Page images
PDF
EPUB

CHAPTER III.

FOREIGN POLICY.--Affairs of GreeceMeasures taken by Admiral

Parker in the Piraus Opinions in this country on the question-On the 4th of February Lord Stanley requires an Explanation from MinistersAnswer of the Marquess of LansdowneObservations of the Earl of Aberdeen- In the House of Commons Mr. M. Gibson and Mr. Disraeli address questions to the Government, which are answered by Lord Palmerston-Further Discussions in both Houses on the subject from time to time-Lord Stanley gives notice of a formal Motion in the House of Lords, The French Ambassador suddenly leaves London on the 15th of May-Inquiries and Explanations in Parliament respecting this occurrence-After some postponements at the request of Ministers, the Debate on Lord Stanley's Motion on the Affairs of Greece takes place on the 18th of JuneAble and eloquent Speech of Lord StanleyHe is answered by the Marquess of Lansdowne - Speeches of Lord Aberdeen, Lord Beaumont, Viscount Canning, the Earl of Hardwicke, Lord Brougham, and other Peers— On a Division, Lord Stanley's Resolution is carried against the Government by a Majority of 37In the House of Commons, Mr. Roebuck questions Lord John Russell respecting the position of Ministers— Statement of Lord John Russell-Mr. Roebuck gives notice of a Resolution vindicating the foreign Policy of the Government- The Debate commences on the 24th of June, and is continued for four nights by adjournment-Eloquent and brilliant Speeches on both sidesPowerful defence of his Policy by Lord Palmerston, and interesting Speech of Sir Robert Peel, being the last Debate by him before his lamented Death— Summary of the leading Speeches for and against Ministers, including those of Mr. Roebuck, Sir F. Thesiger, Mr. W. P. Wood, Sir James Graham, Sir John Walsh, Mr. Sidney Herbert, Mr. Gladstone, Mr. Cockburn, Mr. Walpole, Mr. Cobden, Lord John Russell, and Mr. Disraeli - The Division gives a Majority of 46 in favour of Government. AFFAIRS or HUNGARY.Lord Dudley Stuart moves for Papers relating to the extradition of Hungarian Refugees from Turkey-Explanation given by Lord Palmerston--Remarks made by various Members on the subject African Slace-Trade SuppressionMr. Hutt moves an Address to the Crown in favour of discontinuing the Squadron on the coast of Africa-Mr. Baillie seconds the Motion, which is supported by Mr. Grantley Berkeley, Mr. Anstey, Lord Harry Vane, Mr. Gladstone, and Lord Robert Grosvenor, and opposed by Mr. W. Evans, Mr. Labouchere, Mr. Carduell, Sir G. Pechell, and Lord John Russell. On a Division, the Motion is negatived by 232 to 154.

[graphic]

Y far the most important to him that we had proceeded to an which engaged the attention of a foreign State, the very weakParliament during the present ness of which demanded forbearSession was the affair whichance on our part, and the peculiar arose out of our relations with standing of which, with respect to Greece. Early in the year in other nations, required that our telligence arrived that, in conse- acts should be regulated by discrequence of the refusal of the Greek tion and moderation, rather than Government to afford compensa- rashness or precipitation. He tion to certain demands which our recapitulated the facts as he found Government had made on account them in the ordinary channels of inof the claims of certain British formation, with a running commensubjects, Admiral Sir Wm. Parker tary; characterising the expedition had been directed to proceed to to the Dardanelles as an ill-advised Athens, and not obtaining the sa- expedition, and the demands made tisfaction which he required, had on the Greek Minister as of unresorted to the strong measure of usual character; and expressing a blockading the Pireus. The news hope that the language attributed of these events occasioned on their in some of the accounts to our first arrival considerable dissatis- Minister had never been used by faction, many persons regarding so him. He hoped that it was imposperemptory a line of policy to- sible that a British Minister should wards a friendly and weaker Power have said, “ Be they just or not, as unworthy of the dignity, and his demands must be complied discreditable to the reputation, of a with.” It was stated that, comcountry like England. Upon the pliance with our demands having meeting of Parliament the prevalent been refused, the British fleet had feeling of the public soon found been employed to enforce coman expression in the Legislature, pliance; that the Piræus was blockand gave occasion to a controversy aded, and a notification published which was not set at rest until, à that all Greek vessels of war would few months later, it shook the be seized if they ventured to leave Whig Government of Lord John that port; that the mediation of Russell to its foundations. In the Russia and France had been tenpresent chapter we shall trace the dered, and been refused by the Briprogress of the discussions which tish Minister. Lord Stanley asked from time to time arose out of the information on several points ; Greek transactions, until in their among others, whether “at the further development they involved time Her Majesty's Ministers dethe pacific relations of this coun- clared that we were on terms of try with France, and became preg. peace and amity with all Foreign nant with very important political Powers," orders had been sent out consequences. The first notice that by them, leaving no discretion occurred of the subject was in the either to Minister or Admiral, and House of Lords, on the 4th of commanding them to commit acts February, when, in a tone of much of hostility against a friendly and earnestness, Lord Stanley adverted weakly Power ? to these events as being of no incon- The Marquess of Lansdowne said siderable importance. It appeared he would willingly give all the satisfaction in his power, both now to the offer of the French and and by the production of informa- Russian Ministers at Athens to tion hereafter.

mediate, that offer was made with. The proceeding, which had as- out authority from their respective sumed somewhat of a hostile cha. Courts, and seemed only made for racter from the share that Sir purposes of delay. Our Minister William Parker had taken in it, had acted with great discretion and was founded on the previous pro- good sense in refusing it. ceedings of many years. The best The Earl of Aberdeen admitted and highest legal authorities de- the great blame to which the Greek clared our claims to be well founded. Government was liable for the nonThe Greek Government had made fulfilment of its engagements, and promises which were never fulfilled, its evasion of our demands with or intended to be fulfilled-had put the most Yesevering duplicity. But us off with one evasion after an. our clains were not indisputable, other, and had at last given a flat though they might be just; and denial of the redress to which we our proceedings had been violent. were entitled. Every other measure Going into a criticism of the points having failed, our representative at connected with the disputed cesAthens had been empowered to so- sion of the islands Elaphonisi and licit the presence of Sir William Sapienza, he observed that France Parker in the waters of Greece. and Russia had guaranteed the The Admiral was returning from integrity of Greece, and Greece the Dardanelles, and arrived under might not think that she ought circumstances in no way deroga- to place in our possession the tory to the Government of Greece, islands we claimed without the conif it had been disposed of its own sent of the guaranteeing Powers. accord to do an act of justice; and It might be better for our Governon his arrival he conducted himself ment to " be in possession of Sain the most courteous manner to- pienza; but even wisdom is only wards the Government of Greece, to be obtained by legitimate means." tendering his respects both to the (Laughter. With regard to the Sovereign and to the Minister. blockade, the French Minister, at Negotiations on the differences en- any rate, considered that we had sued; verbal explanations proved been doing what was equivalent to unsatisfactory, and were changed a blockade. for written explanations, and these Lord Lansdowne explained, that resulting in a denial of our claims, our claim to the two islands had Sir William Parker resorted to the formed no part of the peremptory mildest course which could be claim which the British Minister adoped under such circumstances: and the British Admiral were then for it was not true that he insti- enforcing. That question, it was tuted a blockade of the Piræus; he admitted, must be the subject of only served a notice on a Greek further explanations. vessel of war then in that port, Lord Aberdeen admitted that, if that it would not be allowed to the fact were so, his observations leave until our demands were com- about the cession of the two islands plied with. The information of had no application. the Government did not extend Lord Brougham threw some ri. beyond that point. With regard dicule on the insignificance of the

islands-one of them supported name of Pacifico. His house in three goats, and the other sup- Athens was violently broken into at ported a single hare. He added a midday by a mob, of which part were remark on the proper distinction soldiers in the service of the King to be made between redressing in. of Greece, and some gendarmes, juries to the person, and injuries the son of the Minister of War only to the property of a subject. encouraging them. There were, In the former case you are bound besides, Ionian subjects, who upon to demand reparation and compen- different occasions were the vic. sation for outrage; but, in respect tims either of plunder or of corto debts, he should be loth to in- poreal ill-usage, for whom also comterfere, and should leave the party pensation and indemnity have been to his remedy at law, in all except required." extreme cases.

With respect to the other and Lord Lansdowne assured his separate question about the two noble and learned Friend that he islands of Elaphonisi and Sapienza, would have the satisfaction to find, Lord Palmerston made this statefrom the papers to be laid before ment:the House, that this line had been By the treaty between Russia strictly observed.

and the Porte, signed in 1800, the In the House of Commons the Ionian State was constituted with subject was first mooted by Mr. the consent of the Sultan : and the M. Gibson, whose inquiries Lord State was to consist of certain isPalmerston answered by a state- lands therein named, and of all ment nearly similar to that of Lord other islands and islets lying beLansdowne. Subsequently, upon tween those islands and the coast Mr. Disraeli reverting to the topic, of Greece, up to a certain point. and requiring more specific infor- In pursuance of that treaty, the mation, the noble Secretary for two islands in question, Elaphonisi Foreign Affairs thus described the and Sapienza-two very small grievances for which redress had islands, though from circumstances been demanded :

one of them is of importanceIn the first place there is a were by name aggregated to two of Mr. Finlay (a British subject), the larger islands vamed in the who has been long established in treaty, and those islands have ever Greece, and who some time since, since been considered by the Porte, had lands there, part of which was and have been considered by the taken forcibly from him for the Sovereign of Greece, as part of the purpose of forming a portion of Ionian States. When the treaty the gardens of the palace which of 1830 was signed, by which the King Otho was then building. Mr. Greek State was constitut ; ine Finlay has been for a long course

territories of that State wer of time, supported by Her Majesty's cified as consisting of certain por representatives, endeavouring to tions of the Continent, and of obtain proper payment for the land certain islands; those islands did so taken. That payment, however, not include the islands of Elaphohas never been got. The other nisi and Sapienza.

There can, case is that of a British subject- therefore, be no doubt whatever not a Portuguese Jew, as stated that those islands have been ever by my honourable Friend-of the since the treaty of 1800, confirmed

sre

by the treaty of 1815, and that they seized by our cruisers, though are, portions of the Ionian States." Greek vessels were confined to a

The next occasion on which the station in which they were under subject of the Greek quarrel was

durance. brought under notice in Parliament The Earl of Aberdeen pointed was on the 11th of February, when out the disastrous effect of our Lord Stanley, adverting to a pub- rash and unjustifiable violence in lication which had recently taken counteracting the efforts we had so place in Paris of information, in continuously made to rival French an official shape, respecting the influence in Greece :differences in question, repeated, You have taught the whole of with some additions, the questions Greece to consider France as its he had before addressed to the protector against British violence; Government. He especially asked and you are yourselves receiving whether the mediation of France lessons of moderation and justice had been accepted at home after from France-from Revolutionary its refusal at Athens; whether, if and Republican France, with a accepted, the mediation extended Bonaparte at her head. ("Hear, merely to the claims for indemnity, hear!" from the Opposition.) The or also to the territorial claims; noble Marquess must know-noone and whether any attempt would better-the sensation which this be made to take possession of the act of violence has excited in islands before the mediatiou was France. If England had not acconcluded ?

cepted the mediation of France, The Marquess of Lansdowne, France must have unavoidably drawing a distinction between the placed herself in an attitude of proffer of a " mediation " and that hostility towards England, or the of “good offices,” and informing French Government must have the House of the “ still wider dif- been shaken to its foundations-if ference” between a “mediation foundations it has any."

“ arbitration," stated that A few days later, in the House our Government accepted the of Commons, being questioned by “ good offices" of France, in the Mr. Hume respecting our relasame sense in which they were tions with France, Lord Palmeraccepted in the dispute which we ston thus replied had with the King of Naples some “ The state of affairs is this :two or three years ago. He re- It has been thought necessary at peated, that the territorial ques- last to make a peremptory demand tion regarding the islands was not for certain reparation, for which included in those peremptorily application has long been made by urged by our Minister and Admi- this country without success; and ral at Athens; and the pecuniary that demand having been refused, claims were the only ones on which reprisals have been commenced, the “ good offices " of France had which consist in keeping in pledge been accepted. He had no reason certain property belonging to the to believe that any such steps would adverse parties as security for the be taken as those contemplated in payment of these demands.. These the last question. He added, that reprisals have been carried to there was no truth in the state- a certain extent; and by the ment that ships of war had been last return, dated on the 10th

and an

.

« PreviousContinue »