*My Lords, I Know not whether, at the moment at which I rise to address your Lordships upon that grave and important question which I have given notice of bringing under your consideration, the anticipations which the noble Marquess (the Marquess of Lansdowne) entertained some eight or ten days ago have been realised or not—I know not, I say, whether at this moment the unhappy differences which have prevailed between Her Majesty's Government and that of France have been brought to an amicable conclusion, or whether points of difference still remain unsettled; but I am sure I speak sincerely when I say, if they do so remain unsettled, I hope and trust they will be brought to a speedy and satisfactory conclusion. But in any case, whether those anticipations have been realised or not, I feel confident that the noble Marquess will not think that a sufficient cause for pressing upon me (as, undoubtedly, I shall not feel it a sufficient cause for acceding to the request) a further postponement of this discussion. Nay, my Lords, I may be permitted to doubt whether the postponement which has already taken place may not rather have had the effect of retarding than of accelerating the final settlement of this question, which all must most eagerly desire with a view to the great interests of the whole world, and to the maintenance of the good understanding between the Governments of England and of France. In truth, important as these circumstances are, vitally important as everything must he which touches the amicable relations and cordial good understanding between two nations so powerful and so intimately connected as England and France, yet I feel that this question, great and important as it is, is rather an incidental, and, as it were, a supplemental part of the great question which I am desirous of bringing under your Lordships' consideration—so much so that I must beg you to remember—for events of a more pressing nature are apt to thrust out of 1294 view those which preceded them—that even before the question of the mediation or of the good offices of France was mooted, I had intimated my intention of calling your Lordships' notice to the proceedings of the British Government and of the British Minister with respect to Greece, and that that separate and distinct Motion was only postponed at the request of the noble Marquess, grounded on that intervention, which it was then hoped would lead to a speedy and amicable settlement of these matters, but which now appears unfortunately to have led only to fresh and increasing complications.
It is far from my wish to drag your Lordships through the weary waste of papers which now lies on your table, or to give your Lordships one twentieth part of the labour which I have undergone in sifting and examining the substantial merits of this case. My Lords, I can only say that I have risen from the perusal of those papers with regret and shame for the part which my country has played. I have risen, not with a conviction with what little wisdom the affairs of this world are administered, but rather with what a prodigality of folly, with what a lavish expenditure of misdirected ingenuity, unnecessary complications have been accumulated, unnecessary difficulties have been raised, trifles in themselves elevated into matters of importance, and the affairs of the world literally not permitted to adjust and regulate themselves.
Before I proceed to address your Lordships on the specific question before the House, I must be permitted to call your attention to the preliminary part of the resolution which I am about to submit to you, because I understand that to the wording of that preliminary part, some exception has been taken. That to which I am primarily desirous of calling your attention is not whether the misunderstanding which prevailed between France and England with regard to the affairs of Greece, was a misunderstanding in which the one country or the other has been in fault or error. I am not about to call your attention to the question whether the peace of Europe is likely to be disturbed, whether the present arrangements are likely to be amicably effected; be this so or not, it will make no difference in reference to my resolution, because my affirmation is this, that the course which the Government has pursued by its violence—by its unnecessary interference—by its abstinence from commu- 1295 nication with other Powers—by its intrinsic injustice—has been calculated to endanger, and has endangered, the continuance of our friendly relations with other Powers. That it has endangered them, few of your Lordships, I think, will be inclined to deny; that we may escape the danger, may be probable; and that we have escaped it, God grant that that may be true. I hope, rather than trust, that these events will leave no sting behind, no ill-feeling between England and France or any other of the great Powers of the Continent. But that is not the question now to be decided. I ask your Lordships to decide whether the course pursued by the Government has not been such, as rashly and unnecessarily to disturb that harmony which ought to prevail between all those great Powers. I ask your Lordships to state whether, amongst the claims urged against the weak and feeble State of Greece, and enforced by the naval might of this great empire, there are not some which are either doubtful in point of justice, or exaggerated in point of amount. I will ask you, further, on a review of the correspondence, portions of which I shall have to lay before your Lordships, whether these claims, if founded in the strictest justice, have not been pressed forward in such a manner as to render their indignant refusal by a great State almost a matter of necessary conclusion; and although I am far from standing here to apologise for the excuses, the prevarications, which in some of those transactions have characterised the conduct of the Greek Government, I say those prevarications and excuses find some palliation in the tone—the imperious tone—with which claims, even if they had been just, but, still more, claims which are not just, have been forced on the compulsory adoption of that Power. I am sure I am representing the English feeling, I am sure, my Lords, that I am representing the feeling which animates every one of your Lordships, when I say, whatever may be the question pending between independent nations—whatever cause of complaint one country may have against another—the tone and language in which that complaint should be urged, the manner in which requests for reparation or for apology should be made, should, at all events, be the same, whether addressed to the strongest and most powerful, or the weakest and most insignificant State. I go further, and say that it is consistent with the generosity of English feeling, that the more your con- 1296 sciouness of superior power gives to your request the character of a demand, the more you should be careful to veil under the studied language of courtesy your demand, whatever it may be, and to avoid by the manner of your request wounding that national sensibility which will always be found in an inverse proportion to the resisting power of the country. I shall ask you whether this has been the course which has been pursued by our Government towards the Government of Greece, in the course of these recent transactions.
I now wish to call your Lordships' notice to the preliminary portion of my resolution, in which I call on you "fully to recognise the right and duty of the Government to secure to Her Majesty's subjects residing in foreign States the full protection of the laws of those States." In laying down that proposition, I believe that I am correctly laying down the principle of inter-national law on the subject. I am not now speaking of despotic Governments. I am not speaking of those countries where the will of the sovereign is the law of the land, but I am speaking of those countries under constitutional government, where there are established tribunals for administering the law; and I say, without fear of contradiction, that it is the duty of every foreigner residing in any State, voluntarily, and of his own free will, to submit himself to the municipal law and local jurisdiction of the State in which he lives. The full protection of those laws he has a right to claim and demand. If those laws are corruptly administered, he has a right to apply to the Minister of his own country accredited to that Court, to see that he is defended against oppression and corruption and malversation in the administration of those laws; but all this is included in the demand "to secure to Her Majesty's subjects the full protection of the laws of those States," and if those laws are corruptly administered, then he would not have that full protection which, under the terms of my resolution, he has a right to require. I will venture to say that no foreigner has a right to pass by or repudiate the jurisdiction of the ordinary tribunals—to abstract himself and his case from the administration of justice according to the law of the land, and to prefer the diplomatic services of his own Minister to the ordinary operation of the law of the country in which he resides. Let me not, however, be misunderstood. I do not by any means intend to assert, that there are 1297 no cases in which a foreign Government may interfere for the defence of its subjects, except those which are noticed in my resolution. There may be, and there are, in despotic countries, cases of absolute and gross oppression, in which the subject of another country has no protection, except by the interference of his own Minister in his behalf. In other countries, where there are laws, but laws corruptly administered, then the foreigner has a right to call upon the Minister of his country to protect and defend him, not against the laws, but against those who mal-administer and prevent them.
With this preface I proceed to the general subject, and I call upon your Lordships not to enter upon the consideration of this great question without duly weighing the political condition and social organization of Greece. We have, in the first place, to remember that Greece is a kingdom of not more than twelve or fourteen years' standing, and a constitutional kingdom of much shorter duration. Although theoretically an independent State, it is, partly by treaty, and partly in consequence of circumstances subsequent to treaty, placed in a peculiar position in reference to three of the most powerful countries in the world—France, England, and Russia. Those countries have jointly guaranteed the independence of Greece, Unfortunately this is not the sole claim which they have upon Greece, for, in addition to the guarantee, it has contracted certain pecuniary liabilities and engagements which give to the three Powers a right (one, I must say, most dangerous in the exercise) of interfering in its internal administration. In any country the interference of a foreign Government in its internal administration is fatal to its prosperity and independence; it is fatal to its powers of development of its own resources, to its power of confirming its own constitution, to its maintaining the order and authority of its own Government, and more especially if the authority of the Government is to be exercised over a population, as in Greece, recently admitted to constitutional privileges, and in many districts, of a wild and turbulent character; and unhappily this has been the case (I throw no blame on one rather than another), that the representatives of the throe great Powers appear to me rather to have been bent, not so much on securing the order and independence and strengthening the authority of the newly-created Government of Greece, as on in- 1298 triguing and caballing amongst themselves—now the representative of England—now the representative of France—and now the representative of Russia, to obtain, each for his own country, a predominating influence in the internal affairs of Greece. Than this, nothing can be more fatal to the authority of the Government, and to the well-being of the people of Greece; and, moreover, nothing can be more unfavourable for the fair and impartial discussion of those questions which, from time to time, arise between that Government and the subjects of other Powers. It is notorious that since the period when those papers commence, since the commencement of the administration of M. Coletti, that which has been supposed to be French influence has been predominant in Greece, and the consequence of this has been that during the latter period of his residence at Athens, Sir Edmund Lyons was less a Minister accredited to the Court of Greece than the head of a party hostile to the existing Government of that country, and hostile to a Minister whom he considered to have been placed in power contrary to his exertions, and whom he was using every means to displace from office. This was notoriously so during the administration of Coletti, and afterwards during the successive administrations of Glarakis and Colocotroni.
Then came the administration of M. Londos, who is said to be favourable to British interests; but be that as it may, the Government of Greece was for some time under French influence as opposed to ours; and the consequence was that it was not inclined to look with an eye of favour on claims, even when founded in justice, pressed upon them by a Minister who was doing his best to displace the Government to which he was accredited. In this state of things, every appointment, even of subordinate officers, Nomarchs, Eparchs, Hypomirarchs, and I know not what besides, was looked upon as a matter of personal interest, and of triumph or mortification to the rival Ministers, to the exclusion of the national interests of Greece. Hence, too, a tone adopted on each side quite irreconcilable with anything like friendly communication between the two parties, and well calculated to excite feelings of national irritation. Unfortunately, those feelings were not confined to the British Minister in Greece. That tone of mistrust and defiance, that setting aside of all opportunities for reasonable 1299 explanations, that course of exacting reparation first, and demanding explanation afterwards, instead of explanation first, and reparation where explanation was not successful; all this irritating course of action was not only adopted by Sir E. Lyons at Athens, but was also sanctioned and adopted by Lord Palmerston in Downing-street. I do not say this, my Lords, without intending to produce evidence to prove, and an example to confirm, the position I have laid down. I will produce my evidence, not from a case which formed part of those discussed in these recent negotiations, but from a case which I find in these papers, and which seems only to have been placed there ad invidiam, and to swell the mass of feeling and of grievance against the Greek Government; but which very case I will select as an exemplification of the language used by the British Minister and the British Government towards the agents and Ministers of Greece.
The first person connected with this class of cases is one Stellio Sumachi, a blacksmith by trade, associated with men of a very disreputable description, and arrested by the Greek police at Patras, in 1846, on a charge of burglary and robbery. And here, my Lords, I may remark as an unfortunate circumstance, that of all the various cases which have been pressed upon the Greek Government on the late occasion, there is but one—that of Mr. Finlay—in which the claimant has any right to be considered as a person of character and respectability. The greater portion of the other claims were of a different class, scarce worthy of British protection, and certainly not of a character for which we ought to involve ourselves heedlessly in war. As soon as Sumachi was arrested he wrote to Mr. Crow, our consul at that port, enclosing his passport as one of our Ionian subjects, and a statement that he had been cruelly tortured by a Greek police officer. You will find this correspondence, my Lords, at page 195 of the volume containing the first series of papers on Greece. Mr. Consul Crow writes from Patras an account of this man's alleged sufferings, and adds this observation:—I have sent to the Nomarch to request that he will order the matter to be inquired into, and proper attention to be paid to the sufferings of the prisoner. But in a case of so great enormity, and so revolting to humanity, I feel it to be my duty to lose no time in forwarding the petition of 1300 this unhappy victim of official brutality to your Excellency.In the meantime, my Lords, whilst this inquiry is going on, Sir E. Lyons, in a letter which he addressed to the Greek Minister, Coletti, adopts the expression of Mr. Crow respecting "this unhappy victim of official brutality," and says—I hasten to communicate to you a copy of a letter which I have just received from Her Majesty's Consul at Patras, inclosing a petition from an Ionian subject, Stellio Sumachi, who complains of having been cruelly tortured by the police force at patras.My Lords, throughout this correspondence, wherever a paper is to be transmitted to the Greek Government, every grossly offensive expression used by the complainants is retained by the British Minister, without any intimation that it was exaggerated language, or an ex parte statement made by an irritated man. Sir E. Lyons then forwards the case of Stellio Sumachi to M. Colletti, and then speaks of him as "the unhappy victim of official brutality."
Shortly afterwards he sends it to Lord Palmerston; and if ever there was an instance of a man acting on the principle of "castigatque auditque," it is to be found in the reply of his Lordship to Sir E. Lyons. That reply, founded on the statement of the petitioners alone, without a tittle of evidence to support it, and without affording opportunity for any explanation, is in the following words:—Her Majesty's Government had hoped that such practices as these, which are unauthorised by the law and constitution of Greece, and are reprobated by the general consent of all civilized nations, had ceased to disgrace the Executive Government of Greece. But Her Majesty's Government cannot permit such things to be done with impunity towards British or Ionian subjects; you are therefore instructed to demand from the Greek Government that the police officers who have been concerned in this outrage should be immediately dismissed, and that adequate pecuniary compensation be made to Stellio Sumachi for the sufferings he has undergone, and the injuries which have been inflicted upon him. You will also state to the Greek Government, that Her Majesty's Government hope and expect that you will be enabled to report by the next packet after you receive this despatch that these just and moderate demands have been complied with.In the meantime there was an inquiry going on at Athens into the subject of the alleged treatment of this highly respectable burglar; and it turns out that there was no reason to believe that any such torture had ever been inflicted, at least, the evidence upon the subject is exceedingly contradictory. All the papers are trans- 1301 mitted by M. Colletti to the British Minister, and by him to Lord Palmerston. On the 23rd of October, Lord Palmerston writes in reply thus:—With regard to M. Colletti's note to you of the 20th ult., which was enclosed in your despatch of that date, I have to desire that you will state to M. Colletti that Her Majesty's Government cannot be satisfied with evasive replies in a case of such gravity as the torture of a person under British protection; and I have at the same time to instruct you to impress upon M. Coletti that this is a very serious matter, and that Her Majesty's Government cannot doubt that M. Coletti will, upon mature reflection, see the expediency of not delaying any longer to comply with their just demands.Just demands, indeed! Compensation to a man accused of burglary and robbery, into whose guilt or innocence an inquiry was at that very moment pending! Mark, my Lords, what followed next. There are specific penalties attached by the law of Greece to the offence with which the police in this case were charged. Well, the police officers were put upon their trial. They were acquitted; and the court, constituted according to the laws of Greece, not only acquitted the accused, but declared that the story of the torture was a complete fiction from beginning to end. One would have thought that this would have been a staggerer to Lord Palmerston. No such thing; before many days elapse he asks, not indeed for the punishment of these policemen, but for that which it would have been more natural to have applied for in the first instance—a full investigation:—I have therefore to instruct you to state to the Greek Government that the mode in which that inquiry was carried on is highly unsatisfactory to Her Majesty's Government; and that Her Majesty's Government demand that all the circumstances of Sumachi's treatment in prison shall be openly and impartially investigated at Patras; and that the British consul and also Sumachi himself, together with such persons as he may require to assist him, may he present, and may be allowed to produce evidence and to cross-examine the witnesses who may be brought forward on behalf of the officers of police.The answer given to this requisition by M. Coletti was, in point of language, civil and courteous; but he declined to comply with it on the ground, that according to the law, not only of Greece, but of every civilized nation, a man once acquitted could not be placed a second time on his trial. M. Coletti, therefore, refused to give compensation for an injury never sustained, or to inflict punishment for an of- 1302 fence never committed. Unfortunately, along with this reply from M. Coletti, Sir E. Lyons transmitted a statement to Lord Palmerston, that the Greek advocate, whom he was in the habit of consulting and employing on any matters which he had to conduct for British subjects in Greece, had declared that, by the law of Greece, M. Coletti was justified in his refusal to comply with his Lordship's demands; and, from that moment the demand for compensation for Stellio Sumachi's injuries drops out of these papers, and is never heard of more. And this, my Lords, is a sample of the mode in which our claims on Greece have been brought forward by the noble Secretary for Foreign Affairs. Punishment is first demanded, without inquiry, and then inquiry, after a trial; and at last, to the great disgrace of the British nation, our Government is compelled to admit that our "just and moderate demand" is founded neither in reason nor in justice, and, subsequently, to withdraw it. When such claims are presented to any Government in such a way, it must disincline it to lend a favourable ear to claims much better founded.
I now proceed, my Lords, to the consideration of those claims on Greece, which form the subject matter of this correspondence. I commence with that claim on the Greek Government which is the most serious, as it is the only one which touches the national honour, and on which I think that reparation should have been promptly demanded and promptly enforced. I allude to the insult offered to the boat's crew of one of Her Majesty's ships of war at Patras—the Fantome—and even with respect to that case, I think that there are circumstances which tend not to excuse, but much to palliate that outrage.
At the commencement of the year 1848, the provinces of Greece had been in a state of disturbance of a revolutionary character, and a very short time before the events occurred to which I shall have occasion to refer, one of Her Majesty's steamers, the Spitfire, in pursuance of that kind and generous policy which Her Majesty's Ministers have always pursued towards the Mediterranean States, called in at Patras, and received on board a notorious rebel against the Government of Greece, who found immediate protection under the British flag. Shortly afterwards, the Spitfire returned to the harbour of Patras, off which Her Majesty's ship Fantome was at the same time lying; and about nine 1303 o'clock in the evening, in violation of a well-known order that no boat should land at Patras, except at the Mole, a boat landed in a remote place in the very neighbourhood of the house from which the former rebel made his escape to our steamer. The attention of the guard was called to the fact. The boat landed two unknown persons. On being invited to stop, one of them immediately fled, and, aided by the darkness of the night, escaped. The other was taken. The fact turned out to be, that the boat belonged to the Fantome, and the two persons were the Consul's son, a lad of thirteen or fourteen years of age, who had been dining on board, and the coxswain, who had been sent ashore in charge of him. The guard then proceeded to the boat, and its crew were made prisoners by three Greek soldiers. That there was great violence exercised to the boat's crew of this ship, I am not inclined to believe. I may venture to doubt whether three Greek soldiers would use great violence towards the boat's crew of one of Her Majesty's ships of war, even if the latter had no other weapons than their oars and stretchers. The guard found a midshipman on board the boat, not wearing his uniform, or any distinction by which he could be known as a British officer. The boat's crew and the midshipman were immediately taken before the Nomarch. As the one party could speak no Greek, and the other could speak nothing but Greek, there was some difficulty in coming to an understanding of each other; but as soon as the commandant of the place ascertained that they belonged to a British ship of war, he discharged them from custody, and saw them himself on board their boat. Captain Le Hardy, on the next morning, demanded from the Greek Nomarch, as was his duty, a reparation or apology for the insult offered to his boat's crew, and compensation for the loss of his boat's gear. The loss, however, was not very serious, as it consisted merely of a boat-hook, which had probably fallen into the water in pushing off. Captain Le Hardy required that all parties should be called in, and the whole case examined into; but the Nomarch refused to enter upon it, on the ground that he had already put the case into the hands of the Procureur du Roi. The Fantome was obliged to sail the same evening for Malta; and the following day, the Nomarch, by desire of the Procureur du Roi, requested the attendance of the boat's crew, the authorities 1304 being under the erroneous impression that the boat belonged, not to the Fantome but to the Spitfire. The Consul replies that the Nomarch must have known he ought to have sent his explanation sooner—must have known the Fantome was on the point of sailing; and he transmits the whole correspondence to the Minister at Athens. Together with that correspondence is a letter from Lieutenant Macdonald, of the Spitfire, and I must say that Lieutenant Macdonald, of the Spitfire, appears to correspond very well with the name which his vessel bears. Here is the moderate, temperate letter of Lieutenant Macdonald, which is duly and officially transmitted with a request for reparation, and, as a conciliatory mode of obtaining it, is sent to the Minister at Athens:—The Governor of this town has taken upon himself not only to display a hostile feeling towards the British Government, but also to permit a most unjustifiable outrage to be committed on an officer and boat's crew of Her Majesty's sloop. Fantome. I consider it my duty, as the senior officer present at Patras, to prevent all communication between Her Majesty's ship Spitfire, under my command, and the town of Patras, except for the purpose of receiving the necessary supplies for the ship, through the medium of a boat belonging to the shore. I have further to request that you will be good enough distinctly to state to the Governor that I have represented to my own Government this state of affairs, the more especially when I bear in mind the abominable falsehoods circulated by his authority, and, through a letter to yourself, accusing the officers and men of landing strangers under cover of night. It is quite impossible, under these circumstances, that I can hold any communication for the future with an authority who sets all international law at defiance. I have strictly prohibited any officer or man to land from this ship; and my reasons for doing so must appear evident; for in the event of a repetition of the circumstances that occurred to the boat of the Fantome the evening before last, a collision must inevitably ensue, which it is my wish to avoid as far as lies in my power. My positive orders having been issued, that in all future communications between the ship's boats and the shore, the Spitfire's boats are to be fully armed and equipped, and fully prepared to resent any insult that may be offered to them.Was there ever such a mountain made out of a molehill? A boat lands in the dark at a prohibited place; the officer on board, not being in uniform, is arrested; the moment it is discovered that he is a British officer he is released; a mistake is made between the two ships lying there at the same time; and thereupon comes the officer of the Spitfire with "your abominable falsehoods," and "international law," and "arming the boats," to take care that he docs not lose another boathook! This 1305 is transmitted as a serious matter of international quarrel by Her Majesty's representative to the Minister at Athens. Well, what says he? He says, "I am exceedingly sorry to find that there is any misunderstanding, and that it is supposed there is an unfriendly feeling on the part of the authorities towards Her Majesty's subjects; I assure you there is nothing of the kind. I send you at once the papers I have as yet got; you shall have all that I receive; I only send you these now, that you may see there is a different account from yours." There the account closes; and mark, where there has been really an insult offered—where the solemn declaration and word of honour of two British officers commanding ships of Her Majesty, were not accepted and admitted as a declaration of a matter of fact—where that affront (for such I conceive it to be) has been offered to the honour of Her Majesty's service, you find upon that question, though the Consul is exceedingly active, and the Minister is exceedingly active, there is no demand for reparation or apology on the part of the Secretary for Foreign Affairs, and the whole matter has been allowed to sleep from 1848 to 1850, when it is brought forward in conjunction with such cases and such claims as those to which I am about to call your attention. I fear I must detain your Lordships rather long; but it is necessary for me, in order to make out my case, to enter into some detail of these several transactions, in order to show the tone and temper of our conduct, for upon that must mainly depend the justification or condemnation of the Government. And mark, ray Lords, the matters to which I am about to refer, trivial as they may seem to your Lordships, were not looked upon by the Government in the light of misunderstandings which might admit of explanation, but were held sufficient to justify hostile reprisals.
The next case regards the plunder of six Ionian boats at Salcina so far back as October, 1846. It appears that the province in which Salcina is situated was in a disturbed state, that these boats' crews were decoyed upon shore by a band of brigands, who plundered the custom-house, kept possession of it some hours, and robbed the boats to the value of 1,200 dollars. It is not denied that the Greek authorities were themselves overpowered by these armed men, one of whom, by the by—the leader—was not a Greek, but a refugee Ionian, perfectly well known, and who commanded 1306 a large body of brigands. Sir E. Lyons writes to M. Coletti, and at the same time reports the facts to Lord Palmerston. Without a moment's delay, without waiting for any explanation from the Greek Minister, here is the reply of the Foreign Secretary:—The enclosures relate to the plunder of the Ionian boats at Salcina, in the river Achelous. With reference to that subject, I have to instruct you to address a note to M. Coletti, stating that Her Majesty's Government expect and demand that the Greek Government will make full compensation to the Ionians for the losses and sufferings inflicted upon them by the Greek robbers and pirates who were allowed upon that occasion to take possession of the Custom-house at Salcina; and you will say that Her Majesty's Lord High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands will be instructed to ascertain the amount to be claimed on behalf of the masters and crews of the six Ionian boats, and to send you an account thereof.I believe I see upon the cross-bench the noble Lord who, I think, was then administering the affairs of the Ionian Islands (Lord Seaton), and I have not the least doubt that the robbery took place, or that the noble Lord adopted all means to ascertain the amount of indemnity which it was to be considered fair to demand. But it appears to me exceedingly doubtful whether, on the part of the British Government, there was—I do not say just cause of complaint, but just ground for demanding indemnity from the Government of Greece. I do not understand that where, by no fault of a Government, offences are committed against foreigners, the Government is bound to indemnify those foreigners. The Government is bound to afford its protection to foreigners and to its own subjects alike; but British subjects before now have been pillaged in the Roman States and the Neapolitan States, and I never heard of any demand against the Government of either of those States because they had been waylaid and plundered by robbers. I doubt whether the law of nations justifies any demand whatever; and I am very much inclined to agree with the very temperate answer of M. Coletti. He says—The detailed explanations which I have considered it my duty to give you upon this circumstance, authorise me to hope, that the Government of H. B. M. will not refuse a demand which I regret it is not in my power to satisfy.The duty of the King's Government was to put down crime, and it has not neglected to do so. I think it superfluous, M. le Chevalier, to bring before your notice again the difficulties which are always opposed to effectually maintaining authority in the province of Acarnania; but no one is ignorant of the attempts which have been made, 1307 Soldiers have fallen in encounters with the banditti; several of the latter have quite recently been killed. The pursuit is still continued; and, with the assistance of the Lord High Commissioner, I hope that the individual marked out as the principal author of the outrage committed at Salcina, the Ionian Tryphon, who has escaped from the prisons of Santa Maura, will at last fall into the hands of justice. Nothing will be neglected in order to obtain this result, which I have much pleasure in hoping will be considered by the Government of Her Britannic Majesty, as the fulfilment of the only obligation which the Government of His Hellenic Majesty can be held responsible for in this affair,I believe that to be very sound international law. I believe the defence is perfectly valid'; and nobody can deny that it is couched in respectful terms. What is the answer of Lord Palmerston?I have received your despatch of the 9th ult., enclosing a copy of M. Coletti's letter to you of the 30th of March, declining to compensate the master of the six Ionian boats, which were plundered at the Custom-house at Salcina, in October last; and I have to instruct you to state to M. Coletti that there is nothing in his letter which alters the views which Her Majesty's Government have taken of this case; and you will say, that as the Greek Government have been either unwilling or unable to put down the gangs of robbers which have for some time been allowed to infest Acarnania with impunity, and even to choose a Greek Custom-house as the spot for plundering and otherwise ill-using Ionian subjects; Her Majesty's Government must require the Government of Greece to make good the loss incurred by those Ionian subjects; and they hope and trust that M. Coletti will see the justice of acceding to this demand without any further delay.Now, my Lords, I ask if such circumstances occurred in any portion of the British empire, and if such a demand had been couched in such terms, I do not ask whether it would have been complied with, but I wish to know whether the Ambassador, who had dared to present it, would not have received his passports in less than forty-eight hours? I am told that within the last six weeks a question has most conveniently arisen respecting a claim on the part of Austria to compensation. It is a singular, an odd, a happy coincidence. An Austrian brig is wrecked on the coast of Ireland and plundered—proceedings are taken by the Irish Government against the parties believed to be implicated in the outrage—the prosecution is unsuccessful; thereupon the Austrian Government applies to the British Government for compensation. I think the owner of that vessel was most fortunate—most fortunate at least, if he was destined to meet with such a calamity, in the precise time of its occurrence. I should like to see the correspondence on 1308 that subject. I should like to know whether the demand was made as a right. I should like to know whether it was acceded to as a right. I can readily imagine that Her Majesty's Government, finding it a very convenient time for acceding to that request—finding it might be useful as a precedent—thought that 500l. would be well expended in compensating the Austrian crew for their losses and sufferings; but, I say, I should like to know whether it was granted as of right or of favour, and how long the amiable and able diplomatist who made this application, and who never proved himself more able than in his selection of the favourable moment for making it, would have been a resident in this country, if he had come forward and asked, on the part of the Austrian Government, whether the British Government was unable or unwilling to put down the gangs of brigands who with impunity plundered wrecked vessels upon the coast of Ireland, and stated that His Imperial Majesty demanded that without the delay of a post such an indemnity as he (not we) thought fit should be paid by the British Government, who could not have a moment's hesitation in complying with these "just and moderate "demands.
The next is a case which I am almost ashamed of bringing under your Lordships' notice. Some Ionians at Patras, keepers of a coffeehouse, on a festival, put up a great variety of flags—British, Ionian, Greek, and others—as ornaments over their shop. There was some little disturbance in the neighbourhood; there was an apprehension of some rising or tumult in consequence of an execution about to take place on that spot on the following day; and the police had strict orders not to permit anything which create a crowd, or endanger a breach of the peace. In consequence the police interfered with these Ionians, and commenced taking down the flags. The Ionians resisted, and they were therefore, marched to the police-office, marched through the streets, it seems—I do not see how they could be marched in any other way—for violating the orders of the police. On arriving at the police-office, it was found that it was a mere trifling violation of police regulations, and they were dismissed without further notice. The noble Marquess, on a former night, talked about this as a case of torture, and of the employment of thumbscrews. Thumbscrews! Thumbscrews convey to my mind the notion of instru- 1309 ments of torture, like the "boots" of old, in which iron wedges were forcibly inserted till the limb was smashed and mutilated, and the person a cripple for life. But what were these "thumbscrews?" I will tell your Lordships what they were. The two Ionians were walked through the streets, handcuffed together, the wrist of one bound to the wrist of the other, the thumb of one to the thumb of the other; and when they arrived at the office, they were released. Then comes a long correspondence about the insult to the British flag—it was said to have been torn down and trampled under foot; but that turns out not to have been the case. The Consul writes to the Minister at Athens, and the Minister writes to M. Coletti, and all about this wonderful cock-and-bull story of the insult to the British flag, and the injury to British subjects.
Well then, my Lords, there is another case of grievous injury to Ionian subjects. But before I go to it, let me just read one passage to show your Lordships the class of men we are dealing with, and the habits of life of these Ionians. This is mentioned as a great grievance and proof of the despotic tyranny and oppression exercised by the police against the Ionian subjects of Her Majesty:—I have to observe to you, that on Sunday last several Ionians presented themselves to me, complaining of the Gendarmerie soldiers, who, while going the rounds at night, give them continual offence, as they (the Ionians) are obliged, on account of the heat and fleas, to sleep in the streets, and the Gendarmes parade with their arms and compel them to sleep in their houses, otherwise they are taken up to prison, besides other menaces.Here is a serious case of oppression! British subjects, forsooth, are exposed to the grossest oppression because they are not permitted to sleep like pigs in front of their doors when the heat is too great, or the fleas too troublesome! There is a national question! There is a cause of war! Two of these highly-respectable persons, according to their own statement, are found in the market-place, and they are marched by soldiers off to the authorities, who flog them and turn them out. The Vice-Consul forwards their complaint to the Consul, who, being a sensible man, at least comparatively speaking, suggests the propriety of further inquiry to verify the facts, and of an examination of the persons of the complainants to ascertain whether they bore any marks of the alleged ill-usage. On this examination being called for, however, the complainants were not forthcoming. Meantime the Consul traus- 1310 mits the complaint, together with that of the two other Ionians to which I have referred, to Sir E. Lyons, with the expression of his opinion that it was not necessary to take any ulterior steps; Sir E. Lyons lays it before the Minister, and forwards both sets of papers to Lord Palmerston, adding that he coincides with the Consul, that no steps are necessary beyond a remonstrance which he has already made. He little knew Lord Palmerston! By return of post, without waiting for the evidence as to the fact, which the Consul had directed to be procured, he writes as follows:—Her Majesty's Government have had under their consideration your despatch of the 18th ult., containing an account of two cases in which Ionian subjects have been maltreated by the authorities at Patras and Pyrgos; and I have to inform you that the conduct of the Greek authorities towards these individuals, as set forth in your despatch, appears to Her Majesty's Government to have been cruel and oppressive. I have therefore to instruct you to demand from the Greek Government, for each of the Ionians who have been maltreated, the sum of 20l., as some compensation for the unmerited ill-treatment which they have undergone.If the British flag is insulted, the Secretary of State does not think it necessary to ask for an apology. If a boat's crew is plundered, a sum of money is demanded; all we want is the money. Is a boathook lost? Put it down in the bill. It is really difficult to speak seriously upon such a question. It would be too absurd, too ridiculous, too foolish, to make it the subject of recital in your Lordships' House, were it not for the momentous fact that it is upon such fooleries the peace of Europe is made to depend. The noble Lord reminds one of the story where a man is thrown out of the window of an inn, and the assailant, when charged with the offence, exclaims, "Put him in the bill." Whatever is done, "put it down in the bill;" here is 10l. for this, and 20l. for that, and when we present our bill to King Otho at last, his treasury not being in an overflowing condition, we will show him what it is to insult Great Britain. Now, I ask your Lordships—I put it to any rational man, whether this is a case upon which we are justified in going to war—in which we are warranted in employing a more powerful fleet than that which won the battle of the Nile, to threaten a friendly sovereign, and demand a certain compensation, just or unjust? But these are not all. There are two other cases. There is the case of a highly respectable gentleman, a canny Scot, one 1311 Mr. Finlay, a gentleman who likes to make a good bargain, and knows when he has made it—a gentleman strongly imbued with the wisdom of the sentiment of "buying in the cheapest, and selling in the dearest market." This gentleman, at the time of the revolution, thought it would be no bad speculation to buy the property of some Turkish gentlemen who might find their position not very agreeable in Athens. His speculations were not very extensive, for, though we read of thousands of pics, a pic is something less than a square yard, I believe, and the whole subject in dispute in his case, is the price of about two-thirds of an acre, for which he gave either 300 drachmas, or 600 drachmas, I forget which; that is, either 10l. or 20l. The land was taken by the Government to be enclosed in the Royal Garden, and no doubt he was entitled to compensation. His was the case of a great number of other persons, and an ordinance was passed fixing the value of the property at half a drachma per pic—about 4½d. per square yard, I think. Some parties were dissatisfied with this, and demanded more; and some obtained more—some, I think, a drachma; and, at a drachma, this gentleman would have been entitled to about 100l. for land for which he had given either 10l. or 20l. There are a great many communications upon the subject, extending over a period of thirteen years, our Minister not giving his own judgment, but performing the part of twopenny postman between Mr. Finlay and the Greek Government. The demand made by Mr. Finlay for land which had cost him 300 or 600 drachmas, I forgot which, was 45,000 drachmas, or about 1,500l for a piece of ground which cost him 10l. or 20l.
That was the state of things, or rather that was said to be the state of things, when these proceedings took place at Athens, and the British fleet appeared to demand reparation. I beg your Lordships to observe that in a letter addressed by Mr. Wyse to Lord Palmerston, dated August 20, 1849, and published in the papers presented to Parliament in February last, Mr. Wyse says—"I am still without any answer from the Greek Government to my note of the 2nd of July respecting the unsatisfied claims of Messrs. Pacifico and Finlay, and others of Her Majesty's subjects." This letter closes the correspondence on the subject of Mr. Finlay's claims laid on the table of your Lordships' House, by the Secretary of State, by command of 1312 Her Majesty, to explain and vindicate the steps which he was taking. What will your Lordships say, when I tell you that not only at the period when these despatches were laid upon the table, but at the period when the demand was made upon the Greek Government for reparation to British subjects, this question of Mr. Finlay was absolutely and entirely and conclusively settled, by a reference, according to Mr. Finlay's own desire, to two referees, one of whom had been named by himself, the other having been named by the Greek Government, who were jointly to select an umpire, and by whose decision it was agreed that the claims of Mr. Finlay were to be settled? What will your Lordships say further when I state that at Mr. Finlay's express desire the case was withdrawn from the mediation and interference of Mr. Wyse and Baron Gros, and that the arbiters came to an agreement without the necessity of calling in an umpire, and awarded 30,000 drachmas to Mr. Finlay as compensation for his claim? What will your Lordships say also when I tell you that when these papers were laid upon the table in February, the Foreign Office was in possession of that information, and withheld or suppressed it? In the month of February, as I have shown, the Government represented that the last information they had on the subject of Mr. Finlay was, that no answer had been made by the Greek Government respecting the claims of Messrs. Pacifico and Finlay, while they were at the time in possession of the letter of Mr. Wyse to Mr. Finlay, dated October 16, and which was received at the Foreign Office at the end of October, in which Mr. Wyse says—I have the honour to inform you that agreeably to the contents of your letter to me of this date, I have this day informed the Greek Government that you have appointed M. Vellios, advocate, to act as your arbiter for the settlement of your claim for indemnification for land of yours inclosed in the garden of king Otho's palace, in unison with M. P. Typaldos, appointed by the Greek Government as their arbiter; it being understood that if the two arbiters cannot arrange the matter, then an umpire shall be named by common consent, as has been already agreed upon; and stating, moreover, that you are ready to abide by the decision of the arbiters, and that you will request M. Vellois to place himself in immediate communication with M. Typaldos, and complete the preliminary arrangements.Now, I ask what the Foreign Office have to say for themselves, that with these papers in their possession they allowed the country to believe that the unsatisfied 1313 claim of Mr. Finlay was one ground of the interference of the British fleet. The effect of the last paragraph of the correspondence upon Mr. Finlay's claim is, that subsequently to the 20th of August no communication had taken place with the Greek Government relative to that claim, although communications had taken place two months later. I say that this is tampering with the question, and is a breach of faith towards your Lordships and the country. It is more than a suppression, for, while the document I have read was suppressed, a paragraph was inserted which, according to the ordinary sense of language, would lead to the inference that no such document had been received by the Government. And when this document had been published in the Greek papers, then, and not till then, in the month of April, without a word of explanation or apology, the Foreign Secretary lays upon the table supplementary papers to those of February, but containing information which had been in his possession since October.
My Lords, there is one case more; and that one presents such an astounding combination of audacity and mendacity, of all that is ridiculous and disgusting, that I am ashamed to bring it under your Lordships' notice. But, before I go into this case, I may be permitted to advert to a circumstance which occurred many years ago. In 1817 an English vessel, called the Berwick Packet, Nesbitt master, was compelled, by stress of weather and the damage the ship had sustained, to put into the port of Villa Nova de Portimao. In order to defray the cost of repairs, the vessel was sold, and the sale produced about 600l. more than was sufficient to cover the expenditure. The master, not being disposed to bring that amount in hard dollars with him to this country, thought himself exceedingly fortunate in being paid by a bill upon the Navy Board. The bill, which he obtained from an accommodating gentleman of the Hebrew persuasion, was brought to this country, when the unfortunate captain, upon presenting it, was immediately arrested as a forger, the acceptance turning out to be a forgery. The law officers of the Crown were, however, of opinion that under the circumstances legal proceedings could not be taken here. The captain returned to Portugal, and after a very considerable lapse of time he was fortunate enough to meet in Lisbon with the individual from 1314 whom he received the forged bill. The captain brought this person before the then Juiz Conservador at Lisbon, D. Leitao, and the consequence was that, in order to escape further judicial proceedings, he repaid the captain the whole amount of the bill, and thereby escaped punishment. Now, my Lords, it is a singular coincidence that this forger happens to be identical in point of name, of nationality, and of religion, with Mr. David Pacifico, who has subsequently preferred a claim upon the Greek Government. It may be that there was another David Pacifico, a Jew, at that time resident in Lisbon, and in that case I owe him every apology; but my information on this subject is derived from persons of undoubted respectability, who have long been resident in Lisbon, and who are perfectly cognizant of the facts, and who assure me positively that not only the names, but the individuals, are identical.
Then what are the circumstances under which M. Pacifico makes a claim upon the Greek Government? It seems that the Athenian mob take great delight on Easter Sunday in burning a representation of Judas Iscariot; but on Easter Sunday, 1847, in consequence of the presence in. Athens of the Baron C. M. de Rothschild, the Government, out of compliment to that gentleman, took measures to prevent the assembling of the people. It is clear, then, that the loss M. Pacifico sustained is traceable to the presence of Baron Rothschild at Athens. If the Baron had not been in Athens, the figure of Judas would have been burnt, and, possibly, M. Pacifico's house would not have been plundered. An opinion arose, however, that M. Pacifico had obtained the discontinuance of this annual celebration, and a mob assembled, and, most indefensibly, made an attack upon M. Pacifico's house, and destroyed what furniture there was in it, and, indeed, according to his statement, everything else. The rapidity with which the mob effected this destruction appears to have been wonderful; but no doubt they did great injury to the house, and caused considerable alarm to M. Pacifico and his family. As I do not wish to exaggerate or overstate anything, I will say that, looking to these papers, it does not appear that there was any great activity manifested by the Greek police, either in putting a stop to the riot itself, or endeavouring to identify the rioters. It seems, indeed, from the papers, that the police were deterred 1315 from taking such steps in consequence of persons who had high connexions in the State being concerned in these outrages; and I think that circumstance gives to M. Pacifico a fair and reasonable claim to compensation for those injuries which he sustained in property or person, and which the Greek Government were unable or unwilling to prevent. But, when we come to look at M. Pacifico's bill of costs, it is really one which passes credibility. M. Pacifico, who had been born of Portuguese parents, had been consul for Portugal, and preferred certain claims against the Government of that country; and he complains, in one of the papers before your Lordships, that the Portuguese Government not having acceded to his reasonable demands, he was left in poverty and indigence. That is the statement he gives of his own condition in life. In the later papers laid before your Lordships, a statement is also made that he was unable to redeem a small amount of plate which he had lodged with the Bank of Athens, the whole value of that plate being only about 30l. It is said, in explanation, that that plate was deposited for the purpose of obtaining from the bank an advance of a sum of money at a low rate of interest, which M. Pacifico was in the habit of lending at an usurious rate of interest to the indigent population of Athens, par la petite semaine, and so turning an honest penny by a profit upon borrowed capital. That is the statement made by Mr. Wyse himself of the position of M. Pacifico, to explain the fact of his not having redeemed the plate he had deposited. Now, with this view of M. Pacifico's circumstances, your Lordships will be prepared duly to estimate the demand he makes for compensation to the amount of more than 31,000l. His demand for the destruction of his furniture and property amounts to nearly 5,000l., and his claims on Portugal to above 26,000l. My Lords, I have said that, according to the statement of M. Pacifico, every article of his furniture was absolutely demolished or carried away, not a vestige left behind, except a basin full of broken crockery, and a single sheet of extraordinary fineness, which fortunately was left to prove the quality of its companions. But, my Lords, either M. Pacifico must be a man of the most extraordinary and accurate powers of memory that I ever heard of, or else, amidst this universal destruction, the plunderers must have been obliging enough to leave behind them a 1316 precise inventory of every item of furniture, and the value of each. My Lords, no upholsterer's catalogue can be more complete than that which occupies some pages of the blue book on your Lordships' table, enumerating, in the minutest detail, every article in M. Pacifico's house, from the sofas and chairs in the drawing-room, to the stew-pans, the jelly moulds, the skimming ladles in the kitchen. Every article, too, in its proper place; in such a box so many coats and other articles of Mr. Pacifico's; in such a cupboard, so many gowns of Mrs. Pacifico's, so many silk stockings of Miss Pacifico's, with all the minutiæ of male and female apparel, into which I will not venture to follow the enumeration. Then the description of the furniture! Why, the house of this M. Pacifico, this petty usurer, who, as I have said, was trading on a borrowed capital of 30l., is represented to have been furnished as luxuriously as it might have been if he had been another Aladdin with full command of the Genii of the ring and of the lamp. Now listen to the amount of a single couch in his drawing room:—I large couch in solid mahogany, British work, with double bottom, one of which in Indian cane for summer, 70l.; I bottom for the winter for the above, a cushion in tapestry embroidered in real gold (Royal work), 25l.; 2 pillows and cushion also, for the back of the whole length of the couch, in silk and wool covering, embroidered in real gold, as the bottom of the above couch, 75l.Total for one couch 170l. Now, I doubt if many of your Lordships have in your houses (I am sure I have not in mine) furniture of this gorgeous description. The bed-room is furnished on a scale of equal magnificence. In the first place appears a Lit Conjugal, (I prefer the original to the more homely translation of a "double-bed,") of which the following description is gven:—A Lit Conjugal, in solid mahogany, with four pillars richly carved, 2¾ long by 2¼ wide, with the back and the end carved, the crown in carved mahogany and carved frame, and a set of brass castors, worth 150l.My Lords, I cannot pretend to follow M. Pacifico into his minute details of the other articles of bed-room furniture; but it is right your Lordships should be made aware that every utensil was composed of the very finest porcelain. In addition to this hill of costs, there were the demands on the Portuguese Government, which amount to the moderate sum of 21,000l., and, with interest included, to 26,000l., for which all the papers were destroyed. And what was the nature of these papers? 1317 They contained claims on Portugal for services rendered. These precious documents were all lost and destroyed. Your Lordships will scarcely believe that these precious documents consisted of protests of M. Pacifico, signed by his own hand, in the year 1847, showing that the Portuguese Government had repudiated absolutely, entirely, and in the most unqualified manner, every one of those claims; and because the Portuguese Government denied that they were indebted, and declared that they did not owe him one shilling, and that they would not pay him one shilling, the British Government, because these papers were destroyed, made a claim that the Greek Government should pay the 21,000l., with the interest, which had been accumulating during the two years at 10 or 12 per cent; and the British Minister at Athens declared, under his hand and seal, that he believed that claim to be just and moderate. When the claim was first made, Lord Palmerston directed Sir E. Lyons, in December 1847, to state that the Government would, as soon as possible, fix the amount they intended to demand as compensation for the sufferings sustained by M. Pacifico, in addition to the loss which he had suffered; in regard to which in a previous despatch, Lord Palmerston had directed Sir E. Lyons to support M. Pacifico's claim if he considered it just and moderate. Sir E. Lyons said, in reply, that he believed the claim to be just and moderate, and that he had sent it in; and it was not till the February afterwards that Lord Palmerston began to intimate a suspicion that there might be some little exaggeration in the case of the Portuguese claims, and called upon Sir E. Lyons to send him word what was the particular nature of those claims, and how they were supported. Sir E. Lyons replied, that M. Pacifico could give no further information than he had already given—the list of his losses and claims; but Sir E. Lyons again made a demand on the part of England upon the Greek Government for the payment of these demands, without the slightest intimation that any deduction would be allowed. I know it may be said that we were not bound to the full amount of M. Pacifico's demand, and that we never meant to press the full claim. I think, then, it is matter of regret that the Greek Government were not informed what amount we did intend to claim; for your Lordships must observe 1318 that when the demand was made at Athens, in January 1850, it was required that all claims that had been sent in to the Greek Government, just or unjust, should be paid in full, with interest, within the period of twenty-four hours. Now, surely that was the time to have said, "We do not intend to press such and such claims, but we ask as compensation such reasonable sums as the Greek Government can have no difficulty in giving." But it was not till February, 1850, after the French intervention had been accepted, that Lord Palmerston intimated to Mr. Wyse that some proposition might possibly be made to diminish the gross amount of M. Pacifico's claim, and that, in such a case, Mr. Wyse was not to consider himself precluded from entertaining such a proposal, shewing clearly that up to that period he was precluded by his instructions. It was then, in support of the exaggerated pretensions of M. Pacifico—for with regard to the other claims there was little or no difficulty—that a British fleet was sent to demand compliance with an unreasonable request in twenty-four hours, and on failure of compliance to capture the vessels of a friendly Power, and to punish, not alone the sovereign, but the people and their commerce. M. Londos, the Greek Minister, only came into office late in December 1849, and on the 17th of January, when he had not been three weeks in office, the demand which had thus been enforced was made, without his having any opportunities of instituting inquiries to ascertain its justice. If I were not afraid of wearying your Lordships, I would call your attention to what I consider the calm and dignified, I might say the touching, reply given by M. Londos to this most extraordinary intimation that, without any attempt at a reference to other Powers, without any attempt at any mediation whatsoever, the claims of the various parties upon the Greek Government must be satisfied within twenty-four hours, or hostile measures would be had recourse to by the British Minister. M. Londos, on the 19th of January, writes—I have received the note which you did me the honour to write to me yesterday. It would be impossible for me to express to you the feelings with which it has been read by His Majesty the King of Greece and his Government. The whole nation will partake them. Greece is weak, Sir, and she did not expect that such blows would be aimed at her by a Government which she reckoned, with equal pride and confidence, among her benefactors. In the presence of a foree, like 1319 that which obeys your instructions, the Government His Hellenic Majesty can only oppose its rights and a solemn protest to acts of hostility committed in profound peace, and which, without speaking of other interests of a higher order, are a violation, in the highest degree, of its dignity and independence. In this sad conjuncture, certain of the support of the Greek people and of the sympathies of the whole world, the King of Greece and his Government await with sorrow, but without weakness, the end of the trials which, by order of Her Britannic Majesty's Government, you may still destine for them.My Lords, a more becoming protest from a feeble Power against the encroachments of a mighty I never read in my life. I am sure that you will participate with me in feelings of sincere and earnest sympathy with the Minister of a people so unjustly assailed. And I think also that you will participate in my deep regret at the conduct of the Government that so assailed them. On the announcement of these hostile measures, offers of mediation were made, but made in vain, by the Ministers of France and Russia; and our system of reprisals was commenced. The vessels of the Greek State were, in the first place, seized by our ships, and when these were found insufficient to meet the demand—and mark, insufficient to meet the demand only because that demand comprised the whole amount of Pacifico's preposterous claim—an embargo was laid upon private vessels, and private commerce and private interests were interfered with, in the expectation that, by the pressure of distress upon their commerce, the determination of the Greek Government and of the Greek people would be broken, and that the full amount of the demand would be conceded. If any doubt could be entertained as to M. Pacifico's claims in full having been embodied in the demand of Lord Palmerston against the Greek Government, that doubt, I think, is set at rest by the despatch from Mr. Wyse, in which he states the result of measures so far, and the progress of the embargo. Let me here observe that the Greek people nobly sustained the protest which their Minister had delivered in their name, so that, if the idea of the noble "Viscount was to effect his object by quelling the spirit of the Greek people, that object utterly failed; the sense of oppression rallied round the King of Greece, not only the sympathies of Europe, but the earnest zeal of his own people; who, if from their position they were not prepared to resist, were prepared, at least, to suffer all rather than sanction injustice. On the 18th Feb- 1320 ruary Mr. Wyse, writing home that coercive measures of greater stringency had been adopted, says—The number of Greek vessels now here is thirty-six; two war-schooners and five merchant vessels are secured at Corfu; and with those mentioned as detained at Spezzia and Hydra, the total in our possession may now amount to about forty-seven. It is difficult to arrive even at an approximate value of this property, comprising shipping and cargoes; the vessels secured at Corfu are estimated by Her Majesty's consul at Patras at about 14,000l."Therefore, your Lordships see, with forty-seven vessels in his possession, of which seven alone were reputed worth 14,000l., Mr Wyse states that he had not enough, as yet, to satisfy the whole of the demands he was empowered and ordered to enforce; whereas, excluding Pacifico's claim, the total of all the other claims made by the British Minister did not amount to 2,000l., and, including Pacifico's exorbitant estimate for furniture and what not, and his 2,000l. demand for Mrs. Pacifico's jewels, and Miss Pacifico's jewels—which I forgot to mention to your Lordships just now—but, excluding his moonshine Portuguese demands, the entire amount of claim was 7,000l., or not one-half the amount which seven out of the forty-seven vessels laid under embargo were calculated to produce. I ask your Lordships, can language go further to make proof complete that, at the moment now in question, it was intended, and fully understood by Lord Palmerston, that the whole of Pacifico's demand, including his ridiculous Portuguese claims, were to be enforced? [The Marquess of LANSDOWNE dissented.] I am very curious to hear the noble Marquess explain, then, how more than 14,000l. is wanted to satisfy claims of not more than 7,000l. in amount; and why the coercive proceedings were to be continued for a longer period, and for what longer period, in order to make up an amount equal to the demand? I have detained your Lordships so long on these original, and, as they appear to me, most important parts of the case, that I must pass very rapidly over the remaining portion; one, however, too deeply and vitally important to be overlooked, the effect, namely, which those measures have had, and which they are calculated to have, on our relations with foreign Powers. I have endeavoured, so far, to explain to your Lordships the various claims against the Greek Government; some doubtful in point of justice, as the Salcina case; others exaggerated in 1321 amount, as your Lordships, I think, will admit the Pacifico claim to be; which claims, doubtful in justice or exaggerated in amount, our Foreign Minister has sought arbitrarily to enforce by coercive measures against the commerce and people of Greece. But, first, let me read to your Lordships an extract from one of Mr. Wyse's despatches, detailing the effect of the screw he is applying to Greek commerce and to the Greek people, to force them to yield compliance: the naïveté is absolutely amusing:—The embargo, too, and seizures, are beginning slowly to produce their effect. The irritation, at first naturally directed toward us and our proceedings, now that the question is better sifted, is turned towards those who have compelled us to such a course. A deputation from Spezzia was to have been received yesterday. Others will follow from Hydra, and probably Patras. Public opinion at Athens—where the truth is now known, and (now mark what follows), provisions are rising in price, will second their applications.The combined operation described of moral and physical causes upon public opinion, the knowledge of the truth, and a rise in provisions, is quite edifying, and quite in character with the whole affair. I must be permitted to entertain my own opinion, that the latter case was to the full as effective as the former. Before I leave this part of the subject, let me do justice to the officers employed in executing the orders of our Minister. I am bound to say, strongly as I disapprove of the course of our Government in the matter, that I do not find that Sir W. Parker, or any of the officers engaged in executing these orders, overstepped in the slightest degree the letter of their instructions; on the contrary, I find that they fulfilled their very painful task with firmness of course, but at the same time with temper and moderation; and I believe I am only doing bare justice to the distinguished officer I have named, and to the officers acting under him, when I express the belief that they would, one and all, rather have been engaged in deadly conflict with the fiercest enemy this country ever encountered, than have seen the honour of the British flag thus prostituted by attacking a weak, unoffending people, interrupting harmless commerce, and plundering wretched, half-pauper fishermen of their sole means of subsistence. Let me now advert to the effect which this step—this violent stop—is calculated to have upon our relations with foreign Powers. I need only ask your Lordships to look at the papers on the 1322 table to satisfy yourselves what that effect has already been. In the very first instance. Baron Brunnow, the Russian Minister at St. James's, without any instructions from his Court, felt it to be his duty to call upon Lord Palmerston for an explanation of the course the noble Viscount proposed to take with Greece, a country, he reminded the noble Lord, with which other countries than England were concerned politically, upon which other countries had pecuniary claims, and which, also, had claims upon the protection of other countries as well as England. Baron Brunnow was assured by Lord Palmerston that it was merely intended to seize on the vessels of the State, and to detain them as security till the indemnification due to British subjects should have been made by the Hellenic Government. In the event of these measures proving insufficient, Lord Palmerston announced the intention of blockading the ports of Greece. And while Baron Brunnow expressed an opinion that this latter measure, if resorted to, might be considered as overstepping the bounds by which reprisals are separated from hostilities, he, nevertheless, intimated his satisfaction with the general assurances given by the noble Viscount, and especially with his promise to give due weight to this last consideration. When, however, the actual progress of things became known, the despatch of the 19th February, 1850, was addressed by the Russian Minister to Lord Palmerston, couched in language which I will not distress your Lordships by repeating; language which it must be deeply painful to a British subject to read as addressed to a British Minister, but doubly painful when he reflects that, bitter, imperious, offensive as the language is, it is not more bitter, more imperious, more offensive, than the occasion justified. The Russian Minister did not deny that England had claims upon Greece, but he contended, most justly, considering the relations in which France and Russia stood towards Greece, that, before extreme measures were adopted by England, some intimation at least was due to Powers equally with herself concerned in maintaining the independence of the weaker Power:—If," said he, "before resorting to the ultima ratio which has been adopted, the English Government had apprised us that its patience was exhausted, if the efforts which we should not have failed to make in Athens to induce the Greeks to come to an arrangement, had proved ineffectual, we should not, M. le Baron, pretend that England ought to submit her claims indefinitely to the re- 1323 sult of our interference. But the English Government did not take the trouble to inform us; not a word of notice was given to the Russian and French Representatives in London; not one communication has been addressed to Petersburg or to Paris, which could lead to the notion that the English Cabinet was on the eve of proceeding to such extremities against Greece. Russia and France only heard of this when the mischief was done,And he winds up with the following emphatic language:—The Emperor charges you, M. le Baron, to address on this subject serious representations to the English Government, to urge them in the most pressing manner to hasten the cessation of a state of things at Athens which nothing justifies or necessitates, and which exposes Greece to losses as well as to dangers, out of all reasonable proportion to the claims made against her. The reception which may be given to our representations may have considerable influence on the nature of the relations we are henceforth to expect from England, let me add, on the position towards all the Powers, great or small, whose coast exposes them to a sudden attack. It remains, indeed, to be seen, whether Great Britain, abusing the advantages which are afforded her by her immense maritime superiority, intends henceforth to pursue an isolated policy without caring for those engagements which bind her to the other Cabinets, whether she intends to disengage herself from every obligation as well as from all community of action, and to authorise all great Powers, on every fitting opportunity, to recognise towards the weak, no other rule but their own will, no other right but their own physical strength.It is true that shortly after this first despatch from the Russian Court, another despatch was communicated to Lord Palmerston, couched in terms of moderation, for which I give great credit to the Emperor; but this was a despatch based upon the circumstance that the mediation, the friendly offices of France, had been accepted.As in our eyes," says Count Nesselrode, "the interest of the Greeks outweighs every other personal consideration, we will not insist on the want of courtesy of which we intended to complain, and we do not intend to demand to be admitted after the time into a mediation already entered upon, and which perhaps at this moment will have produced a favourable result for Greece. If the good office of France can operate efficaciously in favour of the Government of King Otho, and contribute to lighten the weight of the pecuniary claims raised against him, we are ready to congratulate ourselves thereon most sincerely.Have your Lordships read Lord Palmerston's reply to their communication? Oh, the humble meekness of that reply! Oh, the difference between the tone in which he answers this overbearing language from the powerful Court of St. Petersburgh, and that in which he puts down the humble remonstrances of the feeble Court of Athens! He hardly thinks it necessary, for- 1324 sooth, to reply to the earlier note, which, as appears by the second, had evidently been written under a misapprehension, which subsequent information appears to have entirely removed. But to that reply of the noble Viscount there has been a rejoinder. Will the noble Marquess tell us what that rejoinder is? Does that rejoinder establish perfect amity between us and Russia? Does it satisfy the noble Marquess that there is not jealousy, alienation—I had almost said hostility—in the mind of Russia towards us; hostility that may not break out now, but which may. seriously and very alarmingly operate upon the position of this country hereafter. Will the noble Marquess tell us whether any subsequent communications have been received from Russia, any from Austria, which may tend to show how far the extravagant pretensions we have put forth may affect the future position of British subjects residing in those countries? My Lords, we had, up to a certain point, one cordial friend in these transactions, perhaps our only friend in Europe; we were on cordial terms with Prance. Do those terms subsist still? No man values more than I do, friendly relations with that great country. I trust that what we see at present is only a passing cloud, which will soon blow over. I trust I have said, and shall say, not a word calculated to impede the amicable settlement of our most unhappy disagreement with France upon this matter. But what has been the course pursued by our Government towards France, in return for the most friendly course which she pursued towards us? She came with no angry remonstrances—she came with no complaints of her own. She felt the painful difficulty in which you were placed. Without a word of complaint of the manner in which her rights in relation to Greece had been set aside by our Foreign Minister, she generously and frankly tendered her good offices; those good officeswere accepted, but upon conditions and within limits which, from the outset, promised very ill for their ultimate success. On the 5th of February a private offer of mediation was made by the French Minister at our Court; on the same day Lord Palmerston wrote to Mr. Wyse that he expected to receive a formal offer of the good offices, not the mediation of the French Government, of which he should forthwith instruct him, and desired him meanwhile to be prepared to act upon those instructions, and to suspend coercive measures. The 1325 formal offer was received by Lord Palmerton on the 7th of February, yet on the 8th Lord Palmerston writes to Mr. Wyse, takes no notice of any such offer having been made, gives no instructions to suspend coercive measures, and those coercive measures are continued for ten or eleven days longer, to the infinite misery and injury of an unoffending people. The good offices of France, however, were accepted, and I confess I look with surprise at the extent of friendliness manifested on the occasion by France in accepting a mediation restricted within such narrow limits, and bound by such conditions, the French mediator at Athens, or Minister, I hardly know what to call him, being made simply the medium of communications between the English Minister and the Greek Government, and the English Minister being instructed to adhere to his demand in regard both to principle and to amount. It is true that at a subsequent period these absurd limitations were somewhat extended, and the principle of our demands being assumed, the amount was left subject to discussion. A misunderstanding nevertheless occurred, and the French Minister found it necessary to intimate that he should refer to his own Court, and in the meantime suspend his functions; but still this intimation in no degree justified Mr. Wyse in describing the mediation as at an end, for it had been expressly stipulated that, in the event of any such misunderstanding, the status quo should remain until reference had been made to the respective Governments. That such was the intention of the French Government is manifest from a despatch from the Marquess of Normandy to Lord Palmerston, under date the 9th of May, in which he Says—But I am bound to state that such has been the impression here; and from General de Lahitte's constant language, I do not believe that he would have continued the good offices of Franco had he believed that they could have the termination they have now received,Well, my Lords, that is the statement made by Lord Normanby of the view the French Government had of the instructions that had been sent to the British and French Ministers at Athens. That despatch was written on the receipt of a telegraphic account of the recommencement of hostile operations by Admiral Parker. On the 10th Lord Palmerston merely acknowledges the receipt of the foregoing despatch; but, on the 11th, 1326 having received despatches from Mr. Wyse, he enters fully on the subject, and examines the practical differences between the convention which had been in the mean time agreed upon between him and M. Drouyn de Lhuys, and that which had been enforced at Athens. I looked, my Lords, with anxiety to see what was the answer that Lord Palmerston gave to that ground of complaint, that instructions had not been sent to Mr. Wyse simultaneously and to the same effect as those sent to the French Minister, namely, that in the event of any difference of opinion between Mr. Wyse and Baron Gros, reference was to be made at home. I don't find a declaration made that that was not the understanding; I don't find an expression of regret that General de Lahitte had been led into any misapprehension; I don't find any answer whatever to the allegation, that from the first such had been the understanding. Now, that no such instructions were sent is perfectly clear; but it is equally clear and notorious that unless the French Government had understood that such instructions were to be sent, they would not have entered into or carried on the negotiation.
But, whatever might have been the understanding, or misunderstanding, at the outset, it is undeniable that such an arrangement was definitely come to on the 9th of May; and in the meantime, it being felt by France and England that difficulties might arise at Athens, and probably interfere to prevent any settlement being arrived at, a convention was proposed by M. D. de Lhuys, and with very little alteration accepted by Lord Palmerston. And the very day after the suspension of the negotiation on the part of Baron Gros, Baron Gros received from General de Lahitte, under date of the 12th, from Paris, an intimation that such a convention was in contemplation, and, that in the meantime, in case of differences they were to wait for instructions from home. He then writes in haste to Mr. Wyse, acquainting him with the extent of his despatches, and he says, "Here's an escape from our difficulties. I retract my note of yesterday. I entreat you to receive this. I have this positive information. Come to me and I will show you my instructions, and for God's sake take no coercive measures until you shall receive corresponding instructions to mine." Now, I want to know why those corresponding instructions were not sent? Mr. Wyse's answer was, "I have no such in 1327 structions from my Government, and therefore I cannot be guided by your instructions; and cannot for one hour suspend coercive measures." I repeat, I want to know why those instructions were not sent? That they were not is a matter of notoriety. Now, hear how Lord Palmerston explains the circumstance. Mark, all depended upon it—the settlement of the Greek question—the amicable settlement of it—the prevention of the renewal of hostilities, the maintenance of a thorough good understanding between France and England, or the avoidance, at least, of increased misunderstanding between France and England. These instructions were agreed to on the 9th, and Lord Palmerston says—"The existing arrangement of the packets for communication with Greece afforded me no opportunity, that I was aware of, of writing to Mr. Wyse between the 9th and the 17th of April." Now, on the most delicate of all questions of international interference on which the whole thing turned—having come to an arrangement with the French Government on the 9th of April, Lord Palmerston did not think it worth his while to intimate by extraordinary means to the Minister at Athens, that any arrangement had been come to, but was perfectly content to wait for the ordinary packet on the 17th. Why could he not send till the 17th? General Lahitte received the intimation of the proceedings of the 9th, at Paris, and he found no diffculty, on the 12th, in making a communication to Baron Gros; yet Her Majesty's Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, not knowing, forsooth, that a packet was about to sail, was not aware that there were any means of communicating with Mr. Wyse before the 17th. But he goes on to say that even if he had been aware, on the 15th, M. Drouyn de Lhuys came to him with a different arrangement, and in consequence of that, a convention was entered into. Yes, but up to the 15th there was no prospect of a convention being entered into, and by that time the mischief had been done; force had been had recourse to again; and, not by means of an amicable arrangement, not through the mediation of a friendly Power, but solely because M. Gros could not reconcile it to his soul and conscience to demand 180,000 drachmas for M. Pacifico's claim on Portugal, the mediation was suspended, and force was had recourse to, which need not have been the case if Lord Palmerston had only taken the trouble to send a special messenger to 1328 Mr. Wyse. Is not that trifling with a great question? Is it not throwing away the chances of a reconciliation? But a convention is established in London; and what are the terms? That if any other arrangement should have been come to in the meantime by the three Ministers of Prance, Greece, and Great Britain, be it more advantageous or less advantageous to either party, the convention of London was to be set aside, and that agreement adopted. No such convention had taken place; "but another settlement had been made," says Lord Palmerston, "not by all the three Ministers engaged in the negotiation, but by direct communication between the Greek and British Ministers, and as the result of the renewal of hostilities by the British squadron." Now, what would have been more natural than to have said at once, "An understanding has been come to at Athens; to a certain extent it has been acted upon, but to the extent that it has not been acted upon, I accept your convention of London. I prefer the good offices of France, rather than the intervention of our naval force. I prefer to owe the settlement of this great question to the good offices of the French Government. Lord Palmerston goes on to state, though there is little difference between them, that he is still not prepared to adhere frankly to the convention of London, but would still persist in the course he had pursued. It appears to me that in refusing to accept that convention, even at the last moment. Her Majesty's Government has been unjustifiably trifling with the Government of one of its most friendly allies. It is said that the agreement entered into with regard to M. Pacifico in Athens was less favourable to Greece than that entered into in London. It is not so, however, to the full extent, because under the convention of London Lord Palmerston and M. Drouyn de Lhuys, feeling that here they had no power really to estimate the actual amount of loss sustained by him, conferred upon the negotiators at Athens the power of lessening that amount, if it should appear to require it. But, with regard to another very important point—and it is the more important because it is the very point on which Lord Palmerston says that even if Mr. Wyse had received instructions he could not then give way, inasmuch as it involved a question of principle—namely, the recognition and deposit of 150,000 drachmas for the claims on Portugal—upon that point the treaty of London is al- 1329 together silent. And that which Lord Palmerston thought it necessary to instruct his subordinate to insist upon as a sine quâ non, he had not even inserted in the convention. But as regards the claim of M. Pacifico against the Government of Portugal—that claim which Portugal had repudiated—that claim which Sir W. Parker, when he had a fleet on the coast of Portugal, determined not to support—that claim which M. Pacifico, a British subject, has never claimed the intervention of England to enforce upon Portugal—that claim was left by the convention of London to the mediation of France, and Greece, and England; whereas, by the terms imposed at Athens, it was to be arranged between England and Greece alone, that is in other words, it was to be subject to the dictation of England.
I am aware of the great length of time I have detained your Lordships upon this important question; and there is only one more point on which, for a single moment, I shall claim your attention; but it is one of considerable importance. I mean that which refers to the question of the territorial disputes that exist between this country and Greece. The amount of territory is incalculably insignificant. The two islands in dispute are not worth the paper that has been consumed in the discussion of them. But they form a question on which Prance and Russia have an actual and undisputed right to be consulted—a question with regard to which England has not the right of independent action. Be the justice of the case what it may, the question is, whether those islands are, or are not, an integral portion of the Greek State; and England, one of the three protecting Powers, cannot take upon herself to interpose by her absolute authority between her own State (the Ionian Islands) and the State of Greece, and to decide between the two to which the territory belongs, setting aside the claim of Russia and France to enter their opinions and enforce their judgment with regard to the fact of that territory forming part of Greece or not; and upon this subject you have very significant evidence that Russia will not tolerate an interference, single-handed, by England, and that France will not tolerate it either. But now, when you have had the indignant remonstrance of Russia—when you have been told by Russia that she will not tolerate that infraction on her rights, now, I suppose, you are about to recede from the position you took up. But previous to that declara- 1330 tion, so far as Lord Palmerston and the Government of this country are concerned, in October, 1849, orders were issued, which at this moment are unrescinded, so far as these papers show, to the commanders of Her Majesty's naval force to seize on the islands of Sapienza and Cervi, to expel the Greek inhabitants, and to take possession of those islands in the name and on behalf of the Ionian States.
My Lords, this demand is made in the most peremptory terms. For years it has been matter of negotiation—for years it has been pending, and certainly no great activity has been shown by Her Majesty's Government. Years and years ago, Greece was promised the documents on which you founded your claim, but as yet no such document has ever appeared. In the mouth of November, I think it was, Greece did put in a detailed answer to the claim brought forward on the part of the Foreign Office to the possession of Cervi and Sapienza, and vindicated, and, I think, by no unconclusive reasoning, or at all events by reasoning which makes the matter one of considerable doubt, her own claims, whilst she rejected the claims of Great Britain to the possession of these two insignificant islands. What was the answer of Lord Palmerston? Is it that the receipt of that intelligence induces him to pause, and to take no steps until he shall have replied, and brought the matter, by negotiation, to a satisfactory issue? Not at all. In his usual off-hand fashion, in January, he declares that there is no force whatever in the arguments of Greece, concluding with an argument which, with due respect to the noble Viscount, I must say is perfectly absurd, that because these islands are not mentioned by name in the treaty, they could not belong to Greece—a condition which would declare that neither Salamis, nor Egina, nor any one of the islands on the southern coast, belonged to Greece. For that reason he declares the claim of England to be undoubted and indisputable. And, my Lords, so far as the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs is concerned, it did not rest with his discretion that at this moment forcible possession has not been taken of Sapienza and Cervi. Orders were issued, and they have never been rescinded. They were issued without reference to France or Russia, and without the consideration of the effect which they might produce upon these two Powers; and it was Sir W. Parker and Mr. Wyse who, on the 15th of February, took upon themselves to write to Lord 1331 Palmerston, and to say that, pending the receipt of further instructions, they had taken it upon themselves not to act upon the instructions which the Secretary of State had given them to take forcible possession of those islands. Here, then, is the position you are in with regard to those petty territorial possessions. You have put forward a positive demand—you have overlooked the claim of Russia and France to interfere. Fortunately for you, your officers had more discretion than yourselves, and refrained from acting upon your instructions. And now, in the teeth of what I call, with deep regret—I cannot otherwise characterise it—an offensively-eouched intimation, on the part of Russia, that such a proceeding on the part of England cannot be tolerated, this country will be compelled, in the teeth of that remonstrance, but compelled also by right and justice, to recede from the position which, rashly and intemperately, has been taken up by the Foreign Minister.
My Lords, I trust I have succeeded in substantiating, first, that of our claims some have been exaggerated in amount, some doubtful in point of justice—that they have been enforced, by coercive measures upon the Greek people, and that the course of our proceedings has been calculated to endanger—I go further, and say, has seriously affected—our amicable relations with foreign Powers. God grant, my Lords, that the consequences, the natural consequences, of these proceedings, may not follow! God grant that the wound which has been occasioned may be healed by a more conciliatory course of conduct! God grant that nothing may interfere to prevent the continuance of a friendly feeling between the Great Powers of Europe, whose concurrence is essential to the maintenance of the peace of the world, and the well-being of mankind at large. But if those happy results should follow, they will not be owing, in my humble judgment, to the temper, moderation, or good sense with which the British Government have conducted their foreign affairs.
My Lords, if you concur with me in the facts as I have related them, you cannot refuse to concur with me in expressing your regret at such a state of things. I ask for no more. If, indeed, we have been guilty of injustice—if, indeed, we have been guilty of making exorbitant demands if, indeed, we have oppressed the weak—and if, indeed, we have endangered our relations with the powerful, surely it becomes this august assembly—surely it be- 1332 comes the British Legislature—to step forward and to say that the Foreign Office of England is not England; that the high-minded, generous English feeling of this great people is opposed to measures such as have been taken by the Government of the country—that we separate our actions from theirs, our feelings from theirs, our views of political matters, our views of justice and good faith, from theirs, I know, my Lords, the weight of private and personal influence that is brought to bear with your Lordships on this question; I know the amiable qualities of the noble Lord at the head of the Foreign Department, Personally, I entertain for him a sincere regard and private friendship; but I am hound here to speak, not of the man, but of the Minister; and thus feeling and regarding him as a man, I must, in this case, express my deep regret at the conduct which, as a Minister, he has felt it his duty to pursue, and call upon your Lordships to recollect that this is no case in which personal feelings ought to be indulged. I must call upon you to remember that you are here in the discharge of a great public duty—that you are here acting in a judicial capacity—that you are here acting as the means possibly of reconciling differences between conflicting nations—at all events, that your judgment to-day may go forth to the world and vindicate you from the stigma and the opprobrium which, as I think, must attach to that great and mighty Power which prostitutes its undoubted superiority by enforcing unjust or exorbitant demands upon a feeble and defenceless ally. My Lords, I beg to move—To resolve, that while the House fully recognizes the' right and duty of the Government to secure to Her Majesty's subjects residing in foreign States the full protection of the laws of those States, it regrets to find, by the correspondence recently laid upon the table by Her Majesty's command, that various claims against the Greek Government, doubtful in point of justice or exaggerated in amount, have been enforced by coercive measures directed against the commerce and people of Greece, and calculated to endanger the continuance of our friendly relations with other Powers.
§ The MARQUESS of LANSDOWNE
My Lords, I rise to state the grounds on which I ask your Lordships to refuse your assent to the propositions made by the noble Lord; and, in doing so, while I do not in any degree dispute the unquestionable right of the noble Lord to make these subjects matter of discussion in this House—while I do not dispute the right of the 1333 noble Lord to hold Her Majesty's Ministers in this House responsible, one and all, as we admit that we are responsible, for the proceedings on which he has pronounced so unfavourable a judgment, I yet must be permitted to say that it will be a subject of consolation to my noble Friend who is at the head of that department which is most immediately concerned in these transactions, to perceive that in that assembly, of which I may be permitted to say, though he is my Colleague, that he is one of the most distinguished ornaments—in that assembly in which, perhaps beyond any assembly in the world, the mercantile and manufacturing interests of the country and of the world are adequately represented—those interests so constantly and naturally alive to everything that stirs the calm surface of affairs—in that assembly in which there is a party which has adopted for its standard and watchword the preservation of peace—that in that assembly, which has gained, by long habit, a cognisance of all those transactions which are connected with the public expenditure—there has not, up to this moment, been one single intimation of an intention to bring these transactions into question; but that the questions that have been put upon this affair, when subjected to the test of fact and truth, have vanished into air, and there has been left behind no recorded intimation of the intention ever again to renew them. I say that this is a matter for some congratulation to my noble Friend. In this House, however, the noble Lord (Lord Stanley) has willed it otherwise. The noble Lord here is on his own ground, and upon that ground, though far from insensible to the power of his weapons, and the skill with which he uses them, it is my duty this night to meet him. My Lords, I take the resolution which the noble Lord has submitted to you, in the character, as he says, of impartial judges; and I take this resolution as he proposed and explained it to your Lordships; for there is this remarkable circumstance, that the noble Lord, for the purpose of obtaining the assent of your Lordships, found it necessary to spend the first part of his speech in explaining what that resolution did not mean, because—as the noble Lord appears to have discovered—a more objectionable resolution as it stands, one more entirely at variance with the past policy of this country, one more contradicted by the past policy of all nations, and one more calculated to take away from 1334 future Governments, as far as a vote of this House can take away, the ground" upon which they may be called upon to vindicate the honour of the country, and to maintain the security of British subjects, never was proposed to a British Parliament. But the noble Lord, sensible, upon reflection, of the obvious construction of the terms in which he has embodied his resolution, commenced his speech, as I have said, by qualifying its meaning to a great extent. The noble Lord, in his speech and in his resolution, is graciously pleased to admit that British subjects throughout the world are entitled to the protection of the laws of the country in which they happen to live. Such are the terms of the noble Lord's resolution, which he has not proposed to qualify as regards the vote he asks your Lordships to come to, although he has qualified them in his speech. As the resolution stands, it implies that in every despotic, in every military country, every British subject is at the mercy of those despotic and military Governments, because there happens to be no law to provide security for them, and that they are not to be protected against the enforcement of the despotic laws of the country in which they reside. The noble Lord says, although his resolution does not, that he does not mean despotic countries. Why does not he so express it in his resolution, then? If he means his resolution as an index to the law of nations, why does not he make it a correct one? Why not say at once that he means, as I know he does mean, that in every free, constitutional, republican, monarchical, and, above all, despotic country—for it is in despotic countries that protection is most required—that in all countries, whether free or despotic, British subjects have a right to be protected? Because, unless this is clearly understood, it might happen that in a country without reason or law—it might happen, for instance, that in China or India the most serious injuries might be inflicted upon a British subject; it might happen that a British subject has his head cut off by a Turkish janissary, or that he is killed in Egypt in some other way, because there is no particular law to prevent it, and we should not be entitled to ask redress for the wrong so done to him and his family. Such would be the necessary consequence of the resolution of the noble Lord; but even with the explanation which the noble Lord has given of his resolution, I must say I go far beyond 1335 the noble Lord in that explanation. I think that this country would abandon that part which she has hitherto taken in the world—I think she would abandon that right which is most essential to her welfare and prosperity as a great commercial country—if she were to abandon the right to enforce an exemption of her subjects from wrong in every part of the globe. Injuries may be inflicted upon subjects of this country in a variety of ways not included either in the resolution or doctrine of the noble Lord; injuries may be inflicted by law, they may be inflicted against law, or they may be inflicted without any law at all; they might be inflicted by the officers of a Government acting under the orders of that Government, or they may be inflicted by individuals whom the Government might have controlled, but did not; and in every one of those cases it is obvious that for the protection of those of our subjects who are carrying on lawful commerce and enterprises, we should be bound to apply the best remedy we could. Let us see how this applies to the case which the noble Lord has submitted to your Lordships; for, although I am far from attempting, even if my strength permitted, to follow the noble Lord in every one of the observations he has made in the course of a very long speech—although it probably did not appear to your Lordships long, for undoubtedly it was a very able speech—although, I say, I have no intention of following the noble Lord through all the details into which he entered with respect to the upholstery items of M. Pacifico's claims, and whether the Ionians were tortured in this way or that—all circumstances which are beside the principle of the ease, if you once admit that injury has been inflicted—I must say a few words with reference to it. But before proceeding to do so, I think it right to state at once to your Lordships, what is the practice of the world in such cases. And I state with confidence, in opposition to the assertions of the noble Lord, that the practice of all countries, more especially of maritime and commercial countries, has been to protect their subjects in every part of the world, and, where that protection has been denied by the laws or by the Governments of those countries, to procure that redress by force. My Lords, I wish that your Lordships should see how we stand in relation to this subject. Many of your Lordships must be aware—the noble Lord himself cannot but 1336 be aware—that Great Britain, France, and the United States have from time to time been in the habit, without consulting anybody, without thinking it necessary to invite the opinion or consent of other Powers, to proceed to claim redress where injuries have been sustained by their subjects, to threaten force for the purpose of obtaining that redress, and even of using force when those threats were found of no use. I was quite aware that many such cases existed, but I was not aware that they existed in such numbers till a very short time ago. Going back for a period of only thirty years, I find that in respect of Great Britain eighteen instances have occurred; in France, fourteen or fifteen instances; and in the United States not less than sixteen or seventeen instances, in which immediately or almost immediately—in most cases I believe immediately—upon the wrong being inflicted redress was claimed, and upon that redress not being immediately granted the application of force has ensued and been effectual, and that without calling for the approbation or even the opinion of any Power that was not concerned. But I must here notice that the noble Lord's language with respect to Greece seemed to me studiously ambiguous. Does he mean to say that there is any difference in the responsibility of the State of Greece as compared with any other independent country? The noble Lord seemed to think that the guarantee to which he referred placed Greece in a peculiar condition; but the fact is—and it has been distinctly admitted by Russia—that the guarantee is only territorial. Greece has been distinctly admitted—as the noble Lord will find in those papers—by Count Nesselrode, to be an independent State; and it could not be an independent unless it were a responsible State. Give me the case of a State whose independence has been taken away—give me States that are without connexion with a federal government, to which they are amenable, and there will be something in the noble Lord's argument; but I contend, my Lords, that with respect to the Greek Government, there has not been, from the instant of its original recognition by the Powers of Europe, any one transaction which has taken away from it the character of an independent and responsible State. My Lords, she has taken care more than once to show you that she has so considered herself, for during that time she has been at the point of going to war with Turkey, without consulting any 1337 one of those Powers whom the noble Lord supposes to be her guardian angels. I therefore say, my Lords, that this is a case precisely parallel to those other States who have been required to submit to a reparation of any injuries which they may have inflicted. I have told your Lordships that there are a large number of cases in which other States have adopted precisely the same mode of obtaining redress as we have done in the case of Greece; agreeably to the same law of nations, as that law of nations has been laid down by the most eminent writers on international jurisprudence. I could cite no fewer than forty or fifty cases; but I will not fatigue your Lordships by doing so. I will only cite one or two, because I think them peculiarly apposite to the particular case now under review. I shall first refer to the case of Venezuela, and I select that because, contrary to the opinion of the noble Lord, the subjects of this country were protected in a manner different from the subjects of that republic. In the case of Venezuela a law was passed preventing creditors from recovering their debts in the ordinary way. The subjects of this country, considering themselves aggrieved—considering that they had entered that country on the faith of a different system—on the faith of their property being secure—remonstrated through the medium of the British Government, and that remonstrance not having been effectual, a naval force—respecting which the noble Lord seems to feel so much horror—a naval force was sent for the purpose of obtaining redress, and that redress was then immediately granted. Then there was the case of Peru—a case which did not occur under the administration of my noble Friend, but in 1844. At that period, during some disturbances which occurred in Peru, the houses of some of the English residents were plundered, and various acts of outrage and injustice committed upon them. Redress was immediately demanded by this country, and was obtained in that case; but how was it obtained? By the appearance of a naval force, and by a very peremptory demand, quite as peremptory as any language of my noble Friend, that those outrages should be compensated and apologised for; that those persons who inflicted those outrages should be dismissed. I don't know whether the noble Lord considers Peru a stronger or a weaker State than Greece. For my own part, I cannot see that there is any great difference between them, or that anything unjustifiable has oc- 1338 curred in the case of Greece which does not equally apply to the case of Peru. But is the noble Lord not acquainted with the case of Naples and France? I have no hesitation in saying that, although I do not take upon myself to disapprove of the course pursued in that case by the French Government—that although I know that no other country remonstrated, and that Naples itself acquiesced—it was infinitely stronger interference on behalf of the French subjects than any in which my noble Friend has interfered on behalf of British subjects. An insurrection, it appears, occurred in Naples, and barricades were raised by the mob. In the course of an attempt which was made by the Government, and which was finally successful, to put down the barricades, certain houses were broken into—the principal part of them being Neapolitan houses, but including also some French houses. After those houses had been broken open for the purpose of destroying the barricades, the mob seeing the doors open, entered the houses and plundered them. The French Government instantly sent to Naples to say that French subjects had had their houses plundered by a Neapolitan mob; that although the Neapolitan Government were not able to prevent it, they yet held them responsible for the property which had been thus destroyed; and upon this ground—but not until a naval force—that expedient which the noble Lord so much objects to, was sent—reparation was made by Naples to the French subjects, although the Neapolitan subjects were left entirely without redress. There having been no law in the country by which the Neapolitan subjects could claim redress, they were entirely left without any; but the French Government held that there was a general law of nations which entitled foreign subjects, while in pursuit of their lawful calling, to protection from the Government under which they happened to live; and upon that ground they succeeded in obtaining redress. What is going on at the present moment? A great many outrages have lately been committed upon American ships and sailors by some Portuguese subjects. Without applying to courts of justice, the strongest remonstrances have been made by the Government of the United States against these proceedings, and I have every reason to believe that at this moment there are vessels of war on their way to Lisbon for the purpose of demanding redress, without calling for 1339 the interference or asking for the opinion of any other Power. Here are a series of instances in which a mode of settling questions was adopted which the noble Lord seems to think constitutes a new sort of law, which he has termed the "wilful law" of each State, acting for its own benefit, but which "wilful law" proves to be the regular and well-understood law under which all States act in the case of injuries done to their subjects in foreign countries. Why, an independent Power would think it a degradation to ask leave of a third Power whether it might or might not enforce its claims by force. My Lords, I now come to the particular claim upon which the noble Lord dwelt at some length, and which forms the subject of his present resolution, in the first place premising that however entertaining were the observations which he was tempted to make upon that case for the amusement of the House, considering it as a question of justice and principle, I cannot entirely agree with the noble Lord. I confess I hardly expected that, whatever may have been said in pamphlets and newspapers on the question of those claims, the noble Lord would have condescended to rest any portion of his argument upon those details. If the noble Lord will refer to the history of this country and of the world, he will find that principles on which the honour and happiness of countries depend, are often involved in circumstances which, so far as regards the amount, are insignificant. The time has been when a claim was made, poor and miserable, and paltry the noble Lord might say, and such as ought not to have agitated the country; but involving, as it did, a very small amount, that claim of shipmoney also involved one of the greatest principles, and in support of those principles, which have ever since formed the standard of our constitution, men were found ready to embark their lives, their swords, and their hearts. Again, the noble Lord has dwelt much on the character of the persons whose claims were to be vindicated on the present occasion, and especially referred to statements which ware calculated to damage the character of the unfortunate M. Pacifico. I beg to say that the character of M. Pacifico has nothing to do with the question. We all remember how the country was agitated by the unlawful proceedings directed against Mr. Wilkes. I have nothing to say of Mr. Wilkes now; but it was alleged his character was one remarkable for immorality 1340 and gambling and was vicious in various respects. But that character of Wilkes did not prevent Lord Chatham and the greatest men of the time from advocating the cause with which the name of Wilkes happened to be identified; they thought it due to the country to vindicate the principle which was involved in that cause, because, although he might not only be a gambler, but might have cheated in his gambling, and not only regardless of religion and morality, but an atheist, they felt that it was not for them to examine what were the morals and habits of Mr. Wilkes before they determined what course they should pursue with reference to the issue of a general warrant which directed a search of his house and papers. So I say here, my Lords, the character of M. Pacifico, whatever may be the circumstances to which the noble Lord alluded, does not affect the question with respect to the validity of his claim to protection as a British subject, and with respect to the duty incumbent on the British Government. The case—all the case of M. Pacifico—was extremely well illustrated by a most respectable resident at Athens, of high character in this country and of high character there. It appears that M. Pacifico had been subjected to the most unjust persecution, that charges had been accumulated against him; and the gentleman to whom I allude illustrates the true position of matters exceedingly well by reference to a case which came on in Westminster-hall, and in which the instructions given to counsel were described to be—and the brief given to the noble Lord seemed similar in character—"The case is a very bad one; but you may abuse the plaintiff's attorney." True, says the noble Lord, the house of M. Pacifico ought not to have been burnt, but he is a man of dreadfully bad character. That is not the way in which the question at issue ought to be argued. Because the individual whose interest happens to be concerned may be of equivocal reputation, that is no reason why his case should be repudiated as if it were unjust. In a work to which I have referred with pleasure on every occasion when it has been necessary to cite its authority—a work which holds an important place in the literature of the country as it does in the law—I mean that work collected under the title of Judgments of Lord Stowell, not less remarkable for the weight of its decisions than for the exquisite polish of its language, your Lordships will find it recorded as a matter of 1341 fact—if you analyse that work, and, passing by the beauty of the general principles which are there laid down, take the character of the persons concerned—that most of those persons were freebooters, slave-dealers, adulterous persons, whose characters were infected with every description of shame, crime, and moral incapacity; but inasmuch as all of them were persons having a claim on the justice of the tribunals of the country, their rights fell to be asserted as involving general principles, of which the public interest required the vindication. All that relates to the noble Lord's minute discoveries with respect to M. Pacifico'a character, and the smallness of his claims, leave the great principle at issue untouched.
Now, with regard to the other claim, that of Mr. Finlay, there is one thing to be remembered, that the mode in which the claims were enforced was in no respect dissimilar from the mode in which claims put forth by other countries have been enforced. The novelty of these claims, therefore, was not in the manner in which they have been enforced, but in the great length of time allowed to elapse before they were settled. Some date as far back as 1836. The noble Lord has admitted Mr. Finlay to be—what he undoubtedly is—a very worthy and respectable man—not only a man of high character, but a man of singular cultivation of mind. But the noble Lord seems to think there is something to be made the subject of commentary, although the Government of Greece and the French Government had equally admitted Mr. Finlay's claim. The noble Lord seems to think that there is some room for remark, in consequence of Mr. Finlay having purchased a bit of ground and asked more than he gave for it, that ground being near the palace. Does not the noble Lord know respectable Englishmen who in this country have sold ground for a larger amount than that for which they purchased it? How many prudent Englishmen have bought property round the town of Liverpool, for example, and disposed of it to considerable advantage? With some sort of triumph the noble Lord read an admission on the part of Mr. Finlay, that he had referred his claim to arbitration. What will the noble Lord think, when I tell him that under the influence of the Government of Greece the arbiters were never appointed to meet; and if the noble Lord looks to what Vattel and other writers on the law of nations say, he will find that a denial by delay is 1342 as bad as a disallowance of justice altogether. They say that reprisals are not, in the first instance, to be had recourse to; but if there be a refusal, or what they declare to be sometimes worse than a refusal—intentional delay—reprisals are the justifiable and the proper course; and they point out an embargo as suited to the particular case.
We now come to the case of the officer at Salcina. "He was not in uniform," said the noble Lord; but whether injuries are inflicted on persons in uniform, or whether they are inflicted on persons out of uniform, these injuries require to be redressed. In this particular case carelessness was exhibited and insult offered to an officer of Her Majesty's Navy. And what was asked? Was it anything extraordinary that was asked? It was simply an apology; and yet that was for a long time refused. So in the case of the robbers, a Greek custom-house had been chosen as the spot on which to carry on a system of plunder directed against Ionian subjects. Why, some compensation was surely due to these Ionian subjects. But Sir E. Lyons states that his letter on that matter was never answered by the Greek Government, How then, could the noble Lord say the Greek Government had shown a disposition to meet the demands made on behalf of these persons who were plundered? So in all the other cases there was a systematic refusal of explanations; or if explanations were tendered, they were of a most unsatisfactory sort. With respect to the case of M. Pacifico, which I have always considered the gravest, though the noble Lord has dwelt so much more lightly upon it—the noble Lord seems to think we adopted M. Pacifico's views—that we at once adopted his claim, and positively, and arbitrarily, and peremptorily required the Greek Government to pay all that M. Pacifico demanded. I do assert, with reference to that opinion of the noble Lord, that from the beginning to the end of these transactions M. Pacifico's claim was no further adopted than as a claim for discussion; and if it were to be adopted for discussion, how could it be in any other way, or for any other amount, than in the way and at the amount M. Pacifico laid it at? We could not take upon us to reduce that, because the circumstances were not within our cognisance, and it was inquiry we called for. What we said, what Sir E. Lyons said to the Greek Government, was, that this must be made the subject of in- 1343 quiry. In the very first letter on this subject of the noble Lord the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, he instructs Sir E. Lyons to obtain from M. Pacifico a detailed statement of his loss; and if the amount of the sum at which the claimant estimated his loss should appear just and reasonable, only then, Sir E. Lyons was to present it to the Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs. Sir E. Lyons had taken care to make his demand for compensation in general terms, which would prevent inconvenience if the Greek Government made a reasonable objection. Is that a demand?
I have seen the letter stating that, though the noble Lord considered the claims just and reasonable, yet they were to be referred to in general terms.
§ The MARQUESS of LANSDOWNE
It was to be made the subject of that inquiry which might have been carried on by Sir E. Lyons, just as it might by any man who hears both sides; and that to which the British Government limited itself was to prosecute that demand to the amount which, after inquiry, should be found fair, just, and reasonable. I find that again and again stated in the course of the papers exchanged during the progress of the negotiations. It is evident, from the expressions used by Mr. Wyse and Sir William Parker having reference to compensation, that all they meant was, that there should be such satisfaction given as should be deemed reasonable after every inquiry. I shall not trouble your Lordships with citing the many instances in which this is to be especially remarked with reference to the amount of M. Pacifico's claim; but I will only cite the last, that on the 25th of March, where Lord Palmerston, in giving Mr. Wyse instructions, that with respect to the claim of M. Pacifico on the Greek Government to make good his demand on Portugal, it is said the claim can only be considered as equivalent to the amount he would have recovered from Portugal if he had not lost his documents which were to substantiate it; because that is the measure of his loss—so that if it be proved that M. Pacifico was entitled to only Is. for the Portuguese claims, he would be entitled only to 1s. from the Greek Government; but the principle was fair. Whatever his documents would produce, that was all that was to be asked. I don't know on what authority the noble Lord said, with respect to M. Pacifico, 1344 that there was reason to believe he was identical with a person of the same name, who had been concerned in a dishonest transaction at Lisbon a great many years ago. But there is this to be said of M. Pacifico, that at a subsequent period he had been twice appointed consul by the Portuguese Government. I have too much respect for the Portuguese Government to believe that if they had thought him guilty of forgery and dishonesty, they would have selected him for that office. It is stated that they undertook to give M. Pacifico the consulship as a substitute for the sum he was entitled to recover from them. M. Pacifico found afterwards that the consulship was not attended with profit or advantage, and therefore very speedily recurred to the value of his claims. I wish to make this observation, that with regard to all claims for redress and compensation preferred by British subjects, residing abroad, against the Government of the country in which they reside, every one of the claims that involve any doubt as to the question of law, is referred, with all the documents belonging to each case, to the Queen's law advisers, and in no instance has a claim been made in which, after full and deliberate consideration of the papers, the Queen's advocate did not say the party had a right to obtain compensation. Such was the course pursued in the present case. It may be that an exaggerated view had been taken of the case—it may be that an utterly unjust and absurd demand might have been made; but there was the distinct concurrence of the law advisers of the Crown in the grounds on which the demand was made. But I have the satisfaction of thinking that, with respect to the Powers to which the noble Lord referred, both Russia and France, there is no disposition to dispute the validity of our claims in principle, with the one exception of that which related to the papers in M. Pacifico's case; that Russia more particularly has emphatically said that we had claims, and it was not to be expected that we should put up without compensation if they were not discharged. My Lords, I have endeavoured to show that the claims we felt it our duty to make on the Greek Government have neither been doubtful in point of justice, nor exaggerated in amount, as they are described in the resolution of the noble Lord. The noble Lord further asserts that these claims have been enforced, hereby insinuating that the British Go- 1345 vernment have exacted the whole amount in the first instance claimed, and exacted it by the application of force, though it is notorious that not one has been enforced to its full extent, and that they have greatly mitigated the amount of those claims in all cases where it was possible to make a reduction. Your Lordships are aware that the terms ultimately acceded to by the Greek Government on the ultimatum of our Minister at Athens, were more favourable than those awarded to it by the Convention of London, and that our demands have not been of that exorbitancy charged by the noble Lord, or, if exaggerated, that they have been reduced to a considerable extent; in the case of M. Pacifico, the sum of 120,000 drachmas being concluded upon, besides the value of the losses sustained by him in respect of his Portuguese claims. With regard to the effect which this transaction has had upon our relations with other Powers, I do not undervalue the observations of the noble Lord, or the opinion which the European Powers may entertain as to our proceedings in any case, whether the claim be preferred by way of legal process, or by force, as we were in this instance compelled to act. All that Russia has complained of is, that these claims have been, in her opinion, too suddenly enforced, and without notice given to other Powers. Now, my Lords, I have shown to you that in all those cases of claims enforced, no notice has been given to other Powers; and I do not know what there is in the circumstances, the condition, or the relative strength of England to the Powers of the world, that whereas other Powers may proceed, on their own sense of injustice done to them, to require justice to be rendered, England alone, after years of delay, after treating the Greek State in a manner far indeed from the injustice peculiar to that State, and which the noble Lord has described, nay, with a degree of indulgence which she would not have shown to any other State—that Eng land might not, I say, when she had a force in the Mediterranean capable of immediately exacting satisfaction, proceed to require that satisfaction, for all demands, as far as they turned out to be consistent with justice. I do not know whether the noble Lord included in his catalogue of complaints the employment of a large force. I think there were excellent reasons for employing a large force, though the circumstance of such a force having been employed has attracted a great deal more 1346 attention, and perhaps excited more suspicion, than the presence of a smaller force would have done. Still the fact of a large force being present in those seas was a temptation that was very great, not merely for the purpose of carrying our object into effect, but for acting on the position of the Greek Government; for if the Greek Government was compelled to yield, it was much more honourable to yield to Sir William Parker in his three-deckers, with a number of other ships attending him, than it would have been to a frigate and a sloop of war. I think, therefore, the employment of such a force was not only justifiable, but well-judged for its purpose; and, as your Lordships have seen, it did not fail to produce the wished-for effect. The noble Lord has expressed his apprehension that these transactions have interrupted our amicable relations with the Russian Government. With the respect which I entertain for that Government, with the unfeigned desire I have that we should maintain, on all subjects, a good understanding with that great Power, I deeply regret that any difference of opinion—for it never went further—should have indicated itself with reference to this subject. But I am happy to be able emphatically to deny that the transactions in question have disturbed the amity which ought to, and does, exist between this country and Russia. I affirm the contrary. I can state, that, upon many subjects, the relations of amity between Russia and this conntry never subsisted in greater force that at this moment. I declare that, with respect to some of the most important questions which now agitate Europe, and more especially affect the interests of the north of Europe, the community of feeling, sentiment, and action between Russia and this country, is as perfect as it ever was at any period of our history. The most intimate communications with respect to everything that occurs affecting the Powers of the North, and more particularly affecting them at this moment, are constantly taking place between the Russian and the British Government—we availing ourselves of the suggestions of Russia, and Russia expressing her confidence and reliance in our views, and advising other Powers to follow the course and adopt the sentiments suggested, by us. I see nothing, I expect nothing, which is likely in the least degree to prevent the cloud from passing away which has for a moment, and only for a moment, come over our relations with Russia. 1347 I now, my Lords, come to the case of Prance, and here, adopting the declaration of the noble Lord, and repeating it in still stronger terms, I think myself bound to say nothing and to do nothing that can in the least degree prevent that cloud from passing away which has for a moment, and but a moment, and that arising from purely accidental circumstances, obscured the relations of cordiality which subsisted between that country and this. My Lords, when France offered her mediation, and when her good offices were accepted, they were accepted in the perfect conviction that they were frankly and sincerely tendered, with the view of doing justice to our demands, and of obtaining justice without infraction of the peace of the world. Such were the views, as we understood them, with which M. Gros went to Greece. But after a great variety of notes and projects, much exceeding the numbers which it might have been hoped would have been necessary on such a subject, it was found that no result whatever ensued; and then M. Drouyn de Lhuys, the French Ambassador at this Court, was authorised by his Government to negotiate with my noble Friend a convention, the conclusion of which was, from the short time it occupied, a sufficient pledge of the spirit of sincerity in which the negotiation was undertaken. Most unfortunate it was that that convention had not reached Athens before M. Gros thought it necessary to withdraw from the character of a negotiator, and left it to Mr. Wyse, who waited for a day or two in the hope, though a vain hope, held out to him by M. Gros, that he might have something else to propose, to follow out his own instructions, and renew the measures of reprisal to which he found himself compelled to resort. I say found it necessary, because nothing can be more clear to those who read the papers, than that the understanding that prevailed, not at Athens, but here, between M. Drouyn de Lhuys and Lord Palmerston, and General la Hitte was, that if differences arose between M. Gros and Mr. Wyse touching upon any question of principle, reprisals should be recommenced; but if it were merely one of detail and degree, reference was to be made to the Government at home. When Mr. Wyse refused to grant any further delay to the Greek Government (and your Lordships will observe that he has thought it necessary to vindicate his conduct on this point, because an impression to the 1348 contrary has somehow been created), he had no knowledge of the convention having been entered into at London. My Lords, it was physically impossible that we should have had such knowledge; that would have materially altered, as he himself states, the position in which he stood, because he then would have had authentic grounds to stand upon. The French Minister for Foreign Affairs, I have the satisfaction of seeing, fairly admits that Mr. Wyse could have had no knowledge of the bases of any such convention having been concluded. But the noble Lord says, when a convention was concluded in London, why not at once have adopted that "instead of the agreement made at Athens? My Lords, I have no hesitation in saying that, abstractedly from the actual circumstances, such a course would have been most fitting and desirable; but, unfortunately, the treaty of Athens had been partially executed, and, besides, it contained a particular clause, having reference to circumstances which were not known when the convention was concluded at London—I mean certain presumed claims of the Greek Government. If that convention had been altogether abrogated, without communication, and the other adopted, it might have been supposed that we were admitting the expediency and justice of those most unfounded claims, to which, under no circumstances, would it have been possible for this country to assent. A desire is, I believe, unfeignedly felt on both sides to come back to the terms of the treaty of London, as far as they can still be made the basis of a treaty. Communications upon this point have been taking place during the last two or three weeks between the two Governments, which are not yet brought to a conclusion, but I have satisfaction in stating that they have come so near a conclusion, that not many days, perhaps I may say not many hours, will probably elapse before their completion takes place. I fully concur in the hope expressed by the noble Lord, that a good understanding between this country and France will be completely restored. Whatever may be the future character of the French Government there is no character it may assume in which it will not be the interest of this country to maintain friendly relations with it. I know of nothing—I foresee nothing—I trust there is nothing in this night's discussion, which can interpose an obstacle to the perfect resumption 1349 of those friendly relations with France which are so essential to the peace of the world, I hope and trust, also, that the delay which has taken place in the settlement of this question will not prove as injurious as he supposes to the interests of Greece. I can assure the noble Lord that the statements which have reached him of the pressure on Greek commerce are as much exaggerated as Don Pacifico's claims. The Government is in possession of documents relating to this subject, which I will take an opportunity of producing, because I attach great importance to showing the world that, so far from its being our intention to pursue a course which would press onerously on the Greek people and their commerce, it was for the purpose of avoiding that pressure that we departed from the practice usually followed on such occasions, and, in the first instance, captured only vessels of war. It was only when the vessels of war were found not to amount in value to the sum required, that Greek merchant vessels were detained. I have good authority for believing that the people and commerce of Greece peculiarly appreciate the spirit in which we have acted towards them. When the noble Lord contends that the settlement of our claims should have been left to the adjudication of the Greek courts of law, it is necessary I should remind the House that all the Greek judges may be dismissed at the pleasure of the Crown, and not unfrequently the pleasure of the Crown was exercised in that way. I do, therefore, consider this one of those instances in which the Government of this country was justified in having recourse to the proceedings by which they attempted to redress the wrongs done to British subjects; and I believe with confidence that none of those demands, disputed in amount, but admitted in principle, would have been accredited, if Her Majesty's Government had not taken the determination of sending Sir William Parker and a fleet to support them. I, my Lords, call on the House to reflect whether the adoption of a resolution in the terms proposed will not limit the power of the Government to redress the grievances of British subjects at a future time—whether such a resolution passed by this House, unaccompanied and unfollowed though it may be by the resolution of any other assembly in Great Britain, may not cripple the power, resources, and energy of this country, acting through its representatives in foreign 1350 States. Believing myself that such would be the result of the adoption of the noble Baron's resolution, I call upon your Lordships to reject the Motion.
§ The EARL of ABERDEEN
My Lords, at the outset of the observations which I shall venture to address to the House upon the question under consideration, I cannot help remarking that there are some subjects no clear, so perfectly level to every comprehension, and which come home so directly to the feeling and common sense of mankind, as in a great measure to dispense with the necessity for elaborate demonstration or argument. It is all very well for the noble Marquess to assume a tone of confidence on this question, and for the organs and partisans of the Government to labour in their defence; but I maintain that when we know that a British fleet of the magnitude described by the noble Baron—being equal to that with which Nelson won the victory of the Nile—appears in the waters of Greece, and, after receiving the civilities of the sovereign of the country, the admiral summons the Greek Minister, and, in conjunction with our representative, presents to him a list of demands which are to be acceded to in twenty-four hours, and that when this unfortunate functionary observes that he has been in office only three weeks, and requires time to enable him to inquire into the justice of the claims, he is told that the question is not whether the claims are just or unjust, but whether they are to be discharged in twenty-four hours; when we know these facts, it appears to me, that the character of the transaction is sufficiently described; and I venture to say, that the proceedings of Her Majesty's Government in the waters of Greece have throughout the whole of Europe, from one end of it to the other, called forth a cry of indignation, whilst, in England, it is regarded by every impartial and reflecting man with regret and disapprobation. When this transaction occurred, it appeared to the world in general utterly unintelligible. Nobody could believe that the reasons assigned for the proceeding were the true and genuine motives by which it was prompted. I am not in the least surprised that such incredulity should prevail. In every part of Europe it was supposed that some deep stroke of policy was concealed under this apparent attack on Greece. No one could believe that the satisfaction of the extraordinary claims set up by us was the end and object of our great arma- 1351 ment. Unfortunately, we who know little more of the reckless mode in which our foreign affairs are conducted, will have less difficulty, perhaps, in believing the motives assigned, and in seeing in it no policy more profound than the exercise of certain feelings of hostility and the display of overwhelming force. But, my Lords, I feel that even we might have suspected that other consequences might ensue from those operations which took place; for I am sure that when a demonstration of this kind was made—a demonstration of hostility of this description—many persons in Athens and out of Athens fully believed that the destruction of the Greek Government was intended by it. J. know myself, that in urging claims against the Greek Government I have been over and over again assured by that party which is usually called the "English party" in Greece, that such demonstrations would inevitably overthrow the Ministry and possibly the King himself. My Lords, I think we may observe the animus, we may ob serve the spirit, which, in a great measure permitted this mode of proceeding; and I observe in the papers an illustration of it, to which I will refer, because I think it explains the feelings which existed on the part of the Government, and that it is also characteristic of that double dealing which I am sorry to say has prevailed of late in the foreign policy and conduct of this country. In the autumn of last year there was a revolt in the island of Cephalonia. After its suppression Sir H. Ward, in a speech addressed to his Senate, referred to the share which he said the Greek Government had in the stirring up of the disturbances in that country. On the 9th of October he made a speech to his Senate, in which he said the Greek Government were privy to the troubles that had taken place in Cephalonia. The Greek Minister lost no time in remonstrating, in protesting against the truth of any such accusation; and Sir H. Ward, in the next month—the November following—expressed also in a public address his great regret that his speech should have been so much misunderstood, for that he never intended to insinuate any such imputations. [The Marquess of LANSDOWNE: Hear, hear!] The noble Lord cheers that, and I was very glad to see such was the case; but what does the Secretary of State say? M. Drouyn de Lhuys, in giving an account of his conversation with the Secretary of State, in which he made his remarks on our pro- 1352 ceedings in Greece said, "that the Secretary of State replied that the English Government had other complaints against the Hellenic Government; that, for example, in spite of the contrary assurances which policy had determined Sir H Wood to give at Corfu, it was very certain that the hand of the Greek Cabinet had been found in the agitation which had recently broken out among the people of the Ionian Islands." Now, which of these two functionaries speaks the truth I know not; but this I know, that their difference is not creditable to the character of this country. My Lords, my noble Friend has so fully entered into all the claims, one after another, which have been put forward by Her Majesty's Ministers—he has exposed so completely the doubtful character of some, and the exaggerated nature of others, that it is not possible for me, even were it desired, to lay them more clearly before your Lordships; but I would make two or three observations upon one part of this subject; and, first, I would say that, as the noble Marquess has truly stated, the claims of Mr. Finlay arose before the constitution of Greece was established, and, therefore, when he was living under an arbitrary Government. Mr. Finlay, when I was in office, made his claims to me; but what did he do then? He demanded the good offices of Her Majesty's Government. No doubt he had made a claim for compensation, and a claim to the good offices of Her Majesty's Government; but he never made a claim for reprisals against the Greek Government, and he would have had no ground for any such claim, had he made it. The Greek Government never denied he had an equitable claim for compensation—it was a question always of amount. Many persons were in his situation. Among others was one of the most respectable men, who had lived many years in Athens, Mr. Hill, the American missionary. That gentleman was possessed of half the very field for which Mr. Finlay made his claim, Mr. Hill was settled with, was satisfied, and contented. Mr. Finlay continued his claim, and at last, his claim never having been refused, never having been denied by the Greek Government, but the difficulty always having been the amount, the matter was, as my noble Friend stated, referred to arbitration, although the fact of that having been done was not communicated to this House; and your Lordships are called upon to believe that this claim of Mr. Finlay was not disposed of, and 1353 had not been actually adjusted at the time Mr. Wyse made his demand on the Greek Government. And so as to the claim of M. Pacifico. So far from denying he had a just claim in equity for losses he had sustained, undoubtedly he had a claim; but his course was different from that of Mr. Finlay. He had no right to apply to the representative of his Court to obtain compensation for them until he had endeavoured to obtain such relief by the ordinary mode of proceeding according to the laws of the country. Now, that I take to be unquestionably the case here. But this is a case in which a demand was made, and in which an order for reprisals was given; but an order for reprisals is a sort of declaration of war. Now, in order to justify the issuing of reprisals, you must have exhausted every means afforded to you by the laws and the tribunals of the country. A short extract from a very high authority will confirm this. Vattel says, with reference to persons living in a foreign country, that—The prince, therefore, ought not to interfere in the causes of his subjects in foreign countries, and to grant them his protection, excepting in cases where justice is refused, or palpable and evident injustice done, or rules and forms openly violated, or, finally, an odious distinction made to the prejudice of his subjects, or of foreigners in general. The British Court established this maxim with great strength of evidence on occasion of the Prussian vessels seized and declared lawful prizes during the late war.Now here no justice was refused, no justice was denied, no rules or forms were openly violated, and no odious distinction was made on the part of the Greek Government against M. Pacifico. The matter to which Vattel refers in this extract is celebrated as The Silesian Loan. That is a production which has settled the law upon the subject, I believe, to the satisfaction of all Europe. It has been referred to, it has been the standard authority upon all matters connected with such subjects from that day to this. It was drawn up, as is known, by Lord Mansfield, although united with the law authorities of the time, including Sir Dudley Ryder, the Judge of the Prerogative Court, and the King's Advocate of that day. The noble and learned Lord now sitting on the Woolsack, the Lord Chief Justice, in his life of Lord Mansfield, has observed and has recorded his opinion of that production to which I have thus referred. He says, having been often employed to draw papers of a similar nature, he had never perused it but with 1354 mixed sensations of admiration and despair. Therefore, this may be taken to be wisdom and truth itself. Now, let the House hear what this production, so described, says—The law of nations, founded upon justice, equity, convenience, and the reason of the thing, and confirmed by long usage, does not allow of reprisals except in case of violent injuries directed or supported by the State, or justice absolutely denied in re minime dubia by all the tribunals, and afterwards by the prince. Where the judges are left flee, and give sentence according to their conscience, though it should be erroneous, that would be no ground for reprisals. Upon doubtful questions different men think and judge differently: and all a foreigner can desire is, that justice should be impartially administered to him, as it is to the subjects of that prince in whose courts the matter is tried.Does not this appear to have been written precisely to meet a case like the present? Had M. Pacifico tried all the courts? Had the prince and all the tribunals refused him justice? He immediately repaired to the Minister of his Court, and made that a diplomatic question which ought entirely to have been a judicial question; and the Greek Minister, over and over again—I will not trouble your Lordships by reading the passages—lays down maxims as sound as those of Lord Mansfield himself. What did he say? He said, "Let M. Pacifico come into court and prove his loss—let him furnish the Government with the means of repairing his loss; and, although the Greek Government may not allow the enormous and exaggerated amount he claims, he will undoubtedly receive all that is due." Therefore I think the case of M. Pacifico is not one in which to apply to the Government to issue reprisals, and induce such consequences as those which have unfortunately taken place. But even if all these claims were as clear and certain as many of them are doubtful and equivocal, still I would say your mode of proceeding was most rash, impolitic, and unjustifiable. The noble Marquess has spent a great deal of time in showing that all Powers redressed their grievances without applying to, or asking the consent of, any other State; and that the point at issue being one in which Greece and England were alone concerned, there was no necessity for acting in combination with the other Powers of Europe. No doubt, under ordinary circumstances, we should never think of asking the permission or consent of France or Russia for any injury we might think it our duty to redress; and I do not deny there may be in- 1355 juries which call for the issue of reprisals, I or even a declaration of war itself. Of that, of course, every country must itself he the judge. But your Lordships must recollect that Greece was differently situated with respect to France and Russia from other countries, because we, the three Powers, had united to make this very State—we had founded that State—we had guaranteed its territory, and a blow struck in this manner by one of these Powers, might, in its effect, be a blow struck at her very existence as well as her independence. Let me put a case. Suppose we had a quarrel with Belgium—a very improbable supposition, but still, with the ingenuity of Her Majesty's Government, not a case beyond the bounds of possibility, suppose, I say, we had a quarrel with Belgium—the integrity and independence of Belgium are guaranteed by the five great Powers of Europe—in the event of such a dispute as that of M. Pacifico arising with Belgium—would you send a squadron into the Scheldt and blockade Antwerp without communication with the other great Powers of Europe? You know very well you would not; but Greece was a corpus vile upon which you might try your experiments, without communicating with the other Powers, and you would not have ventured to do anything of the same sort in a country similarly situated as Belgium is. When I view this question in all its bearings, I confess I find the greatest difficulty in bringing myself to believe that it is possible that such a course as has been adopted with reference to it by Her Majesty's Government can have been pursued without previous communication with France and Russia. The thing appears to me so monstrous as to be almost incredible, and yet so it is. I could not believe such was the case, until I found it stated in the papers in the first letter ofthe French Minister to his Government. Great sensation having been created in France by the whole affair, M. Drouyn de Lhuys was despatched to England without delay to get an explanation. Accordingly, on the very first day after his arrival in London—that is to say, on the 5th of February—he wrote to his Government a letter, in which he stated—I laid before Lord Palmerston a very animated picture of the bad impression which the news from Athens had produced upon the President, the Council, the diplomatic body, the whole Assembly, and upon public opinion. I dwelt upon all that was offensive for us in these sudden and violent resolutions taken without our knowledge against an allied nation, all that was extreme in 1356 the means of execution, all that was strange and contradictory in the new situation which these events were about to create in the East. … Lord Palmerston, diminishing the importance of what had passed at Athens, replied that this affair appeared to him so simple and of so little consequence, that he had not thought it necessary to speak to the French Government about it.It might suit the purpose of the noble Lord to treat the question in this light; but certainly I do not remember to have ever heard of a case which was less deserving than this of being characterised as trivial, simple, and unimportant. The original question might be very simple, but it would be difficult to exaggerate the importance of the results which may flow from the course that has been pursued with reference to it. It is all very well to say that the question is one between England and Greece, that France and Russia have nothing to do with it, and that therefore there was no necessity for consulting them or communicating with them on the subject; but, even supposing this to be true with respect to the original point in dispute—the mere claim for pecuniary compensation—surely it cannot be denied that the matter assumed a very different aspect indeed when it was found to involve a question of territory. It was by the joint co-operation of England, France, and Russia, that Greece was erected into a free State, and that her territory was definitely prescribed; and when a question arose which affected the integrity of that territory, surely it could not be doubted that England was debarred, by every consideration of common justice and common courtesy, from taking a step with reference to it, without previously communicating with those Powers which were co-guarantees with herself for preserving intact the integrity of the territory of Greece. It was not very clear to whom they belonged. No doubt, in the absence of all distinct evidence of particular ownership, it appeared rational enough to conclude with the Greek Government that the desert islands nearest to the mainland should belong to Greece, and that the others nearest the Ionian Islands should appertain to the Ionian Islands. But the question had not been decided with such preciseness as to preclude controversy. It should be remembered, moreover, that no legal right or ownership could be put forward on behalf of the Ionian Islands beyond that which they professed to derive from an Act of the Ionian Legislative Assembly bearing date so far back as January, 1804. He was in Corfu at that 1357 time, and was present at the discussion of the Legislative Assembly, though he did not profess to remember a single word of what they decided or debated upon. Of this, however, he had a distinct recollection, that no Turkish authority (and the Turks, be it remembered, were at that time the owners of Greece) was present at the debate; so that the decision, even supposing it valid in all other respects, might perhaps be impugned as ex parte. But the real question turned upon the extent of the Venetian territory before the French Revolution, for the decision of the Legislative Assembly did not profess to have any effect except with regard to such regions as had belonged to Venice. It was only owing to the forbearance, or doubt rather, of Mr. Wyse, who thought the note of the Greek Minister had more truth and justice in it than appears to be thought here, that he, of his own mere motion, without Instructions, suspended the execution of the orders that had been given; for in the early stages of this transaction I recollect the noble Marquess, with great apparent triumph, said, that the demand for these islands formed no part of the list given in by Mr. Wyse; but the noble Marquess did not, with his usual candour, say that at the very moment the Islands, if the instructions had been acted upon, would have been actually in our possession, and therefore that was a very good reason for their forming no part of the claims sent in by Mr. Wyse. But the noble Marquess took no notice of that part of my noble Friend's speech—he took no notice of that part of the question which related to the situation in which these islands stood; but I look upon that as a very important part of this question; because it is that upon which you are obliged to abandon the ground you have asserted, and you are obliged to settle with other Powers after you have avowed your determination to take the whole settlement of this question into your hands. I do not deny it is a question that admits of doubt. I admit it does; but at the same time when I look to that admirable specimen of peremptory style in which the Secretary of State, in a very inadequate answer to the Greek note, says, it is indisputably proved they belong to the Ionian Islands, I must say, I think Russia and France would require some better arguments than those. I utterly deny that the treaty between Russia and the Porte in 1800, and still less the treaty of Paris in 1815, recognise in the slightest degree the possession of 1358 these islands by the Ionian States. Not the least; they only refer to such territory as belonged to Venice, raising the question—as I have said—what did belong to Venice. This is a question, I admit, doubtful, and very proper to be discussed; but discussed with those Powers which. have guaranteed the integrity of the territory of Greece. In the whole of this matter I think that what has pained the feelings of all persons in this country most has been the part which our naval force has been obliged to play. It is not only in the instance of Greece, but I must say that since the departure of that fleet from England, there has been much in which it has been employed, little conducive to the honour and the credit of this country. First, in the Tagus. At Lisbon what did it do? It excited the complaints and suspicions of the Government, at the same time that the opposition party loudly remonstrated against the proceeding. It was next seen at Naples, where it controlled, threatened, and thwarted the operations of the King: you encouraged, but then you deserted, abandoned, and betrayed the Sicilian insurgents, offending both parties. Its next appearance was at the Ionian Islands; but the fact of its taking no part in suppressing the emeute was probably to be accounted for by the circumstance that that affair was suppressed before its arrival. I believe the only service attributed to that fleet in the case of the Ionian Islands, was the furnishing Sir H. Ward with implements of punishment for the rebels. I do not mean to blame Sir II. Ward; though his measures were very severe, it is possible he may have been justified. It is possible that the mild government of a military Conservative might be advantageously succeeded by the stern rule of a Whig civilian. But still I think it rather an odd requisition to make from the admiral's ship—a supply of "cats" to flog the rebels. That is all that I find of the performance of the fleet at the Ionian Islands. Then comes this last brilliant affair in the waters of Salamis. I may be told that it has also appeared in the Dardanelles; that it did wonders in the Dardanelles; that it brought the Emperor of Russia to his senses, and did wonders for the Polish refugees. I believe your fleet entered the Dardanelles on the 5th of November, and I think in the middle of October the Emperor, in answer to an application from the Sultan, had, without the interference of any foreign Power, ac- 1359 quiesced in the interpretation given by the Sultan of the treaty under which the Emperor had claimed the delivery of the refugees. Therefore their condition was neither better nor worse for it. But the fact was that you were obliged to apologise to the Emperor for entering the Dardanelles at all; you disavowed your admiral: and you promised to do so no more. You went further; you brought yourselves to declare that he had been driven in by stress of weather. Now, I say that is a deception; that is the thing which is not.
My Lords, I have very little to say upon the latter part of the subject on which my noble Friend has addressed you. I really do not know exactly in what state the transaction with France is at this moment. It is astonishing to me that a negotiation should have been going on for three weeks upon such a subject. I can only say, it appeared to me that the proposal of the French Government was perfectly simple, and ought to have been accepted at once. It seems to me that you have gone on haggling, like your own Pacifico, when you might have settled the whole matter in a single hour. You had agreed to a convention in London, and you had stipulated that, if any other agreement had taken place at Athens, that agreement should stand, and the London convention fall; but it turned out that no agreement had taken place at Athens, but a forced and compulsory settlement had been come to. The convention of London, therefore, should be taken. At all events, you knew the undoubted good faith of the French Government, their desire to be of service to you; for really it is marvellous, if you look to the conduct of the French Government throughout, the anxious wish that they have exhibited to stretch even justice in your favour; in the instructions of General Lahitte to M. Gros, he tells him what, interpreted in plain English, amounts to this, "Be as unjust as is decent, but there are limits beyond which you cannot possibly go;" but he says, "these claims, whether just or unjust, are claims of a great nation, which must not be humiliated, and which we wish to serve;" and it is quite clear that M. Gros acted upon those instructions, and did his best to fulfil in the spirit of his Government the mission with which he was entrusted. But you are not to suppose that M. Drouyn do Lhuys, who seems to be almost the only French agent with whom we have not been dissatisfied, did not feel very strongly the na- 1360 ture of the engagement into which they had entered. Far from it; and I think that the misunderstanding originated in this: When France offered mediation, of course it was impossible for us, in the odious position in which we stood in the face of the world, to refuse; but if we had wished to make it fail, I rather think the course we took seems well calculated to produce such a result. It was clearly in the mind of the Secretary of State, that we were to employ M. Gros to execute our demands. In diplomatic language we said, it will give us greater satisfaction to receive justice by means of French intervention rather than by our force; that meant that he was to be our sheriff's officer, to levy our debt and do our bidding. But that was not the understanding of M. Gros or of the French Government, because the Secretary of State had said, "You will do something like what was the case in your mediation between us and Naples in the sulphur question, and ours in the case of Mexico." Now, the French diplomatists knew well what that was, and that both they and we exercised a great discretion in that mediation, and they naturally took these terms, describing the functions of M. Gros to mean a bonâ fide mediation, such as was exercised in those two cases. In both those eases the mediation finally became an arbitration, as all mediations must if the parties have any common sense, because the mediating Power is sure to propose, if he has any fairness or justice in him, that which is preferable to the continuation of the quarrel. That was the case with us when the French settled our dispute with Naples, by arbitration; and I myself, in the case between France and Mexico, exercised the part of mediator at the conclusion of that dispute, which had not been finally settled when I came into office. The French naturally thought they were to exercise similar powers; but that was not your intention, and hence arose the misunderstanding, M. Gros struggling to exercise some discretion, and to act in some degree according to his sense of what was just, and we binding him to what we called "the principle "of the claim. But we ought to have said—"Take the two agreements; make out of them what you think just; we shall be satisfied with what you think just." The complaint they made was, that you had committed a breach of engagement with them. They recalled their Ambassador in terms unprecedented not to be followed by the most serious consequences. 1361 Yet you go on haggling for three weeks with the danger of making that more difficult which at the first moment was, I believe, easy.
I cannot think that our relations with Russia are as friendly as they were. It is perhaps the freedom of friendship which they used in writing that despatch which bas been quoted; but I should humbly think the person who dictated that despatch must have entertained feelings not altogether of the most friendly character. Though I hope this will pass away, and leave no permanent bad consequences, yet it is undoubted that it will not leave us where it found us. The feeling between the two countries may be such as to get over any soreness which may remain behind; but all these transactions cannot have taken place without more or less injuring that good understanding which previously existed. I must say, in looking to the state of our relations with the whole of Europe, I cannot see great cause for satisfaction. We may become used to anything; but our relations with the great Powers of Europe are unprecedented, and cannot continue long without danger. When I look back but four short years, and recollect that this country was then honoured, loved, and respected by every State in Europe, with an intimate, a cordial good understanding with France, and without the slightest diminution of our intimacy and friendship with all other Powers, I confess I do not look with any very great satisfaction even at this new species of friendship which the noble Lord has discovered to exist between us and other countries. You cannot wonder at the feeling existing towards this country. We have deeply injured Austria. It is not only that abominable transaction to which I have more than once referred in this House, in which we exhibited, most falsely exhibited, to Europe and to Italy the policy of Austria with respect to Italy, and made it believed that Austria entertained views of conquest of Sardinia—an offence of the most crying description—but we have been the main cause of a great part of the misfortunes and difficulties of Austria. You might have stopped the Piedmontese war; not by the advice which you gave, and for which you took credit, in telling the King of Sardinia he had better not go to war with Austria, because he had a good chance of being beaten; but if you had told him that he would have been guilty of an act of perfidy—that he would have broken a solemn engagement with his benefactor and 1362 creator; if you had told him that he would have broken a solemn engagement entered into with Great Britain, and that if he persevered you would protest in the face of Europe, and recall your Minister from his Court—if you had done this, you would have had no Russians in Hungary; and I look upon the entry of the Russians into Hungary as a great misfortune, not only to Austria, but to Europe, for if the Sardinian war had not occurred, Austria by herelf would have been able to put down the Hungarian insurrection. Unfortunately, it is a melancholy characteristic of human nature, that we are apt to hate those whom we have much injured. I see symptoms of hate on the part of this country. We had no cause of collision, and it required all the fertility of invention on the part of Her Majesty's Govenrnment to court a quarrel with Austria. But, after all that has passed, I cannot persuade myself that it can long continue. And it is so far satisfactory, that with all the ill-will existing towards us throughout Europe—for I have named two or three great Powers, but I might go through the whole list, or very nearly so, with one or two exceptions—the people of this country are not the object of suspicion or dislike to these nations. They separate the country from the Government; all their complaints and all their sufferings are attributed to the Government alone, and they do justice to the private feeling of the people of England. I can only say that, looking to the Motion of my noble Friend, and recollecting the manner in which he has pressed every part of the subject upon you, I doubt much if any man in this House or out of it, can lay his hand upon his heart, and deny that every word of it is strictly and literally just and true.
§ The EARL of CARDIGAN
My Lords, in rising to address a few observations to your Lordships upon the important subject under your consideration, I beg to assure you that when I rose at an early period of the night, I did not do so for the purpose of presuming to reply to the noble Marquess, the leader of Her Majesty's Government in this House; and my sole object now is, to explain to your Lordships the grounds upon which I intend to give my vote this evening, for which purpose I shall trespass upon your Lordships' attention for a very short time. My Lords, although I am well aware that the foreign policy of this country ought not to be lightly or unnecessarily discussed in either House of Parlia- 1363 ment, yet, my Lords, I do feel that we are now placed in that position of danger with regard to our relations with foreign Powers, that I cannot but think, that it is justifiable for your Lordships collectively, or any of your Lordships individually, to express your sentiments upon the present state of affairs. My Lords, I shall not for the moment further advert to the transactions which have recently occurred in Greece, than to say, that I do not think that either the claims or complaints we had against the Government of that country were of sufficient magnitude and importance to justify the risk which you have just incurred of bringing on a general war in Europe; for although your Lordships may probably consider yourselves warranted in congratulating yourselves and the country at large in having for the present escaped the impending danger; yet, my Lords, there are none of your Lordships who are ignorant of the circumstance, that scarcely a fortnight since the French Ambassador was suddenly recalled from this country, in a manner which is the usual prelude to a declaration of war; and none of your Lordships are unaware of the exulting cheers with which the announcement of that circumstance was received by a large majority of the National Assembly of that Republic, supposed up to that moment to be our faithful ally. My Lords, the state of our relations with Russia have been recently explained to your Lordships, and to the world at large, in a letter not long since addressed by Count Nesselrode, to the Foreign Department of this country; so that, my Lords, it appears, by this public declaration on the one hand, and this public official letter on the other, that we have, with the most extraordinary ingenuity, succeeded in arraying against us, if not in open hostilities, yet with the most hostile feelings, two of the most powerful nations of Europe, directly opposed to each other, in all their national and political institutions, those of the one being founded upon republican and democratic principles, those of the other upon arbitrary and despotic government. My Lords, I must say, I consider the whole course of the foreign policy of Her Majesty's Government, when viewed in connexion with the measures they adopt upon other points, as one of the most extraordinary anomalies, and one of the most extraordinary inconsistencies ever heard of. My Lords, we have in this country a Manchester school of reformers, with a very influential and talented 1364 leader at their head—to whose advice, and to whose dictates. Her Majesty's Government often pay the greatest attention. My Lords, you are annually cutting and paring down your naval and your military establishments: each succeeding year sees a reduction in your Army, your Navy, or your marines; so that, my Lords, you have not a sufficient force left to defend even your own shores against any violent attack or aggression, on the part of any powerful foreign nation; and yet during the whole of this time you are unceasingly quarelling with every other nation in Europe.
No doubt, my Lords, the resources of this country are such, and the gallantry of its people is such, that this country would, as it has heretofore done, make a gallant stand against foreign Powers allied against it in any case where the national honour or the permanent interests and welfare of the country were concerned. But I ask, my Lords, whether the national honour or the permanent interests of the country rendered it requisite that we, forgetful of the circumstances under which we were ourselves placed—forgetful, my Lords, of the insurrection which recently occurred in Ireland—forgetful of the summary manner in which we put down with the strong arm of the sword in our distant Eastern possessions the slightest opposition to our authority, and in so doing added fresh kingdoms to those our distant possessions—unmindful also of the manner in which we put down in other parts of our possessions—I speak of the Ionian Islands and Ceylon—the insurrections which there occurred—in doing which neither priest nor peasant were allowed to escape from summary military trial, and consequent speedy and summary execution: I ask, my Lords, whether, forgetting all these circumstances under which we ourselves were placed, it was either wise or prudent, or requisite for the national honour or the national interests, that we should afford indirectly, if not directly, encouragement to the Sicilians, by the presence of our fleet, and the language held by our resident Minister in that country, in open revolt against that country, to which they as lawfully belonged as nine-tenths of the possessions of this country, in different parts of the world, belong to the dominion of this country. Was it wise or was it prudent to estrange from us the friendly feelings of one of our oldest allies the kingdom of Naples, although perhaps not one of the most powerful na- 1365 tions of Europe? I ask, my Lords, whether it was requisite for the honour and permanent interests of the country that we should have given every encouragement to the Sardinians in their hostile and aggressive proceedings against Austria; and I ask whether it was wise or prudent to alienate from us the friendly feelings of one of the oldest and best allies this country ever had—I speak of the Empire of Austria—by the manner in which we thought proper to interfere in the internal affairs of that nation, and by the offensive advice which we thought proper to obtrude upon their Government? And, my Lords, although the dictates of good feeling and of mercy might have induced Her Majesty's Government to use their best influence to save from unnecessary severity those unfortunate refugees who had escaped from the Hungarian rebellion—I ask whether, in the present state of this country, it was either wise or prudent to send a British fleet in a hostile and menacing manner to the confines of Russia, and afterwards even to have permitted that fleet to anchor within the precincts of the Dardanelles in direct breach of existing treaties? In making this statement to your Lordships, I omitted to refer to the original, but most serious difference with the Spanish nation, or to allude to the undue interference which we are generally believed to have exercised with the affairs of the Italian States previous to the general disorganisation of those States. So that, my Lords, adding the case of Spain to others which I have quoted, I have conducted your Lordships from the capital of Spain over the whole face of Europe, in narrating to you these bickerings, these quarrellings, and these undue interferences with the affairs of other nations. And now, my Lords, I will ask your Lordships, whether it would not have been much wiser and more prudent to have allowed the fleet to return from its unlawful anchorage within the Dardanelles, to have taken its homeward-bound course direct to its usual station in the neighbourhood of Malta, without permitting it to deviate from its course, for the purpose of making a violent and a hostile attack upon a small and insignificant kingdom, on account of claims which it is evident, up to that time, had not been very clearly defined? I ask whether it would not have been much more prudent to obtain redress for those claims and those complaints with the concurrence and by the assistance of the Ministers of 1366 our allies, France and Russia, our co-guarantees for the integrity of the Greek nation; more particularly, my Lords, as it appears that those Ministers came forward readily to offer their friendly offices and their assistance?
I cannot but think that it is much to be regretted that Her Majesty's present Government, which, as well as preceding Governments, have paid so much deference to the opinions of an influential leader of a large Radical party in this country, whoso "unadorned eloquence" is said to have been the sole cause of all those great changes which not long since took place in the domestic policy of this country, either for good or for evil, but which I humbly think were effected to the permanent injury and ruin of this country. But be that as it may, I cannot but think it is much to be lamented that Her Majesty's Government have not paid attention to the advice of that influential leader upon the only point in which I humbly think he ever gave good advice, namely, to refrain from quarrelling with our neighbours; to abstain from undue interference with the internal affairs of other nations; and to cultivate the friendly feelings and the goodwill of all the other nations of Europe. My Lords, I think it very unfortunate that Her Majesty's Government have not paid a greater observance of that most useful and salutary maxim, of, "Do unto others as you would wish to be done by yourselves;" and, as your Lordships well know that this country would ill brook, indeed would not tolerate, the slightest advice or interference from any foreign Power with our internal concerns, it is much to be regretted that we do not refrain from interfering with the internal affairs of other nations. I My Lords, it is with these feelings, and deeply impressed with the extent of the danger of our present situation with regard to our relations with foreign Powers, and I do assure your Lordships, without any personal or hostile feeling towards the noble Lord at the head of the Foreign Department of this country, for whose talents, for whose firmness, and whose courage I may be permitted to say I feel a very great respect; but, my Lords, feeling that, in the present circumstances of this country, it is most requisite that the affairs of the Foreign Department should be carried on upon principles pre-eminently pacific—deeply feeling, my Lords, the danger of the position in which we are placed with regard to all the nations of Europe, having 1367 alienated from us the friendly feelings of every one of them, being almost without a friend or an ally upon the whole Continent of Europe—it is, my Lords, deeply impressed with these feelings, that I shall consider myself in duty bound to give my cordial support to the Motion of the noble Lord.
§ LORD WARD
regretted that this matter should have been made a party question; and he could not help thinking that the object of the noble Lord, in moving his resolution, was to give the Government an opportunity of explaining the course they had adopted towards Greece, rather than to create a faction fight on such a subject. It would have been much fairer to the noble Lord at the head of the Foreign Department to have brought the subject forward in the other House of Parliament, when he could have gone fully into detail, and have answered the noble Lord's statements by a reference to all the facts of the case. From personal experience he could say, that a strong feeling had existed in the minds of preceding Administrations, in favour of the line of policy which noble Lords opposite now so severely condemned, and that several successive Ministers had pressed these claims upon the Greek Government, without obtaining any satisfactory arrangement. When measures were first taken against Greece on this subject, there was one general feeling in favour of the steps; but the moment redress was afforded by the Greek Government, and not until then, they heard the voice of complaint. The constitution of Greece was but a name; it was null and void, in point of fact, and the King of Greece was as much a despot as the Emperor of Russia. When he (Lord Ward) was in Greece, the general feeling of the people of that country was, that, however just the demands might be, not one of them would be conceded until this country resorted to force. The British Government were never desirous of adopting such a step against so weak a State as Greece, and had delayed the enforcement of their demands as long as they could, in the hope that one of the other great Powers would interfere, and counsel the Greek Government to do justice; and their Lordships had seen how readily the offered mediation of Franco was accepted by Her Majesty's Ministers; but when that functionary retired from the negotiation, the British Minister had no alternative but to resume the application of force, 1368 for the enforcement of the just claims of those whom he represented.
§ LORD BEAUMONT
would not follow the noble Earl (the Earl of Aberdeen) in his tour round Europe, nor enter into those subjects which the noble Earl had introduced, but which were quite foreign to the question before the House, and which had been represented by the noble Earl in a light which their true history by no means justified. His (Lord Beaumont's) object in rising on the present occasion, was to protest against the docrines put forward in the speech of the noble Lord who made the Motion, as well as to record his vote against the resolution itself. While the noble Lord was speaking, it was with some difficulty that he (Lord Beaumont) could keep present to his mind the fact, that a Member of the House of Lords was discussing in an English House of Parliament a question of public policy; for he could not refrain from thinking frequently during the course of the noble Lord's speech, that some able advocate, engaged by a foreign enemy, was anxiously trying to cripple the operations of the British Government, to place impediments in the way of the free action of the nation, to diminish her influence as a great European Power, and to reduce her to the level of a second-rate State. If the noble Lord's views were correct, and his doctrines with respect to international law adopted, it would be futile for us to keep fleets afloat, or to maintain ambassadors abroad, for we should not be entitled to employ the one in the protection of our commerce, or the other in enforcing the law of nations in vindication of our national rights. The noble Lord went the length of laying it down as a pinciple, that whenever a British subject, abroad, suffered a wrong at the hands of a foreign Government, he must rely on the tribunals which administer the law in the country in which the wrong was done, and abandon all right to that protection which sojourners in a foreign land have hitherto claimed from respect to the flag of their own country. Carried to that extent, the principle would justify the most barbarous cruelties inflicted by despotic monarchies on strangers in their land; and prevent all remonstrances on the part of the country of which the sufferer was the subject, because the torturer might argue that he only treated the stranger as he treated his own people, and that the local tribunals alone could interfere in the case. There were countries where what law did 1369 exist was revolting to humanity; there were others where, though the laws were not had, the tribunals were corrupt; in both cases a foreign merchant might suffer wrong, and in neither case could he, according to the noble Lord's doctrine, claim redress through the intervention of his own Minister. Such a doctrine would be subversive of all international intercourse, and a total abandonment of that just practice which gives foreigners confidence that, if they do not violate the law of the land, they shall have the full protection of the peaceful relations between their own country and that in which they happen to be. Again, the noble Lord laid down the principle that in the disagreements with foreign States, we were bound to consult the other great Powers of Europe, previous to demanding satisfaction. At any rate, the noble Lord maintained, we were bound to consult France and Russia before enforcing our claims against Greece. That was a proposition to which he (Lord Beaumont) could in no way subscribe. England, France, and Russia guaranteed the independence of Greece, and from that moment Greece was placed on the footing of every other independent State. The very act which guaranteed the independence of Greece, made any quarrel arising between her and another country a matter to be settled by her and that other country, without the necessity of either consulting or informing other Powers respecting the matter in dispute. He (Lord Beaumont) did not deny that there might be cases in which it would be politic and wise to consult other countries before proceeding to extremities; but he disclaimed the abstract proposition that there was any obligation so to do. In the case of Greece, it was as well to inform France and Russia of our intentions to claim reparation for wrongs, inasmuch as the three Powers were interested in obliging that country to fulfil its engagements; but he had yet to learn that such information had not been given in this case, or that the other two guaranteeing Powers were not fully aware of our reclamations. These claims were of no recent date; but the ease with which Coletti had set at nought the demands of England when the noble Earl (Lord Aberdeen) was in office, encouraged Otho's Government to think that they could still continue to set us at defiance. The noble Earl wrote despatch after despatch, used first advice, then threats, but all to no purpose. Coletti disregarded his threats and advice alike.
§ LORD BEAUMONT
Not Minister! He was two years Minister while the noble Earl was in office, and the noble Earl had kindly shown him (Lord Beaumont) the correspondence which took place at that time. He (Lord Beaumont) would recall to the noble Earl's recollection the conversation which passed on the occasion. On the noble Earl's asking what he could do more, he (Lord Beaumont) replied, you have exhausted the strength of diplomatic language, nothing now remains but force. The noble Earl further asked him, if he wished force to be employed; to which he (Lord Beaumont) replied, he would be sorry to see force used against Greece.
§ The EARL of ABERDEEN
explained, that with the exception of the interest on the Greek loan, he had left no claims unsettled when he left office. Mr. Finlay's claim had only just commenced, and he (the Earl of Aberdeen) had been requested to use his good offices, which certainly, whatever they might mean, did not mean force. Many individual claims had been brought before him, the whole of which had been satisfied by the Greek Government.
§ LORD BEAUMONT
continued: He would take the principle laid down in the noble Lord's proposition, and show that even on that ground the late proceedings were justifiable. He would allow for the moment that none of the claimants were entitled to more than the laws of Greece would give them; and that they were bound to apply to the tribunals of Greece for justice. In the first place, he would further allow that it was only on the tribunals failing to afford justice, and the Government refusing to enforce the law, that England had a right to interfere. He would argue the case of Mr. Finlay first: that gentleman's land had been taken from him without notice and without compensation; and the noble Earl himself had allowed that it was an act of injustice. In this case of Mr. Fin-lay, the spirit of the Greek constitution had been violated, and the law of the land refused to be put in force. The Twelfth Article of the Constitution says, in reference to land taken against the will of the owner for public uses, that indemnity must be accorded previous to seizure. Now, in the case of Mr. Finlay, the land was seized without either notice or offer of indemnity. In England, a landowner is entitled to more than the actual value of the land if the sale is compulsory: in all countries the law awards him the full value; but in 1371 Greece the Government took possession without either asking the owner his price, or offering him one for it. Mr. Fin-lay protested against this violation of the common law of all civilised countries; but instead of insisting on an exorbitant remuneration, he declared himself willing to submit to arbitration. The rules of arbitration are the same in Greece as in all other countries: an arbitrator selected by each party, and an umpire selected by the two arbitrators. This was refused him. Colacotroni actually proposed that if the two arbitrators should disagree, the president should name a third, and that his award should be final; in other words, that one of the parties concerned should appoint two out of the three arbitrators, and that the other party should appoint only one. It was useless to say that such arbitration was a mockery of justice. Thus the law of Greece was first violated by the manner of seizing the land, and next by the sort of arbitration proposed. It was not until the law had been thus actually violated, and the reparation which the law offers positively refused, that Mr. Finlay applied for protection to his own Government, and refused to be any longer at the mercy of the Greek Ministers. The Government of this country bad previously offered its good offices, but its good offices were of no avail. It now claimed justice for an English subject as a right, but with no better effect. The claim was repeated again and again; but no inclination was shown on the part of the Greek Government to settle this or any other demand of justice at its hands. He came next to the claim of M. Pacifico. He agreed with the noble Lord in not entertaining any very high respect for the character of M. Pacifico; and he thought moreover that M. Pacifico's claim was in regard to its amount monstrous, or at least ridiculously exaggerated; but neither the character of the claimant, nor the preposterous magnitude of the sum claimed, had any thing to do with the principle for which he (Lord Beaumont) was contending. For how stood the case? A fanatical mob, encouraged, if not led by persons connected with the Government of Greece, break into M. Pacifico's dwelling, destroy his furniture, insult the females of his family, injure him in his own person, and finally set fire to the house itself. There was an outrage which violated the criminal law of the country, and annihilated the property of an English subject. Now there was a difference between demanding com- 1372 pensation for mere damages done to property, and demanding reparation for injuries done to person as well as property: this last element had been lost sight of altogether in estimating the justice of M. Pacifico's claims. After receiving this double injury from a mob in open day, how did M. Pacifico proceed to obtain redress? He informed the Procureur du Roi, he stated to him in evidence all that had taken place; but that functionary, although he knew the circumstances of the outrage, and was acquainted with the author of it, refused to take any steps towards obtaining an indemnity for the mischief done, or any proceeding to punish the offenders. It was the duty of the Procureur du Roi to have instituted proceedings against the parties for breach of the peace, and for damage done to an un-offending stranger; nor was it until after that Minister had declined to act, and the protection of the law of Greece been thus withheld, that M. Pacifico applied to Sir E. Lyons for his interference. Now what did Sir E. Lyons do? Why, he urged M. Pacifico to appeal again to the Procureur du Roi. After three weeks waiting in vain for the Greek Government to act spontaneously, Sir E. Lyons addressed the Greek Government. And in what terms did he address it? Why, he expressed a hope that the Greek Government would act according to the Greek law in the matter; and would of its own accord see justice ultimately done. This appeal was in vain, and for six months Sir E. Lyons lived upon hope, and went no further than to express his expectation that the Greek Government would settle the matter without his interference. Had the same thing happened in England, what would the authorities here have done? Suppose that in the Nottingham riots, Nottingham Castle had been the property of a foreign resident instead of an English nobleman, would not the hundred have had to pay equally for the damage done, and the sufferer have boon equally compensated? Would the Government here have refused or even delayed to acknowledge the claims? Would they not, if they had done so, have rendered themselves liable to have been called upon to make reparation by the Government of which the foreign sojourner was a subject? Sir E. Lyons allowed ample time for the Greek Government to act; and he (Lord Beaumont) contended that it was only when all hope of obtaining justice by other means had completely vanished, that a positive demand was made. He (Lord 1373 Beaumont) did not mean to defend the amount of the claim: on the contrary, he agreed that it was ridiculous; but the letter of Glorokis, although ingeniously written, was a perfect denial of all justice, and a refusal to acknowledge any claim whatever. The Greek Government would not even investigate the matter, so that in both cases—in that of M. Pacifico as well as in that of Mr. Finlay—the law of the land was first violated and then denied to the sufferers; and therefore he (Lord Beaumont) contended that the English Government had acquired a full right to interfere. With respect to the next case, that of the boat of the Fantome—that the noble Lord should have treated Mr. Finlay's case lightly, and have turned M. Pacifico into ridicule, was what might have been expected; but that he should have thought so little of a British officer and a boat's crew on duty, was more than he (Lord Beaumont) had anticipated. The case presented a series of studied insults to Her Majesty's officers; and it must be remembered that nothing had been done to provoke such offensive conduct. A boat of the Fantome lands the son of a Consul opposite the Consul's house, when the cockswain is arrested by a Greek patrol between the boat and the Consul's door. The midshipman and boat's crew are forcibly taken to the guardhouse. It might have been a mistake of the Greek soldiers; and if the local authorities had apologised, the subject would have dropped. But this the Nomarch refused to do. He on the contrary trumped up some false accusations against the English officers, not only of the Fantome but of the Spitfire. When called upon to explain, he refused all investigation, except the proceedings were conducted by the Procureur du Roi, as if his charge against the officers had been founded on fact. If such doings were permitted to go unpunished, our officers in a country like Greece would be insulted on any trifling occasion. What he (Lord Beaumont) complained of in reference to this matter was, that the demand for reparation had been so long delayed. He would fain have seen a question of this kind righted at the moment and on the spot. But, after all, the primary outrage was not the worst. Lieutenant Macdonald of the Spitfire had been erroneously alluded to, and his word, as well as that of other English officers, disputed by the Greek Government. Captain Le Hardy bad instituted an investigation into the whole affair, and the result of that investigation was laid before the authorities 1374 at Athens; but instead of acknowledging that their agents had been mistaken, and the Nomarch of Patros in the wrong, they pretended to believe the statements of these latter, and declined to take the word of honour of a British officer. Such a matter ought to have been cut short at once; but the pliancy of the British Government seems to have been in this instance extraordinary. The event occurred in January; May came, and no communication from the Greek Government; December came, and no answer to the many letters of the English Minister. Could we brook it any longer? He (Lord Beaumont) thought this subject should have been separated from the other claims. It stood on different grounds, and affected all maritime nations. He might add, that the French naval officers upon the station were as anxious as we were, that, for the sake of the precedent, full reparation should be demanded and made on this occasion. The next case was that of the Ionian boats at the custom-house at Salcina. This was not a mere case of plunder committed by brigands; but the custom-house officers, if they were not in alliance with the thieves, were the means of drawing the Ionians into their power. It had been stated that the custom-house officers connived at the whole affair; but there was nothing in the blue books to affirm this assertion. Let that, however, be as it might, Ionian traders had been tortured in one place, robbed in another, and no redress obtained for the wrong. Such was the summary of our present claims. They were known both to France and to Russia; they had been pressed again and again on the attention of the Greek Government; we had been calm and patient, even to a fault. They were all of long standing. Mr. Finlay's claim dated from 1842, M. Pacifico's from 1847, the Ionian boats at Patros from 1846, and those at Salcina from October in the same year. After all, what was to be done? We had used every possible means to obtain a peaceful settlement. In December 1848, Sir E. Lyons demanded redress; in July 1849, Mr. Wyse did the same. Sometimes we received most unmeaning replies, sometimes we received no answer at all to our representations. At last it became evident that something decided must be done. A final claim was put in; and this not having boon attended to, there was nothing left for it but force. Force, therefore, was to be applied; but how? Mr. Wyse, without making the matter public, without communicating with his 1375 colleagues at Athens, but in a private interview, as a friend, laid his intentions before the Greek Minister. He did all he could to save the feelings of the Greeks, and not to wound their pride. He gave them four-and-twenty hours before any official announcement was made, in the hope that they would take the initiative, and thus preclude any demonstration of force. Had the Government adopted his advice, they would, by acknowledging the claims, have raised the national character of Greece for honesty, and prevented the loss, both in honour and in wealth, their refusal to pay a just debt had entailed upon them. The principle once adopted, there would have been no difficulty in arranging the amount; for Mr. Wyse was as anxious as they were that it should not exceed the justice of the case. Bad counsellors, however, induced them to take another course; they set us at defiance, and found, to their cost, that they could not do it, this time at least, with impunity. What had been asked privately was now demanded officially, and another four-and-twenty hours allowed, Under all these circumstances, he thought that Her Majesty's Government were justified in the whole course of their proceedings, and that the noble Lord opposite had failed to make out any case against them. He had failed in showing that they had acted precipitately; he had also failed in showing that they had acted harshly; he had failed in showing that they acted in violation of the law of nations; and he had also failed in showing that they had acted contrary to the laws of Greece itself. Taking even the principle of his own resolution, he had failed to show that they had in anyway violated it. So much for the first part of the question: he would now proceed to the second part, which referred to the negotiations with France. When two great countries, like France and England, had dealings with each other, he (Lord Beaumont) believed that all finesse or diplomatic intrigue were out of place, and that a course of straightforward, open, candid conduct alone became the dignity of either party. In the late transactions, he (Lord Beaumont) was convinced that there was no deceit either intended or practised by the representative of France in this country. In his (Lord Beaumont's) opinion, the conduct of France, as represented by that most honourable and distinguished man, M. Dronyn de Lhuys, had been fair and candid. That of Lord Palmerston had been equally straightforward. Lord Pal- 1376 merston laid it down as a principle, from which he would not recede, that the claims themselves might not be disputed, although their amount was open to further investigation. He believed it was understood both in London and Paris, that Baron Gros went to Athens to get the claims settled as soon as possible, and not to dispute their existence. In other words, he was to use his good offices to induce the Greek Government to comply with the demands of England, and not to set himself up as an arbitrator between the two Powers. Lord Palmerston also laid it down distinctly that it should rest with the French negotiator to determine whether and when the negotiation with the Greek Government ought to be considered as having failed; that the action of the squadron was to remain suspended until Mr. Wyse should receive notice from the French negotiator that he had withdrawn from the negotiation; and that Mr. Wyse was not to take upon himself to determine that the French negotiator had failed. The question, therefore, resolved itself into one of fact, namely, whether Baron Gros did withdraw, or did not withdraw, from the negotiation. To him (Lord Beaumont) it appeared indisputable that Baron Gros had withdrawn. In more than one place Baron Gros stated that he considered his mission as terminated, or, at least, suspended for a time; in other places he stated that he desisted from further negotiation. In fact, he implied that he had failed. He (Lord Beaumont) thought that Baron Gros had all along misunderstood his mission. He considered himself an umpire, instead of a negotiator. At any rate, he did not put that earnestness into the cause which he might have shown. While he was losing time at Athens, the convention was signed in London; and he (Lord Beaumont) considered it certainly most unfortunate that that convention did not arrive at Athens before Baron Gros withdrew from the scene. For the delay, however, he thought nobody was to blame, unless it was Baron Gros himself, who had so abruptly terminated his labours. Lord Palmerston had acted with good faith in his negotiation with Mr. Drouyn de Lhuys, and gave his cordial consent to the convention they had mutually drawn up. But when he found that the affair had been already settled, and that that settlement was, if anything, more favourable to Greece than the London convention, Lord Palmerston could hardly be blamed for hesitating to inflict an additional injury upon Greece, by re- 1377 opening the question to gratify the vanity of France, and merely to enable her to say that she had settled the matter. He (Lord Beaumont) was surprised that a great country like France should have ever made a point of having the London convention adopted, especially when she knew that the terms of that convention were rather more injurious to Greece than the one concluded at Athens. Great nations ought not to have little vanities; and from a country like France, he never expected so much difficulty about such a trifle. He would have expected her to have said, "We are satisfied to find the ease is settled, and though it has not been arranged by us, we are equally happy that an agreement has been come to." He (Lord Beaumont), on the other hand, must own that the difference between the settlement effected in Greece and the convention signed in London was so small, that he could have wished Lord Palmerston to have said to France, "Take one or other of the plans. I prefer that you should take the one that is least injurious to Greece; but, if you prefer the other, I shall not object to your taking it, provided you, at the same time, take upon yourselves the onus of prevailing on Greece to adopt it." He (Lord Beaumont) understood that what little difference existed between the two countries was on the point of being settled. But even supposing that the two Ministers of the respective countries were unable to come to a mutual understanding on the matter, their trifling difference might, as far as peace between the two people was concerned, remain suspended in nubibus, without creating any alarm. He had now concluded the observations he intended to make on the particular subject immediately before them; but before he sat down he must renew his protest against the doctrine laid down by the noble Lord, and repeat his conviction that we had strictly adhered to the law of nations. If instead of abiding by the spirit of that law, we adopted the principle contained in the resolution, the boasted protection of neutral flags, which England, like all other countries, maintained, and allowed as one of the great means great nations have in their power of mitigating the horrors of war, and the practices of barbarous nations, will no longer exist, and free intercourse between the people of different countries no longer be practised with safety. It had been said that Austria and Russia had threatened to act on the principle of the 1378 noble Lord's resolution; but if they carried their threat into execution, the blow would recoil on their own heads. Foreigners who had hitherto carried wealth and intelligence to those countries, erected their great works of art, supplied means for their commercial speculations, developed their manufactures, and upheld their industrial institutions, would no longer continue to do so, but go to those countries where they knew that their persons and their property would be protected by their national flag. England gives as much as she takes; and until she sinks to the level of a second-rate Power, as long, in fact, as she is a nation, she will see her flag respected, and the rights of her merchants, scattered as they are over the face of the globe, maintained. If this can be done by the respect paid by foreign Powers to the rights of strangers sojourning in their land, so much the better; if not, England must use her strong arm. In conclusion, he regarded the present Motion as one of foreign origin, dictated by foreign influence, intended for foreign purposes, hostile to the best interests of this country, and disgraceful to the House if adopted by it.
§ VISCOUNT CANNING
said, as there had been some matters stated as facts on the other side of the House which he was disposed to dispute, he begged to be allowed to say a few words before the debate concluded. And, in the first place, he wished to guard himself against an imputation that had been thrown out against the noble Lord who had opened the discussion, of being disposed to underrate the responsibility of Greece, and to stand up as an indiscriminate advocate of the acts of Greece. He (Viscount Canning) admitted as fully as any noble Lord on the other side could, that the conduct of Greece in many of the transactions in question, had been exceedingly reprehensible; and with regard to the responsibility of Greece, he was disposed to push it, perhaps, a little further than the noble Marquess himself. But it did not follow that because the Greek Government had done wrong, the English Government had done right. He confessed that throughout these transactions he saw many matters which called for the reprehension of Parliament and the country; and in saying this he referred not so much to the later transactions, in which the French Government had been mixed up, as to the earlier transactions, in which the English and Greek Governments only were concerned. From the first it appeared to 1379 him that there was a departure from right principles on the part of our Government, to which he attributed all the subsequent difficulties which had arisen, and which, if allowed to pass without reproof by Parliament, might be construed into a most dangerous precedent and example. He had heard nothing in the course of this discussion which shook his confidence in the maxim quoted from Lord Mansfield by the noble Earl near him (the Earl of Aberdeen), the terms of which applied strictly, accurately, and with curious minuteness, to the present case. "The law of nations, founded on justice, equity, convenience, and the reason of the thing, and confirmed by long usage, does not allow reprisals except in cases of violent injuries supported or directed by the State, and all justice absolutely denied in re minimè dubiâ. by all the tribunals, and afterwards by the Prince." He would take in the first place Mr. Finlay's claim. He did not say that that gentleman had no claim at all; but he did maintain that it was not put forward in the only proper and seemly mode in which it could have been advanced. Mr. Finlay, in one of his first letters bringing forward his claim, and asking for the good offices of the English Government, said that in Greece no action lay against the Crown. If that statement had been true, it would certainly have justified Mr. Fin-lay's demand; and in that belief the noble Earl near him (the Earl of Aberdeen) instructed Sir E. Lyons to use his good offices with the Greek Government on the subject; but in three successive notes, the statement made by Mr. Finlay, that no action would be against the Crown, was distinctly denied by the Greek Minister, who offered that the claim should be settled by a commission, or by a reference to arbitration. That offer was not accepted, and for nearly two years Mr. Finlay's claim was in that position. Mr. Finlay, in a letter dated the 11th of September, 1848, said he believed that it was of no use suing the Greek Government, so long as they retained the power of dismissing the judges at pleasure. Their Lordships would perceive that this was quite inconsistent with Mr. Finlay's former plea, that, by the Greek law, no action would be against the Crown; and, as another reason for not appealing to the Greek law, Mr. Finlay adverted to the expense and delay which would attend bringing the case before a court of law as tantamount to a denial of justice—a reason which amounted 1380 to a stultification of that which he first assigned, in asserting that the Crown could not be pursued. He would ask, would their Lordships sanction such a course of proceeding, that an English subject should turn his back upon the tribunals of the country where he was resident, and appeal for redress to the active and forcible interference of Her Majesty's Government? What would their Lordships say if the subject of any foreign State were to come before the Government of this country with a peremptory order from the Minister of his country asking for indemnity because law was expensive in this country, and because the chief of the judges was removable on political and party grounds? He was sure their Lordships would scout such a claim, and justly; and as justly did the Greek Government scout the demand which was made on the part of Mr. Finlay. He did not say that there was no foundation, in justice, for Mr. Finlay's claims, but he would say that the Greek Government were perfectly and entirely justified in refusing assent to the demands of Sir Edmund Lyons, on the ground of claims which Mr. Finlay had not in the first instance sought to enforce from the tribunals of justice. It was no answer, that Mr. Finlay had, in some respect, applied to the courts of law, and not received justice. To any such assumption he would oppose the admission of Mr. Finlay himself—Mr. Finlay having stated in the letter already referred to, that the Greek tribunals had so nobly defended the liberties of the press, that he would have felt great confidence in their equitably deciding a case which could have come fairly before the judges if the judges had been irremovable. One Government could not, without giving great offence, hold to another, language in which it was signified that the administration of justice was so impure and so little trustworthy within the domain of the latter, that the former would not submit a question to the decisions of the tribunals. It was a course of proceeding which struck at the very root of a Government's independence; for if a Government had any independence, whore could an acknowledgment of that independence be more justly looked for than in the deference paid by another country to its laws, and the judges who administer those laws? It was true that there were many countries where the sources of justice were polluted; and foreigners, if they were to abide by the decisions of the courts 1381 of such countries, would receive but little justice. But it was not the less incumbent on the Government of a foreign State to show, in each particular instance, a respect for the judicial institutions of a country. If other countries were to take example from the course pursued by the British Government with reference to Greece, they would begin by demanding redress through diplomatic and not judicial channels, and would be the assessors of their own costs and damages. If the costs and damages incident to the case of a British subject arising in another country were to be awarded, not in the country where the injury was suffered, but in Downing-street, the treatment such a country received would be equalled by nothing but that which we apply to African chiefs or pirates. But if the manner in which Mr. Finlay's interest was supported were open to objection, much more so was the manner in which M. Pacifico's was urged. Neither in M. Pacifico's case did he say—although a taunt had been thrown out on the point against the supporters of the resolution—that it was a case in which there was no ground for anything in the shape of reparation and redress. But there was a difference in the two cases. In Mr. Finlay's there was at least a corpus delicti, the property was present before the eyes of the Greek authorities. M. Pacifico's estimate of his property stood on his own assertion, and the Greek Government had good reasons for distrusting his estimate; for they well knew that two years before he had preferred a complaint against the Portuguese Government; and how were the Greek Government to come at once to a conclusion with reference to a claim of some 6,000l. or 7,000l. on M. Pacifico's own calculation when they knew that the claims against the Portuguese Government had been referred two years previously, and indignantly refused? In M. Pacifico's case nothing was certain except the fact that his house had been assaulted. How then did the Greek Government act? They justly and properly required that such alleged losses, before they could be compensated out of the Greek treasury, should be verified before a court of justice. The noble Marquess opposite was at great pains to show that M. Pacifico had applied to a court of law for redress; but the noble Marquess was under a great misapprehension on that point, because though it was true that M. Pacifico did appear before a Greek magistrate, yet it was only in the 1382 capacity of a witness as to the riot—he never put his claims before a Greek judge in the character of a suitor; for he knew that if he could get Sir Edmund Lyons and the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to back his demands, he would have a far better chance of success, and with far less trouble, than if he sought redress through the courts of justice. It could not be said, however, that M. Pacifico had altogether ignored Greek law; for when his house was, as he alleged, attacked a second time, in the autumn of 1847, he again complained of the outrage; and whatever the noble Lord at the head of the Foreign Department might think of it, he was sure that the keen sense of the ridiculous of his noble Friend the Under Secretary must have been awakened by M. Pacifico's description of his house being attacked by a party of unruly schoolboys, armed with the childish toys of bows and arrows. But, whatever was thought of the matter, Lord Palmerston, in reply to the despatch announcing this assault, instructed Sir Edmund Lyons to acquaint M. Pacifico that he was to take legal proceedings for redress before the Greek tribunals at the expense of the British Government. This was the first, and unfortunately the last, time in which the noble Lord was betrayed into a becoming and legitimate course; for unhappily Sir Edmund Lyons thought proper to leave the execution of these instructions to the option of M. Pacifico; and shortly after announced to Lord Palmerston that M. Pacifico had consulted his legal advisers, and their opinion was, that as circumstances stood, he had no chance of success; and from that moment no more was heard of M. Pacifico's claims being pursued in a court of law. There was one point on which the noble Marquess opposite had laid such great stress that he must refer to one or two papers on the subject, in order to relieve their Lordships from the misapprehensions entertained by the noble Marquess. The noble Marquess professed to show that M. Pacifico's claim on its integrity formed no part of the demand of the British Government on Greece at the moment Baron Gros was sent out; and he quoted a despatch, previous to that period, to show that it was the intention of the noble Lord that M. Pacifico's claims, if they were deserving of examination at all, should receive consideration. But, in the first place, Sir Edmund Lyons did not act upon that despatch—he might have good reasons for not doing so; but he did 1383 not state what those reasons were. In the next place, the question was not what were the demands made in previous years, but what were the demands made by the Greek Government at the moment Sir W. Parker's guns were pointed at the Piræus. Now, one or two passages from the despatches would set this matter in its true light. Their Lordships were aware that Mr. Wyse, after the interview which he and Sir W. Parker had with the Greek Minister, in which he refused redress, addressed a note to him on the 17th of January, recapitulating formally all the demands he had to make, and stating, that unless these demands were fully satisfied in every particular with the legal Greek interest of 12 per cent, and his formal demand literally complied with, hostile measures would he commenced at the end of twenty-four hours. He distinctly stated to the Greek Minister that he was precluded by his instructions from entering on the merits of the several demands. Now, what meaning could there he in words if this did not imply that no compromise would be admitted with regard to M. Pacifico's claims more than the others—that no assenting answer but one, and that an unqualified one, could be received? On the 16th of February, Lord Palmerston wrote to Mr. Wyse, informing him of the coming out of M. Gros to negotiate, and he ended his despatch by saying, "Her Majesty's Government cannot give up any of the demands which have been made; but it may be requisite that Baron Gros should be furnished from time to time with detailed information respecting them. It is possible, moreover, that propositions may be made to you respecting the detailed amount of M. Pacifico's claim; and you are not to hold yourself precluded from taking any such proposition into consideration, if you should think it deserving attention." Now what was the use of telling him this. if Mr. Wyse had already received instructions which allowed him to enter into a discussion of M. Paclfico's claims. There were several other points worth noticing, in the case of M. Pacifico, but he would pass on to the question of compensation for the Ionian boats. This was a different claim from the others—It was a question of principle—the others were questions of facts. It appeared that a band of robbers had overpowered the custom-house at Achelous, and had also plundered some Ionian boats moored In the river. But these robbers were oppressors 1384 of the Greeks as well as of the Ionians. They had plundered two Greek vessels, as well as the six Ionian boats. They had carried off several Greek subjects into captivity, for the sake of their ranson. The local government finding itself unable to put down these marauders, applied to the Greek Government for a reinforcement of troops. Two things were apparent upon this statement of facts: first, that the robbers plundered Greek subjects as well as foreigners; secondly, that the local government had a bonâ fide desire to suppress them. The conclusion at which the Greek Government arrived with respect to the claim of the Ionian boatmen was this, that as Greek subjects had no claim upon it because they had been robbed, so the Ionians had none. Lord Palmerston's answer to this was of a most extraordinary description. He stated, in his despatch, that as the Greek Government had been either unwilling or unable to put down the gangs of robbers who infested Acarnania, he must require the Government of Greece to make good the loss incurred by Ionian subjects who had been plundered by them. Where was the common sense of this? If depredations took place in any country it must be because the Government of that country was either unable or unwilling to prevent them. In most instances it was owing to the inability of the Government, and that, doubtless, was the case in Greece. But that made no difference to Lord Palmerston; he did not insist on compensation for the Ionians because the Greek Government was unable and unwilling to put down the robbers, but because they were unable or unwilling. Why, if a claim resembling that which we had pressed upon Greece were set up in London by the representative of a foreign Power, what reception would it meet with? If a foreign merchant residing in this country were to suffer loss from swindlers or housebreakers, and, upon the police failing to apprehend the culprits, were to prefer a claim upon Her Majesty's Treasury, should we not treat it with scorn? It was remarkable that in Lord Palmerston's despatch from which he had just quoted a few words, the writer completely shirked the argument advanced by the Greek Government, namely, that foreigners were not entitled to greater protection than its own subjects received. This shirking was, indeed, remarkable, because on a previous occasion, in a despatch referring to the case of Mr. Finlay, Lord Palmerston did not he- 1385 sitate to declare that—"when the question is whether a British subject in a foreign country shall or shall not be compelled to accept an inadequate compensation for an act of injustice by which he has suffered, the British Government can pay no attention to the argument that compensations equally inadequate have been accepted by natives, or by subjects of other States, for similar injuries sustained by them. The British Government is entitled to expect that justice shall be done to British subjects, in whatever country they may reside." If such an argument were really urged, bonâ fide, he could hardly conceive one more deserving of attention. The noble Marquess laid some stress upon the fact that all these papers had been submitted to the law officers of the Crown, and obtained their approval. For his part, however, he attached little importance to a legal opinion, unless he saw the case on which it was founded; for it had become almost a proverbial saying that a man could obtain any opinion he liked accordingly as he framed his case. He fully subscribed to the opinion of Lord Mansfield already quoted. Lord Palmerston had enunciated a different principle, and he might soon be called on to act upon it. It was notorious that British subjects had preferred claims against the Governments of Naples and Tuscany for losses suffered in the course of the military operations which had been rendered necessary by the lamentable events of the last two years. Neapolitan and Tuscan subjects had received no compensation for similar losses, and it was very probable that circumstance would be pleaded in bar of the claims of British subjects. He would be glad to know how Lord Palmerston would dealt with that case? But indeed opportunity had already presented itself for the noble Lord to assert his new principle of international law. It had recently transpired through a police report that a British seaman serving on board a vessel which touched at the port of Charleston in America was, because his skin happened to be black, seized by the authorities of that place, thrown into prison, and incarcerated until the vessel was on the point on sailing. Here was a case not of partiality, or corrupt justice, because American black subjects were treated in precisely the same way, but of intolerable hardship. Would Lord Palmerston attempt to carry his principle into effect with as high a hand against powerful America, as he had against powerless 1386 Greece? Looking at the whole of the proceedings in the case of Greece, the result appeared to be this, that in one instance recognised principles of international law had been overridden, and in another, an altogether new principle of international law had been introduced. He believed the adherence to those principles was of vital importance, and that the maxims laid down by Lord Mansfield were founded in wisdom, and could not be violated with impunity. There were other countries scarcely less powerful than ours, though far less scrupulous in the use of their power; and it behoved us to reckon what might be the consequence of setting this example. The fable of the wolf and the lamb was easy to get up a short notice. It is easy to trump up claims against a weak neighbour; it is easy to ask for redress in terms which make compliance impossible; then follow, in natural course, threats, reprisals, hostilities; and if, at last, our interests should compel us to interfere, or our support should be asked by other Powers, what answer could we make when our own example was referred to? But the tone and feeling of this correspondence also deserved notice. It was not necessary for the credit of the country and the importance of her interests that the communications between our Government and the Governments of other Powers should be carried on in any other spirit than that which was observed in the ordinary affairs of life—dictated by honour and prudence; but he saw no signs of that spirit in this correspondence. The people of this country would not easily believe that it was requisite for the dignity of the Crown that a Minister in addressing a foreign Court should use the language of imperious brevity which was exhibited in this correspondence. He should not, however, be doing justice to the noble Lord if he were to allow it to be supposed the noble Lord alone was responsible for this correspondence. Never was a Secretary of State more ably seconded in spirit than the noble Lord had been by Sir E. Lyons. That gentleman had most thoroughly imbibed the spirit in which the despatches of the noble Lord were written; and if upon the receipt of his instructions he had flung them at M. Coletti's head as fast as they reached his hands, he could hardly have communicated them in a more offensive manner. In short, the whole tone of the correspondence showed a misplaced arrogance, which was compatible with nei- 1387 ther good policy nor dignity. In regard to the conduct of the later transactions, those in which the French Government have been concerned, he looked in vain for the master hand; he readily admitted the great ability of the noble Lord, and had been accustomed to regard his doings as characterised by skill and dexterity; but he saw no signs of it here, and the only manner in which he could account for it was, from the unhappy consciousness of the rottenness of these claims, which pursued the noble Lord, and hampered him throughout these negotiations. The noble Lord accepted the good offices of France, and in doing so he ought to have placed the whole question unreservedly in the hands of the French Government; have relied with implicit confidence in their justice, and have told them that he was ready to abide by their decision. But this the noble Lord did not do; and why? Because he had no confidence in the justice of his cause? On the other hand, the noble Lord might have refused the good offices of France; he might have said, "No; we thank you for your kind intentions, but we decline them; we think that matters have gone so far that it will be better for all parties that we should proceed as we have begun." But this the noble Lord did not do; and for the same reason. He knew that in the eyes of the country the cause would not be viewed as one which justified a refusal of friendly intervention. Such were a few of the considerations that induced him to give his vote for the resolution of the noble Lord (Lord Stanley), a resolution which he ventured to think was not only justly, but temperately, worded. He earnestly entreated their Lordships to weigh well the decision which they were called upon to give. It might be that this unhappy proceeding had left a blot on the fair name of England which could not be altogether obliterated; but, at least, let them have the satisfaction of knowing that they done all in their power to vindicate that good name. If it was fated that a page in their history must be defaced by the record of a policy founded in injustice, conducted with arrogance, and closed without dignity, let them at least have the consolation to know that the same page would bear witness that that policy received at the earliest opportunity circumstances would permit, its direct, deliberate, and unqualified condemnation in a censure of the House of Lords.
§ LORD EDDISBURY
said, that every one must be aware that in a great commercial country like this, with interests spread over every quarter of the globe, with our merchants in every port, and our ships on every sea, it was of the most essential importance that nowhere should injustice be permitted towards those who rightly claimed the protection of the British Government. It was almost superfluous to enter into the details of the claims which had been urged upon the Greek Government, as they had been already so amply discussed; but still he would, as briefly as possible, touch on the principal features of each case, and call their Lordships' attention to the course pursued by Her Majesty's Government. The first question for consideration was, were the demands upon the Greek Government just, and, if just, were the means resorted to for the purpose of obtaining redress, according to international law, and the practice pursued by this country and other civilised nations on former occasions, and under similar circumstances? With respect to the justice of the demands, it might appear almost unnecessary to enter into a discussion, as the French negotiator himself had admitted the validity of the most important cases, though he disputed the details. Before proceeding, however, with the cases, he could not but express his deep regret at the tone and manner in which they had been treated, and at the ridicule which had been attempted to be thrown upon the real injuries which had been inflicted on British subjects, because of the religion of the one, and the nationality of another, for though the one might be a Jew and the other a Scotchman, he had yet to learn that they were therefore the less entitled to the justice of the House of Lords, or the protection of their country. What were these cases which had been thus insultingly dealt with? First, was that of Mr. Finlay, an English subject, and a gentleman of the greatest respectability, whose land was arbitrarily seized by the King of Greece, and enclosed in the royal garden. An inadequate sum was offered and refused; and though Mr. Finlay always expressed his readiness to refer the matter to fair arbitration, his claim continued to be treated with indifference and neglect; justice was denied, and all attention to the repeated demands of the British Minister for redress refused, or disgracefully evaded; and when, at last, an arbitration was extorted from the reluctant Government, three months were al- 1389 lowed to elapse without taking any steps to carry the arbitration into effect, which according to the law of Greece rendered null all the proceedings in the case. Here, at least, even by the Greet Government itself, the justice of the demand was not denied, though redress had been shamefully evaded. In the case of Don Pacifico, a flagrant outrage was committed in open day upon the house and property of a British subject by an Athenian mob, attended by the soldiers and the police, and accompanied by two sons of the Minister of War. This outrage was committed as long ago as the year 1847; and for more than a year no answer was returned, and no notice taken of the repeated representations of Sir Edward Lyons—all redress refused—vain attempts made by the sufferer to obtain justice from the tribunals of the country; and the Greek Government, whose duty it was to prosecute the proceedings, made a pretence of commencing a process, but where Don Pacifico was never called before the tribunal, and the sons of the Minister of War, who had been denounced by name as having been present, were never questioned as to the part they had taken in the transaction. This mockery of justice pronounced that there was not sufficient evidence for conviction; and the wrongs of an English subject remained unredressed to the present day. At Salcina, Ionian citizens resorting to the Greek territory for the purpose of trade were plundered by persons in the uniform of the Greek service at the Government custom-house; and whether they were robbers who had usurped the places of the custom-house officers, or the officers themselves, the Government of Greece was responsible for the injuries they had received. If Greek subjects had been plundered at an English custom-house by persons in possession of the office, and in the dress of the servants of the Government, he thought few would hesitate in believing that the English Government would have been ready to make ample reparation for the loss they had experienced. At Patras and Pyrgos, Ionian fellow-subjects were tortured, illegally arrested, flogged and imprisoned, inquiry refused, or if a sham inquiry was instituted, it was done in the absence of the injured party and in secret, all redress denied, and the reiterated representations of the British Minister at Athens treated with contempt. Lastly, in the case of the Fantome, the English flag was insulted, a boat's crew with their officers arrested and marched to prison—ac- 1390 cused of favouring rebellion—and all apology for the insult refused, and explanation of the conduct of the authorities of the Greek Government at Patras altogether withheld. Such were the cases for which the British Government felt itself called upon imperatively to demand redress, and after repeated applications which were treated with studied contempt and neglect, felt itself compelled to resort to ulterior measures for the purpose of obtaining justice. It had been said, that they were trivial in themselves, and not such as could justify measures of coercion. In the first place, were they so insignificant in themselves? What were they? Property arbitrarily seized by the King himself, and just compensation refused; the house of a British subject sacked in mid-day in the centre of the very capital of Greece, under the auspices of the police, and graced by the presence of the sons of the Minister of War; Ionian fellow citizens tortured, plundered, and illegally imprisoned; and, lastly, the English flag insulted, and English officer and sailors imprisoned and accused of aiding rebellion; and for all these offences redress contemptuously and pertinaciously refused. Were these not in themselves, any one of them, sufficient to require the intervention of the strong arm of England? But even if individually they might not be deemed insufficient, yet taken collectively, and considering the length of time which had elapsed during which all attention to our complaints had been refused, they manifested such a determined spirit of hostility to England, and to the just demands of this country, that it became essential and imperative upon the British Government to enforce her rights, or tamely to submit to continued contumely and injustice. Moreover, was this spirit apparent now for the first time, and only when Lord Palmerston was England's Minister for Foreign Affairs? Similar conduct was pursued by the Greek Government when the noble Lord opposite held the seals of office, and that noble Lord felt it to be his duty to hold language not less strong, and to intimate consequences not less serious, than for holding which his successor in his office had been so fiercely condemned. Lord Palmerston has been accused of addressing foreign Governments with haughty insolence and dictatorial advice, prescribing to them the course of policy they ought to pursue, and lecturing them on the management of their own affairs; but if that noble Lord was open to this charge, he might 1391 at least plead that a lesson had been taught him by one not the most insignificant of his accusers; and to show them that language not less strong, and opinions not less decided, on the conduct of the Greek Government and the Greek sovereign had been held by others than Lord Palmerston, he would take the liberty of reading a despatch which had been addressed by the noble Earl opposite (Lord Aberdeen, in 1844 to Sir Edmund Lyons on the occasion of the dismissal of General Church:—Foreign Office, Dec. 2, 1844.Sir—Her Majesty's Government have learnt with deep concern the dismissal of General Sir Richard Church by his Majesty King Otho from the post of Inspector General of the Greek army, which post he had so honourably and so usefully filled for many years. Their regret is increased by finding that General Grivas, who was so recently engaged in open rebellion against the throne, has been appointed to succeed him.Her Majesty's Government do not propose to interfere in this matter, since, however unjust the deprivation of General Church, and however injudicious the elevation of General Grivas may have been, those acts were certainly within the competence of the Greek Government.But, although Her Majesty's Government abstain from interference, they deem it an imperative duty on their part, considering the position in which Great Britain stands with regard to Greece, as a creating and a guaranteeing Power, to express in the strongest terms their sense of the injustice done to Sir Richard Church, one of the best, most disinterested, and most efficient supporters of Greek independence, by an abrupt and ungracious dismissal, unaccompanied by one word of commendation or acknowledgment of his great services to Greece; and also their sense of the excess of imprudence and impolicy exhibited in the appointment, to one of the most responsible offices under the Crown, of a man whose recent conduct has shown him to be an enemy to the throne and a deliberate perverter of order and discipline.Her Majesty's Government consider themselves to be fully warranted by the overt acts of General Grivas himself, to instruct you to make known these sentiments distinctly, in their name, to the Greek Minister for Foreign Affairs, as well as to the King himself, should a favourable opportunity present itself; and at the same time to warn his Majesty seriously and solemnly of the danger to which he will expose his country and his throne by a perservance in so fatal a line of policy as he has recently pursued.—I am, &c.(Signed) "ABERDEEN.Sir Edmund Lyons, &c.This was pretty well for the Minister who never interfered in the internal affairs of other countries, who never gave advice as to the proper policy to be pursued, or found fault with the actions of a friendly sovereign. Not, however, that he (Lord Eddisbury) found fault with the language 1392 held on this occasion by the noble Lord, for he felt that the conduct of the Government of Greece deserved this, and more; but those who had felt it necessary to use such language, should not lightly condemn a Minister, who, after six additional years of systematic ill treatment of English subjects, and general misconduct in the administration of affairs on the part of the Greek Government, had deemed it his duty to express himself not less strongly when commenting on the conduct of that Government.
This, however, was not an isolated case in which the noble Lord opposite had felt it incumbent upon him to express himself with equal vigour with respect to the conduct of the Greek Government, for, in 1846, when that Government omitted to make provision for the payments of the interest on the Greek loan—for which Great Britain was a guarantee—and, at the same time, exhibited flagrant dishonesty and corruption in the administration of their affairs, he had thought it his duty to remonstrate with them in no ambiguous terms, and to intimate to them that he should insist upon payment, or that he must resort to ulterior measures.
He would call their attention to a few passages in a correspondence which was presented to Parliament in 1846, and begged they would observe the language that was used upon that occasion. In a despatch from the Earl of Aberdeen to Sir Edmund Lyons, dated October 2, 1845, he says—I do not deem it necessary to make any reply to the note of M. Coletti, dated the 30th of April, and inclosed in your despatch of the 8th of May, in which he sets forth the grounds on which the Greek Government reject the Loan Convention of the 14th of September, 1843. Those grounds, and indeed the whole reasoning contained in that paper, are entirely unsatisfactory, and calculated to produce on the mind of Her Majesty's Government an effect precisely the reverse of that intended by them. In fact, that paper, taken in conjunction with the Greek budget, has convinced Her Majesty's Government of the necessity of adopting towards the Government of Greece, on the subject of the future reimbursement of the interest of the loan, a language which can no longer be misunderstood or set at nought.In default of the ratification of the Convention of 14th of September, 1843, Great Britain, as one of the guaranteeing Powers, will insist, so far as she is concerned, on the strict execution of the engagements which flow from the 12th Article above mentioned. By the stipulations of that Article, section 6, Greece is bound to devote first of all to the payment of the interest and sinking fund the first revenues of the State, without employing them for any other purpose, until 1393 the payments on account of the loan shall have been completely secured for the current year.The British portion of the instalment which fell due on the 1st of September, has already been made good by the British Government. With regard to the instalment which will fall due on the 1st of March, 1846, it will be necessary to ascertain how far the estimates which the Greek Government has taken as the basis of their calculations, are correct, and what the surplus will really be between the lowest valuation of 700,000 drachmas, and the full amount of 1,600,000, as eventually acknowledged in the Greek budget of the present year; and, whatever it is. Great Britain will require that a due proportion of that amount be placed at her disposal for the payment of her portion of the instalment in question.Such is the measure on the adoption of which Her Majesty's Government are prepared to insist, by way of providing for the payment of the interest of the loan on the 1st of March next; and this decision you will officially announce to the Greek Government. But it will be your duty to declare at the same time, that we shall not cease to urge and require the introduction of a system of rigid economy in the different branches of the service of the State, and especially in that of the War Department, which is still altogether disproportioned to the real wants of the State.You will inform the Greek Government that we shall still continue to insist on the necessity of administrative reform and a reduction of the armed force, as the Ministers of the guaranteeing Powers did by the last acts of their Conference of London in 1843.The Greek Government has not fulfilled these conditions in a manner to answer our just expectations. The expenses of the War Department continue to absorb one-third of the revenues of the State. Brigandage has increased. The tranquillity of the conterminous Turkish provinces has been repeatedly troubled by acts of rapine; and the Ottoman territory has been repeatedly violated by armed Greek bands.The guaranteeing Powers are justified in viewing this state of things as the evidence of a vicious administration, which must be remedied by prompt measures of improvement. Wherever disorders prevail, the finances of the State must suffer. But the dilapidation of the Greek finances throws an undue burthen upon the guaranteeing Powers. This, Great Britain, as one of those Powers, cannot and will not longer allow.In another despatch of March 22, 1846, language not less strong was used respecting the administration of affairs in Greece, and the consequent measures that the British Government would feel itself compelled to adopt:—In a speech delivered on the 18th of February last, in the Chamber of Deputies, by the new Minister of Finance, then just appointed by the King at M. Coletti's recommendation, M. Poniropoulos is reported in the Greek journals to have declared, without receiving contradiction from any quarter, 'that the finances were entirely paralysed, and were plundered by every one; that he received no reports relative to the revenue; that he did not know the results of any financial operation; and that he was therefore unable to draw up any draft of a budget,' And 1394 M. Poniropoulos added, 'that everything was in the worst possible state, and that arbitrary measures, pillage, and gross ignorance were the distinguishing features of the present state of finances in GreeceSuch is the picture of the finances under the administration presided over by M. Coletti, publicly drawn by the Minister of Finance himself.Her Majesty's Government look upon the above declaration as entirely falsifying all notion of the exercise of a severe economy as asserted by M. Coletti, and consequently as completely justifying them in adhering to their determination of requiring the Greek Government to apply a certain portion of revenue to the service of the Greek loan for the half-year just fallen due, as well as to the instalments which will hereafter fall due. They must further observe, that if so disorderly an administration of Greek finance were suffered to continue, they would feel themselves compelled, by virtue of the treaty engagements contracted towards Great Britain by Greece, to take such further measures as might appear to be necessary for insuring the establishment of such a state of things as should afford a fair security to Great Britain that the sums which ought to be applied, and might be applied, annually to the service of the loan, should no longer be squandered by negligent or corrupt administrators, to the prejudice of British rights.—I am, &c.(Signed)ABERDEEN.One other point there was in this correspondence which was worthy of notice. It had been said that England had no right to seek redress from Greece except in conjunction with the other Powers who were the parties to the creation of that kingdom. He denied that this was the case. England had a right to independent action whenever her rights and her honour were concerned; but as the noble Lord opposite had asserted, the right even in this instance of the loan, in which France and Russia were equally concerned, and equally guaranteed, it could hardly be denied in the present instance, when England's rights were alone affected. To establish this, he would read one extract more in the despatch of December 10, 1845, from the Earl of Aberdeen. After recapitulating the particulars of the payment he should require from the Greek Government, he says—If, in the month of March next, it should be found that the estimates of the Greek Government have been incorrect, and if in place of a surplus there were a deficit, Her Majesty's Government, either in conjunction with the other guaranteeing Powers, or alone, would be fully warranted in exercising with rigour the rights assured to her by the Convention of 1832.To these declarations and to these acts of the noble Earl there was no protest or objection urged by either France, Russia, or Greece herself, so that we had a right to conclude that no just objection could be 1395 made to our proceedings on the present occasion.
He hoped he had established the justice of the demands upon Greece, and would next consider the means that were resorted to for the purpose of obtaining redress. If a nation demands redress for injuries done to its subjects, it would be unbecoming a great people to acquiesce in a determined refusal of justice. It must, therefore, be prepared to enforce its demands—as was done by Franco in Portugal, Mexico, Buenos Ayres, Tahiti, Morocco, and, lastly, at Naples in 1848; and as was done by England in Portugal, New Grenada, Naples, and China; and as was done by the noble Earl himself (the Earl of Aberdeen) in Central America and Peru in 1844, when demands were enforced by armed intervention, and redress obtained for injuries received.
It had been said, that we ought to have given notice of our intentions to Russia and to France. Was that necessary, or had it been the practice so to do under similar circumstances? As far as he could learn, this had never been considered requisite. Every country must be the guardian of its own honour, and judge of the proper course which it is its duty to pursue in vindication of its own rights. If, however, knowledge of our complaints against Greece was all that was required, it was manifest from the despatch of Count Nesselrode, that, in 1847, he at least was fully informed of our demands upon that country, and of our intentions of enforcing them. If, indeed, it was necessary, he might remind them of an occasion when Austria and Russia at least felt it to be their right to act without communication to other Powers, when they united to destroy the very existence of Cracow, which was created under the sanction of all the great Powers—parties to the Treaty of Vienna. On this much indeed might be said, but he would abstain, and would only observe, that it precluded those Courts from complaining that they had not been informed on the present occasion.
Having attempted to establish the justice of our course and right of separate action, he would next come to the mode of execution; and could not understand the complaint of our having sent so large a fleet to so insignificant country, as if it was unworthy of this country to exhibit a power so disproportionate to the object to be obtained. If it was to be done, it was best (lone effectually. To have sent a single 1396 ship, or two or three small vessels, might have invited resistance. In sending a large fleet, we showed that England was in earnest, and prevented the possibility of opposition or collision. As to the weakness of Greece, he must protest against the plea that its insignificance was to be its protection, and that the smallness of its power was to be deemed an excuse for its violation of the laws of nations, and a licence to commit injustice.
The next question that remained for consideration was our acceptance of the good offices of France; whether we had adhered to the principles we laid down in so accepting them; and whether that country had any right to complain that there had been any breach of promise or failure of consideration towards her in our renewal of the measures of coercion.
When the good offices of France were accepted, it must be remembered that if there was one point upon which, more than another, the greatest pains were taken to prevent the possibility of a doubt, it was, that the nature of the intervention and the extent of the good offices should be clearly defined—not arbitration—not mediation, but simple intervention of good offices. From the first moment after these limits were laid down, the French Minister complained of the narrow limits by which his rôle was confined; but still no deviation from the original terms was ever admitted by Lord Palmerston, and no just cause of complaint could be raised by the French Minister; and whatever misunderstanding has arisen, has proceeded from a wish to consider that more was committed to France than really was, or than any one, attentively examining the terms in which Lord Palmerston expressed himself, would think themselves justified in ascribing to them.
With respect to the resumption of measures of coercion, it was clear that M. Lahitte was not satisfied with the position in which that question was left, nor with the understanding which existed on the subject after the explanations in London; but still there was no just ground of complaint against the conduct of the British Government, which maintained the position it had taken from the first.
Coercion was to be renewed whenever M. Gros declared that he no longer expected to settle the affair by the instrumentality of his good offices. If he had to refer home, and to suspend the exercise of his mediatorial functions, his mission was 1397 at an end; and when he communicated to the French Government and to Mr. Wyse that he had suspended all action, and refused even to convey a proposition of Mr. Wyse to the Greek Government, his mission had terminated by his own act. If it had not ceased, why should he have refused even to transmit a proposition of Mr. Wyse's, which admitted that all points on which there was a difference of opinion between the two negotiators should be referred to their Governments at home for decision, and only required that a sum of money (180,000 drachmas) should be deposited in liquidation of those claims upon which they were already agreed. It cannot be permitted that a negotiator should play fast and loose, and say I have not abandoned my rôle of mediator; and in the same breath refuse to perform any function of a mediator, even of the simple character of transmitting a proposition for acceptance or rejection.
He had thus endeavoured to show that the demands upon Greece were just in their origin—that the continued refusal to grant redress made it the right and duty of England to resort to such measures as usage and the law of nations prescribed for the purpose of vindicating her honour, and seeing justice done to her injured subjects—and that Her Majesty's Government had gladly availed itself of the offer of the good offices of France to induce the Greek Government to yield to their just demands, and that only when these failed they had been again obliged to have recourse to a renewal of coercive measures, which had finally obtained the redress that had been demanded.
He had limited his observations to affairs with Greece, to which the question before the House immediately related; but he could not sit down without noticing the reiterated and unfair attacks which had been made upon his noble Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs for his general conduct and general policy; and he did so the more, as by some strange fatality these attacks were invariably made upon that noble individual behind his back, in a place where he could not be present to defend himself. He was accused of being quarrelsome and pugnacious, the friend of revolutionists and the disturbers of the peace of Europe; yet, strange to say, though this dangerous firebrand had now directed the foreign policy of this country for more than fifteen years during periods of unexampled difficulties, and during two European revolutions, the 1398 peace of Europe had been maintained and the honour and interests of England, preserved inviolate; and he would say this, that whatever danger there might have been at any period during the last twenty years of that peace being disturbed, it had never been greater than under the pacific administration of the noble Earl opposite (the Earl of Aberdeen), whose concessions did not prevent our interests being at-tacked and our honour assailed at Tahiti, till concessions having reached their utmost limits, the boundaries between peace and war were all but overstepped, and the two great Powers of England and of France in the most imminent danger of being involved in fierce hostilities. Time, how-ever, which places her seal of approbation or condemnation on the acts of all men, would, he felt confident, do justice to his noble Friend, and would show that, so far from having endangered the peace of Europe, he had been its truest friend; that by recommending wise and timely reformations in the ancient institutions of Europe, he had done what was best to preserve what was really valuable in their existence; that a policy of concession was not always a policy of peace; and that though on the one hand he had never sacrificed the rights of even the meanest subject of the Crown of England, he had never attempted to require from other Powers more than justice entitled him to demand; and whatever might be the judgment of that House, he left the verdict with confidence in the hands of his countrymen.
The EARL of HARDWICKDE
explained that the fleet under the command of Admiral Parker entered the Dardanelles through stress of weather, and from no other cause.
said, that from accidental circumstances he had not had an opportunity of reading the voluminous blue books which had been quoted from so copiously that evening. But if he had gone through them, it would seem that he would have been as slightly acquainted with their contents as he was at that moment; for no sooner did any one of his friends who had carefully read these papers make a statement founded on them, than he was immediately contradicted by noble Lords opposite. Being in this state of ignorance he had listened most attentively to the very interesting and very important discussion; and it was from what he had heard so ably stated on one side, and so ably replied to on the other, that he had to form his judgment. He took but a very short view of this case; but it 1399 was the view which he believed was taken of it by 99 persons out of every 100 throughout the country at large. They did not care which was right or which was wrong, the Greek Government or the English Government. They did not enter into the claims of Mr. Finlay, a most able, most learned, and most respectable man; or of M. Pacifico, of whom he had never heard it predicated that he was most able, except in taking care of his own interest, or most learned, except in the art of making accounts, or most respectable in any point of view whatever. Nobody cared about the merits of these claims, or who was right or who was wrong. But this they said, that, as it was commonly observed he must be a person fitter for Bethlehem Hospital than any other part of the world who would go into the Court of Chancery for a sum so little as 100l., how ranch more fitted for Bethlehem would they be who would rush into the Court of Chancery for a thing not worth one farthing? For the whole of this matter in dispute—except as a question of abstract right—which was to involve England, Russia, France, and the half of Europe in war, was absolutely the most insignificant he had ever heard of as a cause of quarrel between any two nations of which history made any mention. He thought that their Lordships would do well, in the present state of European affairs, would act wisely for their own credit, and justly towards their own characters and the character of their public policy, if they rescued themselves by a vote of that House from being supposed to be parties to those negotiations—to these proceedings rather—for no principle was involved which entitled them to be designated negotiations. He admitted that, however trifling the right might be, every country was perfectly justified in asserting that right. No nation was to be required to submit to be wronged; no nation was to be called upon to submit to be insulted. Her rights were to be carefully guarded by the powers of the Government, even though the infraction of those rights might be of comparatively trivial importance. But we must be very sure that we had right on our side; and we must be very careful how we interfered to assert and maintain that right. He entirely dissented from the law of nations as it had been laid down by some noble Lords. He utterly denied that any nation had a right to go to war with any other nation, or to resort to the ultimate remedy with any other nation, merely to enforce a claim 1400 made by any subject, or any subjects, of that nation. He denied that even a popular tumult, a riot at Naples for instance, in which French subjects were injured, gave any title whatever to France to demand satisfaction from the Government of Naples. He denied that mere injury to the property or even to the person of an individual re-Biding voluntarily in a foreign country, gave any right to the Government of which the injured individual was a subject, to demand redress. A claim to compensation never could be made against the Government of a foreign State for injury to property, unless such Government had been a party to the injury. It was frightful to think to what an extent dissensions might be created, and wars might be waged, if such a principle were admitted. They had been told that a Government had a right to interfere if any wrong was done to one of its subjects residing in a foreign State, the Government of which State had not the will or the power to prevent such injury. But, if that principle was admitted, the United States of America would be surrounded by wars just as they were surrounded by neighbours, for each creditor of a repudiating State might claim the aid of his own Government. He utterly denied that an outrage committed by a few persons, not connected with the Government, gave the right to claim compensation. Then there was another matter—the mode and manner of applying for compensation where compensation was due. They might have a very good right to call for explanation from a foreign Power—to say, "We protest against such an act; we hold you answerable for it; we call upon you to clear and defend your conduct, and to give compensation;" but it was a very different thing to say, "We have a right to reprisal," for the exercise of that right could only be justified when the Government had been an accomplice, and a wilful accomplice, in the wrong. He hoped that, for the sake of the interests of this country, their Lordships would, through the medium of their decision to-night, shake themselves loose from all responsibility for the late conduct of the Secretary for Foreign Affairs. He said this with the greatest respect for his noble Friend and former Colleague (Lord Palmerston). He (Lord Brougham) knew that his noble Friend had been assailed elsewhere, and especially abroad, in a manner utterly inconsistent with all justice; and with facts within his (Lord Brougham's) own know-ledge respecting the noble Lord's constant 1401 and deliberate opinions, and his strong feeling in favour of preserving peace. He (Lord Brougham) had heard with indignation the assertion made in France again and again, that his noble Friend was an enemy of the peace between the two countries; while he verily believed there was no man in England who was more anxious to maintain peace and to perpetuate peace than the noble Lord. Some seven or eight years ago an able and learned person asked his (Lord Brougham's) permission to be allowed to dedicate a book to him; but he (Lord Brougham), because it appeared from the title and the preface that that book contained statements of his noble Friend's hostility to France, refused the request, unless the author would also print his letter, protesting in Lord Palmerston's behalf. Although he (Lord Brougham) disapproved the policy of his noble Friend, no one was more ready than himself to render ample justice to the great ability and integrity of the noble Lord. He felt bound to give his vote in favour of the Motion.
§ On Question, their Lordships divided:—Contents: Present 113; Proxies 56; Total 169. Non-Contents: Present 77; Proxies 55; Total 132: Majority 37.1404
|List of the CONTENTS.|
|Brooke and Warwick||Rosse|
|VISCOUNTS.||De Lisle and Dudley|
|Gloucester and Bristol||Rayleigh|
|Crawford and Balcarres||Carlisle|
|Castlemaine||Bath and Wells|
|List of the NOT-CONTESTS.|
|Yarborough.||Howard de Walden|
|Norwich||Say and Sole|
|Gainsborough||Stanley of Alderley|
|Duke of Bedford||Lord St. John|
|Lord Leigh||Earl Somers|
|LORD Stuart de Decies||Earl of Erne|
|Lord Belhaven||Earl of Lauderdale|
|Duke of Grafton||Earl Airlie|
|Lord De Freyne||Earl of Longford|
|Earl Cornwallis||Earl Brownlow|
|Earl Rosebery||Earl of Orford|
|Bishop of Durham||Marquess of Ailsa|
|Lord Dormer||Duke of Beaufort|
|Earl of Camperdown||Lord Sherborne|
|Lord Lilford||Earl of Munster|
|Earl Powis||Earl Pomfret|
|Earl of Devon||Viscount St. Vincent|
|Lord Arundel||Lord Willoughby De Eresby|
|Duke of Leeds||Earl Bathurst|
|Earl Sefton||Lord Downes|
|Earl of Shrewsbury||Earl Beauchamp|
|Bishop of Worcester||Bishop of Rochester|
|Earl Fitzhardinge||Viscount Exmouth|
§ Resolved in the Affirmative.
§ House adjourned till To-morrow.