POWELL
hoped the right hon. Gentleman would deny that any such interpretation could be put on his words. No one would rejoice at that more than he would, but he thought 694 he must raise a protect against the suggestions that they ought not to continue to hold Cyprus.
§ MR. F. S. STEVENSON (Suffolk, Eye)
said, it was true this was not the time to raise a question of policy. Cyprus had been referred to in uncomplimentary terms, and he was not going to argue whether it was a white elephant or not—whether the causes of depression were permanent or not—whether it was a good bargain or a bad bargain. The fact remained that they were in Cyprus, and as long as they remained there they were bound by these obligations until they were denounced. In view of the fact that the Turkish Government had disregarded certain obligations, was it not possible for England and France to secure that Turkey should no longer be relieved to the same extent.
§ SIR R. TEMPLE
said, he joined in the remarks made by his hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool. The speech of the Leader of the House would be read all over Europe as condemning the policy of the preceding British Government with regard to Cyprus. He would ask the right hon. Gentleman in his sober moments whether he thought that was loyal to the British Empire? He was sure the right hon. Gentleman did not intend to do anything disloyal, but it was one thing to make that speech to an English audience and quite another thing to make it to a European audience. Apart from the very objectionable part of his speech, he agreed with many of his conclusions, which amounted to this—that we are in Cyprus, and being there we had got to do our duty by the island. He must remind the right hon. Gentleman that they had a duty to the people of Cyprus. They had undertaken to rescue them from Turkish rule and govern them on British principles, and that being the case they had rightly or wrongly an obligation towards them. He was thankful to find the right hon. Gentleman was prepared to discharge that obligation. He need not attempt to enter on the policy of their inquiring Cyprus. A great deal was to be said for it, and their occupation of the island was largely connected with events in Asia Minor. He should not it that late hour (6.30) go into that great subject. He desired to offer a few remarks in tins particular Vote. He had listened 695 with great attention to what fell from the right Member for the University of London (Sir J. Lubbock). No doubt Cyprus was handicapped with those Turkish obligations; but still it was to him incredible that an island of its fertility and position should fail to prosper, even with the weight of those mortgages, if it had been properly governed. There were administrators in the British Empire who, in a few years, would have made Cyprus pay her charges. He thought it would be more satisfactory to the Committee, when it was called upon to vote a considerable sum towards the expenses of Cyprus, that it should first of all be informed more exactly how this deficit had arisen. All that the Committee had heard was that there had been a shrinkage in certain branches of produce because prices had fallen. That was a meagre and jejune explanation. The Committee ought to have an explanation of each head of revenue and expenditure in order to show what were the causes of the deficit. There was a grave apprehension, moreover, in well-informed circles, that Cyprus had never been well administered. He did not presume to lay the blame at the door of anyone, but the apprehension existed all the same that the resources of the Island had not been developed so much as they might have been. He recommended the Government to send out someone who would make a proper report, after inquiry, on two points—first, What had been the causes of the Cyprus deficit; and, second, how could they be averted in the future? Cyprus should be made to cut her coat according to the quantity of her cloth; and if this policy was adopted, he was sure that she would eventually make both ends meet. There ought to be a clear understanding on the part of the Government, and of Parliament, that the Cyprus administration must do the best it could with the money at its disposal, and that it must not come to Parliament for money year after year.
§ MR. WILLIAM ALLEN (Newcastle-under-Lyme)
thought that the Committee had felt surprise at the conclusion to which the Chancellor of the Exchequer had come in his speech. The right hon. Gentleman had made precisely the same speech elsewhere, in which he had described Cyprus as a wretched abortion 696 of an island, and that it was absolutely valueless to this country. After having said all this on former occasions, the right hon. Gentleman voted against these grants; but, on the present occasion, after showing that we were misgoverning Cyprus, and that it was of no actual value, he told the Committee that it was still necessary to grant this money. Usually, when a Government asked Parliament for money towards some object, they had good reason for doing so. In his judgment, there could only be three reasons for asking the Committee to grant money on this occasion. One was that Cyprus was of some value to this country as a military position. The right hon. Baronet (Sir C. Dilke) had quoted one authority on this head. The Cabinet of 1880, of which the right hon. Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Chamberlain), the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the Duke of Devonshire were Members, came to the conclusion that Cyprus was valueless as a military position. The Government of that day had not probably come to this conclusion without first consulting the Military Authorities in the country. Then they ought to look at Cyprus as to whether it was useful from the Naval point of view. There was in the Island the harbour of Famagousta. If it was to be of any use a large amount of money would need to be expended on dredging it, and in building a mole to protect ships. But the late Government had not taken any action to improve or to dredge this harbour, and the present Government were also doing nothing in this respect; and, therefore, the island would be of no use from the Naval point of view. Some hon. Members opposite argued that this country ought to keep Cyprus because the English rule was always beneficial; but this argument amounted to a plea that we should hold every place, whether it was good or whether it was bad for us. What had Cyprus cost this country? The Chancellor of the Exchequer had told the Committee that it had cost us £500,000. Was there any chance that this country would not have to pay as much in the future as we had done in the past? In the Debate of 1879 the right hon. Baronet (Sir C. Dilke) said that the amount of money then asked for, £26,000, was a fleabite; 697 and the Leader of the Opposition on that occasion traversed the statement of the right hon. Baronet, and came to the conclusion that this Vote could only be asked for on that one occasion. But the Committee now saw that the right hon. Baronet was right, for again and again Parliament had been asked to vote money for Cyprus. The Chancellor of the Exchequer pleaded that if we did not give Cyprus these grants in aid, what were to do? He pointed out in answer to that plea that the Turkish Convention had been broken again and again, that Turkey had not observed any of the agreements which she had entered into as to her dealing with Asia Minor and the improvements to be effected there. We could, therefore, at any moment hand the island back again to Turkey. There was thus no reason why we should still keep Cyprus and continue to pay those large grants in aid, having in view the large amount of the additions to the Navy and other expenditure. He should vote, therefore, in support of the right hon. Baronet if he went to a Division, because he believed that this country should not be called upon to pay these amounts in respect of an island where we were doing no good.
§ SIR W. HARCOURT
hoped that the Committee would allow this Vote to be now taken. He was extremely anxious not to disturb the arrangement with reference to the Navy Estimates on Monday.
§ MR. R. W. HANBURY
contended, on the other hand, that the subject was too important to be disposed of in this manner, especially in view of the right hon. Gentleman's own speech, which practically amounted to a reversal of the policy of previous Governments with regard to Cyprus. There were several hon. Members on the Opposition side of the House anxious to continue the discussion.
§ MR. C. BILL (Staffordshire, Leek)
said, that some years ago he had had some experience of the island of Cyprus; and having taken a considerable interest in it he was anxious to give his views on this important question. The right hon. Baronet had said that this country was face to face with a very wretched situation in that island. He agreed with the view which the right hon. 698 Gentleman had taken on that point; but when the Chancellor of the Exchequer described the island as a dilapidated property he could not agree with him. If, however, this was the condition of affairs, to whom was the fault due? Cyprus had been a failure because successive Governments had neglected their responsibilities. If the Turkish tribute had been capitalised many years ago, the cost to the Imperial Government, instead of being, as would have now, £92,000 a year, been between £30,000 and £40,000 a year. The Committee would see what a sum of money would have been set free for the development of the island. The Port of Famagusta was certainly in an undredged condition, but it was only 20 hours' steam from the mouth of the Canal, and it was the nearest harbour to that point. So long as the Canal was our route to India, Cyprus ought to be held, and the harbour of Famagusta ought to be improved. The rule of England had been a great benefit to Cyprus. Owing to the good work done by successive governors, the ravages of locusts, which used to ruin the crops, had now been put an end to. Considering the magnificent climate and the splendid agricultural land in Cyprus, the island should prove a most valuable possession if it were properly taken in hand by the Government.
MR. R. PIERPOTNT (Warrington)
, said that it was hard on Cyprus to be treated as a costly possession, seeing that England and France took £92,000 a year out of it. The balance between this grant and England's share of the charge was in favour of Cyprus. He wished to know by what arrangement this £92,000 a year was paid in satisfaction of the 1855 loan; with whom the arrangement was made, and whether it was likely to be permanent? The hon. MEMBER was still speaking when—
It being Ten minutes to Seven of the clock, the CHAIRMAN left the Chair to make his Report to the House.