PP/GC/LE/165 Letter from Sir G.C.Lewis to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston, regarding the cession of the Ionian Isles, 22 December [1862]
Letter from Sir George Cornewall Lewis, second Baronet, [Secretary of State for War], War Office, [Whitehall, London], to Henry John Temple, third Viscount Palmerston: [Transcript] "From what I have recently heard I feel sure that the present intention of the Derbyite leaders in the House of Commons is to take an early vote on the cession of the Ionian Isles. Not, however, on the merits, but upon the decision of [f.1v] the cabinet to act without making any communication to Parliament, or obtaining its authority. It is very likely that you may have heard this from other quarters. I have, however, thought it desirable to write, as my information is undoubtedly authentic. In a constitutional point of view the proceeding of the government is quite correct: I [f.2r] doubt whether either the acquisition or cession of territory by treaty has ever been made the subject of a preliminary vote of Parliament. There is in this case the peculiarity that the House cannot make the cession without obtaining the previous consent of the parties to the treaty of Vienna. [f.2v] I suppose, however, they reckon on persuading the House that they ought to have been consulted. It may \ be / useful to keep this intention in mind with reference to shaping the course of future proceedings, before the meeting of Parliament. [f.3r] If no step had been taken, the government might have moved an address to the Crown, requesting the Queen to direct negotiations with foreign powers for the purpose of obtaining their consent to the [f.3v] cession, but it is too late now to adopt this course. The recent American blue book shews, I think, pretty clearly that we should have got nothing from an [f.4r] offer of mediation but insult." 22 Dec [1862]
Two papers
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"Derbyite leader": Benjamin Disraeli, later first Earl Beaconsfield, Member of Parliament for Buckinghamshire [?]
Treaty of Vienna, 1815, by which Great Britain established a protectorate over the Ionian Islands
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