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Greece — Murder Of British Subjects By Brigands

Volume 203: debated on Friday 29 July 1870

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Observations

, who had given Notice to call the attention of the House to the case of the Englishmen who were barbarously massacred in Greece on the 21st of April last; and to inquire from Her Majesty's Government what satisfaction it has obtained, or means to obtain, from the Greek Government, in consequence of its conduct on that occasion, said, he did not think it would be well for the House to separate for the Recess without some further notice being taken of the melancholy occurrence in Greece which had come under its consideration at an earlier period of the Session; but having reason to believe that, by deferring that question for a few days, the Government would be more able to give those explanations which it was desirable they should give as fully as they could before the Prorogation, than if he were to bring it forward that evening, he therefore intended to postpone his Motion until another day, of which he would give Notice. He only hoped that his example would be followed by other hon. Gentlemen who felt the same concern as himself in that matter; but, of course, if they chose to bring it forward, he should hold himself at liberty to make some observations upon it.

said, he had not very distinctly caught the reasons which induced his right hon. Friend (Sir Henry Bulwer) to postpone that question; but must say, with all deference to him, that he thought his right hon. Friend was rather trifling with a very important matter. For a month his right hon. Friend had had his Notice on the Paper, and after Questions had been put to him on two occasions, he had a few days ago placed on the Table the distinct terms of his Motion, and fixed that day for its discussion. It was a very proper subject for discussion; it had never yet been fairly discussed, and they were now near the close of the Session. A few day ago he had told his right hon. Friend that if he withdrew his Motion he would himself bring the matter on that evening; but his right hon. Friend assured him he meant then to proceed with it. He had the Papers with him, and had come down to the House prepared to discuss the question. His right hon. Friend was in his place, and he (Mr. Baillie Cochrane) received a note saying that his right hon. Friend, for various reasons, would not bring his Motion forward. Holding somewhat different views on that subject from those of his right hon. Friend, and having some facts to adduce in relation to it on behalf of an honourable and gallant man who had had injustice done him in the matter, he must say he thought it improper that this Motion should be treated in that manner. He could hardly hear what the right hon. Gentleman said, but he gathered that the question was to be deferred indefinitely. Would his right hon. Friend say distinctly whether he would bring it forward this Session or give it up altogether?—for if his right hon. Friend gave it up, he would himself call attention to the question on going into Supply.

said, his hon. Friend, if he had not distinctly heard his reasons for postponing his Motion, might have waited until he had heard them before he impugned them, and accused him of trifling with the question. He had reason to think the Government would be in a better position to give the explanations which they might be expected to give before the close of the Session at a future day than they were at present; and therefore it was because he wished when the question came on that it should be dealt with in a serious and satisfactory manner, and because he did not wish to trifle with the time of the House, that he desired to postpone his Motion till Friday next. However, he had no wish to make a personal affair of it, and if his hon. Friend thought the question would be safer in his hands, and less likely to be trifled with, he certainly had no objection to his hon. Friend taking it up.

said, he thought the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight (Mr. Baillie Cochrane) had reason to complain of the conduct of the right hon. Baronet the Member for Tamworth (Sir Henry Bulwer), who placed the Notice of his Motion on the Paper a month ago, and thereby prevented the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight or any other Member giving Notice of a Motion on the subject; and not only that, but within the last two or three days the terms of the Motion had been accurately defined by the right hon. Baronet; and on these grounds it would have been only courteous to the House that the right hon. Baronet should have given earlier intimation of his intention to postpone the Motion, so as to have prevented hon. Members coming up from the country in order to discuss the question, which was one the country wished to be discussed in order to strengthen the hands of the Government.

said, he thought that the course proposed to be pursued was that which was dictated by common sense, and as to hon. Gentlemen coming up from the country for this discussion, this House, and not the country, was the place for them at present.