§ Sir Charles Napier
rose, in pursuance of notice, to ask the right hon. Baronet, whether he had any objection to lay before the House a copy of the instructions given by Sir Robert Stopford to General Mitchell, General Jochmus, and Captain Stewart, after the submission of Mehemet Ali; also the instructions given by Lord Ponsonby to General Jochmus and Mr. Wood; likewise, if any correspondence had taken place between the British and Turkish governments, relative to the amelioration of the inhabitants of Lebanon, as was promised by the Allied Powers? The hon. and gallant officer said, he had been induced to ask the last question in consequence of his having received from very high authority a statement that the condition of the inhabitants of Lebanon was one of increased distress, and that they were now worse off than when we had first landed there. Quarrels had arisen, too, it appeared, between certain classes, and a great loss of life had taken place; but although the Turkish government had been applied to, the Pacha had refused to send any assistance.
§ Sir Robert Peel
would answer the questions of the hon. and gallant Gentleman in the order in which they stood in the notice of motion which he had given. First, he asked whether there was any objection to lay before the House a copy of the instructions given by Sir Robert Stopford to General Mitchell, General Jochmus, and Captain Stewart, after the submission of Mehemet Ali. In answer to this question, he had to state that he had been unable to find in the public departments to which he had access any record of these papers. Search had been made in the Admiralty and Foreign-office, but no trace could be found of such instructions. Reference was indeed found to be made to such instructions, but they themselves were not forthcoming. The second question was, whether there was any objection to produce the instructions given by Lord Ponsonby to General Jochmus and Mr. Wood? His answer to this must be similar to what which he had given to the first question of the hon. and gallant Gentleman, that the instructions could not 300 be found, and he was unable, therefore, to state whether there was any objection to their production or not. Thirdly, as to whether any correspondence had taken place between the British and Turkish governments relative to the amelioration of the inhabitants of Lebanon, as was promised by the Allied Powers? He had to state that frequent correspondence had taken place, and the Porte had been urged in the strongest manner to comply with the assurance which had been given. Since Sir Stratford Canning had left this country as ambassador to the Ottoman court, instruction had been given him to urge upon the Porte the necessity of complying with its assurances of making every effort to prevent disorder in Syria, and ameliorate the condition of its subjects in Lebanon. He did not think it would promote the object the hon. and gallant Gentleman had in view, if the correspondence applied for were produced, and he should therefore be permitted to exercise his discretion in withholding it. However, he would state, that application had been made to the Porte to fulfil the engagements it had entered into, both by the present and the late Government, in the most urgent manner. He might take this opportunity of referring to an erroneous impression which commonly existed, that this country had declared itself the special protector of some portion of the population of Syria. The Druses supposed themselves to have a particular claim upon Great Britain. What we had to do was to procure the amelioration of all the subjects of the Porte in Syria generally, without reference to religious principles. He would assure the hon. and gallant Gentleman, that every effort on the part of the present Government would be made to cause the Porte to fulfil its engagements with respect to the amelioration of the condition of its subjects, but at present he could not accede to the motion of the hon. and gallant Gentleman.
§ Sir C. Napier
said that it was very much to be lamented that the despatches to which he had alluded were not to be found, because it would appear, from statements which had been published in the Malta Correspondent, that after Admiral Stopford had, in the most humane manner, as it was believed in accordance with the instructions which he had received from home, suffered Ibrahim Pacha to retreat without opposition, and had even assisted 301 him in that retreat, General Jochmus, in obedience to instructions which he had received from Lord Ponsonby, proceeded to take measures for the destruction of his troops, and had boasted that he had destroyed between 20,000 and 30,000 human beings after Mehemet Ali had submitted, and after that submission had been accepted by the Porte.