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had happened to Mr. Trifilli, who appears to be the Austro-Hungarian Vice-Consul at Rethymo. Mr. Trifilli had requested that an Austrian man-of-war should be sent at once to that place, and that the persons who had taken part in the attack upon him should be arrested and signally and publicly punished. The Austro-Hungarian Consul expressed his opinion that as the Mutessarif Pasha (Governor) of Rethymo had called upon Mr. Trifilli to offer an apology for his ill-treatment by the mob, and as two of the ringleaders had been arrested and imprisoned, sufficient satisfaction had been given, and that it was not desirable, under present circumstances, to insist upon further reparation.
Count Zichy said that he quite concurred in this opinion, and thought that in the actual state of the Island of Crete, it would not be prudent or desirable to take further steps in this matter. I told his Excellency that I agreed with him, and that I should limit myself to communicating the substance of Mr. Sandwith's despatch to the Porte, unless otherwise instructed by your Lordship. His Excellency thanked me for the desire I showed to get with him in this question.
Consul Sandwith to the Earl of Derby.-(Received February 3.)
Canea, Crete, January 21, 1878. I HAD the honour, in my despatch of the 7th instant, to communicate to your Lordship my suspicions that certain influential Mussulmans of this town and of Candia and Rethymo were the instigators of the migration of the Mussulman peasantry into those towns. Costaki Pasha has just informed me that the authorities have found indications of the complicity of some Mussulmans of Candia and Rethymo in this criminal work, and they are to be immediately banished the island. That there are others in this town guilty of the same conduct there can be no reasonable doubt, but they are known to be protected by the Mussulman Counsellor, and so escape the fate that awaits their fellows. The evil wrought by these men has been already accomplished, for the migratory moveinent, which was arrested for a moment, has started afresh, and has extended to the eastern extremity of the island.
Although a month has elapsed since the arrival of the Commissioners without their being fairly started on their work, Costaki Pasha's presence in Crete during this critical time has been of great value. He is incessantly combatting the evil influences which gather around the konak, and strengthens the hands of the Vali,
I have, &c.
Consul Sandwith to the Earl of Derby.—(Received February 6.)
Canea, Crete, January 26, 1878. SINCE I had the honour of addressing your Lordship on the 21st instant, there has been a notable increase of excitement among the Christians of this island, due to the rapid progress of the Russian armies towards Constantinople.
The constant influx from Greece of their countrymen who have been living in exile there has also tended to increase their enthusiasm. These returned Cretans, many of whom have brought supplies of arms, are gathering around them little bands of men, who are tempted to join by the combined attractions of pay and a love of adventure. Hitherto these irregular bands have not committed any breach of the peace beyond the destruction of one or two deserted block-houses. They are restrained by the Committee and the 200 delegates now assembled in Apokorona, who fairly represent the wishes of the Christian population.
Consul Sandwith to the Earl of Derby.-(Received February 6.)
Canea, Crete, January 27, 1878. THE elections of the Christian delegates having been completed throughout the island, I learnt that the Committee intimated the fact to the Commissioners, who were travelling with his Excellency the Governor-General in the eastern districts of the island. Hearing that they were very impatient to come to an understanding with them on account of the state of enthusiasm into which the inhabitants of Sphakia and Apokorona in particular had been thrown by the recent news from the seat of war, an enthusiasm which it was feared might lead to some hostile demonstration on the part of irresponsible Chiefs, I took upon myself to telegraph to Costaki Pasha on the 24th instant that the delegates were impatient to treat with his Excellency. The following morning the Commissioners and the Vali returned here by sea from Candia, and Costaki Pasha came to see me the same afternoon. His Excellency told me that an arrangement had been come to when he was last in Apokorona that on the completion of the elections a Commission of twelve or fifteen of the delegates should meet him and his colleague at the Convent of Chrysopege, situated in the plain of Canea, and that the discussions should take place there. I was in a position to know that even if such a plan had been agreed to (I was aware it had been proposed), the Committee was not prepared to carry it out, and I told his Excellency so. The pretext put forward by the Committee for not venturing so near the town is that which has so often proved fatal to an understanding between the Porte and its rebellious subjects, viz., want of confidence; and, in the present instance, it is capable of being plausibly coloured by the midnight arrest and subsequent exile to Samsoun of the ex-Deputy Argyraki. The only alternative seemed to be, as I remarked to his Excellency, for him and his colleague to take up their quarters at Vamos, the seat of Government of Apokorona and Sphakia, and thence to go daily to Fré, the village where the Committee is sitting, an hour's journey towards the mountains. This arrangement did not at all meet the views of Costaki Pasha, both from the discomfort attending the journeys to and fro at this inclement season, and still more because of the sacrifice of dignity it involved; and his Excellency left me with the intention of writing to the Mutessarif of Sphakia to propose that the delegates should meet him at Chrysopege.
It is thus evident that a fresh obstacle is thrown in the way of negotiations. There is besides a growing impression that the mission of Costaki Pasha and his colleague is destined to end in failure, an impression which is itself unfavourable to success. The course of the war and the attendant excitement in Greece are creating a situation which is proving too strong for that large and respectable party in Crete which was sincerely anxious for a peaceful settlement of their grievances. Nevertheless, should to-morrow's steamer bring the news of the conclusion of an armistice as a preliminary to peace, it will have a sobering effect on the Delegates and make them disposed to meet the Commissioners half-way in the choice of a place of meeting. I have myself sent a message suggesting some such compromise.
Consul Sandwith to the Earl of Derby.-(Received February 6.)
Canea, Crete, January 29, 1878. SINCE I had the honour of addressing your Lordship, I learn that Costaki Pasha and his colleague, finding that the Committee will not consent to leave their present quarters at Fré, have determined themselves to proceed thither, as the only means of coming to an understanding with them.
The agitation is so great among the Chiefs, particularly those recently come from Greece, who are using every effort to induce the people to rise, that the Committee, to keep abreast with the popular feeling, has resolved to adopt a new programme, which is far in excess of their former demands, and which is said to meet with the hearty concurrence of the elected Delegates.
The following are the cardinal points of the programme :
1. That the form of Government in Crete be autonomous.
2. That the Chief of the autonomous State be chosen by the people.
3. That the island shall pay an annual tribute to the Porte of 500,000 prs. (5,000 Turkish pounds).
4. That the Constitution thus laid down be guaranteed by the Great Powers.
It is the arrival of so many Chiefs which is creating embarrassment. Certainly no more potent means could be employed to effect their purpose, and it has required all the efforts of the local Committee to combat their designs. Only last Saturday, the 26th instant, a plan had been concocted to attack Vamos, in Apocorona, which is garrisoned by a force of 1,500 Redif, and the Mutessarif was prepared to abandon his post and come into town. The Vali ordered him to remain, and the troops are entrenching themselves against a sudden attack. These particulars I have from the Vali himself. The attack was put off.
The Earl of Derby to Mr. Layard.
Foreign Office, February 7, 1878. I HAVE received your Excellency's despatch of the 23rd ultimo, relative to an attack made upon M. Trifilli, the British Consular Agent and Austro-Hungarian Vice-Consul at Rethymo, by the mob at that place; and I approve of your having concurred in the opinion expressed by Count Zichy that, in the present state of the Island of Crete, it was not necessary or expedient to take any further steps for the punishment of the offenders. I am, &c. (Signed) DERBY.
The Earl of Derby to Consul Sandwith.
Foreign Office, February 14, 1878.
I APPROVE your proceedings, as reported in your despatch of the 27th ultimo, with a view to facilitate a meeting between the Committee of the Christian Delegates and the Turkish Commissioners in the Island of Crete.
Consul Sandwith to the Earl of Derby.-(Received February 15.)
(Extract.) Canea, Crete, February 1, 1878. A CONVERSATION which I recently had with the Vali Pasha threw a good deal VER of light on the recent migration of the Mussulman peasantry from their homes. I have frequently mentioned that the impression prevailed that this singular movement was instigated by certain Mussulman inhabitants of the garrison towns. His Excellency told me that he was now persuaded that such was the case, and that their hope seemed to have been to stir up thereby an insurrection from which they had expected to profit, as many of them had done in the last rebellion. When they were engaged in this work the Turkish arms had not suffered the reverses which have since befallen them. His Excellency further tells me that he had been constantly impelled by influential Mussulmans of Canea to send troops in the districts which had begun to show signs of insubordination, and as early as last July a deputation of nearly all the leading Moslems had waited upon him for the same purpose. It is certain that Samih Pasha has had a difficult part to play since his arrival in Crete last March, and he deserves credit for having resisted the sinister influences with which he has been beset on every side.
The refugees now reproach their evil counsellors for having advised them to leave their homes, as many of them are reduced to poverty, and nothing but misery and starvation stares them in the face. That the Christians were not implicated in the movement is proved by their complete abstention from any act of pillage in the abandoned villages, which his Excellency freely acknowledges and is grateful for. Orders have been given for the arrest and banishment of some intriguing Moslems for having employed devices designed to frighten the peasantry from their homes, but they seem to have had timely warning of their fate and are in hiding.
Consul Sandwith to the Earl of Derby.-(Received February 15.)
AS I had the honour to report to your Lordship in my despatch of the 29th ultimo, Canea, Crete, February 2, 1878. Costaki Pasha started for Fré, in Apokorona, on the 30th ultimo. Before leaving he wrote to tell me that he was led to this step in consequence of having received a petition signed by 109 delegates, urging his Excellency to lose no time to open negotiations with them. Unfortunately his colleague, Salim Effendi, remained behind on the plea of indisposition. I have since heard that the committee and delegates refuse to treat with Costaki Pasha alone, and they regard Salim Effendi's alleged indisposition as a mere pretext for delaying proceedings till the preliminaries of peace shall have been signed in Roumelia. It is their intention to protest to-day against the Commission for the absence of the Mussulman member, and to throw on it the responsibility of the failure likely to be entailed thereby. I have requested M. Vice-Consul Moazzo to call on Salim Effendi on my part, to represent to him the serious consequences his continued presence here is producing.
It is evident that the autonomy which the delegates are now prepared to demand is only another name for a principality. The second article, "That the chief of the autonomous state be chosen by the people," is apparently conceived with the object of rejecting any nominee of the Porte, whether Christian or Mussulman, and thereby of choosing a foreign candidate; but as they know that the demand for a principality would at first sight be rejected, they seek to disguise it under the name of autonomy.
A struggle is now going on between the party of peace and the war party. The mass of the Cretans have ranged themselves under the former party, their desire being to exhaust every pacific method of improving their lot before making an appeal to arms. The latter is formidable by reason of the recent influx of Cretan chiefs, who are constantly landing with supplies of arms and gunpowder, for the special purpose of raising the island to the cry of annexation to Greece. I know of letters from patriots in Greece addressed to the recently arrived chiefs, reproaching them for having accepted money and arms and yet remaining passive. The Cretans, however, have not forgotten the terrible lesson of 1866-8, and having wives and children to take care of, they hesitate to move provided they can gain their ends by peaceful means. They are slow to respond to the cry of annexation to Greece, knowing by bitter experience that that Power may fail them at the critical moment, and they think it safer to endeavour to obtain practical liberty under their old masters than to risk the loss of all by acting against the will of Europe.
Last week a certain chief hoisted the revolutionary flag in the district of Kissamos in the presence of a few hundred followers. The affair was magnified into a declaration of hostilities. The demonstration, however, fell flat, and certainly will not warrant the construction put upon it. Appearances, nevertheless, warrant the belief that a rising will not long be delayed. The Government has thought it prudent to withdraw its officials from a kaza bordering on Sphakia, having received information that an attack was about to be made on them, and the Kaïmakam of Sphakia runs a similar risk, though he has a detachment of troops to protect him.
The Christian inhabitants of all the villages near here are conveying their goods to places of safety, in order that they may be ready to flee to the mountains at a moment's notice. Many of the younger men have already preceded them.
M. Moazzo informs me that Salim Effendi has just started to join his colleague at Fré.
Mr. Layard to the Earl of Derby.-(Received February 15.)
Both appointments are good, and under other circumstances might have led to excellent results.
Consul Sandwith to the Earl of Derby.-(Received February 20.)
Canea, Crete, February 8, 1878, I HAVE the honour to inform your Lordship that the four Articles embodying the fresh demands which the Cretan Christians have drawn up, and which were stated in my despatch of the 29th ultimo, were presented to the Imperial Commissioners on the 3rd instant. The latter told the Committee and Delegates that they were not authorized to discuss demands which differed widely from those which they were come to treat about, and they attempted in vain to dissuade them from making such extravagant proposals. Finally, the Commissioners offered to refer the subject to Constantinople, and the Committee agreed to a delay of a week for the answer to be given by the Porte. That term expires to-morrow evening, and great apprehension exists lest the Christians may take steps which will compel the Government to have recourse to repressive measures in order to vindicate its authority.
The Kaïmakam of the Caza of Sphakia has at last been recalled from his post, and he arrived here a few days ago by sca with the 200 regular and the 80 irregular troops which bad hitherto sufficed for his protection. Intimation seems to have been received that he would shortly be attacked by the Sphakians. The Mutessarif of the Sandjak of Sphakia still remains at his head quarters in Vamos of Apokorona, where two battalions are stationed.
Consul Sandwith to the Earl of Derby.-(Received February 20.)
Canea, Crete, February 8, 1878. ON the 4th instant the announcement was received here of the appointment of Costaki Pasha as Vali of Crete. His Excellency returned from Apokorona, where he had been conferring with the Committee the following morning, and immediately entered upon the duties of his new post. Some months ago this appointment would have contributed a good deal to soften the asperity of the popular feeling towards the Porte, as it would have been regarded as evincing a desire on its part to put the Christians on an equality with the Mussulmans. Now it is to be feared that matters have gone too far to be patched up by a measure of this kind.
The very last act of Samih Pasha was of a nature greatly to augment the difficulties of his successor. Reports having been brought in that a Christian Chief, with a band of 50 men, had passed through the Christian villages of Peribolio and Murnies, situated three or four miles from the town, Samih Pasha immediately began arming the Mussulmans of the town, from 500 to 600 Peabody-Martini rifles being distributed indiscriminately amongst the mob, and his Excellency telegraphed to the Governors of Candia and Rethymo to arm the Mussulmans of those towns also. Thus armed, they immediately dispersed themselves over the surrounding country, spreading terror amongst the Christian portion of the inhabitants. One band betook itself to the large village of Galata. This village, which contains some 150 Christian families, had already lost more than half of its inhabitants by flight, and a company of regular soldiers had been stationed there as a protection for those who remained. As soon as the band entered the village, they proceeded to the house of the principal inhabitant, broke it open, planted the Turkish colours on the roof, and collecting what poor furniture was found in the rooms, made a bonfire of it in the court-yard. A few other houses were also broken open by the band. As the 80 regular soldiers looked on, with unconcern at these proceedings, the inhabitants, hastily gathering together their scanty household stuff, fled with all speed to the nearest mountain villages, but they were pursued, overtaken, and robbed of much they had managed to carry away. I immediately went to see Costaki Pasha, and begged his Excellency to pu