« PrécédentContinuer »
THIRD INSTALMENT OF THE GREEK LOAN.
In one of our earliest Numbers we stated, that "in the East, and especially in Greece, Lord Grey's "Cabinet left Russia absolutely nothing to de"sire." If any thing could add to our regret, that we should have been hitherto prevented from laying before the world the tragical history of that unfortunate country, Greece, it would be the rumour that the Governments of England and France are about to pay the third instalment of the loan guaranteed to King Otho, by the treaty of May 7th, 1832. Our first impression on hearing it was, that the anarchy and civil war to which Greece is a prey, had awakened in our rulers those feelings of generosity so peculiarly British, and that the Cabinet of England, with that ignorance and inattention to the past history of Greece, which has uniformly marked every act connected with that country, has again imagined that pecu
niary means are really all that is requisite to restore to Greece order, security, and good govern
We assert, without fear of contradiction, that the main cause of all the miseries of Greece, since the battle of Navarin, has been our having, in the first place, given any money at all to the Governments of Greece; and, secondly, in having uniformly contrived to place the disposal of that money in the hands of a foreign, and anti-national faction in that country.
Our readers will be surprised at hearing, that not only the Greek nation has never applied to any foreign Government whatsoever for a pecuniary loan, but that the National Assembly, which confirmed the election of King Otto, expressly stated, that the previous recognition of the national debt, due to the British Capitalists, was the only step calculated to secure to Greece a true political existence, and that a British Minister, by one single act in opposition to that Assembly, destroyed the credit of Greece, and simultaneously committed his country to the irremediable sacrifice of three millions sterling.
The sagacity and financial intelligence of the Primates of the Morea, as exemplified in all the State Papers of that interesting people, enabled them at once to see the fundamental and fatal
error of the Statesmen of Europe, in assuming the right of interfering in the financial administration of an Independent State; for it must be clear to the meanest understanding, that the guarantee of the debts of one state by another, implies that the assisted state has no credit of its own; and further, it entails upon both parties the subsequent misfortune that the cessation of that guarantee wholly ruins the credit of the poorer party, and, consequently, its means of paying its creditor.
The next extraordinary fact connected with the Greek Loan is, that it has never been accounted for either in Greece or to the British Parliament, whose sanction to the loan was only granted on the express condition that, in the December preceding every Session, an account should be made for both Houses of Parliament of the sums applied, according to the treaty, to the payment of the capital and interest of the loan.*
But the very stipulations of the treaty respecting this loan have remained a dead letter. It was
that the Sovereign of Greece and the Greek State shall be bound to appropriate to the
See 4th Volume of Hertstett's Treaties, under the head of
Greece," or Act of Parliament, 2 & 3 Will. 4, c. 121.
payment of the interest and sinking fund of the "instalments of the loan, the first revenues of the state, in such manner that the actual receipts of "the Greek treasury shall be devoted, first of all, "to the payment of the said interest and sinking fund, and shall not be employed for any other purpose, until those payments, on account of the "instalments of the loan raised under the guarantee "of the three Courts, shall have been completely "secured for the current year."
"And the diplomatic Representatives of the "three Courts in Greece, were specially charged to "watch over the fulfilment of the last mentioned "stipulation."
Now if this condition had been fulfilled, the Greek Government, according to the fundamental laws of Greece, must have been compelled to frame the annual budget within the revenue of the country, and therefore the non-fulfilment by the Representatives of the three Powers, of the duty which was part and parcel of the treaty, justified Count Armensperg in considering that the purse of England was inexhaustible, and that under every circumstance she would continue to pay as much money as Greece might choose to spend.
We do not say this in a captious sense, for we can easily conceive, that when our Representatives abroad are ordered to support any foreign statesmen whatever, whether they be Mendizabels, Palmellas, Capodistrias, or Armenspergs, such statesmen, sure of the support of England, are not only divested of all responsibility, but they throw that responsibility upon England herself, discredit her in the eyes of their own nations, and obtain all the support she is capable of affording them, while their policy is noxious to their country, or hostile to England; yet it is impossible for England, until she makes herself intimately acquainted with the character and condition of those countries where it is impossible for her to avoid interfering, nay, more, until she is right in her conclusions as regards those countries, it is impossible for her to do more than pin her faith on an individual, and suffer that individual to appropriate to himself the influence which is given to England by the respect which these countries entertain for her.
But the King of Bavaria, who, contrary to all the arrangements of the Treaty of May the 7th, has been continually suffered, if not instigated, to inter