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some moment, as, if an insurrection is staved off, it will afford a chance of an understanding being come to with the Imperial Commissioners, whose arrival is daily expected.
The Chief was the bearer of a letter to the Cretans, written by an influential countryman of theirs, who has made his fortune in Athens. He tells them that they shall receive more guns and ammunition, and even money, and advises them to demand the annexation of the islands to Greece; but if they are not unanimous in that wish (as they undeniably are not) to demand what they consider the best for their interests, urging them in any case to be of the same mind.
There is certainly no enthusiasm at present for annexation to Greece-another circumstance which is favourable to the success of the mission intrusted to Kostaki Adossides Pasha.
Consul Sandwith to the Earl of Derby.-(Received January 9, 1878.)
Canea, Crete, December 29, 1877. I HAVE the honour to transmit, for your Lordship's information, a copy of a despatch which I have addressed to his Excellency Mr. Layard, reporting the arrival here of a Commission from the Porte charged with the duty of attempting to satisfy the demands of the Cretan Christians.
Canea, Crete, December 29, 1877.
I HAVE the honour to report to your Excellency the arrival here on Christmas-day of the Imperial Commissioners Costaki Adossides Pasha and Selim Effendi. The former at once sent me your Excellency's letter, in which I am instructed to give him all the assistance in my power in the fulfilment of his important mission. On the following day I called upon his Excellency and had a long conversation with him and his colleague on the measures they proposed to take in order to satisfy the Christians.
I was glad to learn from his Excellency that he intended to go into the country at once, and he and his colleague set out yesterday for Vamos, in Apokorona, where resides the Christian Governor of Sphakia, Nikolaki Sartinski Pasha. It is their purpose, after conferring with him, to visit the Committee, which has now shifted its quarters from Fré to the village of Campos, only three hours from this town. The Committee's original number, consisting of twenty-four, has been largely increased by the election of ten members to represent each of the six westernmost Kazas of Crete, besides seven from the town of Rethymo. Canea has elected eight Delegates with the approval of the Government, but they have not yet joined their colleagues, and it is doubtful if they ever will. The permanent Committee thus numbers nearly 100 members. The Commissioners, if they really adopt the plan attributed to them of visiting the Committee in person, may be said to be recognizing its legal existence; but there are palpable advantages to be gained in thus dealing directly with the people's Delegates, as no arrangement would be possible which had not obtained their previous sanction.
I do not pretend to say what chances of success the Commission is likely to have. It has before it a task beset with very grave difficulties owing to the continuance of hostilities with Russia, for it requires but a slight acquaintance with the Cretans to feel assured that they will not be anxious for a final settlement as long as the progress of the war holds out to them the hope of exacting further concessions from the Porte, or even of shaking off its authority altogether. It is quite clear, however, that there is a general desire on the part of the people of this town, and to a less extent of Selino and Kissamos, to accept any reasonable compromise rather than bring on their country the calamity of I have encouraged the leading inhabitants to hope for a satisfactory solution of the present difficulties from the labours of the Commission, and Mr. Vice-Consul Moazzo, who more than any other Cretan townsman enjoys the confidence of the Christian Chiefs,
has written letters at my request to several of them, urging them to close with the offers which Costaki Pasha is authorized to propose.
P.S.-January 1, 1878.-Costaki Pasha and his colleague returned to Canea rather unexpectedly yesterday. I learn that they had not visited the Committee or even any of its members, and those Chiefs whom they invited to approach them declined to come, alleging that they had no authority to speak in the name of the people, who had delegated their power to the Committee. It is evident that the key of the situation lies with them. Costaki Pasha has expressed his intention to visit me this afternoon after the departure of the post, when doubtless I shall learn more from his lips. I am aware, however, that his Excellency intends returning again to the country.
Consul Sandwith to the Earl of Derby.-(Received January 9, 1878.)
Canea, Crete, December 31, 1877. NEXT to the arrival of the Commission from Constantinople, the doings of a Chief who landed in Crete a fortnight ago occupy the principal attention. goes about the country with a band of about fifty armed men without any apprehension for his personal safety. He has been doing friendly offices for the Mussulman peasantry, offering escorts to Canea to such as have a mind to leave their homes, and restoring to others their stolen cattle. Towards the Government, on the other hand, he has shown a hostile attitude, which he exhibited the other day by burning down a large block-house which dominated his native village of Lakkos. This has usually been occupied by a company of regular troops, but was latterly evacuated by them, as have several others in this part of the island, the Government not having sufficient troops to garrison their numerous fortresses. It is becoming known that this Chief is provided with money as well as with arms, his followers receiving pay. Whether this money has been provided by the Committee in Athens or come from Russia is uncertain.
There has been considerable turmoil in Rethymo of late owing to the presence in that town of many Moslem refugees, who being all armed and naturally in no pleasant mood at quitting their homes, are exciting fears among the Christians. There exists in that town a society formed of the most bigoted Mussulmans, whose principle of action seems to be to do all the harm in their power to the Christians, and as it embraces nearly all the prominent Mussulmans, they exercise an undesirable influence on the local authorities. It was discovered last summer that the members of this society were instigating their co-religionists to take refuge in the town, and a further proof has just been furnished of their complicity in this movement by the Mahometan inhabitants of a village petitioning the Government to stop the intrigues of these men, protesting that they lived on good terms with their Christian neighbours and were anxious to remain at home. The Governor General, Samih Pasha, has gone himself to Rethymo in the hope of calming the excitement there.
There is a steady influx of Moslem families into this town and into the neighbouring villages and homesteads. The panic which had seized them in August and September had subsided, and most of the refugees had returned, but the anarchy reigning in the country and the bad news from abroad have again worked on their fears, and many are retracing their steps. The Christians in this vicinity suffer themselves also by the movement, as they are frequently beaten and maltreated by the new-comers, some of whom squat on their land, allow their sheep to destroy their growing crops, and in some instances cut down their trees for firewood. The Governor has posted companies of regular troops in several of the surrounding villages, and their presence certainly contributes to a sense of security, but it fails to procure redress for those who are beaten or robbed. The danger is lest the peasants who have been maltreated should induce the Christians in the interior to retaliate on the Mussulmans scattered amongst them. As an act of policy the former have carefully refrained from molesting them.
Her Majesty's ship "Rupert" arrived in Suda Bay yesterday, where her presence for the moment seems desirable.
P.S.-January 1, 1878. In consequence of a telegram received from the Consular Agent in Rethymo describing the threatening attitude of the Mussulmans of that town, whose numbers have been augmented by many armed peasants, I desired Captain Gordon,
of Her Majesty's ship "Rupert," to call in there to-day on his way to join the Admiral in the Bay of Smyrna, where his instructions require him to proceed.
The Earl of Derby to Consul Sandwith.
Foreign Office, January 18, 1878.
Sir, I HAVE received your despatch of the 29th ultimo, reporting your proceedings on the arrival at Canea of the Turkish Commission of Inquiry; and I have to express to you my approval of your efforts to bring about an arrangement between the Porte and the Christians of Crete.
I am, &c.
Consul Sandwith to the Earl of Derby.-(Received January 23.)
Canea, Crete, January 6, 1878. IT appears that when the Commissioners arrived here, now nearly a fortnight ago, instructions were given to the Mutessarif of Sphakia to communicate the fact to the inhabitants of his district. This he did by summoning several leading men among them to his presence, and acquainting them with the objects of Costaki Pasha's mission. When the latter arrived at the Mutessarif's head-quarters a few days afterwards, he was disappointed at finding that the influential inhabitants held aloof, and when two wellknown Chiefs were specially invited to appear, they sent to say that all power to treat with the Commissioners had passed from their hands, and had been delegated to the Committee. It was thus apparent that the object in view was to induce the Commissioners to treat with the Committee as with a legally-constituted body, and this they were not prepared to do; so that, finding their continued presence at Vamos served no useful purpose, they returned to Canea to deliberate on their future action. The beginning of the negotiations has thus been unfortunate, and I cannot but think that a mistake was committed in the first instance by the Vali neglecting to give publicity to the mission of Costaki Pasha by an authoritative Proclamation. This feeling, at any rate, has been pretty generally expressed by the Christians themselves. I find that Costaki Pasha himself is quite hopeful of succeeding in his mission, and his Excellency tells me that he proposes to return to Opokorona in a few days, and that he and his colleague are prepared to go to any place where the Christian Delegates lately elected may happen to be, and to discuss with them the question of their demands, without, however, considering them as qualified to deal finally with it. For this purpose, it would be necessary, his Excellency thinks, shortly to convoke the General Assembly (which, in ordinary circumstances, meets in May), in order, if possible, to bring about a consensus of opinion between the representatives of the two rival communities.
For the purpose of furthering the desire of Costaki Pasha to get speech with the Christian Delegates, who form a sort of consultative body of the original Committee, I have induced a person who is much respected by them to be the bearer of a letter written by Mr. Vice-Consul Moazzo, requesting three or four of those Delegates to come into town to confer with Costaki Pasha previously to his Excellency visiting them; and on the solemn assurances of Costaki Pasha that their persons would be respected, Mr. Moazzo has told them that they have no cause to fear for their personal safety. I am in daily expectation of seeing these Delegates appear. I believe it is their intention to demand the release from imprisonment of the ex-Deputy Argyraki before consenting to treat with the Commission, and Costaki Pasha thinks that he will be able to satisfy them on this point.
Although a hitch has thus appeared at the outset of the proceedings, Costaki Pasha appears sanguine of a favourable result, and he founds his hopes on the evident desire of the majority of the Christians of every district, except perhaps in Sphakia, to come to some agreement with the Mussulmans rather than face the terrible alternative of civil war. This feeling, to the reality of which I can bear testimony, furnishes, indeed, a solid foundation of hope; but I cannot disguise from myself that the strong disinclination of the Mussulmans to yield to the pretensions of the Christians is calculated to mar the prospects
of a compromise; and this not so much because the Mussulmans could be made to yield, but because the local authorities sympathise too warmly with their feelings to be willing to force them to yield. Meanwhile valuable time is being lost, and the seeds of disorder which are being sown every day are placing in jeopardy the only hope that remains of avoiding the manifold horrors of a religious war.
While I write, the bearer of the letter has returned from Apokorona. He brings a letter in answer to that of the Vice-Consul, signed by certain of the newly-elected Delegates, in which they state that, in the face of the illegal arrest of the ex-Deputy Argyraki, they can no longer trust their persons within the reach of the Ottoman authorities. They add that they would be perfectly ready to treat with the Commissioners if they were acquainted with the extent of their powers, or even assured of their authority; for that, contrary to custom in such cases, their arrival had not been announced by a general Proclamation, nor their credentials exhibited.
Costaki Pasha and his colleague intend, they inform me, to issue a Proclamation without delay, and then to start for the country a second time.
Certain members of the Committee write a letter to me begging me to solicit Her Majesty's Embassy to obtain the release of Argyraki. The Committee now employs an an official seal with the words "The General Assembly of the Cretans."
Consul Sandwith to the Earl of Derby.-(Received January 23.)
Canea, Crete, January 7, 1878. IN my despatch of the 31st ultimo, I had the honour to state that the Vali of Crete, Samih Pasha, had suddenly gone to Rethymo, which town seems to have been, since his Excellency's return, the scene of some commotion. Mr. Trifilli, the Consular Agent, informs me that the Christians were thrown into a state of alarm in consequence of the numbers of armed Mussulmans who thronged the streets, and who had just brought in their families from the country. The Christians of the surrounding villages, who seem with even less cause to have caught the contagion of fear, also sought permission to enter, which, according to Mr. Trifilli, was accorded them by the Vali; but when a number of them presented themselves at the gate, seeking admission, the Mussulman mob, armed as they were, set upon them and drove them away, crying out, "It is the people which rules here, not the Government." Mr. Trifilli, who, with his dragoman, was an eye-witness of the scene, was in his turn attacked, and obliged to take refuge in a neighbouring house, This occurred a few hours after the Vali's departure, and the following day Her Majesty's ship" Rupert " arrived. The Mutessarif Pasha called on Mr. Trifilli to express his regret at what had occurred, and informed him that two of those who had pursued him were already in custody. The Consular Agent has very properly demanded satisfaction and the punishment of his assailants, but he has little hope that the Governor, who stands in awe of the Moslem populace, will long retain the men in prison. As soon as I was made aware of the occurrence I called on Samih Pasha, and urged on his Excellency the necessity of making an example of the ringleaders of the attack on Mr. Trifilli, as otherwise that gentleman's life would not be safe. His Excellency has promised me satisfaction, and I believe would willingly give it, but he is prone to yield too readily to the opposition which a resolute act would be sure to encounter. The attack on the Consular Agent has been acknowledged and apologized for, but under present circumstances the severe punishment of the offenders seems called for.
The news of the excitement in Rethymo was followed in a day or two by the intelligence that similar scenes were occurring in Candia. Telegrams were received by all my colleagues to the effect that the Moslems in that region too were abandoning their homes, and that the Christians were completely cowed by the numbers of armed men in the streets. Mr. Vice-Consul Calocherino had informed me a few days before that the Mahommedan peasantry were bringing in their household stuff from several villages, which he justly considered a most uncalled-for proceeding, inasmuch as there was not the slightest disposition apparent on the part of the Christians to attack the Mussulmans, nor have any gatherings occurred there such as have been witnessed here. The Vice-Consul further informed me that three Christian peasants had been murdered in cold blood by a party of Moslems, who had cut off the nose and ears of one of their victims, whose relations refused to bury him till the act had been testified to by the local authorities.
brought these things at once to the notice of Samih Pasha, who professed to know nothing of them, but his Excellency, nevertheless, started early the following morning for Candia, and has not yet returned.
In this part of the island matters do not wear a more promising aspect. The Vali, who at first offered a strenuous opposition to the entry of the Mahommedan peasantry into the town, has at length withdrawn it, and even sent the Ottoman iron-clad "Orchanie" and a corvette to bring away their families from Selino. Those vessels landed a few days ago at Suda Bay 2,600 women and children, who have been distributed for the most part in the country houses and farms of the local Mahommedan gentry who own the greater part of the plain of Canea. In Selino the Christians exhausted every expedient to convince their Moslem neighbours that they harboured no evil designs against them, even offering to place the children of several of their leading men as hostages in their hands.
There can be little doubt that some sinister influences have been at work in Canea, as well as in Rethymo and Candia, to have brought about so general a flight of the Moslems to the garrison towns. It is true that there is the presence of the Committee in Apokorona, and the landing of three or four Chiefs, with a few followers, which may be pointed to as accounting to some extent for their fears, but no acts of violence have been committed of a nature to justify a panic. Moslem intrigues were known to have been set on foot last autumn, both here and in Rethymo, to incite the peasants to quit their homes, and similar methods have probably again been used for the same deliberate purpose. Constant communications are known to be kept up by a clique of Mussulmans here with others in Rethymo and Candia, and it is surmised that these persons would willingly provoke an insurrection in the island, in the expectation of its resulting in the complete ruin of the Christians, who, hemmed in among the mountains, would, they think, soon be starved into submission.
The presence of so many armed peasants in this neighbourhood, without occupation or means of livelihood, is producing its natural consequences. The roads are no longer safe for Christians, who fear to enter the town singly, as formerly, but come in in little parties for mutual protection. The Christians of the district of Rethymo, refused an entrance into the town, are removing their effects to the mountains, and the Christian villages round here are likewise being abandoned by their inhabitants, who seek shelter in Lakos and other mountain villages. In Lakos no zaptiehs now venture to show themselves, and the people have appointed a police of their own.
Although during the flight of the Moslem peasantry, which took place in the summer, no harm was done to their property in their absence, a danger exists lest the Christians may no longer exercise the same self-restraint when they see their brethren maltreated here, and even murdered with circumstances of cruelty, as in the instance near Candia. I have just been informed by the Mouavin of Selino that the Mahommedans had scarcely abandoned their houses in that district before the zaptiehs began to pillage them, and they were soon joined in the work by Moslems of a low class. This testimony has been confirmed by a Mussulman oil-merchant who was present, and who declares that no Christians took part in the work of pillage. The rations of the zaptiehs having just been reduced from 33 to 22 ounces of dry bread a-day, it is no wonder that, half starved and unpaid, this long-suffering body of men should have at last broken through the restraints of discipline.
I learn that the visit of Her Majesty's ship "Rupert" to Rethymo, and subsequently to Candia, had a tranquillizing effect on the timid Christians of those towns, and it seems to me desirable for a man-of-war to be now stationed in Suda Bay in case of any sudden disturbance arising in any part of the island.
I have, &c.
Consul Sandwith to the Earl of Derby.-(Received January 28.)
Canea, Crete, January 12, 1878. I HAVE the honour to transmit, for your Lordship's information, a translation of a Petition addressed to the Consuls of the Great Powers and of Greece residing in Canea, by the Committee and Delegates of the Cretan Christians, who are collectively styled in the document "Members of the General Assembly of the Cretans," and who, as I stated in my last despatch, employ as an official seal the words "Genike tōn Kretōn Suneleusis."
In this Petition a protest is directed against the Ottoman Government and its agents