THE EARL OF CAMPERDOWN
asked Her Majesty's Government for a statement of the details of the financial arrangements concluded with the Porte in regard to the Island of Cyprus? In the Convention dated the 4th June last, between Great Britain and Turkey, the following paragraph occurred:—It is agreed that England will pay to the Porte whatever is the present excess of revenue over expenditure in the island, this excess to be determined by the average of the last five years, stated to be 22,936 purses.He wished to have an explanation of the expression "excess of revenue over expenditure;" because, as it appeared to him, these words were capable of more than one interpretation. There were other financial points about which he hoped Her Majesty's Government would give some information. At the present time they knew very little about the Island of Cyprus, and Her Majesty's Government had admitted that they could not add much to their information; but what little they did know, he believed their Lordships would be of opinion, was not of a highly encouraging character. They knew that the administration of that Island had been distinguished for corruption, rapacity, and, he might say, almost all the faults of which an Administration was capable. They knew that the population had been dwindling. He believed at one time the population amounted to 1,000,000 souls; but under the benefits of Turkish rule, they had dwindled away to 150,000 or 250,000 persons—he was not sure which. They knew also that the cities were in ruins. They knew that the cultivators of the soil had been harassed by arbitrary exactions. They knew that commerce had been driven away from the Island. They knew that the harbour, or whatever used to represent a harbour, had been silted up; and they also knew that even the wells were filled up, and that all sanitary precautions had been neglected. He believed there were now no roads, or only very bad ones, in the Island. This was the Island we had un- 19 dertaken to administer. At the first start, and for a very considerable time afterwards, the Government would find plenty to do there, and he would venture to say that when the bill came to be paid, they would find that it would have to be paid, not in hundreds of thousands, but in millions of pounds. The question was, where were these millions to come from? He should have thought that when England undertook the administration of this Island, and to guarantee the Eastern frontier of Turkey in Asia, she took upon herself a responsibility that was serious enough. He should have thought, when she found herself obliged to take, or to ask for, a military position from which she might be able to discharge the responsibility which she had assumed, that she might reasonably have expected that the Power she had undertaken to protect would only have been too glad to hand over that position to her without cost. He thought that if any Turkish statesman had been asked two months ago whether Turkey would hand over the Island of Cyprus free of cost on condition that England would guarantee the Eastern frontier of Turkey, he would have said at once that he would hand over not only Cyprus, but Crete, and half the Islands of the Archipelago. But the arrangement, they were told, was that England was to pay to the Porte the present excess of revenue over expenditure in the Island, and that that was to be calculated on an average of five years. It was stated to be nearly 23,000 purses. That was the statement of the English Government; but perhaps their Lordships would like to hear what was the official statement of the Turkish Government on the subject. On the 11th July, Router's telegraph agency sent the following official statement from Constantinople:—In virtue of the Treaty for the British occupation of Cyprus, England engages to pay to the Porte annually £150,000 sterling, whereas the present revenue is only £120,000.He was not going to ask them to attach any serious importance to this official statement, as they all knew what Turkish official statements were. But, at the same time, that was the view which the Porte professed to take of the Treaty, and that was the view he hoped would not be taken when we came to verify 20 the revenue of the Island. These words, "the present excess of revenue over expenditure," might mean a great deal. He should like to know, in the first place, what was meant by the word "revenue?" What he understood by the word "revenue," was any excess which might exist from the amount raised by taxation in the Island, after defraying the whole expense of civil administration in the Island; but he should think there was very considerable doubt whether, in this sense of the word, Turkey had ever received any full revenue from the Island of Cyprus for many years. This meaning of the word revenue would contradict Turkish practice in two points. In the first place, it was not the custom of Turkey to tax her subjects in the sense in which we used the word, nor her custom to pay the expense of administration. What she did was to exact from her subjects, by means of her officers, as much as she could, without being very particular as to the manner in which the money was raised, and then to leave her officials to pay themselves, no doubt, by taking another squeeze of the Cyprian orange. He should like to know whether these 23,000 purses were really the revenue which had found its way to Constantinople, after all the expenses of Government had been defrayed. That was a matter which he thought it would be very difficult for Her Majesty's Government to verify. In the next place, he should like to ask, was this charge to be a first charge upon the revenue of Cyprus? It was not stated whether England was to defray all the expenses out of the surplus or not; or what amount should be paid over to the Turkish Government. The construction which he put upon the words — and the construction which it seemed to him they were intended to bear—was this, that the Turkish Government having, during the last 25 years, derived 23,000 purses from the Island, we were to guarantee that sum without taking into consideration the expenses that might be afterwards incurred. If so, all he could say was that it was a very bad bargain for us to have made. He believed that it was a fact that, for a considerable period, there had been no surplus of revenue whatsoever over the expenses of administration. The Island had been reduced to a very 21 poor condition; and the result was that for a number of years it would be found necessary to limit considerably the amount of taxation which would ultimately have to be levied. He would like to know, then, whether the Government could give any idea of the deficiency likely to arise, and whether, whilst there was a deficiency, it was intended to make any payment to the Porte? They must recollect that England was sending some thousands of troops to the Island. Was the pay of these men, kept there to watch over the Eastern frontier of the Porte, to be defrayed by Turkey or by England; and, in the latter event, was England also to make payment to Turkey out of the revenue of Cyprus? It must be remembered that England would have to incur very heavy expenditure for the digging out of harbours at Famagousta and elsewhere, for the making of roads, and for other works. Was it intended that those charges should fall on the British taxpayer; and, if so, what arrangements had been made as to the manner in which those charges were to be met in the possible event of England restoring Cyprus to the Porte? These were a few of the questions which had suggested themselves to him on reading the 3rd clause of the Treaty—questions upon which he thought the House would be glad to receive some information.
§ THE MARQUESS OF SALISBURY
The object of Her Majesty's Government in making this agreement with the Porte was that the Porte should not be financially the worse for the part it has undertaken—that is to say, that the amount of the surplus of revenue— whatever it may have been—for the last five years, after all expenditure civil and military has been defrayed, shall still continue to flow into the coffers of the Porte. That seems to me to be a very fair arrangement, and it was especially incumbent upon us when we remember that what the Porte receives from Cyprus, as well as from other places, is already pledged to the bondholders of the Porte; so that, perhaps, it might have been considered a questionable proceeding if we had induced Turkey to hand over the surplus to us. There are no detailed arrangements between us which I can lay upon the Table, because none such have as yet been agreed 22 to; and until we receive the Report of the Administrator, Sir Garnet Wolseley, it is impossible to give any information upon official authority, because before his arrival there was no official authority to ascertain it. Now, the noble Earl appears to take a very gloomy view of our engagements. I will not attempt to compete with him in the matter of prophecy; but I would just point out to him that if the falling-off of revenue has been as great as he appears to imagine, it will be all the better for England; because, henceforth, the revenue will be honestly collected, and the surplus will, consequently, be that much larger than it has been. In the same way, if the resources of the Island have been terribly neglected, and the springs of its prosperity allowed to run to waste, it will be all to the advantage of an honest and capable Government which will produce from the Island the revenue it ought to yield. But upon all these matters the Government are awaiting information. I am far from admitting that that which we do possess are of the gloomy character depicted by the noble Earl. I believe the Island will be as capable in the future, as it has been in the past, of maintaining a large population, and where there is a large population there must necessarily be a large revenue.
§ EARL GRANVILLE
Although the Question put by my noble Friend (the Earl of Camperdown) appears a very reasonable and prudent one, I apprehend he was scarcely sanguine enough to expect much more information than he has obtained. The fact is, the Government have adopted a system of secrecy which I never remember before in the practice of Her Majesty's Government on questions of this sort. Her Majesty's Government negotiated an Anglo-Turkish Convention, and signed and ratified it in complete secrecy. They alleged that reasons of high policy made that necessary; but now that the Convention is concluded, now that it has been presented to Parliament, what is the information which they vouchsafe us? We have not the slightest inkling, so far as I am aware, of any communications having taken place with other Powers. We do not know even how the Turkish Government itself received the proposal. My noble Friend thinks that, perhaps, the Turks were only too glad to get rid of an Island that had become a burden to 23 them; but I should like to know whether they were so rejoiced, or whether they received the proposal with considerable indignation? On this point we know absolutely nothing. The same perfect system of secrecy is observed in regard to all the arrangements in connection with this agreement with the Turkish Government, and in regard to the decisions which Her Majesty's Government has taken as to the future administration of the Island. I may say, too, that the same secrecy has been maintained as to the very hopeful account which the noble Marquess has given of the state of the Island; for, so far as I am concerned, the only help he has given me on that point was to refer me to a book which did not contain any information on the subject, and which has been the only source open to me. Now, in respect to the latter question, I cannot help thinking that the want of information is owing to two facts—first, that the Government did not seek for very much information before they took this important step of theirs; and secondly, that the information they had received on the different matters connected with the negotiations do not seem to them to be of a very trustworthy character. The noble Marquess talks of his hopes for the prosperity of the Island. I have not the slightest doubt that there is no Island with a tolerably good climate, and reduced by misgovernment, that would not materially profit under British rule and the expenditure of British capital. But that is not the question here. The only reason alleged by Her Majesty's Government for the purchase of the Island is that having contracted very onerous responsibilities, it appeared to them necessary that in return they should have some addition to their strength in order to enable them to meet those responsibilities. Now, it is quite clear that the question of whether the Island is fertile, or whether the roads are improving, is not in any way to the purpose; for by showing that the country is rich and fertile, or may be made so, you do not get rid of the imputation that we wished to get hold of a good portion of the spoil—an imputation put forward in certain Western countries of Europe. What we want to know is, is the Island of any use to us, as adding to our strength? No one can say that it will add to our 24 military or naval strength to take that which is not a good naval station; and I have great doubt—I had not at first—whether the Government can quote any opinion which they received previous to the Convention favourable to the Island in that character. For myself, I do not know a single naval officer, of high or low command, who has not pronounced against it as a naval station. The noble Earl the First Lord of the Treasury spoke for a considerable time the other evening in defence of the Ministers Plenipotentiary for having ceded Batoum, which he said had been obtained by the Russians—meaning, of course, under the Treaty of San Stefano. He said, too, that it would be very difficult for Her Majesty's Government, after the Congress had decided in favour of cession, to take steps to prevent it; but he added that after all it was not a matter of much importance, because the port of Batoum was a bad port. I do not pretend to have made myself master of the Protocols, although I have read them; but I have been unable to find the slightest trace of the Congress having come to any decision in this matter—whether they agreed to the cession or not. The question was raised, and the next person who spoke after Prince Gortschakoff was the first British Plenipotentiary, who expressed unbounded delight at the proposal which the Russian Chancellor had made. I say, however, that I am utterly at a loss to know when the decision of the Congress was taken. Again, the noble Earl said that Batoum was a wretched port—he did not use the word "wretched," but he described it to that effect. Now, I had never heard that Batoum was an indifferent port, though I certainly never believed it to be a Portsmouth; but the noble Earl went on to tell us exactly how many ships it would contain. He said it would contain three ships; but he made the further admission that it might be made to contain six, if they were as closely packed together as ships in the London Docks. Now, I do not know exactly how many ships Batoum can accommodate; but this I do know, that very recently a Turkish Fleet, consisting, not of three ships, or of six ships, but of 13 ships, with one transport, were actually in that port. That being so, I think we have some reason for asking upon what authority Her 25 Majesty's Government offer us the details which they put forward as the only information they have to give upon a most interesting and important subject?
§ LORD HAMMOND
said, although he did not consider the Convention between this country and the Porte to have been very artistically framed, yet it clearly showed that England had bound herself to pay between £100,000 and £150,000 a-year to the Porte, whether raised out of the taxation of the Island or not. He would like to know if the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs took any steps to ascertain what was the actual state of the expenses of the Turkish Government previously to negotiating, and before signing the Treaty. Looking to the Consular Reports of 1876, they did not find them speak very favourably of the trade and commerce of Cyprus. The whole trade of Larnaca in imports was valued at about £155,000, of which£3,500 fell to the share of British enterprize; and about £208,000 exports, of which about £35,000 were British. The trade of Limasol was about £51,000 imports, of which £2,900 were British; and about £60,000 exports, of which about £8,150 were British. They could not, therefore, consider that the commercial value of Cyprus was very great. Whatever might have been the expenses of the Turkish administration, there could be no doubt that, under the British rule, the expense of administration would be far greater, and after the payment of the tribute we had engaged to pay to the Porte—for, as far as Cyprus was concerned, we were a tributary State—we should have to provide for the expenditure of the British administration, of the British garrison, of the civil, naval, and military, establishments which it might be necessary to maintain. As regarded the latter class of expenses, it might be asked where was the necessity, after the Congress of Berlin had restored peace to Europe, to maintain in Cyprus a garrison of 10,000 men—double the number we retained in Malta? The Indian contingent of 7,000 men had been sent there, as well as three British regiments, besides engineers and other officers. When we considered, not only the expense incurred by the occupation and administration of Cyprus, but that we had also undertaken the protection of Asiatic Turkey from encroachment on the part of Russia, and had further 26 undertaken the protection of the Turkish subjects in Asia Minor against mal-administration on the part of Turkish authorities—for, disguise it how we might, we had. virtually undertaken such a Protectorate—and when, in return for these onerous engagements, we found ourselves saddled with the occupation and administration of an unhealthy Island, insufficiently supplied with water, without a harbour for our ships, accommodation for our garrison, or establishments for those engaged in civil administration, we could not look without grave apprehension at the prospect before us. He felt it difficult to understand how an Island in a remote corner of the Mediterranean could serve as a basis of operation against a Russian invasion of the Northeastern corner of Asiatic Turkey, or form a nucleus from which a system of good government in the interior of Asia Minor could be promoted or secured. There was another point, to which he almost shrank from alluding. We were not called upon to pronounce on the morality or immorality of measures adopted by foreign Governments; but we might properly regard our own; and, judging by our standard the course we had taken, as regarded Cyprus, we might fairly consider whether, after our solemn engagements to respect the integrity of Turkey, our participation in its spoils was not, to say the least of it, an act of questionable morality.
§ THE EARL OF BEACONSFIELD
The charge made against the Government by the noble Earl (the Earl of Camperdown), if his observations really alluded to anything, is that we have not favoured the House with sufficient information respecting the occupation of Cyprus, and the noble Earl who supported him in his remarks complained of the secrecy of the negotiations by which the occupation was carried into effect, and he laid that also as a charge against the Government. But, in fact, the two charges answer each other. It is a fact that this was a secret negotiation, and when the matter is fairly brought before the House with due notice, I shall be quite prepared, and my Colleagues also, to give very valid reasons for the secrecy of these negotiations. It is not the first secret negotiation into which this country has entered, and I shall be able to show not only by 27 precedent, but also, I hope, by very good reasons, that secrecy was the right policy of the Government, and that the object we had in view could not be realized except by secrecy. If secrecy were necessary, if secrecy were pursued, and if it were only by secrecy that the object of the Government could be achieved, it was quite impossible that we could make those appeals to the Turkish Government, or that the Turkish Government themselves could pursue those inquiries or make those arrangements which, had they been pursued and made, would have put an end to the secrecy. Therefore, there is no doubt, though the Treaty was signed on the 6th of June, a whole month elapsed before it was sufficiently known to enter into any inquiries which were, of course, expedient, and to make many arrangements with the Turkish Government, which are now under discussion. But, at the same time, I must say, on the part of the Government, that it is a great error to suppose that they decided upon the occupation of Cyprus without being in possession of adequate information. The House is entitled, and Parliament is entitled, to possess that information when affairs are in that state that we think these documents can be produced without injury to the Public Service, and I hope only a short time will elapse before that information may be laid before Parliament, when noble Lords will be able to bring this matter fairly before the House; and when they have the information before them, and when they bring forward their views, although they may be views opposed to the Government, we shall clearly understand what is the policy they denounce, and what is the policy they recommend. We will meet them in fair discussion, and the House will decide, and the country will decide, which is the policy they think most advantageous to the country to adopt and to maintain. That is the only general observation I can make to remarks so desultory as those I have to encounter. The noble Earl opposite (Earl Granville) maintains that I called Batoum a "bad," and afterwards he said I called it a "wretched" port. I have no recollection of using either word.
§ EARL GRANVILLE
I beg the noble Earl's pardon. I did not use the word "bad," and though I used the word 28 "wretched," I retracted it immediately, and said the noble Earl had used other language depreciatory of the character of the port.
§ THE EARL OF BEACONSFIELD
I have no objection to the noble Earl using any epithet he pleases. The noble Earl used many epithets, and lean easily understand if, in substituting another word for the first he used, he employed one which was not very felicitous, that he should have forgotten it. I believe that Batoum is neither a bad nor a wretched port. I believe it is a good port; but it is a port of very limited capacity, and that is what I wished to impress upon your minds. The statement that three considerable ships could be received in the harbour with facility was made by me upon the highest authority that I could well appeal to, one particularly acquainted with the country and the locality; and I have such confidence in the information I received from that authority that I shall not without very prolonged investigation, which may lead to a very different result, change my opinion. The same authority who said that three considerable ships might be at anchor in the port of Batoum, did say, using the expression which the noble Earl has recalled, that if they were packed as the ships were in London Docks, probably there would be room for six ships— may be eight. That was an expression used by a judge as high in such matters as could well be fixed upon; and it appeared to mo to give a picturesque and clear view of the capacity of the port. It is an excellent port, but its capacity is extremely limited. With regard to the ports of Cyprus, it is, of course, easy to pick out musty details from obsolete gazetteers, and to say "there are no ports in Cyprus;" but I venture to say your Lordships will find by this time next year that there are ports sufficient to accommodate British ships.
§ VISCOUNT CARDWELL
I have never met with a more striking instance than that afforded by the speech of the noble Earl of the skill of a debater who assumes that questions have been put which have not been put, and who fails to answer those which have been actually addressed to him. Notwithstanding the questions put to the Government, we have entirely failed to extract from the noble Earl any satisfactory in- 29 formation. The noble Earl says he did not tell us that Batoum was a bad or a wretched port. But what did he tell us? He told us that it would only hold three ships in the ordinary course, and six if they were packed as they were packed in the London Docks. Now, what says my noble Friend beside me? He tells you that he knows or has been informed that the Turkish Admiral had there a fleet of 13 vessels, many of which were iron-clads, together with all those other ships which attend upon a fleet of that kind, transports, and so forth. The noble Earl opposite does not tell us, however, whether there is any foundation for this statement. He only repeats what he stated before; and he does not tell us what additional information he has received. There are other matters besides this. We want to know something about the revenue of Cyprus. We have made inquiries, not to-night for the first time, but on former occasions. But have we obtained any answer? None whatever. We have been left entirely in the dark. It is, no doubt, extremely kind of the noble Earl to tell us that if we only bring forward a Motion he will have an opportunity of answering us. We are extremely indebted to him. We have now reached the 23rd of July. What will be the condition of your Lordships' House by the time the noble Earl is prepared with his full official information and a debate can come on. Then there are other subjects to be taken into account besides, the details of which we are ignorant. The other night I ventured to ask the noble Marquess opposite why, if, as we had understood, Cyprus was to be made into a Crown Colony, he could have any hesitation in saying whether or not slavery was to be continued there? We have read in the newspapers—and it is really only from the newspapers that we have any information on this subject—that a high functionary had gone from Constantinople to give up the Island to a high functionary of ours, and that the British flag had been hoisted there. I certainly thought it would have been an easy thing to say—"The British flag is flying in Cyprus, and where the British flag is flying, slavery cannot exist." But what was the answer given? No answer at all. I have seen in the newspapers that Her Majesty's 30 Attorney General said—"Cyprus is not a Crown Colony." Then, I should like to know what it is? Surely, before we are challenged, in the emphatic manner of the noble Earl, to come down with our Resolution, we have a right to know some of the rudiments of the subject? I looked to the Treaty which has been laid upon your Lordships' Table for the best information I could get, and I found that, according to the Treaty, certainly Cyprus is to remain Turkish territory, but that its occupation and administration are to be in our hands. I want to know, then, under what law the Island is to be governed? Is it to be a country subject to Turkish law, or is it to be a country subject to English law? There are arguments on both sides; but Parliament has a right to know definitely which it is to be. In concluding these remarks, I would say we have a right to have some better assurance than we have ever yet received of the sobriety and gravity with which this undertaking has been conceived. We ought to have learned more about Cyprus from the Government than the Government has vouchsafed to us; but there seems to be some difficulty about communicating information. So far as we can learn from what has happened, Her Majesty's Government did not begin to think about this matter yesterday; they have been thinking about it for some time. Did the Government make any inquiry about Cyprus before taking it over? Did they know whether it had any harbours or not, or whether slavery existed there or not before they arranged for its cession? Did they enter upon any of these considerations which a Government was bound to entertain, and carefully examine, before making a Treaty, and before concluding it, and ratifying it behind the back, and without the knowledge of Parliament? They ought to have made themselves familiar with all these points. If they had done so, there could hardly be any difficulty about communicating them to your Lordships. Your Lordships do not know what law runs in Cyprus, or would run in it, or what liabilities we incurred when we accepted the responsibilities of it.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
remarked, that the noble Viscount who had just sat down (Viscount Cardwell) had commenced his observations by referring to the skill of a debater who could assume 31 that Questions were put which had not been put, and who failed to answer those which had actually been addressed to him. But the noble Viscount had performed a feat still more remarkable, because he had repeated a number of Questions, and, assuming that they had been put, he complained bitterly that they had not been answered. Why, asked the noble Viscount, had no person explained whether this was a Crown Colony or not; why had no one told them what law was to be administered in the Colony; and why had no one shown on what footing the jurisdiction of the English Crown was to be exercised? Were these the Questions the noble Earl (the Earl of Camperdown) had put upon the Paper? The noble Earl's Question upon the Paper related merely to the revenues of the Island, and there was not a word in it about whether it was a Crown Colony or not a Crown Colony, and not a word on the subject of slavery. Well, he could answer the Questions now put. They were perfectly plain, and there was not the least difficulty about them. It was the law of these countries that whenever Her Majesty possessed by Treaty with a foreign Power the right to exercise power and jurisdiction out of Her own Dominions, She might do so in the same way as in a conquered or ceded country. It was a well-established principle that where they had a conquered or a ceded territory possessing laws of its own, those laws would apply to the subjects of that territory generally until they were altered. It was perfectly well-known that British subjects in the Turkish Dominions had a right to have justice administered to them by their own laws. All these rules would, in the present instance, be attended to and faithfully observed. The noble Viscount asked a Question on the subject of slavery. He might rest assured that the course taken by Her Majesty's Government in regard to slavery would not be different in the Island of Cyprus from that adopted in other places where the laws of Her Majesty were administered. The noble Viscount then asked whether Cyprus was a Crown Colony? He would find the position of Cyprus exactly defined in the Convention. Cyprus was not a territory of the Crown in any other than in this sense— that it was an Island which, under the 32 Convention, was to be occupied and administered by Her Majesty according to the terms of the Convention.
§ LORD SELBORNE
observed, that his noble and learned Friend had promised to answer the Questions put by the noble Viscount; but he must say that an answer more extraordinary or more totally wide of the mark, he could not conceive. The noble and learned Lord told their Lordships that they were to administer Cyprus under the Foreign Jurisdiction Act.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR
said, his statement was that by the Foreign Jurisdiction Act Her Majesty, if She was authorized to exercise jurisdiction, had power to do so as in a conquered or ceded territory.
§ LORD SELBORNE
said, that under the Foreign Jurisdiction Act, Her Majesty's own subjects in those countries to which that jurisdiction was applicable, were under, and could avail themselves of, that jurisdiction. But he wanted to know how far that jurisdiction carried them in Cyprus, and who were Her Majesty's subjects in Cyprus? The same class of persons who, under the Foreign Jurisdiction Act, would have been subject to British law in Cyprus under the old condition of things, would still be subject to British jurisdiction in Cyprus, just as they were before the Convention was made. The power giving Her Majesty jurisdiction over Her own subjects, and authority to exercise it by Her own laws and through Her own Courts in the Turkish Dominions extended to Cyprus before the Convention was made, as it did to other parts of those Dominions. But the Island was now placed under our administration for all time to come, the condition of our remaining there being an event which nobody expected to happen—namely, the retrocession by Russia to Turkey of all the Asiatic territories she had acquired in the recent war. We were undertaking for all time to come the administration of the entire Island of Cyprus, and consequently of the whole population. We must, therefore, administer justice to all the inhabitants, whether Turks, Greeks, or the subjects of any European State; and we must determine the question of slavery, not only as to our own subjects in the Island, but as to everybody else there. By singular ingenuity we had contrived to get a cession of territory, and yet not a cession; 33 because, nominally, the Island would continue to be Turkish, though practically it would be English. Technically, all the Mussulmans and any non-British inhabitants who might happen to be in Cyprus were not our subjects; technically, they were Turkish subjects. He still wanted to know by what law these people were to be governed, and how the administration of justice was to be managed?
, in reply to the remark that very little was known about Cyprus, said, he could easily furnish a list covering five pages of closely printed octavo, giving merely the names of books from about the middle of last century up to the present time. There were also later books, and he thought he might fairly say it was the fault of noble Lords opposite, if they were entirely ignorant with regard to Cyprus. He called attention to a letter in The Standard of the previous day, written by someone who was evidently acquainted with the subject. This writer quoted a book of great weight, just published at Athens—Les Iles de la Mediterrannée— by J. Jassonides—We know," said the Correspondent of The Standard, "that the Greek merchants and hankers have already gone to the Island, and that the Maltese have speedily followed their example; surely this should he enough for us. We ought to know that these people, by their proximity to Cyprus and knowledge of it, would not go there en masse unless they were satisfied as to the climate, and that, under British rule, the most fertile spot in the Mediterranean would be a source of unlimited wealth to those who are first in the field.Then the writer quoted the following from the authority he had just named:—For 40 years have I been going from Isle to Isle, ascertaining their political, commercial, and social aspect, and this Island—Cyprus—notwithstanding the barbarity of its present rulers, through which it is cut off from the rest of the world, is my favourite; it is a little world in itself—here do I wish to die. My limited means would keep me in comparative luxury. Although old, I am getting strong and feel young; no wild beasts or numerous reptiles disturb my solitude, my water is sweet and cool; but, above all, I know that my grave would be respected, and that kind hands would close my eyes.There was much controversy regarding the climate of the Island, and upon this point he should just quote a sentence from the Correspondent—My personal experience of the Island enables me to state that in summer it does not resemble a desert; many mountains are per- 34 petually covered with snow, and in the summer they water the land by their numerous rivers and streams.He had a suggestion to make touching the financial position of the Island, which he should reserve till the noble Viscount the Under Secretary of State for War was present.