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AFFAIRS OF CRETE.
Presented to both Houses of Parliament by Command of Her Majesty.
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Correspondence respecting the Affairs of Crete.
Consul Sandwith to the Earl of Derby.-(Received January 4, 1878.)
Canea, Crete, December 22, 1877. IN my despatch of the 15th instant I had the honour to inform your Lordship that a great meeting of Christians was to be held in the village of Fré, in Apokorona. That meeting took place on the following day, and the Committee has been sitting there ever since. Ten delegates from each sub-district of this half of the island have proceeded thither, the town of Rethymo having even sent delegates of its own to represent the townspeople. The fact of these representatives having been publicly elected by the people under the eyes of the authorities conveys some idea of the state of feebleness to which the Government is reduced. The meeting in Rethymo was convened by the Bishop in the principal church, and seven of the most respectable Christians were chosen and sent forth on their mission. The instructions they received were the following:
1. That they must insist on obtaining the demands put forth by the last two General Assemblies, and remain assembled until those demands are granted.
2. That the Christians must give no reason to the Mussulmans to complain of their conduct.
3. That they are to assist in appointing a police force, charged with the duty of preserving order and of putting down robbery and disorder.
A central village was chosen for carrying out the elections of the delegates for the three.western sub-districts of Kissamos, Selino, and Kydonia (Canea). The thirty men elected on this occasion, who have since joined the Committee at Fré, addressed a letter to my colleagues of France and Greece and to myself, in which they assured us that in thus assembling they were far from harbouring any designs against their Moslem fellowcountrymen, whose interests were identical with their own, and further declaring that they were bound in self-defence to take steps for putting down robbery and disorder by appointing a police of their own. ·
In spite of the protestations of the Christians that they will do nothing to the detriment of the Moslems, the latter have taken the alarm. At Rethymo, as I am informed by the Vice-Consul, the Mussulman villagers began flocking into the town a week ago. At first the authorities shut the gates against them, but the stream of fugitives became so great, the men being all armed, that the Mutessarif Pasha thought it prudent to admit them, and their admission created a certain terror among the Christians. During the last few days a similar movement is taking place here, though on a smaller scale; nevertheless there is a constant flow of these poor creatures, who are running away from an imaginary danger, as there can be no doubt that the mot d'ordre given out by the Committee is, that the persons and properties of the Mussulmans are to be respected.
A noted Chief, whose departure from Greece had been telegraphed ten days ago, landed in this bay on the 20th instant, within sight of Canea. He was accompanied by fifteen or twenty followers, and brought with him several hundred rifles and about 100 cases of ammunition. He was no sooner landed, than, as if by a previously concerted signal, more than 100 men, with mules and asses, were on the beach to receive him, and all the warlike stores were rapidly carried off to the mountains. He at once repaired to the village of Lakos, where he was welcomed by the people, but told in unmistakable terms that they would not abet him in any insurrectionary designs. It becomes more and more apparent, indeed, that the inhabitants in this part of the country are disinclined for any hostile movement, being anxious for the advent of spring before embarking on a course of hostilities. They know that their families would be exposed to cruel sufferings if forced to take to the mountains in mid-winter. This circumstance is of