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With regard to the effect of the Judicial Regulations, I beg you to observe, that effectual security must be afforded to property, by means of a wise, salutary and, above all, a speedy administration of Justice, before a Country (and particularly a Country circumstanced as this is,) can make a rapid progress in the career of prosperity.
That of which you stand much in need, Most Noble Gentlemen, is Capital, and, before you procure that Capital, it is absolutely necessary that the Laws should afford to the Possessors of it perfect security and protection.
I sincerely hope that we have made some progress upon this point, -a point which I shall constantly bear in mind.
The Education of Youth, more than any other object, is essentially connected with the attainment of your National Prosperity; and the measures to be adopted for this purpose must be directed to the Education both of the Youth of these Islands, and of that of the neighbouring Continent.
I shall probably submit to you a Proposition upon this subject during the present Session; and you niay rest assured that it is a subject to which I shall have the honour of continuing to devote my attention, and one of which I shall never lose sight.
I have now, Most Noble Gentlemen, touched upon all the points of importance which occur to me at the present moment.
You will perceive, by this general Exposition, that the affairs of your Country are by no means in a discouraging state; but that the vigorous promotion of your prosperity will greatly depend upon a firm adherence, on your part, to the principles by which you have thus far been animated, and to that moderate course of policy which yon have hitherto wisely pursued.
This description of your situation is submitted to you in the most candid, frank, and unreserved manner. The more you examine it, the greater will be my satisfaction, and I will venture to add, that of your Most Illustrious and enlightened Senate.
Your Compatriots and your Country justly anticipate, that the Measures you are about to adopt will lead to the realization of our present cheering prospects, and impart the firmest support to a system, which, maintained with firmness, constancy, and moderation, will speedily place you in a far more elevated position than that which you have bitherto occupied,-a position which, from the rare advantages bestowed upon you by Providence, it only requires the exercise of your wisdom, your talents, and your patriotism, speedily to attain.
SPEECH of the Lord High Commissioner of His Britannic
Majesty, Sovereign Protector of the Ionian Islands, on Closing the Legislative Assembly.—Corfu, 31st May, 1819.
(Translation.) Most ILLUSTRIOUS PRESIDENT, AND Most NOBLE MEMBERS OP
THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY. At the Constitutional close of the present Session of Parliament, I cannot refrain from expressing to you my entire satisfaction with all the proceedings of the Most Noble Legislative Assembly during its various sittings.
I deeply regret that serious indisposition has prevented me from devoting the necessary attention to the various important matters, which I earnestly desired to submit to the deliberations of the Most Noble Assembly.-I more particularly allude to the organization of the Militia, and to the formation of a regular Code of Sanatory Regulations for these States.
These two objects, agreeably to the terms of the Constitutional Charter, devolve upon the Lord High Commissioner of His Majesty, and, so soon as the measures connected with both are prepared, (which they will be immediately), they shall be submitted to your consideration and approbation in that frauk, candid, and unreserved manner, in which, in my opinion, every affair of the Government ought to be communicated to the Representatives of the People.
It is also a subject of regret to me, that circumstances have prevented me from executing my intentions, with regard to the establishment of Normal Schools in these States, and of a College for the Youth of the Ionian Islands, and of the neighbouring Continent.
I have, however, the satisfaction to inform you, Most Noble Gentlemen, that the preliminary measures, connected with the settlement of these two important points, are in active progress;—that all possible attention has been devoted to the choice of Persons, qualified to convey instruction in the most necessary branches of science, and that the site for the erection and establishment of the College has been definitively fixed upon; and that every thing inspires me with the hope that, when next I have the honour to meet you in this place, you will no longer be called upon to decide on the theory of these Establishments, but will have to pronounce how far the practical steps which will have been taken, correspond witli the importance of the subject, the state of our Finances, and the condition of the Country.
Although the Most Noble Assembly has not directed its attention (1817-18.]
to the subjects I have enumerated, its labours have, in other respects, been most useful and important; and, among its various measures, not one of them has been characterized by greater utility and importance than that for equalizing the Import Duties in all the Ionian Islands.
Such a measure will not only afford security to the Commerce of Foreigners, but will more especially tend to keep up a good understanding and a community of interests between all the different Islands of these States.
It was my intention to have proposed a similar measure for the various Export Duties in the several Islands, and I am still of opinion that it is equally just and expedient; but, in reflecting upon the best mode of carrying it into effect, I had to encounter so many difficulties, that I resolved to defer the execution of my intentions until the next Session, with the view of collecting further information, founded upon more certain data.
This subject will be the first that I shall make a point of submitting to your consideration next Year, and I cannot refrain from earnestly recommending you to devote the greatest possible attention, during the Recess, to this most essential point; which, if settled upon a just and equitable basis, must greatly tend to ensure the harmony, advantage, and general prosperity, of all and each of the Islands, but the settlement of which demands the most extensive knowledge and the most minute examination.
At the commencement of the present Session, I had proposed to bring a Bill into Parliament, for imposing an additional Duty of 5 per cent., ad valorem, on dried Currants exported from the other Islands, and a Duty upon all Wine brought into the City of Corfu ; in the form in which the measure was provisionally adopted by the Most Illustrious Senate, founded on data, which, at that period, appeared to me to have been attentively considered.
But ascertaining upon further examination, that the duty on Wine, owing to subsequent circumstances, would operate injuriously to the Wine Growers of this Island, and considering that, consistently with justice to the other Islands, the duty on Wine could not be taken off, whilst the concomitant duty on Currants was retained, I have considered it better for the present to abolish both, rather than persist in a measure, which has been found to press heavily upon a portion of the population, although the measure itself was originally just and expedient.
These are the considerations which have prevented me from placing upon your Table a Bill for the above purpose; and, as the Regulation of the Most Illustrious Senate upon the subject is of a legislative nature, and has not been confirmed by you according to the Constitutional Charter, it will of course expire at the close of the present Session of Parliament.
I had earnestly desired also to introduce a Bill founded on another Resolution of the Most Illustrious Senate, relative to the permission to lend small sums of money at a higher rate of interest than is allowed by the Resolution itself;-a measure peculiarly called for in this Island; whilst the Bill would, at the same time, have confirmed the other provisions of the Resolution. But the course which, upon reflection, I now propose to pursue
in this affair, is to suggest to the Most Illustrious Senate the necessity of renewing, with the least possible delay, the Regulation of last year, with certain modifications proposed by me, and any others that may be considered necessary. In the course of the next Session, we shall have ample opportunities of judging, by experience, of the permanent Law which it will be advisable to adopt upon this important subject.
Acting upon safe and prudent principles, I cannot but entirely approve the Resolution of the Most Noble Assembly, respecting the Codes of procedure in civil and criminal matters, and the Civil List of the present year.
I feel the greatest pleasure in observing that both these interesting points are left in such a stage, as to admit of the adoption of any measure that may be considered salutary; and it will be the duty of Parliament, in the ensuing Session, to take them into immediate consideration, and to consider of the most effectual means of correcting and amending them.
It is true that the Most Illustrious Senate is empowered by the Constitution to introduce such provisions and amendments into the Judicial Procedure as it may consider to be necessary and expedient; but I entertain too high an opinion, and I have had too much experience of its uniform wisdom and prudence, to suppose that that illustrious Body will do otherwise in this affair, than follow the recommendations of this Most Noble Assembly, by requiring from the various Authorities their Reports, on the practical operation and results of the Procedure, in order that Parliament may be enabled next year to form a correct opinion as to its further expediency, unless the most urgent necessity should unexpectedly arise, in the mean time, for the interference of the Most Illustrious Senate.
Before I conclude, I consider it my duty once more to express to you my regret, that the Regulations connected with your Religious Establishment have not yet been completed.
There were circumstances which presented the most serious obstacles to this desirable result, and which rendered it a matter of peculiar difficulty; but happily all these obstacles are now removed, and I have no longer any doubt of the speedy and satisfactory termination of this affair, in which you are all so deeply interested.
Most Noble Gentlemen, I once more beg to express my sincere thanks for the moderation, prudence, and wisdom, of all your proceedings.
This is a duty the more incumbent upon me on the present occasion, because the confidence which has been reposed in me by this Most Noble Assembly,-possessed as it is of such eminent virtues, - bas afforded me during my indisposition more essential comfort, and more real consolation, than I have experienced from any other source.