HC Deb 20 June 1879 vol 247 cc358-400

rose to call attention to Sir Garnet Wolseley's recent Despatches with reference to the Government of Cyprus, and to move an Address for Copies of the Ordinance No. VIII. of 1879, giving power to the Government of Cyprus to exile persons without trial; of the Ordinance No. VI. of 1878, prohibiting the sale of land to any but British or Turkish subjects; and of the Ordinance No. XVI. of 1879, confiscating uncultivated lands. The hon. Baronet said, that a few nights ago, in " another place," the noble Marquess the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (the Marquess of Salisbury), in answer to a Question put to him, stated that it was very desirable that the beginning of the rule of a new High Commissioner should be marked by a nearer assimilation to, and greater respect for, the habits of the population. That observation was no doubt made with regard to the particular case brought under the noble Marquess's notice; but the facts which he (Sir Charles W. Dilke) had to bring before the House would no doubt induce hon. Members to believe that there was some reason for making the arrival of the new Commissioner a fresh starting point for improved relations with that country. The despatches to which he called attention referred to statements, many of them made by him in that House, with reference to the government of the Island after it had been taken possession of by the English authorities, and the tone in which Sir Garnet Wolseley had written was shown by his speaking of a " small and insignificant clique of foreigners in the town of Limasol, who were prepared to make monstrous charges." The charges which had come from Limasol, however, were chiefly received not from a clique, but from a club of considerable size, whose members included but two foreigners, one of whom had been in Her Majesty's service at Constantinople, while the other was a Greek gentleman. Many of the charges which the despatches were intended to rebut were really confirmed by them. The Bishop of Citium and others complained that they had been threatened, in consequence of the representations that they had made. The allusion seemed to be to the Ordinance which gave power to the Government of Cyprus to exile anyone without a trial —a power against which the House should protest. Sir Garnet Wolseley, in the Correspondence respecting complaints made against his government, proceeded to consider the statement that petitions written in Greek had been refused, and it appeared from his despatch that such petitions, unless accompanied by a translation, had been refused in the local courts of Limasol and Paphos. It should be remembered that in the mountain districts of the Island there were no people who could speak Turkish. He (Sir Charles W. Dilke) wished to know, whether it was not the fact that Turkish and English were the only official languages in Cyprus; and, whether it was not true that Greek, although the language of the vast majority of the people, was in no sense recognized in the Courts or Administration of Cyprus? Since our occupation of the Island there had been a disposition to administer the Sheri or sacred law, which was very offensive to the majority of the people, rather than the Nizam, which was a very modified form of Turkish law. Replying to Sir Garnet Wolseley on the subject of forced labour, the noble Marquess the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs said that an Ordinance might be promulgated instituting forced labour; but that in no case were individuals to be punished for non-compliance with the Ordinance, for if individuals were punished, the Government '' would be charged with setting up slavery." But the forced-labour Ordinance, as it now stood, violated that instruction of the noble Marquess; the punishment for its infringement not being a fine upon a whole village, but a punishment directed against the individual. Sir Garnet Wolseley said, in his Correspondence, that he named the occasions upon which forced labour had been used; but it had been used on other occasions than those mentioned in Sir Garnet Wolseley's Return. It had been used, without any payment at all, by Colonel Warren. The facts did not seem to support the statement of Sir Garnet Wolseley, that he paid the market price for his forced labour; and, indeed, it would not be necessary to have forced labour, if the market price of labour were paid. In Cyprus it was forced labour, of the Egyptian type, about which we had so often protested elsewhere. It was said that the people rather liked it; but then M. de Lesseps had said that the people of Egypt liked it. On page 5 of the Forced-Labour Correspondence would be found a substituted clause, under which an individual could be fined for non-compliance with the Ordinance, the noble Marquess the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs having first directed Sir Garnet Wolseley only to levy fines upon villages. He wanted to know whether that was not a mere juggle. They were told, over and over again, that people who could not pay their debts were sent in iron manacles to hard labour in prison. He should like to have some explanation of this. Those who did not pay their taxes were debtors to the State, and those who did not pay the fines imposed under the forced-labour Ordinance were liable to be sent to prison. For his part, he regarded the Ordinance as unwise in principle and injurious in practice. It was a fatal policy for this country to depart from the principles of freedom by which it had been uniformly guided, and to introduce into Cyprus a principle against which we had protested in the case of Egypt, and in the case of Turkey herself. Well, Sir Garnet Wolseley said that forced labour had not been imposed upon the people at half the usual rate of wages. That was so, no doubt, in parts of the Island'; but in other parts it as undoubtedly had. The rates of labour varied according to the price of food and the condition of the people. In some parts the usual rate was 1s. a-day; in other parts it went very nearly up to 2s. a-day. There had also been forced labour without any payment at all. On that subject the Commissioner of Limasol had done something to confuse Parliament. He spoke of forced labour and of free labour. What was free labour according to Colonel Warren? It was forced labour for which he did not pay. He would now consider the inclosures forwarded by Sir Garnet Wolseley. In one, Colonel Warren said— The Bishop of Citium would he right had he stated that I declared the Ottoman Code and law to be still in force, and that I was bound to follow the ordinances of that law. But why should the Ottoman Code be allowed to remain in force when ten to one of the population were Greek-speaking people? The Commissioners in Cyprus and the Assistant Com- missioners had all had letters and speeches sent to them, with a view that they should prepare replies to the charges preferred; but it would be seen that while each Assistant Commissioner contradicted a number of the statements made, they had all made admissions which, if they were all put together, made out the entire of the 22 charges brought forward. Colonel Warren admitted that a double tax was imposed; but he said that it was levied by the Turks, and that the over levy was now being repaid. Then, he denied that any priest had been manacled or condemned to hard labour. That assertion was utterly untrue, for they had the names of many who were manacled and who were made to labour in public. Colonel Warren, no doubt, made the statement believing it to be true; but the danger was that each Commissioner contradicted in sweeping terms things as having occurred in his district which really occurred elsewhere. With respect to manacling, they had the distinct admission made by Mr. Cobham, one of the Commissioners, in an excellent and admirable speech delivered after the shaving of the two priests, in which he stated that greater care must be observed in future, and in terms admitted the accuracy of the charge of manacling. Colonel Warren admitted that one priest had been compelled to work at hard labour; but he denied the statement that threats as to an exercise of the exile Ordinance had been used. What, however, was that Ordinance enacted for, if it were not intended to be given effect to? Colonel Warren asserted that the forced labour resorted to under the new Ordinance gave '' universal satisfaction." All he could say was that the masses of letters he received from Cyprus spoke of a very different state of things. The witnesses he had cited in support of his statements on a previous occasion were disparaged by Sir Garnet Wolseley; but he could bring a host of others to give evidence to the same effect. As a matter of fact, however, he disputed everything said about the character of these witnesses by Sir Garnet Wolseley, who, apparently, had not acquainted himself with the facts of the case. When Sir Garnet Wolseley spoke of a charitable and educational institution so universally known as the Cypriote Fraternity of Egypt as a small Greek society, which had for its object the spread of disaffection in Cyprus, it was evident that he had not tried to put himself in sympathy with the mass of the population he had had to govern. His (Sir Charles W. Dilke's) statement was denied that corporal punishment had been resorted to by the Government of Cyprus; but what he had alleged was that it was practised by the cruel Turkish Zaptiehs who were under our authority. He had heard of a great number of cases of flogging, and also that people were tortured by marching them 30 or 40 miles wearing heavy Turkish manacles. The Zaptiehs employed were Mahommedans in nine cases out of ten; they were persons who did not know the wishes of the population, and it would have been far better for the Government to have employed Sikhs on this duty rather than Zaptiehs. Colonel Warren said that the Zaptiehs, as a body, were much improved; but then it appeared that one-half of them had been imprisoned. It appeared to him, as he had said, that throughout Sir Garnet Wolseley's despatches he had shown that he had not put himself in sympathy with the people of the Island, and, that being so, good government had not been secured. Information had been suppressed—the Greek newspapers had been kept back because it was thought that their circulation would be injurious to our interest; but still information upon the point had not been given, and the denial given by Sir Garnet Wolseley to his (Sir Charles W. Dilke's) statements appeared in most cases to be made on insufficient or inaccurate information. It was not true that "no priest had been manacled for debt under our rule"; and as for the statement that M. " Theocharis Mitzi " had never been rejected for a public office on the ground that he was a Greek, ho held a letter in his hand from M. Mitzi's brother, affirming the statement, and mentioning the place where the event had occurred. The statement also that he had received from a late German Consular agent, to the effect that a capitalist at Larnaca was imprisoned and fined £25 for saying—"We believed the state of things would become better (under the British), and it has become worse," he insisted was worthy of inquiry. Then, as to the Courts, it was an admitted fact that English barristers could not plead in Cyprus; and if it was not true that all petitions addressed to the tribunals had to be in Turkish, the inhabitants in certain districts were undoubtedly under the impression that such a condition had to be complied with. Sir Garnet Wolseley stated that no taxes had been increased and no new ones had been imposed, and that all duties upon exports had been removed; but it was certain that a forest tax had been raised, or there had been a revival of an old Turkish tax which had not been enforced, and new duties had been levied at the landing stages, and on olives and wine, from which a considerable revenue was derived. M. Pitzis, of Larnaca, however, wrote that many taxes had been raised; that every commodity had been raised in price in consequence; and that people were not allowed to sell the stones from off their fields without paying £20 a-year and 5 per cent on the value of the stones sold. It was admitted by Colonel Warren that taxes had been paid twice over, because they had been returned. One Commissioner, Mr. Inglis, said the rule to prevent English barristers pleading had been applied in only one case. That meant that only one application had been made, because the refusal had deterred others from applying. Another Commissioner, Mr. Wauchope, denied that any labour had been forced; but it was admitted to have been forced outside his district. He said no one had been flogged "by order of the Government," and no one ever asserted that there had been any flogging by such "order." His extraordinary defence for compelling the majority of the population to petition in Turkish, which they did not understand, was that he compelled the English to do the same, thus compelling them also to have Turkish secretaries; while it was admitted that even the Cypriote Mahomedans spoke nothing but Greek, and that it was not easy to find "experts at writing strange languages," the "strange language" in this case being Greek. Could anything be more absurd? Since those statements were made, Sir Garnet "Wolseley had changed the law and ordered Courts to receive petitions. As a matter of fact, however, the inhabitants had been put to great expense and labour by being obliged to go long distances in order to get petitions translated. He showed that the conduct of the Zaptiehs was good by stating that it had been necessary to im- prison some of them. He said they were "not angels," and nobody supposed they were. He had unearthed one case of beating by a Zaptieh, for non-payment of taxes; but a good many more such cases had been "unearthed." Colonel Warren denied that a slaughter-house had been built by forced labour; but the statement was that it had been partially built by it. As to the water-works at Limasol, he admitted that he claimed the "four days' free labour allowed by law," and said " this free labour was in addition to paid labour." What was this but forced labour, for which he did not pay? It was admitted that prisoners were taken along the streets in manacles; and though this was said to be done to the worst characters only, such as robbers, murderers, and refractory criminals, it was really done to persons whose sole offence was debt for not having paid their taxes. Mr. Inglis out-Heroded Herod, and, in order to satisfy Sir Garnet Wolseley, went too far in his contradictions. He said— I dismiss his (Sir Charles W. Dilke's) charge of the unsatisfactory condition of Famagosta. Suffice it to say, opthalmia is almost unknown; and, in cases of blindness, it is not a fair criterion to take the beggars from the country as an example of unhealthiness of towns. But Mr. Inglis did not notice the turned commas, and did not know he was contradicting a statement quoted from an official Report to the Admiralty, which actually stated that the whole population was afflicted with fever last year, half with opthalmia, and that one-sixth were smitten with permanent blindness. Mr. Inglis quoted a case of forced labour, which Sir Garnet Wolseley had not mentioned in his list; for, speaking of the repair of a bridge, he said— I consulted the Mayor, a Greek, and we agreed the people must finish the labour. I paid the masons; and the people of Varosia, who preferred paying to working, paid the Turks of Famagosta for the labour. It was clear that in this case some of the people paid in forced labour or its! equivalent. The old Turkish practice of billeting the Zaptieh on the population, and supplying him with food and lodgings free, which not only was a i severe tax on the people, but which frequently led to acts of violence, was one also which ought to be got rid of; and which, though it might have been done away with throughout a large portion of the Island, prevailed, if he was correctly informed, in Mr. Holbech's district only three months ago. As to the question of slavery, he could not see any allusion to it in the despatches from first to last, although that it was ' permitted to exist was one of the first charges which were brought against the Administration of Cyprus, and although he had, in the speech which he made on {a former occasion, insisted strongly on the necessity of preventing slavery in Cyprus under the British flag. From the Report on the subject, he saw that the proposal for free labour—that was, for unpaid forced labour—was negatived by the vote of Colonel Biddulph. He wished to notice that particularly, because Colonel Biddulph was the new High Commissioner, and the vote which he gave on that occasion against forced unpaid labour showed that he was disposed to administer the Government in a liberal sense; and he could not but hope that in taking up the charge of the government of the Island he would continue to act on such principles. He had, he might add, recently received a letter from an English gentleman in Cyprus, in which he stated that slavery still existed. Its existence, he added, would, of course, be denied; but the Turks had negro servants, who could not get wages and who could not leave their masters. The jurisdiction question could never be forgotten. There was Correspondence between the Government and foreign Governments on that question, and especially there was a remonstrance by Italy. He hoped hon. Members would press for Papers on the subject. If the Correspondence between the Government and foreign Governments was concluded, and those Governments had accepted the existing state of affairs, then the time had come when Cyprus ought to be taken from the Foreign Office and handed over to the Colonial Office; because the Foreign Office had no experience on such questions as the Administration of Cyprus; whereas the Colonial Office had been long accustomed to deal with such questions in all parts of the world. As to the health question, he hoped the Government would make some statement. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman the Secretary of State for "War stated in August last, in reply to the hon. Member for Gloucester (Mr. Monk) and on the authority of Sir Garnet Wolseley, that only about six persons were in hospital in consequence of Cyprus fever; but he (Sir Charles W. Dilke) made it out that the number was then 906, and he awaited with interest the right hon. and gallant Gentleman's explanation on this point. He would also like to have an explanation with regard to complaints that had been made by foreign newspapers as to the Administration of Cyprus, and to the case of the two Greek priests, who, for trifling offences, had been deprived of their beards and sentenced to imprisonment. Respecting the latter, he would say no more than to hope that for the future, in punishing persons charged with offences against the law, care would be taken not to offend against the religious prejudices of the people. An article in The Neologos made precisely the same complaint as he did, of oppression of the Greek population, not emanating from the Commissioners, but from the interpreters. It complained that the English and Turkish languages were made the official languages of the Island, although the great majority of the inhabitants were Greeks; while the Greek holy days, which were most religiously observed by them, were set aside, and the Greek assessors compelled to attend to the performance of their official duties on those days. It stated, further, that in all questions between the Natives the local Courts were allowed jurisdiction; but in those in which the British Government was interested, those Courts were overridden by a sort of drumhead court martial. He had obtained from Cyprus copies of the Ordinances which he asked should be laid on the Table. The House would never recognize their character from mere acquaintance with their names. One of them actually confiscated any land left uncultivated for a year, and yet it was merely called an "Ordinance to Promote the Cultivation of Land." Such an Ordinance was altogether opposed to English habits and legislation. Another of these measures was called an "Ordinance Regarding the Sale of Land to Subjects of Foreign Countries; " but it absolutely prohibited the sale of land in Cyprus to anybody but the subjects of England and Turkey. Some time ago we entirely changed our own law on this subject, and he did not see why a retrograde step should be allowed in Cyprus. There was also an "Ordinance for Securing Peace and Good Order in the Island of Cyprus." It gave absolute power to the Government to banish from the Island, without trial or reason given, any person of whom they might disapprove. What were the circumstances which came to the knowledge of the Government, and induced them to enforce an Ordinance of that kind? There was a wish now to keep things quiet about Cyprus. He had asked for these Ordinances to be produced; but they were not forthcoming. The hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State, in answer to a Question he (Sir Charles W. Dilke) had put to him on the subject, had refused to lay them on the Table, saying that he would put them in the Library. Some of them came out six months since, but they were not in the Library yet. He maintained, however, that they ought to be laid on the Table; for if they were placed in the Library they would never get into the newspapers. They ought to be issued and circulated, as they would then be discussed in the country, and the subject would be opened to the light of day; but that would never result from merely placing copies of those Papers in the Library. He had some time ago asked the Under Secretary of State a Question with regard to the expulsion of persons from the Island; and he replied that if a person were found to be objectionable as a resident he ought to be expelled. That was a curious admission, and when the hon. Gentleman complained of the terms in which he (Sir Charles W. Dilke) had referred to the matter, he could not help thinking of a passage in The Bourgeois Gentilhomme, in which M. Jourdain says that it is monstrous to call a certain individual marchand; the fact being that all he did was to buy things from persons whom he knew, and exchange them for money with certain other persons whom he had the privilege of knowing. There appeared to be a great wish to keep back information relating to Cyprus, the reason being, he believed, that there was now more doubt as to the wisdom of occupying the Island than there was at the time when the occupation took place. He would again ask, why was the Island kept under the Foreign Office? The Colonial Office managed Malta and Gibraltar, and surely it was equal to Cyprus. In conclusion, the hon. Baronet moved an Address for the Papers of which he had given Notice.


, who had placed on the Paper a Motion— To call attention to the inaccuracy of certain Reports made by Sir Garnet Wolseley to Her Majesty's Government with regard to Cyprus, and contained in the Returns presented to this House on the 7th day of April and the 2nd day of May 1879, seconded the Motion. He thought it an unconstitutional exercise of power that the Government should have power to exile persons from Cyprus without trial. They ought to know the grounds on which the sale of land was prohibited to any but British or Turkish subjects, and why uncultivated grounds were to be confiscated. He had also to complain that correct information had not been sent home last August by Sir Garnet Wolseley with regard to the health of the troops. There had been a strange discrepancy between the official Reports as to the amount of sickness at Cyprus. It would be in the recollection of the House that, in August last, report after report appeared in the daily Press, stating that the health of our troops in Cyprus was deplorable. On several occasions the Secretary of State for War denied the truth of those reports, on the faith of despatches and telegrams from Sir Garnet Wolseley himself. On the 14th of August he (Mr. Monk) inquired what truth there was in the alarming report that had appeared in The Daily News as to the enormous increase of fever among the troops, as well as among the sailors and marines. The right hon. and gallant Gentleman replied that he had received the following telegram, on the 12th, from Sir Garnet Wolseley: — There is no serious illness among the troops. Some six cases are in hospital from the mild fever of the country. Nothing could be more satisfactory or re-assuring than the reply of the Secretary of State. What, then, must have been the astonishment of the right hon. and gallant Gentleman when he received the official Report of Surgeon General Sir Anthony Home, which stated that 25 per cent of the whole of the troops in Cyprus were either in hospital, or stricken down with fever or dysentery. Now, if the latter Report was correct, and there was no doubt it was, it was difficult to understand how Sir Garnet Wolseley could have made the statement ho did. He could hardly have been so entirely misinformed as he appeared to be, and if he was not, what were they to think of the Governor who, at a time when the country was anxious as to the health of the troops, kept back those facts from the Department at Home? Sir Anthony Home said— The prevalence of fever augmented daily until in the week ending August 16th,' the attacks were 372 in a strength of 2,366 men. It was not to be wondered at that the Secretary of State for War, who had been, from the first, most anxious to give all the information in his power to the House, and whose candour was above all praise, should have said that it was as much a puzzle to him as it was to some hon. Gentlemen, the discrepancy between the official accounts which he received and the accounts which appeared in the Press. He (Mr. Monk) awaited, with some curiosity, the explanation which the right hon. and gallant Gentleman might deem it his duty to give. He had much pleasure in seconding the Motion which had been moved by the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke).

Amendment proposed, To leave out the word " That" to the end of the Question, in order to add the words '' an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that She will be graciously pleased to give directions that there be laid before this House, Copies of the Ordinance No. VIII. of 1879, giving power to the Government of Cyprus to exile persons without trial: Of the Ordinance No. VI. of 1878, prohibiting the sale of land to any but British or Turkish subjects: " And, of the Ordinance No. XVI. of 1879, confiscating uncultivated lands,"—(Sir Charles W. Dilke,)

—instead thereof.

Question proposed, " That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."


said, he did not propose to address himself to the general question which had been raised by the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke); but he wished to make a few remarks with reference to the observations which had been addressed to the House by the hon. Member for Gloucester (Mr. Monk). There was an undoubted discrepancy in the statements which had been made as to the health of the troops in Cyprus, which it was desirable to clear out of the way; but he had not been able to make himself fully acquainted with the facts of the case at present. At the same i time, he wished to say that he was anxious to lay before the House and the country, at the earliest possible moment, all the information in the possession of the Government as to the health of the troops in Cyprus, and the hon. Gentle- man had done him no more than justice I in referring to his willingness to do so. In) fact, many people blamed him last autumn for sending to the Press reports which were not favourable to the state of the health of the troops at Cyprus, but which, notwithstanding, he thought it his duty to lay before the public. In answering the Question of the hon. and learned Member for Beaumaris (Mr. Morgan Lloyd), he admitted he could not deny that there was some discrepancy between the earlier telegrams and the Returns which were subsequently laid before the House; but from his knowledge of the character and antecedents of his gallant friend, Sir Garnet Wolseley, he could not for a single moment doubt that the telegrams forwarded were believed to represent the actual state of the facts as they existed. He had had no opportunity of asking his gallant friend what was the cause of those discrepancies; but he would, if the hon. Gentleman (Mr. Monk) wished, confer with Sir Anthony Home, who was now in this country, and who, it was possible, had with him the original notes from which the telegrams were framed. The earlier telegrams and letters were clearly sent home based upon the best information that could then be procured; but whatever he could further learn on the subject he would willingly communicate to the House. In the meantime he would refer those who required information in respect to the sanitary condition of the Island to Sir Anthony Home's Report, which showed him a man of science.


thanked the right hon. and gallant Gentleman for the candid statement he had made, and was of opinion that the House might implicitly rely upon his assurance that searching inquiries should be made with regard to the discrepancies. On the general question, he thought the despatches which had been produced proved that the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke) was right in bringing this question under the consideration of the House; and that he (Mr. Forster) was justified in giving to the Government the information he had received from gentlemen connected with Cyprus. That information was to the effect—Firstly, that our rule was conducted in a high-handed manner; secondly, that slavery still existed in Cyprus; and, thirdly, that we had introduced forced labour into that Island. In regard to the first point, he thought no one could read the defences made by the different Commissioners without seeing that there had been to some extent high-handed action; and, admitting that our officials had a very difficult duty to perform, he thought there was a great advantage in having the public opinion of this country brought to bear on the subject. If such things could happen, even with officials who wished to do right, it only showed how necessary it was to bring the question before the House. The treatment of the two priests was enough to show that great care was required in the administration of the law. As to slavery in Cyprus, it was remarkable that no attempt had been made to show that slavery did not exist. But the hon. Member for Chelsea's statement, which was from a credible source, showed that there was slavery in Cyprus, as there was in every country under the rule of the Turk. It was a matter which the Government ought certainly to look to. Had the Government published an Ordinance abolishing slavery, and if not, why not? If they had not done so, they ought not to lose a post in letting it he known that slavery was no longer legal in Cyprus. Again, why had the Government allowed the authorities in Cyprus to act in opposition to the Ordinance with respect to forced labour, which stated that there should be no punishment of the individual, while a fine had been imposed on individuals? The Government of Cyprus had also disregarded the instructions of Her Majesty's Government in other matters, and especially with regard to punishments; and he thought some explanation should be given as to why such things had been permitted. The fine imposed for the purpose of enforcing labour on the roads in Cyprus was clearly in opposition to the orders sent out by the Government; and he would likewise ask the Government why it had allowed its orders to be violated, and, more than that, whereas the old Turkish law required four days' labour on the roads, 30 days' labour was now exacted? There was no need of forced labour, and he trusted that the example set to the Turks and Egyptians in the English Government of Cyprus—and which was the only motive for its acquisition— would not be that of employing forced labour at less than the market price. He was glad to think that the Government had sent out as Commissioner to Cyprus a humane and efficient gentleman (Colonel Biddulph), and that they might take courage from what had occurred in India, and instruct the new Commissioner to abolish forced labour altogether.


thought the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster) could not have read the Ordinance referring to enforced labour; for anyone who did read it would see that the forced labour was practically an optional matter. If a man did not wish to serve, he was entitled to exemption on payment of 2s. a-day for a substitute, which meant practically the payment of half that sum, as the Government allowed 1s. for the labour performed. The labour that was enforced was for the construction of the necessary public works required for the protection of the Island, and the removal of causes of unhealthiness. If they did not enforce that labour, they would have to exact money in the shape of taxes for these works. The substitution, therefore, of labour for taxes was a benefit to the population. The town of Nicosia, where, a short time since, the drains were in a shocking state, had been made habitable by the labour of the people, whom the High Commissioner had caused to save themselves. He had himself been in Cyprus, attended by an interpreter, and had there learnt that, so far was it from being true that the people felt the present arrangement burdensome, in certain cases three and four times as many people applied for work at 1s. a-day as were required. He! had an opportunity of visiting four of the six departments into which Cyprus had been divided; he attended the Courts; and in no country had he seen the administration of justice presided over by more excellent men than the Commissioners. He was astonished that they were able to combine so well the strength of military discipline with the qualities required in the administration of justice. The people seemed so contented that he was curious to ascertain how complaints could have arisen. An intelligent Greek told him that under their past government it had been the practice of the rich to oppress the poor, | and of the poor to cheat the rich; that the taxes were assessed by oppressive Pashas, but payment was evaded by bribing the Pashas or their officials, and now the English made a direct and equal charge, the payment of which could I not be evaded by bribery. Many said they were worse off, as regarded the amount paid, than they were under the oppressive Pashas. As to forced labour, he could not learn that there was any complaint of unfairness on the part of the Commissioners. The administration of the Post Office appeared to be efficient. At all four places he visited, he saw at the Courts petitions in Greek, as well as in Turkish and English. He was told that no petition was refused because it was in Greek, and that all Petitions, in whatever language they were presented, were translated and considered, and he could hear of no complaint on that subject. On the whole, the Zaptiehs were regarded as an excellent body of men; and it had transpired that one to whom he gave 1s. on leaving the prison at Nicosia, he believing that he ought not to have received it, had taken it to his commanding officer. There was no prison at Famagosta, and, therefore, use was made of a mosque, in which he found two prisoners who were not manacled. At Nicosia the prison was a large, well-built khan, but still not of sufficient space to confine all prisoners separately; and, therefore, in some of the cells or divisions two prisoners were chained together, but without any pretence of torture, and simply with a light chain, which was removed at night. When Sir Garnet Wolseley took charge of the Island, a number of Turkish prisoners were removed, and they were chained together as they walked down to the place of embarkation. He had a conversation with an intelligent Greek who had come over from Athens for the purpose of settling in Cyprus, and the Greek told him that the accounts which reached Athens of the condition of the Island under British administration were such that a great many Greeks were about to go over. One of the objects which Sir Garnet Wolseley aimed at was to place the clergy on the same footing with regard to the laws as other people. With regard to foreigners not being allowed to purchase land, the law in Cyprus was the same as it had been in England. ["No!"] No alien, until the Act passed a few years since, could hold land in England, and now only by complying with the provisions of that Act. He believed that the Cypriotes were not dissatisfied with our administration of the Island; and he was satisfied that under our administration the country would flourish, and the acquisition of it would be, not only a great credit to this country, but of the greatest benefit to the welfare and prosperity of the people.


The hon. Member who has just sat down (Mr. Goldney) has drawn for us a charming picture of Cyprus. According to his account, there are no grounds of complaint. Every body is equal before the law. The Commissioners are unrivalled, and the people contented. That is a very interesting statement. It would have been more interesting still, considering the conditions which attend such an inquiry, if the hon. Gentleman had told us within what time it was that he was enabled to commence this inquiry, to conduct it, and to bring it to a close. That is a fact of very great interest to us, and I hope that, without breaking the Rules of the House, he will put us in some way in possession of that very important fact. The question whether the hon. Gentleman was in the Island for six months, or three months, or thirty days,or three days, has a very considerable bearing on the value of his information.There is another point on which I should like information. Who were the persons from whom he obtained his information? We have heard of an Athenian merchant who was on his way to Cyprus,and who expected—


begged pardon. He met him in Cyprus, and travelled with him from Nicosia to Cyrane.


I am obliged to the hon. Member for his information. The hon. Member has told us, then, of one Athenian who had arrived in the Island, and of a great number of other Athenians who intended to go to Cyprus. What would be the opinion of these Athenians, when, upon arriving in Cyprus, they found that after the perfect system of law and administration which had been established there, they would not be able to hold a single inch of land in the Island. That is the state of things the hon. Gentleman admires. He may say that these Athenians ought not to come over to Cyprus without having ascertained the state of the law in the Island with regard to the land. Still we ought to have a little feeling for them. They would be aware that certain laws had prevailed under the Turkish Government; they would be aware that under that Government there was nothing to prevent them from holding land in Cyprus; they would be aware that England had gone to Cyprus, trumpeting forth her intentions to set an example of progress, advancement, and enlightenment, and I know not what else besides. We were to abolish all the abuses of the Turkish Government, to establish an enlightened rule, and to convert Cyprus, as far as possible, into an earthly paradise. How justly, then, would this Athenian, who was under the special patronage of the hon. Member opposite, be astounded to find not only that we had not converted Cyprus into this abode of felicity, although the Island had enormous natural advantages and resources, but that we had actually gone back upon the legislation of Turkey, and had taken away even what was good in her legislation. The very barbarism of Turkey led, in some instances, to the people having a good government. The Turks did not interfere to create a bad government when they found a good system— as with regard to the holding of land; but that good system we had abolished before we had been 12 months in the Island; yet the hon. Gentleman comes back here to assure us that everything is perfect. I should like, further, to inquire of the hon. Member in what language he conversed with the people of Cyprus?


I said that I had an interpreter; but this Athenian spoke English as well as I did.


If the hon. Gentleman spoke through an interpreter, it is still more important that we should know also how long was the time he employed in making these inquiries?


I am quite willing to say. I was there four days, with every facility for travelling about.


The hon. Gentleman is most ingenuous, and I will not venture to say a single word further. He has spoken most frankly and fully. I am perfectly satisfied with the reply, and I will not say another word upon the subject which which does not bear on the nature of the inquiry, or on the conclusion to which he has come. The hon. Gentleman apologizes for a Government which confiscates uncultivated lands, giving as a reason that there is a great deal of land uncultivated. That is what I continually hear about the Highlands of Scotland. Districts there are continually pointed out which were inhabited by a considerable number of men and were cultivated until the last few years, but are now remaining entirely uncultivated, given up in some cases to sheep, in some cases to grouse— in more cases, still, to deer. Does the hon. Gentleman propose to introduce an Ordinance into this House for the confiscation of those lands? What sort of equality is that? He says all men are to be equal before the law. But what sort of equality does he mean? Does he still think this confiscation of land—["No, no! "]—it is a confiscation; I am correct in saying that according to the words of the Ordinance—that this confiscation of land is really a liberal or an English method of legislation. Some distinction is to be drawn between Executive and Legislative proceedings. I am sure it is painful to think that with regard to the Executive proceedings there should have been such reason to complain in the case of the two Greek priests and the great Christian holidays of Christmas Day and Good Friday. I think my hon. Friend mentioned twice that a very solemn day with them is Good Friday. It is the old story. The English authorities go into a country possessed with the idea that there is no land in the world like England, and that the people of all other countries ought to conform to English customs, and that if they do not conform, so much the worse for them. This hunger for conforming the world, and the manner in which it is brought about, is, to me, a very serious matter. I will not dwell in detail upon the treatment of the Greek priests, because the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Bourke) has been so good as to intimate to me that the Correspondence will be produced. It will be much better to wait until I see precisely what has taken place before making this a matter for comment. I also thank him for informing me, what has been publicly stated, that a reprimand has been administered to the person who was guilty of what was called in " another place" by the very mild name of a "miscarriage," but what I should call an outrage. The hon. Gentleman (Mr. Goldney) says this is really the old story of the claim of the Greek clergy to be tried by a tribunal of their own. Well, Sir, the hon. Gentleman, in those four days which he employed so well, had time to learn, if he was not aware of it before, that this exemption of the clergy is essentially a part of the Turkish Constitution under which these people have lived during all the long centuries that they have boon a subject race. It is not the assertion of a claim against the law; it is the law, as made by the Turks. This is to save themselves from the trouble of civil government, for which they felt themselves to be not the most qualified race in the world. If you abolish that; if you bring the priests under equal laws—and I quite agree that this is a object to contemplate-—you should take care what kind of laws they are under which you bring them, and you should be quite sure that you do not begin to act in total ignorance of the feelings and the customs of the country, and the condition and views of the priests; and, secondly, that you do not inflict upon them a wound in their tenderest feelings, their sense of honour and of shame, under cover of this general doctrine of equality. In your zeal for improvement, you are going to establish perfect equality before the law. But what is the system established in Cyprus? I am not going to pronounce a censure upon anybody in particular, for I do not know enough of these proceedings, or who is responsible for them, to be at all able to pronounce upon the degree of merit or of blame that may be due to any of the different persons who have been engaged in the government of the Island. So far as Sir Garnet Wolseley is concerned, I think in sending him him there, so far as I may judge from my intercourse with him six or seven years ago, that Her Majesty's Government made a choice as fair and judicious as could have been desired. Nevertheless, we must look at these things as they are in themselves. I entirely disclaim entering into the question of the merits of individuals; but I must point out to the Government that the state of things there is one which cannot be endured in silence, either by the people of this country, or by a large portion of the Members of this House; and unless a very different system is pursued from that which is represented to us to-night, or unless it can be shown that that representation has been a very mistaken representation, the subject of Cyprus will simply be another subject thrown into the cauldron of our political troubles, like many others recently forced upon our notice. It will make further and urgent demands upon the time of the House, and will be a matter of anxious and complicated contention until a great change is established. What appear to be the main facts of the case as far as they are at present before us? In the first place, it does not appear that slavery can be asserted to have been abolished in the Island, and that is the contention of my hon. Friend. I do not understand that that contention has as yet been distinctly and intelligibly denied. Recollect, the whole justification of your taking Cyprus, in the eyes of the world, if you have a justification for it, rests upon your own determination and your power to make it an example of good and rational government. Let us test your proceedings by that rule. You have not, so far as we are aware, abolished slavery. I come, then, to the point of forced labour. How does that stand? The hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Goldney) says that he found in Cyprus that there was no forced labour. But what is the use of debating about terms? Why, if there is none, are you obliged to resort to positive enactments of law to get labour at all? If you build Houses of Parliament in this country, you do not resort to law to get the labour; while you tell me that you can get nobody to work in Cyprus, without a law to make him do it. Why, then, do you do it? Why do you come down upon the individual and fine him in order to make him apply for the work? There is no doubt about it. I will appeal to the candour of the Under Secretary of State, and he will correct me if I am wrong; for I do not want to exaggerate in the least, and the matter, as I understand it, is a little complicated. You make a list of the able-bodied men in the Island, and to them you say by law—" Either you must present yourselves at a certain time to give your labour upon public works, and be paid for it at 1s. a-day" —[Mr. GOLDNEY: Not less than 1s.a-day.]—The law is satisfied with 1s.a-day, and, therefore, I put it so. " You must either appear and work and receive "—I will put it in that way—" 1s.a-day, or send a substitute, or pay a fine of 2s. for not coming. If you do not come after being duly summoned, you must pay 5s.; or if you come and go a/way, you must pay 25s."It is a little complicated, but the essential point of it is that there is now plenty of labour in Cyprus, but its value is more than 1s. a-day. [Mr. GOLDNEY: No!] The resources of information of the hon. Gentleman have reached such a point that it is not for me to suppose that any information coming from my correspondents, although they have lived very long indeed in the Island, and know all the circumstances, can compete with his marvellous four days' sojourn. I am told that 1s. a-day does not come up to the value of wages—


I do not think the hon Baronet the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke) quoted from more than one district; I quoted from four, and saw people who were anxious to get work at the price.


Sir Garnet Wolseley's own statement is that the average is 1s. 3d.


The average stated by Sir Garnet Wolseley is 1s. 3d. If that is so, what is the wisdom, the policy, the necessity of interfering with the free sale by each man of the only commodity many of them have to dispose of—their labour—in order to gain to the extent of 3d.? Is that the example of the enlightened legislation which is to make Cyprus the envy and pattern of the East; and to add to the glories of England in that quarter of the world? So much, then, for forced labour. I will not dwell upon that any more. Evidently, it is a penal interference, to a certain extent; to the extent of a fine and to the difference between the shilling which a man can claim and the average rate paid. That constitutes a very severe law, which, in this country, would not be a law to be dreamt of, certainly not to be endured for a single moment. Then, as to a very important point—the holding of land. We have actually gone back upon the Turkish system. Before we came to the discussion of this matter, it was always supposed that, however objectionable the acquisition might be, yet, that it would be attended with one advantage — namely, that the people could not possibly get anything but benefit from the change; that nothing could possibly be worse than the system of the Turks. But we have discovered a method which is a great deal worse, and we have introduced a restriction which appears to me quite outrageous. You have here an Island which is in habited by a population of whom, I believe, nearly four-fifths are Greeks, and to this people you say—"No Greek, none of your blood, none of your race, shall hold land in this Island, unless he be a subject of Turkey." That is a restriction Turkey herself never imposed. It is impossible that these things can stand. They must be the subject of perpetual discussion, and I hope that the warning will be taken in time, and that they will be amended. But I am sorry to say we have not yet mentioned the worst of all—in my opinion, by far the worst. It is that astounding Ordinance which is called an "Ordinance for Promoting Peace and Order in the Island of Cyprus." I really want to know whether I stand in an Assembly of Englishman. [A laugh.] The hon. Member laughs. He has no reason to laugh. It is no subject for laughter. Let him reserve his laugh till he has heard what I am going to say. I want to know whether I stand in an Assembly of Englishmen—within the four walls of the British House of Commons, the highest and the noblest of all temples of liberty, when I am called upon to examine this Ordinance. This is no new subject. This is the old shame, scandal, and disgrace of the English Protectorate in the Ionian Islands again revived. Every man in the Island of Cyprus is to hold his liberty and his property at the absolute mercy and discretion of what is called the Governor in Council. Is it possible to conceive a more complete destruction of personal liberty? I was a great deal more than four days in the Ionian Islands, and I know what the result of this system was there. One would suppose, when we hear of a law of this kind, enabling the Governor, by a secret proceeding, and not only by a secret proceeding, but, if my hon. Friend (Sir Charles W. Dilke) is right, by an Ordinance which was, itself, kept secret—I hope that that, at least, will be denied and refuted—to remove from the Island for any time he pleases, for any cause he pleases, under any circumstances he pleases, without warning of any kind, any inhabitant of the Island. We know the history of this in the Ionian Islands. The system there went under the name of "the Power of High Police," and it is precisely this power which is now revived. It is true that there was this to be said of Sir Thomas Maitland, the first Commissioner of the Ionian Islands, that he never passed an Ordinance upon the subject. He had such a sense of liberty that he would not embody in the terms of a law provisions so adverse, so contradictory, and so destructive of the first element of British liberty, or of liberty anywhere in the world. Go to Russia, of all places, with your Ordinance. Ask Cetewayo to approve it, for it is worthy of him. Is it possible that any hon. Gentleman, though sitting upon that front Bench, can think it a matter to be treated with ridicule that an Executive officer in the Island as the Representative of a foreign Power, on his appointment to that Island, is to be entitled to banish whom he pleases, to remove a man from his property, and his occupation, and to send him where he chooses. Is this to be treated with laughter and derision? It may be so. But these are matters which will have to be considered by the people of this country, for whom the question will be, whether the principles of liberty are not violated by such proceedings as these. One would suppose that we were dealing with a population of a most formidable description; that they are people given to plotting; that the whole history of their subjection to Turkey has been marked by a series of bloody revolts; and that nothing but the exercise of a despotic and violent tyranny can possibly preserve the peace of the Island. Is that the case? On the contrary, these people are among the most peaceable and easily-governed people upon the earth. I say, in some sense to their credit, in some sense to their shame, that they never have had enough of the spirit of manhood to rise even against the grossest oppression. But this is again the old game of the Ionian Islands played over again. There we had to govern a sot of the most pacific and peaceable human beings. [" No, no! "] The hon. and gallant Admiral does not know those persons as I have done. I have been responsible for the management of their affairs; I have had an opportunity of examining them minutely; I have reported upon them fully to a British Government, which was also a Conservative Government; and the views I reported to the Government were adopted, both by my excellent Friend Lord Lisgar, who preceded me, and my distinguished and gallant Friend Sir Henry Storks, who followed me in that government. The people of this Island, I repeat, are the most pacific, the most contented, the most easily-governed people in the world. There is no county in England more easy to govern, so far as the government is concerned. I do not mean to say that they are a people advanced in all respects. In some respects, undoubtedly, they are wanting; but they are a most peaceable people. What happens? When we go into a country, the very worst of the Natives make it their business to form a ring round us to flatter us, to give us pretended information, and to malign their country for their own convenience and advantage. They take advantage of the little aptitude possessed by Englishmen for considering the feelings of foreign nations, and of travellers who go among them for three or four days, and they fill their minds with ideas most honestly sought, no doubt, and most honestly received, but ideas coloured according to the prejudices of those informants. They take advantage, also, of our ignorance of the language, and of the very great difficulty in holding full communication with the people, even when more than four days are given to the work. And in that way we have had in the Ionian Islands extreme severity, I will even say cruel and shameful severity, marking the proceedings of the British in the exercise of their Administration. For God's sake, do not let us have that experience over again! Why do we begin our government here by destroying the safeguards of liberty? [" Oh, oh! "] You cannot surely deny that you do destroy the safeguards of liberty when you enable the head of the Executive, on his own responsibility, to destroy a man's occupation and to banish him from his country. You may tell me that power will be mildly exercised. That is what the Emperor of Russia and every man in Russia tell us of their system—that it is mildly exercised. At any rate, in Russia I know this—that the power is exercised by a Native Governor, endeared, in some sense, to the people; at any rate, habituated to the ways of the people by the association of many centuries. But we went to Cyprus by force. No man belonging to Cyprus was consulted on the question whether we should come there or not. The bulk of the inhabitants belonged to a race proud of its traditions, though it has not the same manhood to enforce their ideas that we have. Therefore, we should treat them tenderly, delicately, and with consideration. Do not destroy the safeguards of their liberty. I can only say that I wait, with the greatest interest, to know whether the Under Secretary of State will defend this Ordinance or not. It appears to me that there are no words to be employed which are too strong for its condemnation. It is by judicial trial in Cyprus, as in England, that private liberty ought to be sustained. You are not in a state of war, or in danger of war. You can-say you are in danger there. There is nobody to molest you. You are omnipotent, so far as brute force is concerned. You have not a tittle, or a rag, or a shred of title to resort to measures of that class, which may, perhaps, be justified under extreme circumstances and in extreme contingencies. I do entreat the Government not to allow this state of things to be established. Unfortunately, we have known in our Ionian experience what the consequence was, when a spirited foreign policy induced some Foreign Minister of England to reproach Austria with her proceedings in Italy. Austria had a ready and stereotyped reply. It was, "Look at the Ionian Islands!" and it was very difficult for the Foreign Minister of that day to make a severe rejoinder to that reply. "We have atoned for our miscarriages and our misdeeds in that country by giving to the people, in the fullest and freest manner, what they think to be the full and adequate blessing of liberty. Do not let us raise anew, in this country, which, although it be small, and although it be feeble—aye, absolutely powerless—is yet a country, our assumption of a Sovereignty over it which has attracted the notice of the world— a treatment which will have much to do with the future name and fame of England in the East.


thought that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone) had been somewhat hard upon the hon. Gentleman the Member for Chippenham (Mr. Goldney), who had made to the House a statement based upon his short experience in Cyprus. It was true that the experience of the hon. Gentleman was short; but it was not fair to suggest, in terms of passionate invective, that the statement of the hon. Member was one which had been carefully fabricated, in order that it might be imposed upon the House. The hon. Gentleman had made his speech in good faith, and the statements he had put forth wore just as reliable as those contained in the Blue Books, inasmuch as they were the statements of a Gentleman who had carefully guarded himself against making any statement which could not be supported by evidence based upon facts within his own knowledge. He (Mr. Bourke) did not think that his hon. Friend had said one single word which anyone, having had an experience of four days, was not entitled to say, and he was as entitled to give his opinion on matters which had come to his own knowledge as anyone having an experience of four years. With regard to the general question before the House, he was extremely anxious not to say one word which, if reported in Cyprus as coming from a Representative of the Foreign Office in that House, could have the effect of embittering the feelings which already existed between the Governors and the governed in that country. He believed that a great deal of mischief had already been done by statements which had received an exaggerated colour in this country, and which had, to a certain extent, disturbed the relations existing between the persons in the Island of Cyprus, relations which, on all grounds, it was desirable to leave upon as friendly a footing as possible. He did not, for one moment, complain of the various charges and statements which had been from time to time brought forward in that House. The hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke) had, as they all knew, paid great attention to this subject, and he had brought forward his case from time to time with very great skill, and he (Mr. Bourke) might say, with the skill of a practised advocate. No doubt, he had made the very best of his case. To put the whole case in a few words, as it had been presented to the House from time to time by the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea, he thought it was simply this— that he had taken isolated facts from time to time, and had put these isolated facts before this House and the country, as representing the general state of things in the Island of Cyprus. Isolated facts formed the whole justification for the hon. Baronet's speech, for he said that all his statements were borne out, if they would only take one case and another; because, by taking a few cases, there was hardly a statement that had been made in that House that had not been completely admitted either by the Deputy Commissioners or by the Commissioner. Therefore, the hon. Baronet justified the whole of the charges made against the Administration of the Island, simply because, in various cases, some very small and isolated matter had taken place. With regard to the observations of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich upon the Ordinances, the most convenient course would be for him (Mr. Bourke) to take the cases he had put. He had to complain against the right hon. Gentleman, for he had not quoted the Ordinances to which he had referred correctly, nor had he given the House to understand accurately what he described. He thought the right hon. Gentleman would admit that he said that it was in the power of the High Commissioner, after consultation with the Executive Council in the Island, to exile any man without trial. To that, he (Mr. Bourke) would reply that it was not so. The Ordinances to which the right hon. Gentleman had alluded, as having been in force in the Ionian Islands, was very different. The Ordinance in Cyprus gave the power in question to the Legislative Council of Cyprus. That was, the Legislature had power to exile any man; but nothing of that kind could take place unless the Council passed a resolution to that effect, and that resolution must be sent to the Secretary of State. That was a very different description of the Ordinance from that given by the right hon. Gentleman. That Ordinance was passed by Sir Garnet Wolseley, because he had been given to understand that, in all probability, there would be a rush of all sorts of bad characters from every part of the Levant the moment it was known that Cyprus was about to be occupied by the English. Sir Garnet Wolseley considered that the Legislature ought to be given that power, for the purpose of securing peace and good order in the country. The right hon. Gentleman had also said that the Government had made the mistake of trying to govern Cyprus in accordance with British ideas. That was exactly the reverse of what the Government had done. The Government had given a Legislative Council to Cyprus. Although they had not agreed upon every particular connected with the occupation of Cyprus, they had thought it better, considering the novelty that must attach to all that was done in the Island, to allow laws to be passed; although, at first sight, they might appear to be different to such as would have been initiated in this country. But, having given legislative power to the Council in Cyprus, the Government thought it desirable not to interfere, at any rate, for the present, with the laws that might be passed, although the laws would not have been initiated by Her Majesty's Government in this country. That was the real reason, if he might say so, for these Ordinances. The laws with respect to waste lands had been passed under exactly similar circumstances. When Sir Garnet Wolseley had his attention turned to the waste lands of the Island, he perceived that, owing to the lazy way in which the inhabitants were allowed to live, and the lazy way in which they cultivated their land, a vast quantity of land in the Island was left in a totally uncultivated condition. He endeavoured to discourage that plan, and passed an Ordinance with the object of encouraging the cultivation of waste lands. As respected the law relating to the non-purchase of land, it was due to a belief by Sir Garnet Wolseley that a vast number of land speculators would, unless prevented, rush upon the Island and purchase property. There were many reasons why it was thought desirable that the land should not fall into the hands of land speculators, particularly as Sir Garnet Wolseley considered it very desirable that public works should be carried on on such land, which might fall into the hands of speculators, and which would have been impossible had the speculators to whom he had alluded not been checked. It would be a mockery for the House and for the Government to give a Legislative Council to Cyprus, and then step in and take the power of legislation out of the hands of the Council. He thought, however, that it was right and proper, and very likely it would be quite necessary, for the Secretary of State, when a more extended experience had been gained, to repeal many of the Ordinances relating to Cyprus. ["Hear, hear!"] Hon. Gentlemen cheered ironically, as if he had ever said the contrary. He had always given the House to understand that that was his opinion, and that opinion he had always entertained. It was impossible, in governing in Cyprus, to introduce laws at once which would be suitable for all circumstances of the population. They had given to the Legislative Council a power of initiating legislation, and it was quite possible that the Secretary of State might think it advisable to repeal some of these Ordinances; but, if so, there would be no difficulty in doing it. The attention of the Secretary of State would, no doubt, be called to those Ordinances, particularly by the debate that had taken place that night. The attention of the new Commissioner would also be called to the question raised by the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea, and the Government at Home would, in a great measure, be guided in their action by his Reports. Sir Garnet "Wolseley held such strong opinions upon the Ordinances that the Government did not think it desirable at once to do away with them. The hon. Baronet had drawn attention to certain statements, which he quoted at very great length. He would not detain the House by going over the ground traversed by the hon. Baronet, when he complained of Sir Garnet Wolseley's despatch; but he ought to have remembered the circumstances under which that despatch was written. Nothing could be more offensive to Sir Garnet "Wolseley, or more hurtful to his feelings as an honourable man, and nothing could be more injurious to his reputation as a great administrator, than the allegations that had been brought forward in that House by the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea. But he (Mr. Bourke) knew the hon. Baronet too well to think that he would have made one single statement upon that occasion without being impressed himself with the belief that it was true. He was sure that the hon. Baronet was convinced that everything he stated was justifiable; but he would ask any calm mind to read those despatches which had come home in answer to the speech of the hon. Baronet, and he did not think it could be doubted that the substance of those charges which had been brought against Sir Garnet Wolseley's administration had been altogether rebutted. Then, again, the hon. Baronet had alleged that all his statements were justified, because of the action of the Deputy Commissioners. In particular, he had singled out Colonel Warren for his attacks. Well, considering the arduous duties that that gallant officer had been called upon to perform, and the manner in which he had discharged them, he (Mr. Bourke) was not surprised that Colonel Warren had warmly resented what had been publicly stated of him. He thought he should be justified in taking that opportunity of stating what Sir Garnet Wolseley said about Colonel Warren. He said— Before quitting this part of the correspondence, I wish to put on record my high appreciation of the manner in which Colonel Warren has carried on the difficult duties of his office— duties rendered all the more difficult through the conduct of the Bishop, who, instead of setting the people an example of obedience to the law, as their spiritual head, seems to have taken pleasure in breaking it, and in endeavouring to place itself above its power. I know that Colonel Warren's exertions to improve the sanitary conditions of Limasol, to supply its inhabitants with good water, to protect the poor from the exactions of the rich, to administer the law impartially to all classes irrespective of race, religion, or position, to make all respect it, by showing that the rich Bishop as well as the poor workman must obey it, and that the rich Bishop should pay his taxes as well as the humble shopkeeper—I know well that all this which Colonel Warren has done is highly appreciated by the great bulk of the people of his district. Now, was that true, or was it false? If it were false, it was as black a falsehood as was ever penned by any man; but, if true, it substantially refuted the imputations that had been made, and made not in a fair or candid way, against Colonel Warren. The explanations that had been brought forward, to his (Mr. Bourke's) mind, amply proved that this was the case, and he thought that those explanations had been admitted by the hon. Baronet. There were several other charges made, which were mot exactly in the same way. It was said that the taxes had been paid twice over. This was put forward as being quite the usual thing in Cyprus. The hon. Baronet alleged that taxes were usually paid twice over; and he justified his assertion, because in one case double taxes were demanded—and in respect of that case the tax collector had been punished. That was an example of the whole way in which this case against the administration of Cyprus had been got up. Then, with regard to barristers not being allowed to practice in Cyprus. The hon. Baronet had stated that no English barrister was allowed to practice in Cyprus. That was not exactly the case.


remarked, that be said they were not allowed to practice before the district Court.


said, that made all the difference in the world, because there were two reasons why Sir Garnet Wolseley did not think it desirable to allow English barristers to practice. It was only in the district or local Court, to which the prohibition extended; they wore Courts found in the Island, and the only difference made in them was to appoint an English assessor. The administration of the law in those local Courts was continued together with the law which was formerly administered, one of which laws was that a barrister was not to be allowed to practice without the leave of the superior authority. English barristers had not obtained the leave of the superior authority, and, therefore, they could not practice. These were not Turkish Courts now; but they wore local Courts continued under British administration. Besides which, as the Judges could not understand English, and the English advocates did not understand Turkish or Greek, it did not appear to Sir Garnet Wolseley that the interference of English advocates would contribute much to the due administration of justice. With regard to the petitions, the hon. Baronet had made a great deal that night, as he had done on previous occasions, of the question of petitions. The allegation of the hon. Baronet was that petitions were refused if they were not in the Turkish tongue; and he had mentioned one or two cases in which Greek petitions had not been received, and the Judges had been reprimanded for refusing them. On the other hand, it had been shown that Sir Garnet Wolseley had received thousands of Greek petitions. He had nothing to complain of with regard to the observations of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Bradford (Mr. W. E. Forster). He entirely agreed with him in thinking that he was fully justified in bringing the questions he had under the notice of the Government. The Government were very glad to have those questions brought to their notice; but discretion ought to be exercised in making charges in that House against officers performing difficult duties in Cyprus. It should be remembered that those gentlemen had not the power of answering these charges; and they all knew that in that country the population had a talent for intrigue, which it was extremely injudicious to foster. Nothing would tend more to disturb the relations between the races of the people and the persons who governed in Cyprus, than to foster their intrigues in that House. It could do the population of Cyprus no good, and would do a great deal of harm. Something had been said that night with regard to slavery. There was no need for him to stand up in that House and say that the Government would not countenance slavery in any shape or form. The right hon. Gentleman had done them the justice to say that they had done a great deal in different parts of the world in the suppression of slavery; and, therefore, there could be no doubt of the feeling of the Government generally on this subject. With regard to slavery in Cyprus, there could be no doubt that slavery existed still in the Turkish Dominions, and Cyprus, until the other day, was a Turkish possession, and there could be no doubt that slavery existed there. There was, also, no doubt—and he was quite ready to answer the question put by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich on that point—that no Ordinance had been passed to abolish slavery. But there had been no single attempt, directly or indirectly, to give legal effect to the status of slavery in the Island. He knew of no law with regard to it; and he should be surprised to hear of any court, local or otherwise, in which an English assessor was sitting, which had permitted the process of the court to be used to give effect to slavery in any shape or form. If that were the case, nothing was to be said against Sir Garnet Wolseley. The Government had not been asked by the Legislative Council to pass any law with regard to slavery. If they had been asked to pass one for the repression of slavery, no doubt, they would give a hearty assent to it. But, like all other laws, the Government would like it to be initiated there. At present, no grievance had been shown to have arisen from slavery; but it was for that House to consider whether any grievance had been shown. He did not think that a single syllable had been said to show that any law of this kind was necessary. One or two remarks had been made by the hon. Baronet with regard to the Council. There were questions between foreign Governments which made it desirable that Cyprus should, for the present, remain under the Foreign Office; but he did not know that at the present moment the Colonial Office was not as well able to manage it as the Foreign Office. But that was a matter of very small moment. With regard to Good Friday, there had been but one Good Friday since we took possession of the Island, and he hoped that before the next had arrived the cause of complaint would be removed. He quite agreed that what occurred was a scandal, and nothing could be more impolitic than giving rise to it. It was a great pity that the scandal had arisen. With regard to the two priests, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich had truly stated that he (Mr. Bourke) had informed him that the officer had been reprimanded for not taking care that the priests were not shaved. He might mention how the thing happened, not by way of palliation, but as some excuse. It happened in this way. One priest was sentenced to seven days' imprisonment, and the other to imprisonment for a month. He did not think that the justice of the sentence was in question, but the prison regulation permitting shaving. A rule had been laid down by Sir Garnet Wolseley, with regard to prison regulations, that no priest should be shaved who was not imprisoned for a period of more than three months. That was very creditable to the Government of Cyprus, for it showed plainly that they had some regard for the feelings of the priests. The regulation, however, was one which, of course, was subject to consideration. There was only one more remark that he would wish to make. The hon. Baronet seemed to have implied that there were some doubts in the minds of Her Majesty's Government as to the wisdom of retaining Cyprus. Well, all he should say upon that subject was that he had not heard of those doubts, and he had seen no signs of them. He thought that Her Majesty's Government were quite as determined as ever they were to do all they could to improve the condition of, and give good government to, Cyprus, and to maintain it in the position in which it was at present. He had the same sympathy as some other hon. Members for the Hellenic race; but he did not think that having such sympathy was any reason whatever why Her Majesty's Government should throw over Cyprus. He was glad to inform the House that Her Majesty's Government had not the slightest intention to allow Hellenic intrigue to take root in Cyprus. They thought it was desirable for the good government of the Island that no such intrigues took place, and the Government would do its best to prevent them occurring. Having said this much, he hoped that the House would excuse him from entering further into the speech at that hour of the night; but he could assure the hon. Baronet, in conclusion, that if he had, from time to time, any complaint to make with regard to the government of Cyprus, either in general terms or in detail, the Foreign Office would be happy to receive any information which he could give. With regard to the Motion of the hon. Baronet, Her Majesty's Government did not make a practice of laying Ordinances before the House. They thought it would be better for the management of the Island that the Papers should not be laid before the House; but if the hon. Baronet was anxious to obtain them, the Government had no objection that the Ordinances referred to should be printed and put in the Library. At present, the Government had not arrived at any conclusive opinion as to the justice of those Ordinances. He would remind the House that those Ordinances had been passed by the Legislative Council; and what was passed by it was law, until it was rejected by Her Majesty's Government. All Ordinances passed were law in Cyprus, and it was impossible to do away with those Ordinances until experience had proved that they were inexpedient. At the same time, he had no objection to those Ordinances being made into a Parliamentary Paper.


said, that it was a long time since any English Government had used such language as the hon. Gentleman the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs had used that night on the subject of slavery; and the people of England would be astonished at such language being used on behalf of the Government with regard to slavery. The hon. Gentleman had said that he thought it possible that slavery existed in Cyprus, and that he had no doubt it did. He (Sir "William Harcourt) should have thought that such a statement would have been followed by an assurance that Her Majesty's Government had taken the earliest step possible to do away with it. Not at all. The hon. Gentleman went on to say—" There is not much harm in it; it has not come to my knowledge that a case has come before the Courts." Was that the sort of thing that they had been used to hear in this country for the last 50 years on the subject of slavery? All the hon. Gentleman said was that the Legislative Council had not proposed to abolish it. The English Government was waiting for the Legislative Council of Cyprus to deal with such a matter as that. All the hon. Gentleman said was that the Government could not take the initiative, and would not send instructions to the Council of Cyprus to abolish slavery. The Government would not interfere with the initiative of the Legislative Council of Cyprus, but would wait until it thought proper to abolish slavery! It seemed to him (Sir William Harcourt) that that was a most extraordinary statement for the Government to make. First, it was said in that House that slavery existed in Cyprus, and then the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs followed it up by saying that the Government waited for the initiative of the Legislative Council to abolish it. Why did the Government not put the matter in hand at once, and abolish slavery, if such a tiling as slavery existed? He said it was very probable that slavery did exist; but he did not think the Government should interfere to abolish it until the Legislative Council took some view in the matter. He (Sir William Harcourt) would venture to say that the English nation would be extremely surprised to find that such language as that was held by the English Government. For the first time for the last 50 years had such language as that been used. There were various observations with regard to Cyprus as to which the Under Secretary of State had given no reply. Upon the question of forced labour he had not said a single word. What did the right hon. Member for Bradford point out upon that subject? He pointed out that the Secretary of State had permitted the Governor of Cyprus to put penal liabilities upon the inhabitants in respect of forced labour. Although such a question as that demanded an answer, no reply to it had been given by the hon. Gentleman. As to the question of forbidding people who were not born Natives of Cyprus to hold land, perhaps the Government relied for its legal defence upon the hon. Member for Chippenham (Mr. Goldney). That hon. Gentleman was four days in Cyprus, and having spent four days in Cyprus, and having studied law, he made this monstrous assertion—that in that country foreigners could not hold land. Perhaps the hon. Member did not know that an Act of Parliament was passed some years ago permitting foreigners to hold land in England on the same terms, and in the same manner, as English subjects could do. Well, the hon. Member got up and defended this Ordinance in Cyprus, on the ground that the same law prevailed in England. That was all the explanation that had been offered upon this subject. With regard to the Ordinance to which his right hon. Friend the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone) had referred, as to exiling persons, what explanation had been given? It had been said that there was a perfect safeguard, because the Commissioner only had power to do it with the assent of the Legislative Council. What was the Legislative Council? They might just as well defend an act of Charles the First, because that King did it with the advice of the Star Cham- ber. The Legislative Council was nothing more nor less than a Court of Star Chamber. There was no Representative Council, and it had no judicial character. It was not necessary that the Ordinance should have the slightest sanction; so long as the Council nominated by the Governor chose to agree with him these Ordinances might be passed. The explanation offered by the Under Secretary of State upon this subject had not removed one single objection to the Ordinances. The action of the Legislative Council was nothing more than that of a Star Chamber, proceeding conjointly with the High Commissioner; and he agreed with the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke) that it was necessary to have debates upon that subject, in order to compel the Government to take proper views upon this question. The Government had had these Ordinances before them for many months. The question of slavery, and the question of forced labour, and the character of the Ordinances with regard to exile at the instance of the High Commissioner and the Legislative Council, had all been before them. But justice was not to be obtained in these matters from the consideration of Her Majesty's Government, and was only to be obtained by debates in that House. It was plain that, so long as Ordinances of this kind were made, the only thing that could be done was to have discussions of that kind, as that was the only way they could force Her Majesty's Government to give some consideration to these matters. It was clear that not one single word of these Ordinances which had been passed could be possibly retained. The policy of the Under Secretary of State would not hold water, when he stated that if there were bad laws in Cyprus it was not the fault of the Government, but they would be dealt with when occasion arose. He admitted that good laws must be more or less a question of time. But the worst laws were not those which it was necessary to abolish in Cyprus, but those which had been made for it. The complaint was that the Government were instituting laws which were worse than those which they abolished. That was the charge which was brought against these Ordinances and against the Government. These Ordinances, which his hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea wished to have laid upon the Table, existed by the authority of Her Majesty's Government. No doubt, no Ordinance had been made upon the subject of slavery; but that was a question which could not be allowed to rest for one single day. He could not admit that the law which existed was right, and that it was possible to temporize with the matter. It was a shame and a scandal to the English Government that, as soon as their occupation of Cyprus took place, they did not put an end to slavery. Everyone remembered the manner in which Lord Palmerston made an impression upon other Governments in respect of slavery. What could England say in the face of another Government, after what had been stated by the Under Secretary of State, that they did not care much about this subject of slavery, and that the initiative of the abolition of slavery in the Island had been left to the Legislative Council? Then, with respect to the land laws, the Under Secretary of State stated that foreigners had been prohibited from holding land in Cyprus owing to the fear of land speculators. They had excluded foreigners from the Island; but he would venture to say that no laud speculator would venture there. After the wretched experiments they had made in Cyprus, there would be very few land speculators venture there. It was plain that they would not go there, and the only residents that were remaining in Cyprus were the soldiers and officers and persons employed. The very last place that persons wishing to speculate in land would go to was Cyprus. He did not think that the defence which had been raised by the Under Secretary of State on that point was worth anything. With respect to the uncultivated land, the hon. Gentleman did not say much more than he had upon the question of forced labour. There were particular charges which had been brought against the Government; and as the Under Secretary of State had not answered them, he must be taken to have admitted them. In the same way, as Her Majesty's Government had not repealed these Ordinances, they must be considered to have approved of them. He hoped that they might gather this much consolation—that, at all events, his hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea might have the satisfaction of feeling that the result that he had brought about had been to put an end to the mystery which had been maintained about these Ordinances to which he had objected.


said, he had never heard a more extraordinary misrepresentation of a speech in that House than that which the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Oxford (Sir William Harcourt) had made of the speech of his hon. Friend the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. Under ordinary circumstances, it would be worth while to pass by such statements with comparative indifference, because the House knew what such charges were worth. But, in the present case, it was important to notice what the hon. and learned Gentleman said, because it was calculated to produce a false and mischievous impression in this country, if it went forth, upon the authority of the hon. and learned Gentleman, that the effect of the observations of the Under Secretary of State on the part of the Government was that the Government tolerated slavery. He thought such a statement would be calculated to produce a very false and mischievous impression. There was no justification for the observations of the hon. and learned Gentleman in anything. What his hon. Friend the Under Secretary of State had said was what the Government had done upon this question. What his hon. Friend had stated was this—that if slavery had hitherto existed in Cyprus, no effect would now be given in the Courts of Justice to anything in the nature of a claim for the exercise of the right of a master over a slave. Did that show that the Government was indifferent to the existence of slavery? If slavery was not to be enforced, the power of a master over a slave came to an end. Whether it was necessary to pass any special Ordinance upon the subject was a question of a different character. He believed that it might very probably be thought right to pass such an Ordinance, as his hon. Friend the Under Secretary of State had already said. If that course was considered desirable, he had no doubt that it would be adopted; but as the matter at present stood,. if no legal authority was given to enforce the rights of a master over his slave, slavery, for all practical purposes, came to an end in Cyprus. That was very different from the statement which had been made, that the Government was indifferent to the existence of slavery. They wished to say, with regard to these matters, that the main considerations which hon. Gentlemen entirely left out of sight, in speaking of Cyprus, were these. The Government had come within a very short period—less than a year— into the administration of a country in which there were difficulties of every sort, and maladministration of every kind, to be dealt with and corrected. In order to bring the country into a proper condition it was absolutely necessary to exercise discretion, and to proceed with consideration. Many remarks of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich (Mr. Gladstone) were made without taking these facts into consideration. The Government, above all things, considered that they ought to proceed carefully and tenderly in this matter. The Government, taking into account the difficulties of the situation, felt that it would not do instantly to disallow Ordinances with which they might not entirely agree. In all these matters consideration ought to be had for the men who had been working in the greatest difficulty, and who had introduced, he believed, more improvements in the government of the Island within the space of the last 10 or 11 months than had ever been applied to any other country in a similar space of time. But the Government was censured, not only for what it had done, but for what it had not done. It had been said that some of the Ordinances which had been introduced were very objectionable. But it should be remembered that in introducing a new system in circumstances of difficulty, it might be—as in this case it was— necessary to have recourse, for a time, to exceptional measures. With respect to the power of foreigners to acquire land, and matters of that sort, they were of a temporary character only. And he believed that they were calculated to prevent mischief being done, and were justified in that view. He thought that the spirit in which the Government had proceeded, and in what it would continue to proceed, was one which in its results could not fail to be beneficial and satisfactory.


expressed his surprise that the right hon. Gentle- man the Chancellor of the Exchequer had not used more decided language with regard to slavery. With regard to that part of the subject, there was no place for discretion, no time for consideration. He understood his hon. Friend the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs (Mr. Bourke) to state that the Government would consider whether it was necessary to pass an Ordinance to abolish slavery; but that, in the meantime, the Courts would not recognize its existence. Why should not the Government instantly pass a law in Cyprus, as they had passed in India 40 years ago? He could not understand the hesitation of the Government in giving the House an assurance that this should be done. The result of the debate seemed to him to be, in effect, that they had to give up a military government of this Island to a military man, and to allow him to enforce his own ideas. That might be very right in Africa; but in a place like Cyprus he thought it was a mistake; but as the Government consented to give Papers on the matter, it was unnecessary to continue the debate longer. On the question of slavery, however, he did not think that the British Government had any discretion, or should take any time for consideration, but should give an assurance that no laws should be passed by which slavery should be totally done away with in Cyprus.


said, that, after the disfavour with which the occupation of Cyprus was received by the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea (Sir Charles W. Dilke), it was not a little amusing now to witness the hon. Baronet's great anxiety for the welfare and good government of the Cypriotes. If one-half of the charges that he brought against the Government could be proved, it showed that the English were guilty of the greatest cruelty and tyranny; but that did not accord with the written testimony of Sir Garnet Wolseley; and he (Mr. Giles) would rather believe a high-minded gentleman like Sir Garnet Wolseley, than he would a zaptieh or a Greek priest. He had been a good deal abroad, and he had not failed to observe, in his converse with foreigners, that if there was one thing that struck an Englishman more than anything else, it was the feeling of respect that foreigners generally had for the just and honourable dealings of the English. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Greenwich had been very hard upon the hon. Member for Chippenham (Mr. Goldney), because he gave the House his experience of Cyprus, after having been there only four days. The right hon. Gentleman did not believe the testimony of an eye-witness; but he was ready to believe any charges in letters made by unknown correspondents; and as the conflict of testimony was so great, he (Mr. Giles) would suggest that the hon. Baronet the Member for Chelsea should himself go to Cyprus; and if four days were not long enough to enable him to get all the necessary information, let him remain there four weeks, and then come back and report to the House the results of his experience that day three months.

Question put, and negatived.

Words added.

Main Question, as amended, put. Resolved, That an humble Address he presented to her Majesty, praying that She will be graciously pleased to give directions that there be laid before this House, Copies of the Ordinance No. VIII. of 1879, giving power to the Government of Cyprus to exile persons without trial: Of the Ordinance No. VI. of 1878, prohibiting the sale of land to any but British or Turkish subjects: And, of the Ordinance No. XVI. of 1879, confiscating uncultivated lands.

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