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determined to have Prince Alfred of England and the crown was offered to him in October. By an agreement established between the three Powers it had been settled that no member of their reigning families might occupy the Greek throne, and upon the deposition of King Otto, England had at once proposed to the other Powers that this principle be reaffirmed. The other Cabinets, so long as there appeared to be a chance of the choice falling on a prince of their respective nationalities, were eager to uphold the right of the people to make their own choice. When, however, they saw that the choice was likely to fall on Prince Alfred of England, the Powers agreed to the British proposal and signed a convention to that effect on December 4, 1862.1
The Greeks refused to accept Prince Alfred's refusal and proceeded to elect him by a plebiscite. Before his election, however, the British Cabinet, whether anxious to carve a way out of a position untenable in the face of the continued opposition of the islanders, or eager to strengthen the Greek kingdom as a counter balance to the growing Slav power, had, on December 8, 1862, adopted a resolution to surrender the Protectorate. This resolution which, in view of the event, presumably contained the provision that it should be subject to the vote of the Ionian Assembly, was forwarded to the Provisional Government with the stipulations that if a suitable person were chosen as king, if the constitutional form of government were preserved, and if all attempt at aggression against Turkey were abandoned, the Ionian Islands would be ceded to Greece. 4
The choice of Prince Alfred being out of the question, Prince George of Denmark, whom the British desired as a substitute, was elected by the Greek Assembly on March 3, 1863, and in the treaty of July 13 between Great Britain, France, Russia, and Denmark establishing the Danish prince as king of Greece Great Britain pledged herself to add the Ionian Islands to the realm of the new King “when such union shall have been found to be in accordance with the wishes of the Ionian Parliament and shall have obtained the assent of the Courts of Austria, France, Prussia, and Russia.” 5 By a convention of August 1, these Courts, which had been signatories to the Treaty of Paris, agreed that when they should obtain certain knowledge of the assent of the Assembly, they were ready to come to an agreement with Great Britain with regard to the final terms of the treaty. By this convention the consultation of the representatives of the Islands was reserved to the British Government.
1 Cambridge Modern History, vol. 11, p. 641.
2 The plebiscite was held apparently in the second week of December. The result of the election was pu hed at Athens on December 22 (N. S.). The Times (London), December 25, 1862.
3 Morley, vol. 1, p. 620, note, “Dec. 8, 1862.- Cabinet Resolution to surrender the Ionian protectorate. Only Lord W(estbury) opposing.” The Cambridge Modern History, vol. 11, p. 641, attributes the British cession to gratitude for the choice of an English prince. According to a dispatch of Drouyn de Lhuys, of November 17, 1863, the cession was made a condition by Denmark of the acceptance of Prince George of the throne of Greece, and France had encouraged the plan. France, Affaires étrangères: Documents diplomatiques, 1864. Annexion des iles ioniennes à la Grèce, p. 75.
* Cambridge Modern History, op. cit. and loc. cit. 6 Documents, post, p. 848, Article 4.
In accordance with these international agreements the Lord High Commissioner convoked a new Ionian Parliament to vote on the question of union with Greece. The electoral qualifications for the new parliament were those of the electoral law of 1849.2 By this it had been provided that the electors must be citizens, either native or naturalized, Christians, of 21 years of age, and literate. Further than this, the electors must own property, or if not, must fulfill other requirements of education, or of business or official standing. Those voting on a property qualification must own property worth three thousand dollars, if domiciled in a town, or of one thousand eight hundred dollars, if in the country. These amounts applied to the larger islands of Corfu, Cephalonia and Zante. In the smaller island of Santa Maura the requirement was one thousand five hundred dollars in towns and seven hundred and fifty dollars in the rural parts; in Ithaca, Cerigo, and Paxo the requirement was less. Sons living in their father's households and owning sufficient property might vote, as well as brothers living together, if together they should possess the requisite amount of property. If the elector claimed a vote on the basis of education, he must hold a degree or certificate in science obtained in the Ionian or foreign universities, or be a practicing advocate or attorney, or a physician, surgeon, or apothecary, or a professor or tutor in science, literature, or the fine arts, or a master in the Ionian College or in a secondary school. The vote was also given to officials in the public employment who were in receipt of a salary or life pension equivalent to the property qualification, and also to retail merchants if the returns on their capital were equivalent to the value of the property qualifications. The master or owner of a ship and the head of any manufacturing establishment might also vote. The usual proviso was added excluding all those who had been declared guilty of offences, other than political, unless their civil rights had been restored. The population of the islands was in 1862 a little under two hundred and fifty thousand; these qualifications yielded thirteen thousand four hundred and nineteen qualified electors. To be eligible for parliament the candidate must be over thirty, and own property of twice the value of that of an elector, or possess other qualifications corresponding to those for an elector. The number of delegates allotted to Corfu, Cephalonia, and Zante, was ten each. Santa Maura was given six, and Ithaca, Cerigo and Paxo, two each, making forty-two in all.
1 Documents, post, p. 850. 2 Parliamentary Papers, Colonies, 1850, vol. 36 (1276), p. 72. 3 Kirkwall, vol. 1, p. 174.
The vote was held in the chief town of each district. The polls were open from seven A. M. to five P. M. on two successive days. At a public meeting some days previous to the election the candidates were nominated and the election officials elected. Voting at the election was by secret ballot. The method followed was novel; a ballot box with two compartments was provided for each candidate's name, one compartment, painted white, to receive the affirmative vote, one green, to receive the negative. The count was to be made by local native officials who for the most part were elective.
It appears that British opinion had failed to credit with sincerity the votes of the former delegates for union, arguing from the well-known Ionian love of office that in view of the fact that union would surely mean a reduction in the number of offices, the deputies were voting for it only while it was unattainable, and as a means of earning their constituents' support. The British officials had also firmly believed that the landed class would, if it came to a vote, prefer the sure protection of Great Britain with its conservative franchise to the doubtful protection of the weak Greek kingdom which had universal suffrage. This false impression had been aided by several petitions which had been presented, begging for incorporation as a British Crown colony. However widespread these views may have been among the British officials, and they were certainly held by the Commissioner, Sir Henry Storks, and by Gladstone, they proved to be unfounded. There was scarcely a dissenting voice in the vote for union.
The Parliament opened on October 1, 1863. On the 3rd, it was addressed by the Commissioner, who stated that they had been convoked to inform him whether or not it was the desire of the people by whom they had been chosen that the Protectorate of Her British Majesty should cease and that the Ionian States should form henceforth a part of the Kingdom of Greece. In the same address he enumerated the conditions stipulated by the British Government, the important one being that of an obligation to make an annual payment of £10,000 to the Civil List of the Greek King. Should the vote be in favor of the union, he continued, the Queen would then invite the Powers which were parties to the treaty of 1815 to revise that treaty, in conjunction with France, which had been a party to the treaties respecting Greece, to make "such arrangements as should tend to the future welfare of the Islands and the permanent interests of Europe.? On October 5 the Parliament, with only three dissenting votes, proceeded to vote a formal decree of union with the kingdom of Greece. Regarding the conditions laid down by the Commissioner, the Assembly reserved to itself the right to declare its decisions, as soon as it should have been informed concerning the matters vaguely referred to by the Commissioner as “arrangements for the welfare of the States and the interests of Europe.” As for the guarantee of an annual payment of £10,000 to the King's civil list, the Assembly made no answer whatever. The temper of the deputies was opposed to considering it as a compulsory measure. No action having been taken, the Commissioner, on the 13th, again called their attention to the subject, to which the Assembly answered with a request to modify the conditions. The Assembly was finally forbidden to discuss the matter further and on October 21 it was prorogued, never to reassemble.
1 Kirkwall, vol. 1, pp. 233, 284. 2 Documents, post, p. 852.
The “arrangements for the welfare of the States and the interests of Europe” proved to be as displeasing to the islanders as was the guarantee of thic civil list. The Powers had come to a secret understanding, on the demand of Great Britain, Austria and Turkey, that the cession should be accompanied by the razing of the fortifications of Corfu and the neutralization of the islands. These conditions had not been mentioned by the Commissioner and when they were published in the British press they raised a fury of protest in the Islands, but, as in the case of the civil list, they were insisted on by the Powers.
The wish of the Ionian Assembly having been duly expressed on the question of union, and the British government having made the vote known to the guaranteeing Powers, the plenipotentiaries of Austria, France, Great Britain, Prussia and Russia met at London to take the next step. On November 14 they signed a treaty to the effect that, the condition of the vote laid down in the Convention of August 1 having been fulfilled, the Powers signatory to the treaty of 1815 now formally accorded their assent to the renunciation of the Protectorate by Britain, and to the union of the Islands with the Hellenic kingdom. The obnoxious clauses of neutrality and the razing of the fortress were included in the treaty. On March 29, 1864, a final treaty between Great Britain, France, Russia, and Greece, again referring to the vote of the Assembly as the condition which had been stipulated and fulfilled, legalized the cession and the termination of the British Protectorate was finally proclaimed by the Lord High Commissioner on May 28, 1864.
1 Kirkwall, vol. 1, p. 284. On p. 262 of vol. 2, Kirkwall says that the vote was unanimous.
2 Documents, post, p. 853.
3 There were three dissenting from this vote on the ground that all the conditions of union might be confided to the generosity of Great Britain. Possibly this accounts for the inconsistency in Kirkwall noted above.
4 The treaty of March 29, 1864, recites in Article 5 that the Assembly on October 7/19, 1863, voted that the annual payment be made.- Kirkwall characterizes the demand as indefensible, as there was no reason to assign the King a special revenue from the Islands. It was later abandoned.
5 France, Affaires étrangères: Documents diplomatiques, 1864, p. 75. Kirkwall says that the condition was insisted on by Austria against the wish of Great Britain.
The SCHLESWIG QUESTION, 1848
The most widely known instance of a treaty clause providing for a plebiscite concerning a question of sovereignty is that of Article 5 of the treaty signed at Prague in 1866, whereby Austria and Prussia agreed as to the disosition of the Danish duchies. However, the suggestion of a plebiscite in Northern Schleswig does not begin with the Treaty of Prague, but dates from the struggle in the duchies between the German and Danish nationalist movements of 1848.
The fortunes of the two feudal duchies of Schleswig and Holstein had for many years been identified with those of the Kingdom of Denmark, although their union with the kingdom was purely a personal one under the Danish King, who had inherited the titles of Duke of Holstein and Duke of Schleswig. In spite of this ancient union, and of the fact that the two duchies had been for centuries closely allied or dynastically united with each other, they were of different racial texture. Holstein was wholly German in population and had been made a member of the Germanic Confederation in 1815. Except for the west coast and the North Sea islands, Frisian from time immemorial, Schleswig was originally Danish down to the river Eider, which was the historical frontier of Denmark. In the Middle Ages, however, it had received a large influx of settlers from Holstein, as may still be seen from the German place names along the Eider and through the south of Schleswig. During the close union of the two duchies this northward movement of German settlers continued and South Schleswig proper (bounded by the Schley-Dannevirke-Husum line to the north), eventually became solidly German in language and sympathies. This line of Schley-Husum at the end of the 18th century formed the frontier for race and language. During the 19th century, however, the German language, aided by Government pressure, by the influence of the Church, and later by a popular movement, penetrated further north, and by 1848 the linguistic frontier corresponded roughly to the line of Flensburg-Tondern. This was only a very rough approximation,
, however, for throughout central Schleswig there were regions where sometimes the one race and sometimes the other were settled in solid blocks, and,
1 Emil Elberling, “Partage du Slesvig” in Manuel historique de la question du Slesvig. Edited by Franz de Jessen, p. 139.