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have an opportunity of considering them before the next stage of the Bill.
LORD CHELMSFORD wished it to be understood that he had no desire that the Bill should go to a Select Committee.
INSURRECTION IN CRETE.
MOTION FOR AN ADDRESS.
LORD STRATHEDEN rose, according to Notice, to call their Lordships' attention to the further Correspondence respecting the disturbances in Crete. He had first to direct their Lordships' attention to the "Identic Note" communicated in October last to the Turkish Government on the part of Russia, France, Prussia, and Italy. The general result of that Note had been to inflict a severe blow upon the Turkish Government, and, as regarded the Eastern question, to place Great Britain on the one side and France and Russia on the other. As that was a state of things inconsistent with the position of affairs established as the result of the Crimean War, it became an important matter to inquire how far our Government had contributed to produce it, or laboured to avert it. The question was, whether our Government had done as much as was possible to exempt themselves from all responsibility for a proceeding which, according to their own. language, was both unfortunate and injurious? In a despatch from Lord Stanley to Lord Bloomfield was the following passage:
"Her Majesty's Government had given no advice which had been disregarded. They had recommended the granting of local autonomy to Crete; and the plan of Government now proposed for that island, if it did not amount to an entire concession of local autonomy, yet fell very little short of it, and seemed to include that which was practically the most important point-equal rights for Mussulmans and Christians. Under these circumstances, I felt unwilling to join in any representation which, however courteous and friendly in its language, bore the character of a remonstrance or protest. I saw no necessity for taking such a step, and, if unnecessary, it could only be injurious."
It was clear from that despatch that the "Identic Note" had been for some time under the consideration of Her Majesty's Government, that they disapproved it, and held that the Turkish Government had not done anything to call down upon itself, deservedly, such an European reprimand. In the Circular issued on the 18th of October last by Prince Gortschakoff to the diplomatic representatives of Russia was the
following passage, which sufficiently showed that the "Identic Note was the inspiration of Russia :
"When at last the insurrection of Candia revealed the progress of this situation, the Imperial Cabinet reiterated its efforts with the Turkish Government and the Great Powers. It addressed an invitation to the Cabinets to join with it in an exhortation to the Porte not to allow this insurrection to increase, the rebound of which might be felt all over the Christian East, and which might become the first spark of a general conflagration."
On the 31st October Mr. Elliot, our Re presentative at Constantinople, addressed the following despatch to Lord Stanley :
"I have the honour to inclose a copy of the identic note upon the affairs of Candia, which, as your Lordship will have learnt by my telegram of this day, has been sent in to the Porte by the Representatives of France, Russia, and Italy.
"The Prussian Minister has likewise received
similar instructions, and will act upon them today or to-morrow. After alluding to the efforts of the Powers to put a stop to the effusion of blood and to diminish the horrors of war, the note goes on to declare that while the act of amnesty offered none of the guarantees which would justify its being looked upon as a serious measure, the refusal of the inquiry shows that no remedy is to be looked for to the abuses which provoked the insurrection of the Cretans; and nothing having
been done to satisfy the other Christian populations of the Empire, the Powers apprehend that the obstinate resistance of the Porte may precipi
tate a crisis in the East.
"In this case the Porte is warned that it would
ask in vain for even the moral support of the Cabinets in the difficulties which the neglect of their advice will have brought about.
"It will not surprise your Lordship that this note should have produced upon Fuad Pasha an impression of the most painful description.
He spoke of it to me yesterday as being a direct incitement to rebellion held out to the populations of several provinces, where for some time past the ground has been diligently prepared by intriguers labouring to keep alive disaffection in the Empire.
"That it is eminently calculated to produce the effect apprehended by Fuad Pasha appears to me incontestable, nor is the probability of its being taken as an encouragement to the disaffected disputed even by the Ministers who, in execution of their instructions, transmitted the note to the Porte, but who confine themselves to assurances that their Governments had no wish to add to the difficulties of the Turkish Empire, and that the expressions which seem equivocal are capable of explanation.
"It is, however, evident that the effect prowill be in accordance with the interpretation that duced by the note, when it shall be made public, can hardly fail to be put upon it in Turkey, rather than with that which may be given in the Cabinets of the Ministers at Paris or at St. Petersburgh; and it will be looked upon much more as an adthan as a communication to His Majesty's Midress to the disaffected subjects of the Sultan nisters."
With respect to the conduct of our Government throughout the negotiations on that subject, he could not help admitting that up to the time of the "Identic Note' their conduct appeared to deserve the highest admiration. The Foreign Secretary had resisted a variety of lures held out to induce him to enter into lines of action inconsistent with our various obligations towards the Ottoman Porte; but their merits in that respect, however great, were merely of a negative character. It was one thing to adhere to our engagements, and another thing to advance towards the accomplishment of great objects of policy; and one great object of English policy in regard to Turkey should be to prevent France from joining Russia.
Moved, That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty for, Copy of the Instructions to the British Representative at Paris in reference to the identic Note proposed to be communicated to the Porte by Russia, France, Italy, and Prussia."(The Lord Stratheden.)
THE EARL OF MALMESBURY said, that he did not hear the first part of the noble Lord's speech so distinctly as he could wish; but so far as he could gather, it was the noble Lord's wish to ascertain what was the present state of the insurrection in Crete and the policy of Her Majesty's Government. That policy had been throughout the same. The Government felt naturally the deepest interest in those who were suffering all the horrors of insurrection in such a place as Crete, and they had a sincere desire to put an end to the insurrection if they could do it without interfering with the just rights of the Porte. No doubt some cruelties had been committed; but he believed they had been greatly magnified. All the accounts from Her Majesty's servants abroad proved this, and although the country had been devastated, and very considerable misery had resulted from the insurrection and the efforts of the Porte to put it down, as it had a right to do, yet this suffering must be the natural consequence of any rebellion whatever. According to the reports of Her Majesty's servants, especially Mr. Elliot, our Ambassador at Constantinople, the insurrection now assumed comparatively trifling dimensions. Only a few insignificant skirmishes had taken place lately. He should not attempt to go into the original causes of this rebellion, or to ascertain the comparative blame that might be due to each of the parties. If their Lordships would read the despatches
of Consul Longworth, they would see that the main point at issue between the Porte and the Candiote population was the difference of religion and race. The Cretans were certainly not overtaxed, they were under a comparatively mild Government, they were exempted from many of the laws to which other subjects of the Porte were amenable, and they enjoyed a general freedom and liberty of speech which other countries might envy. They were ruled over by a Pasha, with whom he (the Earl of Malmesbury) had been acquainted in Paris, and who was an amiable and enlightened man. Ile believed that the insurrection was very much to be attributed to the amiable weakness of that gentleman, who had allowed it to proceed so far that at last he was unable to put it down. In this state of things the Porte had done all that it could. It had asked the advice of Her Majesty's Government, and had appointed two Christian Governors, and the Ministry of the Porte had issued regulations for the government of the Christian population, a copy of which he had sent to this country, and which would be laid upon the table. The policy of Her Majesty's Government was non-interference, especially in the internal affairs of other nations. Having for many years asked the Porte to treat its Christian subjects with justice, the Government of this country were bound to remind the Porte constantly of these promises. It was our interest that they should be kept; but we were not bound, and it would indeed be a fatal error on our part, to encourage the enemies of the Porte under the plea of giving it good advice, or to place ourselves in a position adverse to the Porte. For this reason Her Majesty's Government had not thought it their duty to join in any Identic Notes with other Powers. There would be no objection to lay upon the table the despatches which had been lately received, and to give any information on the subject.
THE DUKE OF ARGYLL said, the noble Earl (the Earl of Malmesbury) had failed to apprehend the main point of the question raised by his noble Friend-namely, that, now for the first time since the Treaty of 1856, almost all the Great Powers of Europe, with the single exception of Great Britain, had been united to a certain extent in action, and to a still larger extent in the language held towards the Ottoman Empire. He understood his noble Friend to ask whether the
Identic Note presented to the Porte by the combined Powers, and which was represented by the Porte itself as a document of very serious import, had been properly resisted and opposed by the British Government? He understood his noble Friend to inquire, whether if the Government thought this Note so serious, as affecting the independence and integrity of Turkey, they took any means to dissuade the other Powers from agreeing to that Identic Note? It was an important and significant fact that this action on the part of the Great Powers had placed this country in a very undesirable position of isolation. With one sentiment of his noble Friend he was bound to express his sympathy and concurrence ;-it was now thirteen months ago since he (the Duke of Argyll) had expressed an opinion that the Government had committed an error in having refused to withdraw from Crete the families of the non-combatants in that struggle. He had reason to think that some noble Lords thought he had made out his case; but no one spoke in that sense, while two or three noble Lords on both sides of the House expressed a contrary opinion. He rejoiced that, although he might be in a minority in that House, he found himself in a very large majority on the other side of the Channel. The Great Powers, it appeared, combined in recommending the Porte to stop the effusion of blood, and to seek, in common with them, a solution of this deplorable conflict by an honest inquiry into the grievances and wishes of the Candiotes. In the meanwhile they insisted on with drawing the families of the insurgents from the calamities of war. He was aware that even a Member of the Opposition who might speak on the Eastern Question addressed their Lordships under very considerable responsibility. Every word uttered in the House was reported in the East, and he therefore wished to guard against any misconception. He had no He had no wish to criticize the foreign administration of Lord Stanley; for he shared the impression general in the country that, on most questions, he had shown admirable judgment and prudence, and a strict regard to the true interests of England, and, while differing from him in this instance, he gave the noble Lord credit for having been animated by the most upright motives. Now, he had been represented as favouring the opinion that it would be for the advantage of Crete to be annexed
to the kingdom of Greece. Such, however, was not his opinion. The Government of Greece was just now in a very deplorable condition, for he understood that within a few miles of the Acropolis of Athens it was not safe for anyone to ride or walk, on account of brigands, and that the Isthmus of Corinth had to be constantly patrolled by cavalry to secure the safety of ordinary travellers. Under such circumstances it was preposterous to desire the annexation of any territory to Greece, which was bound to put its own house in order before it could assume to annex other dominions. The advice repeatedly urged upon Turkey by Her Majesty's Government, to give Crete what is called autonomy, he believed to be the best advice which it was possible to give. What, however, was implied in such advice? We did not think of advising Russia to give autonomy to Poland, nor did we recommend the United States to give autonomy to the South. It was obvious, then, that the parallel sometimes drawn between Turkey and other States was quite fallacious. He was asked last Session how he would like England to be advised to give autonomy to Ireland or any part of the British dominions; but his answer was that whenever the Great Powers were obliged to fight on our behalf, and to sign a treaty virtually guaranteeing our integrity and independence, they would have a right to press advice upon us respecting Ireland. With regard to the refusal of the Government to assist in the removal of noncombatants from Crete, he thought that refusal had not been a frank and straightforward one, but had apparently been based on a wish to avoid the incurring of responsibility. He observed a remarkable despatch from Sir Andrew Buchanan, describing the language which he had held to the Russian Government. Sir Andrew, it appeared, on being asked by Prince Gortschak off to represent to this Government the propriety of removing non-combatants, replied that the Government had already refused to remove women and children; but that this was a matter of less consequence, inasmuch as the American fleet could do so, and had been ordered into Cretan waters for that very purpose. He did not wish to blame Sir Andrew Buchanan, who was one of the ablest servants of the Crown, for he unquestionably held the language of his Government; but such language was not consistent with the argument used in the House last year,
that the removal of non-combatants would to inquire into the facts. Lord Stanley be at variance with the duty of a neutral ultimately acceded to that proposal to State, since it would relieve the insurgents this extent, that he was willing to urge from a burden which it was proper they on the Porte to nominate a Commission of should bear. That was a fair and logical their own, to which certain names should position, but to say that we would not take be added by the Great Powers. The noble such a step, but that there was the Ameri- Lord on this as on other points seemed to can fleet, and that we should be delighted have somewhat vacillated, from an evident if they did it for this was really implied desire to avoid responsibility and to let -was not a proper position to assume. matters take their own course; for, when The Americans had no right beyond what asked whether he adhered to this suggesbelonged to any other fleet, and such lan- tion, he expressed a doubt whether he could guage amounted to a distinct intimation by such a Commission get better informathat the Russian fleet or any other fleet tion than he already received from Her might also assist. Sir Andrew's statement, Majesty's Consuls in Crete. Now, he was though volunteered on his part, was ap- quite willing to take the evidence of these proved in subsequent despatches from the gentlemen, and after carefully reading the Foreign Office, and, indeed, he simply blue book his impression was very different repeated what he knew had been the lan- from that of the noble Earl. Mr. Dickson, guage of Lord Stanley in London. Prince our principal Cousul in Crete, who was by Gortschakoff, very naturally, took care to no means a phil-Hellenist, but was a good make use of the observations of Sir Andrew friend of Turkey, testified in many of his Buchanan, and of those of Lord Stanley to despatches to the humane conduct of some Baron Brunnow, and in one of his des- of the leading officers of the Turkish army. patches he remarked that though the No doubt the responsible officers of the British Government had not thought proper Turkish Government were generally huto take part in the removal, they had inti- mane in their conduct, but the charges of mated that it was not their business to brutality were directed at the irregular interfere with the other Powers who might troops, who were known to be such savages, do so. Thus the only overt act which had and so incapable of military discipline, that been taken by the other Powers was their employment involved the commission actually suggested by the Foreign Office, of all kinds of atrocities. On this point with a virtual intimation that no objection Consul Dickson, in one of his despatches, would be offered by England. He was happy said— to say that all the other Great Powers had taken part in the removal. The French Government sent vessels; the Americans took a few non-combatants, but then suspended operations; Russia and Italy sent vessels; and a gunboat was sent by Austria. Considering the calamities and brutalities to which these unfortunate people were exposed, and considering that Crete had at one time established its independence, and was restored to the Porte by the concurrence of all the Great Powers of Europe, those Powers had, in his opinion, come to a wise, just, and humane decision. The noble Earl (the Earl of Malmesbury) had passed over those calamities very briefly, and it was easy to indulge in general denials, and to say that there was no truth in the reported massacres of women and children. No doubt many of the stories were exaggerations, and some of them complete fabrications; but he observed that France and other Powers had urged on Lord Stanley that, if he was not satisfied with the information he had received, a joint Commission should be sent to Crete
"I myself have repeatedly urged on Server Effendi, as I did with his predecessor, the expediency of disarming and disbanding the Cretan Bashi-Bazouks; for by doing so I consider that and these barbarous and fanatical mercenaries the island would be spared further devastation, prevented from perpetrating their wonted misdeeds, while the Imperial authorities would be relieved from a serious charge in their mode of he was desirous of effecting this wholesome meaconducting the war. Server Effendi replied that
sure; but that it could only be done by degrees and with great tact and caution on the part of the Government. The brutalities lately committed on Christian women and children defy description."
That was the language of their own Consul, and, notwithstanding such evidence as that the noble Earl (the Earl of Malmesbury) had got up and told their Lordships that the war had, on the whole, been conducted with humanity. If the Government wanted further evidence would they take that of their Naval Officers on the station? At all events, when Lord Stanley said he had no independent means of knowledge, and that he was willing to trust to his own Consuls and Officers, their Lordships had a right to
rely on the information which those gentlemen communicated. Lieutenant Murray, writing on the 22nd of July, 1867, to Lord Clarence Paget, said
"The reign of terror which has long threatened has become a fearful reality. Parties of BashiBazouks, who have given up service with Omer Pasha (not finding it sufficiently remunerative), scour the country, and put to death any man, woman, or child they find. The whole district of Kissamoss is a scene of mourning; for all the young men being in the hills fighting, their families are left without protection, and at the mercy
of these ruffians."
And then he went on to say—
"His Excellency did not deny that the massacre had taken place; but, as an extenuating circumstance, said that some Turks had been killed by Christians, which is utterly untrue, as there is not a Mussulman in the whole district outside the walls of the town. He was obliged to confess that the Government is powerless to prevent these atrocities from taking place, nor do they care to prevent them, for the Turks now openly avow their intention of killing all the Cretan
and he should not feel surprised if she did
refusing to join the other Great Powers in a matter in which they were clearly right, we had afforded a precedent and example for separate action on their part which might extend to other matters of more serious import, and thus there was a serious risk that we might place the result of the contest wholly beyond our control or guidance. He believed that nothing could be more dangerous to Turkey than the continuance of the present state of things in Crete. A great Empire, nominally one of the Great Powers of Europe, whose integrity we had guaranteed, had sent to a comparatively small island an army of upwards of 40,000 men, and a large contingent from Egypt, and yet in that small island small bands of the population in the mountains had for upwards of two years successfully maintained their independence. Was not that a contest sufficient to excite all the other Christian provinces of Turkey to revolt? That was a most dangerous spectacle to the other provinces of Turkey; and he entreated Her Majesty's Government, in conjunction with the other Powers of Europe, to urge with a little more insistance on Turkey the duty of taking that course, whatever it might be-and he did not express any conclusive opinion on that point
He would not trouble the House with fur-where concert could be arrived at. But by ther extracts. Such being the facts, in the month of July or August, the whole of the foreign Consuls in Crete united in a telegraphic message to their various Ministers at Constantinople and elsewhere requesting the immediate assistance of the fleets of their respective Governments in order to carry away the fugitives; and, accordingly, the various nations to which he had referred sent squadrons more or less strong-the French sent four vessels, the Prussians two or three, the Italians one or two, and the Austrians one gunboat-and a very large number of those unfortunate persons were removed to Greece. Now, what he ventured to observe was that the only result of the conduct upon which he had animadverted last Session was this that we had stood absolutely alone; the neutrality and independence of Turkey, if there had been a violation, had been violated by the other Powers, we looking on, and not only not remonstrating, but rather indicating our approval, only we had not had either the honour or the satisfaction of having contributed to that result. Having said so much with regard to this particular case, he would now add a few words on the subject of our general policy and the course taken by Her Majesty's Government in recommending Turkey to give autonomy to Crete. He did not think any advice given to Turkey in that tone would be of any avail. The truth was Turkey was surrounded by many difficulties and dangers,
which might be found for the interests of that Empire whose integrity and independence rested upon our guarantee. He believed the present state of things was this: Omer Pasha had gone to Servia; the Turks