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The document begins by stating that the Cretan people hoped that their demands would have been listened to by the Porte, because they had been advanced by the General Assembly of 1876, and reiterated in 1877. The Porte ended by acknowledging their legality in accepting the Petition of the Cretans, who assembled last August to support those demands, but they paid no heed to them as long as their arms continued to prosper, and it was only when the fortune of war declared against them that they consented to send two Commissioners to treat with the Cretans. Finding the Commissioners indisposed seriously to discuss their demands, the committee thought it its duty, in the interests of the country, to formulate the following four demands, viz. :
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 pay an annual tribute to the Porte of 500,000 piastres. 4. That the constitution thus laid down be guaranteed by the Great Powers. They granted the Commissioners a delay of seven days for the answer to be returned by the Porte, a delay agreed to by them. They justify the fourth demand by the consideration that, although no country has been able to wrest more privileges from the Porte than Crete, yet none has suffered so much by reason of their privileges not being guaranteed by the Powers.
The General Assembly (meaning thereby the self-constituted body of that name), has done its utmost to avoid an insurrection, although for the last three months the whole population has been in arms, and the forces of the Government are unequal to the task of preserving order. The pacific disposition of the Assembly has sufficed, nevertheless, to prevent the outbreak of hostilities, and the Porte cannot deny that the Christians have neither attacked the small detachments of troops scattered here and there, nor done any injury to the Mussulman civil population.
Six days having elapsed since the expiration of the term of seven days agreed to by the Commissioners for an answer to their demands, the General Assembly unanimously made the following declaration, viz.: That they break off all negotiations with the Commissioners, and appeal to the Great Powers, whom they entreat to take the Cretan question into their consideration at the approaching Conference, having regard to the programmes set forth in 1821, 1841, and 1856, in which programmes they declared the island to be annexed to Greece. (A translation of the Declaration I had the honour to inclose in my despatch No. 20 of the 18th instant.)
"We have now" (they continue) "entered upon a new phase, in consequence of the non-response of the Porte, which we consider equivalent to a refusal, and it only remained for us to change the programme of the Assembly, and refer the entire question regarding Crete to the highest political sphere. The General Assembly considers itself justified in breaking off negotiations with the Porte, but it does not purpose to stoop to a struggle against Turkey. Four times has it done this, viz., in 1769, 1821, 1841, and 1866, the sacrifices made in those struggles sufficing to prove the real wishes of the Cretans; and the Assembly now, in the 2nd Article of its Declaration, appeals to the Great Powers." fluous task of proving from the Treaty of the right of interference in the affairs of France, and Russia have that right in 1830, &c.
The Memorial then undertakes the superParis of 1856 that the Great Powers have Crete, and more particularly that England, virtue of the note of the 27th March,
"The General Assembly," they go on to say, "in begging the Powers to take into consideration in the approaching Conference the programmes of the insurrections of 1821, 1841, and 1866, evidently intend thereby to signify that the desire manifested by the Cretan people during those insurrections was the union of their country with Greece, a solution which they consider the only radical one. In realizing this desire, the Great Powers will be making the only reparation possible for the injustice committed against Crete at the close of the Hellenic struggle of 1821, viz., in 1830.
Finally, the Cretan Christians will wait for the decision of the Great Powers, their arms in their hands for greater security; but they will not have recourse to hostilities against the Porte nor to injuries against the native Mussulmans.
I have, &c.
(Signed) THOMAS B. SANDWITH.
Inclosure in No. 34.
Translation of Memorial addressed to Consuls of Great Powers resident in Canea by the General Assembly of the Cretans.
FIVE months ago, as you are aware, the indignation of the people commenced to manifest itself against the Power now ruling in Candia by an active and public demonstration; by this step the Candiots hoped that the Sublime Porte would this time at least give an car to their complaints, for two reasons:
1st. Because the established demands by the demonstration were identically the same as those that had already been submitted to the Sublime Porte by the Annual Assembly of the Candiots, at Chania, convoked by the General Assembly at their annual meetings in 1876 and 1877, and readily embraced by the whole Christian population of Candia, who strenuously manifested it by many acts, and also by their refusing to choose Administrators and Counsellors of Justice, but they were repeatedly rejected by the Ottoman Government.
2nd. That in case of the Porte again giving denial to their demands, she was thus forcing the people to extremes, increasing also the embarrassments she was already surrounded by-many parts of her dominions being in insurrection, and also involved in a war with Russia. But the Porte unfortunately, though cognizant of the legality of the demonstration, having once admitted the petition of those who took part in it in August, 1877, nevertheless, as long as the fortune of war appeared to favour her, she refused to take into consideration the just and reasonable claims of her people; showing by this act continued hostile feelings against the Christian populations of Candia, and thus compelling them to think of the necessity of not confining themselves to these moderate claims. But as soon as the fortune of arms turned in favour of Russia, the Sublime Porte resolved to take into consideration the complaints of the country, having in the meantime authorised Costi Adossidi Pasha, her Envoy Extraordinary, to proceed to Candia. The Christian population were as much justified in their way of thinking, as the Envoy Extraordinary after his arrival there, under many pretences, declined to enter into an understanding and negotiations with the representatives of the people. The first reason of Costi Pasha was to the effect that the General Assembly not being then constituted by representatives from all the counties of the Island, it was a clear pretence to postpone the solution of the question until the fate of war could be more clearly decided. And the following incidents prove it.
Only a few provinces in Candia raised the question in 1858, but the Sublime Porte received their petition, presented in the name of the whole island. Envoys Extraordinary, amongst whom was Costi Pasha, soon commenced negotiations with the then existing representatives of the people, without at the time appearing to oppose their wishes under the plea that it was not composed of representatives from all the provinces of the island; and this is confirmed by the text of the Firman, issued then, in which so many privileges were granted, and which commenced as follows:
"We having taken into our consideration the petition of the many provinces (Nahiyhets) of the Island of Candia."
Independently of this, not even Samil Pasha raised any objection to it on receiving the petition of the Assembly, though such a petition was not signed by all the provinces of the island; and even the Sublime Porte was not influenced by this event, but in consideration of this petition, she sent Costi Pasha as her Envoy Extraordinary to Candia, who, on this occasion, when the hazard of war turned against his Government, contradicted himself by opening negotiations with the existing representatives, well knowing that some of the eastern counties were not represented.
In consequence of the Sublime Porte, and her Envoy Extraordinary, weighing matters in accordance with its turn of war, the Christian people also acted contrary in order to protect themselves against the future arbitrary conduct of the Porte; for this reason, the General Assembly, in their negotiations with the Envoy Extraordinary, submitted the following question, under the condition that within seven days the Sublime Porte was to give an answer; this was proposed and sanctioned by Costi Adossidi Pasha. 1. Self-government and autonomy.
2. The Chief of the Executive Power to be chosen by the people.
3. A tribute of 500,000 piastres to be paid yearly to the Imperial Government. 4. The above to be guaranteed by the Great European Powers.
As you observe Mr. Consul, in the above claims there is a clause that the Great Powers should become guarantees; this clause has been considered as absolutely necessary by the people. No other nation under Turkey had ever wrenched so many privileges from her as Candia has done, but none had ever been so much persecuted, made miserable, and her people exiled, because the concessions at all times were not invested with a European guarantee; they were in consequence violated and trampled upon by the Sublime Porte. No wonder that after so many sufferings the Candiots did not refer their country's grievances to a higher political sphere, instead of confining it to a settlement with their own Government.
We are therefore fully justified for this policy, and in our having submitted such demands to the Porte. Meanwhile, from what we gather from the above, and from the course the General Assembly pursued, it is evidently clearly shown that they endured every sacrifice in order to put off the dangers and evils of a new revolution; and though the Assembly had before her the favourable opportunity for a new attempt to throw off the Turkish yoke, encouraged as it was by the great weakness, dangers, and misfortunes that surrounded the Sublime Porte, she would not be the first to undertake the fearful responsibility of a new war, and as a proof of the peaceful inclinations of the Assembly, and to avoid a fearful crisis, she did not fail to exercise every influence to calm the excitement, and prevent any act that might tend to provoke another sanguinary struggle.
The Sublime Porte cannot deny that for the last two years the country has been in a great state of agitation since she rejected the demands for the modification of the Organic Laws, and also for the last three months the country has been in a state of revolution, the whole population being in arms. The Sublime Porte being deprived of moral influence and unable to subdue and maintain the general order, the General Assembly succeeded, thanks to her peaceful inclinations, to restore order in such a disturbed state of affairs.
The Sublime Porte cannot deny also that in no place the armed Christians attacked her scattered armies, either in one place or the other, and not a single native Mussulman's life, property, or honour were assailed by armed Christians, though the native Mussulmans declined this time also to take a part in our cause.
In the meantime, instead of listening to the just complaints of the country, and give due consideration to the circumstances, and also to the peaceful disposition of the people, and to their firm resolution not to be any longer satisfied with partly executed promises, the Sublime Porte acted to the contrary. Six days had already elapsed from the time fixed, and even then Costi Pasha did not deign to give an answer, and the Ottoman Government gave the Candiots to understand that they must not expect any effectual benefit from her. In consequence of which the General Assembly of the Candiots unanimously decreed the following resolutions :
1. That every negotiation with the Ottoman Government be broken off.
2. That she appeals to the Great Powers, entrusting to their humanity and justice the solution of the Candian question.
3. She implores the Great Powers to take into consideration, in the ensuing European Conference, the programme of the Candian Christians and their holy struggles of 1821, 1841, and 1866.
We have, therefore, the honour to annex hereon the entire decree.
In consequence of our country's affairs having taken another phase, and the Sublime Porte declining to grant us an answer, meaning by this her refusal to our demands, there are no other means left to us but to change our hitherto programme, and refer the whole question to the highest political sphere; it would be useless for the Candiots to expect any justice and humanity from the Ottoman Government, while for the last two years the Candiots employed every effort to become reconciled with the Sublime Porte, but our endeavours were frustrated against the stubborn resolution of bad administration on the part of the Sublime Porte. The General Assembly, therefore, is fully entitled, in accordance with the resolution of the 1st Article, to break off every negotiation with the Ottoman Government, but by these measures the General Assembly does not intend to enter into a struggle with Turkey; our country had hitherto gone to war four times, the first in 1769, the second in 1821, when the struggle lasted ten years, the third, in 1841, and the fourth in 1866, when we fought for three years against the whole power of the Ottoman Empire. The blood of the many thousands of Christians that had been shed, the destruction of property, and other sacrifices are more than enough, and this the Candiots indisputably believe. Therefore there is no necessity for the further shedding of blood, fresh destructions, and new sacrifices. The General Assembly, inspired with these sentiments, considered it
their duty to appeal to the Great Powers, and entrust to their justice and humanity the solution of the Candian question, and this had been acted upon by virtue of the 2nd Article.
We, the Candiots, believe that we are acting within our rights, by appealing to the Great Powers who have the privilege of interference in affairs connected with the East by virtue of the Treaty of 1856, and especially in reference to Candia, England, France, and Russia, as signataries to the note of March, 1830, addressed to Turkey, after the Protocol of 3, 1830. We derive this from the seventh paragraph of the communication, the contents of which are as follows:
"Les Soussignés sont encore chargés par elles de fixer sur un objet qu'elles ont vivement à cœur l'attention du Gouvernement de sa Hautesse, ainsi qu'ils l'ont observé déjà. Les Iles de Samos et Candie doivent rester sous la domination de la Porte et être indépendantes de la nouvelle Puissance qu'il a été convenu d'établir en Grèce. Toutefois les Cours, en vertu des engagements qu'elles ont contractés d'un commun accord, se croyent tenues d'assurer aux habitants de Candie et de Samos une sécurité contre toute réaction quelconque, à raison de la part qu'ils auraient prise aux événements antérieurs, et c'est cette sécurité qu'elles réclament pour eux de la Sublime Porte, en lui demandant de la baser sur des règlements précis qui, rappellant leurs anciens priviléges, on leur accordent ceux que l'expérience aurait prouvé leur être nécessaires, offriraient à ces populations une protection efficace contre des actes arbitraires et oppressifs. Les trois Cabinets se plaisent à croire que dans sa sagesse éclairée la Sublime Porte se convaincra elle-même qu'attendu les rapports de proximité et de religion qui unissent les Grecs de Samos et de Candie aux sujets du nouvel Etat, une administration équitable et douce est le moyen le plus certain d'y maintenir sa domination sur des bases inébranlables.'
It is evident from the above that the three Great Powers, in delivering up our country to Turkey, placed us under their high protection, signifying thus clearly that Turkey could not in the future exercise over Candia the privileges of a conqueror, but at the most to act as a protecting and depository Power. The Powers also pointed out to Turkey an exceptional system of Government, but refrained from fixing the exact terms, in the belief that the Sublime Porte, taking under her view "the object of the common alliance," or the Treaty of the 6th July, 1827, and also the relation of the Candiots with the free Greeks, would direct from home the application and explanation of this system. We are fully persuaded that the Great Powers are justified in effectually interfering on behalf of our country, and independently of the above reasons the following also tend to justify their doing so :
1st. The Sublime Porte, by her official communication dated 12th April, 1830 (1st Zilcadé, 1245), recognised without reserve the terms touching Candia which the Great Powers laid before Turkey by their note th March 1830, and which, as it is known, the Sublime Porte never executed.
2nd. That as long as Turkey possesses authority over Candia, so long shall the force of this note of the Powers and this notification remain in existence.
3rd. The present opportunity is the most suitable to the Great Powers to exercise privileges emanating from the Treaty of 1856, and particularly England, France, and Russia have the power, by virtue of the above said documents of 1830 relating to Candia. The new phase that the Eastern question has taken after the Constantinople Conference, its breaking up, and followed by the Russo-Turkish war, presents the most opportune moment.
It is true that the Great Powers by the Conference confirmed more than ever the principle of interfering in the contentions between any Christian nation and Turkey, and the solution of the dispute did not constitute the submission of that Christian nation to the existing Turkish laws, even if they were constitutional; at least, the present Russo-Turkish war decreed that whatsoever Christian Power resolved even forcibly to compel Turkey to recognise the decision of the other Powers in favour of the Christians, such a decision would be applauded by the civilised world as a sacred and just one.
Meanwhile, the Candiots, entrusting the solution of the question to the care of the Great Powers, they cannot refrain from expressing their great wish for the solution of the question they consider a just one; and this sentiment is fully expressed by the General Assembly in the 3rd Article. In praying to the Great Powers to take into consideration the programmes of the Revolution of 1821, 1841, and 1866 in the expected European Conference, it plainly expresses the hearty wishes of the Candiots for the restoration of their country.
We do not conceal that this is the only effectual solution. The Candiots are
closely connected with the inhabitants of the Greek Kingdom, both by religion, race, traditions, manners, customs, and language, and also by common struggles and mutual obligations.
During the whole period of the Greek Revolution in 1821 the Candiots fought bravely side by side with the inhabitants of the Greek Kingdom; and, after the condemnation of their own country under the Turkish rule, thousands of fugitives having taken refuge in free Greece, they met with a true and brotherly reception. Events similar to these happened to us in 1866, when, by their blood and prolific contributions, our Greek brothers helped us, and for two consecutive years fed and fully maintained more than 60,000 women and children who, in order to escape the Turkish atrocities, the Great Powers carried to Greece in their own vessels. But the above reasons, though very powerful, are not the only ones that tend to show to the General Conference the reasonable and just solution; independently of them we have to record the following facts:
The three Great Powers-England, France, and Russia-in their high wisdom, resolved to put an end to the prolonged and bloody war between the Greeks and Turks in 1821, and laid as the basis of their operations the pacification of those countries which, though they had taken an active part in the war, contained also Mussulman inhabitants, "in order," as the Treaty says of, 1827, "to put a stop to encounters which are the inevitable results of a prolonged struggle;" for this reason, by the Ist Article of the Treaty, the political power was wrenched from the hands of the Turks. But Candia, though then nearly one-third of her population were Turks of the most fanatic description; and though she had taken a very active part in the struggle, and at last deprived the Turks of Gramvoussa, the strongest fortress in the island, and confined them in the fortresses of Chania, Rathimno, and Eracly; notwithstanding all this Candia was not included in the newly-created Greek Kingdom. In vain our fathers, from whom Gramvoussa had been forcibly taken along with all the materials for prolonging the war, protested against this horrible injustice, and this was done to execute the terms of the alliance. In vain the Greek authorities-the Assembly, the Senate, and the Government-represented by the late Capodistria, protested against it. In vain, also, the Representatives of the Great Protecting Powers at Constantinople, by their notification at Poro, dated November, 1828, to the Greek Government, acknowledged the injustice done and openly declared that "Candia is in open revolution, and they consider it their duty to represent to the Alliance their many rights, and in her name to appeal for the powerful protection and execution of the principles of the London Treaty." In vain again, after the Greek independency, the ever-remembered Leopold, in his answer of thbrary, 1830, to the Representatives of the Great Powers, warmly took up the cause of Candia and invoked on her behalf “the application of the Treaty of the 6th July, 1827." The just claims of our country were fully recognized by the Courts of the Allied Powers, but were not effectually acted upon; and this we fully affirm as not being made use of, by not handing to the Greek Kingdom other provinces in exchange for Candia and Samos.
The acknowledgment of our country's rights, and her being handed over to Turkey in exchange, is also admitted by the Representatives of the Allied Powers in the mentioned note of 27th Apr, 1830: "In case of being demanded from Turkey as the fourth paragraph says, the cession of the Island Egrypos and the fortresses of the provinces in eastern Greece, she will receive as compensation, the reconquest of all western Greece, which is at present in the hands of Greeks, &c., viz., of provinces that will in future be handed over to Greece according to Treaties of 27th June and 30th August, 1832."
It must not be forgotten, the note says, by the Sublime Porte, that the alliance imposes the obligation to the Greeks to give up Samos, and that part of Candia that had hitherto been under their control.
It is clearly shown, Mr. Consul, that even under diplomatic views, the most reasonable solution of the Candian question will be the annexation of that island to the Greek Kingdom, and such a solution will tend to rectify the injustice done to Candia in the struggle of 1821.
And now that the Great Powers are thinking of solving many questions pending in the East, and the convocation of a European Conference is not far distant, it would be an act of justice, and worthy of the civilization represented by the Great Powers, to rectify the wrongs that Candia suffered in 1830. The Candiots are in hopes that the Great Powers will solve this question every way in a just and reasonable manner, as shown by the General Assembly of the Candiots, their hopes being strengthened by the facts that the Great Powers recognized once more in 1866 the question of their