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qui confère un droit de plus à notre patrie, indique d'une manière évidente la réparation de l'injustice de 1830. On savait d'avance pourtant que le peuple Crétois se serait prononcé pour l'union de son pays à la Grèce; on le savait parce que son programme insurrectionnel contenait une pareille solution et que les autorités révolutionnaires agissaient au nom du Roi des Hellènes, Georges I.
En terminant, M. le Consul, nous supplions les Grandes Puissances de commencer d'agir activement avant que le Gouvernement Ottoman ne procède à l'emploi de mesures violentes contre la population Chrétienne de Candie. En l'état actuel des affaires de Turquie, la guerre, si elle éclate, aura lieu principalement entre nous et nos compatriotes Musulmans dévoués à la Sublime Porte. La guerre prendra alors de terribles et sauvages proportions; elle irritera de plus des passions des deux parties et rendra peu aisée dans l'avenir l'œuvre de conciliation entre Chrétiens et Musulmans de ce même pays. C'est ce que, pour notre part, nous sommes loin de souhaiter. Chrétiens de Candie désirent vivre à l'avenir en bonne intelligence, en parfaite égalité de droits avec leurs compatriotes, comme vivent dans tous les pays civilisés les peuples de race et de croyances différentes. Pour ce qui le concerne, le peuple Crétois attendra la décision des Grandes Puissances les armes à la main, dans l'intérêt de sa propre sûreté, mais ne procèdera pas à des actes d'hostilité contre le Gouvernement Ottoman ni à des agressions contre les Musulmans indigènes. De son côté, l'Assemblée Générale fera tous ses efforts pour le maintien de l'ordre et de la paix dans le pays.
Dans l'espoir, M. le Consul, qu'en transmettant au Gouvernement, que vous représentez si dignement, notre humble pétition, vous l'accompagnerez de vos bien. veillantes appréciations en faveur du malheureux peuple Crétois, nous avons l'honneur d'être, L'Assemblée Générale des Crétois,
(Suivent les signatures.)
[For translation, see Inclosure in No. 34.]
Consul Sandwith to the Earl of Derby.-(Received March 29.)
Canea, Crete, March 15, 1878. I HAVE the honour to inform your Lordship that the Turkish transport "Babel" landed in Suda Bay yesterday five battalions of regular troops, both Nizam and Redif, coming from Varna. Their aggregate number is 2,700 men. The total number of regulars now in Crete I believe to be about 17,000.
Consul Sandwith to the Earl of Derby.-(Received April 3.)
Canea, Crete, March 19, 1878. I HAD the honour yesterday to receive your Lordship's despatch of the 4th instant, in which was inclosed a copy of a despatch from the Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs to the Greek Chargé d'Affaires in London, containing several statements as to the outbreak of an insurrection in Crete, and the action of the Turkish authorities and military forces; and your Lordship instructs me to furnish you with a report thereon.
M. Delyanni's despatch being dated the 15th February, refers to events which occurred in the first half of that month, about which I have already reported to your Lordship. The opening statement, for example, describing the disorders committed by the Bashi-Bazouks, who had been armed by Samih Pasha the very last day of his tenure of office, is in the main correct, though somewhat exaggerated; and these disorders were reported in my despatch of the 8th February, where I stated that between 500 and 600 Peabody rifles had been distributed indiscriminately among the mob. Besides the acts of violence committed by these men in the village of Galata, there were not wanting cases of Christians being robbed and beaten by them on the roads, the natural result being that many of them decamped to the mountain villages, as I there
mentioned. With regard to the statement that they were forbidden to bring their furniture into town, the action of Samih Pasha had been very inconsistent in this respect. As far back as August last I stated (despatch of the 23rd August) "As soon as it became apparent that the Christians were abandoning their villages, the Vali gave orders for them to be stopped and sent back, while free ingress is permitted to the Moslems, the distinction thus made between the two classes of the Sultan's subjects causing painful surprise.' I subsequently stated (despatch of the 31st August) that his Excellency had removed the prohibition as regarded the Christians; but when the town had become thronged with fugitives, Samih Pasha gave a general order for no more families or their effects to enter. As the Moslem immigrants had already found shelter in the town and neighbourhood, this order affected the Christians only, and it was naturally said to be purposely directed against them.
The statement that Adossides Pasha, on his return from Fré, promised, on my representations, to disarm "this band of official bandits" is not quite correct. As I said in my despatch of the 8th ultimo, I immediately went to Adossides Pasha and begged him to put a stop to the further distribution of arms; and his Excellency called the Colonel of gendarmes and in my presence peremptorily forbade any more arms to be given out. I added, what my Greek colleague appears to have omitted to state, that the ringleaders of those guilty of committing these disorders were arrested, and a special Commission, presided over by his Excellency, was formed to try them. And again (despatch of the 14th February), "while one of the Chiefs of these Moslem volunteers had behaved with ruffianly violence, it is but fair to state that another has gained the general good will and confidence by his justice and humanity." I may now add that the prisons are full of Mussulmans guilty of acts of violence towards the Christians, and who have been condemned by the special Commission. In despatch of the 8th February I also said, "The total disarmament of these men the Vali hardly dares to attempt." Afterwards, indeed, his Excellency was prevailed upon to issue more arms, but I remarked to your Lordship that the Porte was to blame for leaving the Vali without a military colleague, whom these matters specially concerned.
M. Delyanni's despatch then refers to what had taken place in Rethymo, which agrees substantially with what I had reported in the postscript of my despatch of the 11th ultimo, and in that of the 14th; and no doubt the effect of these disgraceful scenes was, as stated by the Foreign Minister, to propagate the insurrectionary movement.
The recall of the garrison and Governor (Kaïmakam) of Sphakia I had the honour to report in my despatch of the 8th ultimo.
The despatch then proceeds to speak of certain Chiefs displaying the Greek flag, and proclaiming the union of the island with Greece. The first case of the kind, that of Mavroyanni, in Kissamos, was reported in my despatch of the 2nd ultimo, but I there stated that the demonstration fell flat. On the 11th of the same month I stated that the Greek flag had again been unfurled in Kissamos, Selino, and other districts, whose delegates proceeded to vote for the annexation of Crete to Greece, in opposition to the wishes of the other delegates.
The despatch ends by calling attention to the statement of M. Logotheti (the Greek Consul) that the conduct of the armed Christian bands and of the Christians in general had been exemplary and marked by conciliatory and humane sentiments-a fact admitted by the influential Mussulmans, as well as by the Consuls. To the general truth of this statement I have frequently borne willing testimony, and have mentioned also that Samih Pasha acknowledges its truth. I beg, however, distinctly to record my disbelief in the case of mutilation mentioned as having been perpetrated on the body of a Christian by Turkish soldiers. I heard of it as a rumour, my Greek colleague being the first to tell me of it, but it never got beyond the stage of a rumour, nor have I met with any one else who professed to believe it, though I made several inquiries on the subject. The only authenticated case of mutilation that has come to my notice is that mentioned in my despatch of the 7th January, where some Mussulmans had cut off the nose and ears of a Christian whom they had murdered in the district of Candia. No soldiers have been guilty of such acts.
I have, &c. (Signed)
THOMAS B. SANDWITH.
P.S. March 21.-In a conversation I have just had with my Greek colleague, in which I casually mentioned the story of the Christian alleged to have been mutilated
by Turkish soldiers, he freely acknowledged that he had been misinformed, and that there was no foundation for it.
T. B. S.
Consul Sandwith to the Earl of Derby.—(Received April 3.)
Canea, Crete, March 21, 1878.
I HAVE the honour to inform your Lordship that the blockade-runner" Panhellenion has made her fourth successful voyage, and landed ammunitions of war and provisions at Psari Forada, near Hierapetra, in the south-east of Crete. The Turkish naval authorities are unable to keep up the blockade of the island as formerly from want of coal, and the squadron lying in Suda Bay is condemned to inactivity on this account. The Turkish vessels on the station comprise the three iron-clads, "Orchanié," "Assari Tefik," " Ijlalie," the wooden corvette " Beyrout," and the dispatch vessels "Ismail" and "Suria." The latter was sent yesterday in search of the Austrian mail steamer, which, after quitting this port on the 18th instant for Rethymo and Candia, had not been heard of, but she was obliged to return after a few hours' run with empty coal-bunkers. The mail boat was afterwards picked up at sea by the Eastern Telegraph Company's steamer, which had been laying down a cable, and towed into Candia. She had met with an accident to her machinery, and in consequence the mail will not be delivered in Syra till the 23rd instant.
Consul Sandwith to the Earl of Derby.-(Received April 3.)
Canea, Crete, March 25, 1878. IT is just a month yesterday since the breaking out of the abortive insurrection, which lasted only four days, and which ceased by a mutual understanding between both belligerents. It suited neither party that the petty warfare should continue, for the authorities had but 10,000 troops in the whole island, and the insurgents were mainly dependent on the towns for their supplies of food. During the truce which had been agreed upon the Turks have received some 7,000 additional troops, drawn from their strongholds north of the Balkans, and the military authorities have pushed forward the narrow limits in which they had been confined by the insurgents by occupying the villages of Platania, Haghia, Marina, and Stalo, ten miles to the west of Canea. Their object in thus advancing their posts seems to have been to secure the means of grinding corn for the troops, as Platania possesses water-mills, the existing mills being no longer adequate to supply the increased demand for flour, since there cannot be fewer than 12,000 soldiers in this immediate neighbourhood, besides 500 zaptiehs and 3,000 volunteers, or Bashi-Bazouks. The latter distinguished themselves, as usual, by pillaging the villages thus occupied, in Stalo particularly, not only carrying away such portable furniture as they could lay their hands on, but completely wrecking the houses; nor did the presence of the regular soldiers have the effect of restraining their violence. What Costaki Pasha apprehended has repeatedly occurred, for his Excellency was from the beginning averse to putting arms in the hands of the local Mussulmans, but he saw himself forced to yield to the popular clamour which called for that step, for there was no General at that time of sufficient authority on whom he could rely for support. He expressed himself with the greatest indignation at this wanton destruction of the property of helpless Christians, who had taken no part in the insurrection; and he begins to see that it is beyond his power to restrain the native ferocity of these Mussulmans, whose hate towards the Christians is unrelenting. An energetic Commander could undoubtedly put a stop to such scenes, but it is evident that the Turkish officers generally tacitly approve them.
The ultimate pacification of the island is by these events being rendered increasingly difficult, and they are more to be regretted because the majority of the inhabitants are far from disposed to resort to arms, having all along rested their hopes
on the European Powers intervening in their favour so far as to guarantee them an improved administration, union with Greece, or the forming of Crete into an autonomous Principality; however earnestly they desire one or other of these alternatives, they are hardly prepared to fight for them should Europe recommend less radical changes. The physical disadvantages under which they labour largely influence their present humour, for the Cretans are no longer the high-spirited, well-fed insurgents of 1866, the younger generation of whom had had no experience of the miseries attendant on war, for now even the young men remember as children the fearful sufferings which only ten years ago they and their parents underwent in the struggle for independence, either as fugitives in the mountains, or as refugees on a foreign soil. They are now reduced to a state of extreme destitution, and it is distressing to witness the haggard faces and hollow cheeks of the poor wretches who come into town to beg for a morsel of bread, and who support life on wild roots and herbs. This is not the material from which to recruit volunteers for any cause, for the several Chiefs cannot afford to feed, from the resources they receive from Greece, more than the few hundreds who already rally round each of them. However disaffected the Cretan Christians are towards the Ottoman Government, their one thought now is to find the means for satisfying the cravings of hunger, and this must continue to preoccupy them till they begin to reap their crops in the end of May. Meanwhile vessels continue to land arms and provisions on different parts of the coast. Three such cargoes have been landed in Kissamos and Sphakia within the last three days, and the biscuits thus brought are more welcome than the arms. There is no attempt now of keeping up the blockade, the Turkish cruizers being short of coal.
The General Assembly sitting at Fré, in Apokorona, appears to be regaining the authority which had been set at nought by the Chiefs when they opened hostilities. They have elected four notables to proceed to Berlin, where it is expected the Congress will meet, with the avowed object of reminding the members of that august Assembly of the claims of the Cretans.
Consul Sandwith to the Earl of Derby.-(Received April 3.)
Canea, Crete, March 26, 1878. I HAVE the honour to inform your Lordship that yesterday morning three battalions of troops were marched into the district of Alikianee, which begins about ten miles to the west and south-west of this town and extends to Kissamos and Selino. Costaki Pasha told me, in a conversation I had with his Excellency yesterday, that this step was decided on in consequence of a petition signed by sixty of the principal inhabitants of that district requesting that troops might be sent for their protection, as they were opposed to the idea of insurrection, which only the presence in their midst of the Chiefs come from Greece kept alive. Osman Nouri Pasha having received instructions when he left Constantinople gradually to extend the limits of the territory acknowledging the authority of the Porte, the opportunity seemed a fair one for carrying them out.
The sending of the petition to the Pasha has produced vehement indignation among the Chiefs, who, as is usual with them, have addressed a letter to the Consuls declaring that the petition had been got up by a few persons of no repute; that all the principal people had refused to sign it, and that some of their signatures had been forged. The probability is that they had signed it, but that they were afraid to acknowledge that they had initiated the movement. I incline to this belief because I am convinced that the people generally, as I have repeatedly stated, are averse from courting the risks and sufferings incident to insurrection, and prefer to gain their ends by peaceful methods.
It is yet too soon to learn how the soldiers have been received by the peaceable inhabitants of the districts to be occupied, and whether the Chiefs meditate opposition. The disgraceful destruction of Stalos, mentioned in my last despatch, is not an event calculated to reassure a timid population. The Vali, to whom I communicated my misgivings as to the doings of the volunteers, declared that on his representations
Osman Pasha had forbidden any of them to accompany the expedition, and he added that he hoped by degrees to disarm the greater number of them.
I have, &c.
Safvet Pasha to Musurus Pasha.-(Communicated to the Marquis of Salisbury by
Constantinople, le 2 Avril, 1878. VOTRE Excellence connaît la situation qui est faite à nos provinces limitrophes et à l'île de Crète par suite des troubles que les bandes venues de Grèce ont commencé à y propager.
Lorsque, à la suite des représentations unanimes des Grandes Puissances, le Gouvernement Hellénique rappela les troupes qui, sous les prétextes les moins admissibles, avaient pénétré sur notre territoire, et nous donna les assurances les plus catégoriques et les plus formelles sur ses intentions pacifiques et amicales, la Sublime Porte était en droit d'espérer qu'il entrerait dans une voie plus conforme aux relations de bon voisinage existant entre les deux Etats. Cependant, et bien que depuis lors ces assurances nous aient été plus d'une fois renouvelées, les Comités révolutionnaires formés en Grèce n'en ont pas moins continué à agir et à se livrer, sous les yeux mêmes de l'autorité, à leurs menées subversives. C'est ainsi que les expéditions en hommes, en armes et en munitions de guerre dirigées sur notre territoire prennent de proportions de plus en plus grandes. Il ne se passe pour ainsi dire pas de jour sans qu'on ait à nous signaler les enterprises d'une nouvelle bande, et ce qui est plus grave encore, c'est que ces bandes, commandées par des chefs Hellènes, comptent dans leurs rangs des officiers de l'armée régulière, et qu'elles sont toutes armées de fusils de précision provenant des fabriques Européennes. Les localités plus particulièrement exploités par les comités insurrectionnels sont les Vilayets de Salonique et de Janina et l'île de Crète, où ils cherchent à soulever les populations paisibles contre l'autorité légitime de la Sublime Porte.
Devant un pareil état de choses, le Gouvernement Impérial a dû réunir des troupes en nombre suffisant et les envoyer sur les lieux. Il a pris toutes les mesures commandées par les circonstances; mais, alimentées comme elles sont, les enterprises criminelles contre lesquelles il a à lutter ne peuvent être que difficilement réprimées.
Nous nous trouvons, en effet, en présence de plusieurs bandes organisées, équipées et habilement commandées, étant placées sur divers points de notre territoire et faisant une campagne de guérillas.
Avec le retour de la belle saison, ces bandes trouveront moyen de se mieux fortifier, et, parcourant le pays en tous sens, s'abritant en tous lieux, donneront à leur œuvre de désorganisation une extension toujours croissante. La Sublime Porte pourrait sans aucun doute mettre fin à ces agressions et à ces désordres, en occupant la frontière Hellénique et en dirigeant sa flotte sur les principales îles et sur littoral de la Grèce ; mais il lui répugne de recourir à ces mesures extrèmes. Aussi, afin de nous épargner l'emploi de ces moyens, le Gouvernement Hellénique devrait-il s'empresser de tarir la source de ces expéditions aussi dangereuses que répréhensibles. Nous sommes d'autant plus autorisés à le lui demander que, dans un entretien avec moi, le Ministre de Grèce à Constantinople m'a dit que, d'après son opinion personnelle, si une entente s'établissait à ce sujet entre les deux pays, la question pourrait être réglée. Le Cabinet d'Athènes ne saurait plus dès lors se retrancher derrière son impuissance.
Veuillez donc prier le Gouvernement de Sa Majesté Britannique de faire dans ces ordres d'idée de pressantes représentations au Gouvernement Hellénique pour l'amener à adopter des mesures promptes et efficaces, propres à mettre un terme à une situation qui menace de provoquer de nouvelles complications, et qui est aussi préjudiciable au repos et à la sécurité de nos provinces que contraire aux rapports existant entre les deux Etats.
Si le but que poursuit le Gouvernement Hellénique est d'obtenir des réformes pour nos provinces limitrophes, il peut être sûr que ce vœu sera réalisé. La Sublime Porte se trouve à cet égard liée par les Préliminaires de Paix signés avec la Russie, et elle se prépare déjà à mettre incessamment à l'exécution les nouvelles réformes. Par conséquent, l'existence de ces bandes ne saurait avoir aucune raison d'être. Elle donnerait seulement lieu à une inutile effusion de sang et mettrait les habitants paisibles de ces