Warburton, Eliot
Travels in Egypt and the Holy Land, or, The crescent and the cross: comprising the romance and realities of eastern travel — Philadelphia, 1859

Page: 242
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License: Public Domain Mark Use / Order
1 cm


ance is necessary to induce them to accept office. The House of Assen.bly
only sits for three months in every second year: the power of convening
or proroguing is vested in the Lord High Commissioner; that of dissolution,
in the Crown alone.

This appears a sufficiently free form of government; and the only complaints
I heard against it were, that the system of representation was corrupt ; that
there was no freedom of the press ; and that Corfu was taxed to pay England.

With respect to the former, a list of the persons whom the Lord High Com-
missioner deems eligible for representatives is sent to each island previous to an
election; the electors may choose from out that list alone ; if they don't like
A., they must have B. To this objection I heard it replied that the islands, if
left to their own selection, would return none but deputies of the Anti-English
party, which would involve the government in perpetual difficulty.

With respect to the Freedom of the Press, however invaluable that liberty
may be in a great country, it appears to be productive of very indifferent results
in a small community, where its spirit must be mainly fed upon personalities
and imaginary grievances, as is the case at Malta.

The third ground of complaint is the tax of ,£36,000 per annum claimed by
England for purposes said to be unconnected with the interests of the island.
It is true that this sum was formerly levied and applied to the repair of the ex-
isting fortifications and the creation of new ; but it has not been levied for the
last five years, and probably never will again. Moreover, the expenditure of
English money in the island amounts to at least five times the amount of
this tax.

I mention these accusations against the English government as proving how
little reason exists for complaint. The benefits conferred upon tho RepubliCi
and upon Corfu especially, by English rule, are not so easily enumerated. Sir
Thomas Maitland (familiarly known in the island as " King Tom") first re-
duced the island to order and security: roads were made in every direction;
lazarettos built; schools established ; the town and fortifications repaired; com-
merce encouraged ; and a native police created.

The island appeared, to my superficial observation, to be prosperous and
thriving, with full employment for its people, and a fair rate of remuneration
for labour. Under any circumstances, we may proudly contrast its present
state with that which it exhibited under the tyranny of the Venetian " prove-
ditori," the Russian " commandants," and—worse than all—of its own native
factious authorities

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