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University of California. 

Class I 



Sail HER DAVCffltER 



Edited by H. F. WILSON, M.A. 

Barrister-a t-Laiv 
Late Fellcnu of Trinity College, Cambridge 



1. SIR WALTER RALEGH ; the British Dominion of 

the West. By MARTIN A. S. Hume. 

2. SIR THOMAS MAITLAND ; the Mastery of the 

Mediterranean. By Walter Frewen Lord. 

3. JOHN CABOT AND HIS SONS ; the Discovery of 

North America. By C. Raymond Beazley, M. A. 

4. LORD CLIVE; the Foundation of British Rule in 

India. By Sir A. J. Arbuthnot, K.C.S.L, CLE. 


sation of South Australia and New Zealand. By 
R. Garnett, C.B., LL.D. 

6. RAJAH BROOKE ; the Englishman as Ruler of an 

Eastern State. By Sir Spenser St John, G. C. M. G. 

7. ADMIRAL PHILLIP ; the Founding of New South 

Wales. By Louis Becke and Walter Jeffrey. 

8. SIR STAMFORD RAFFLES ; England in the Far 

East. By the Editor. 

Greater Britain 











IVitk Photogravure Frontispiece and Maps 







Copyright by T. Fisher Uuwin, 1897,/^^ Great Britain and 
the United States of America 


In this volume it is not proposed to narrate 
the emotions of the Countess of Lauderdale 
on receiving her son's first letter from school. 
Nor shall we be concerned with the good 
advice given to Thomas Maitland on entering 
the army. We shall not occupy ourselves 
with Thomas Maitland's favourite books or 
pastimes, or with his spiritual difficulties (if 
he had any), or with his social successes and 

The boyhood and youth of great men is 
a subject over which much time has been 
spent. One would not say that the time was 
wasted ; for the results of so much labour 
form a perennial source of consolation for 
parents. If a boy is dull, they can always 
recall Clive the scapegrace, Lawrence the dunce, 
ana that very stupid and awkward young man 



Arthur Wellesley. If a boy is good at his 
books they may remember the scholarly Warren 
Hastings, the brilliant Dupleix, the exception- 
ally astute Napoleon Buonaparte. 

But the very results that offer so much 
consolation to parents are, from their varied 
nature, a source of perplexity to historians and 
historical students. If any general conclusion 
can be drawn from so much conflicting evi- 
dence, it would appear to be this : that if a 
man has sufficient vital force to assimilate and 
carry with him through life that immense mass 
of useless information which is known as the 
education of a gentleman, his education will 
perhaps make him a more agreeable companion 
for a journey, or a more brilliant after-dinner 
speaker than his unlettered fellow ; but it will 
not help him to succeed in life. He will 
succeed in spite of his learning, and not 
in consequence of it. Too many dull and 
ignorant men have succeeded for this position 
to be impugned ; too many highly trained and 
brilliant men have failed. Having wasted their 
force in book-learning, they have not vitality 
enough to face successfully the hard work of 
the education of life ; and they sink, like 


Barbarossa, in the flood, brilliantly apparelled 
but drowned by the tide. 

We have, then, to remark that Maitland, 
when he commenced his career as a colonial 
administrator, started with this double advant- 
age, that he was born in the purple and that 
he was a totally uneducated man. The eccentric 
scribble that he dignified by the name of his 
handwriting is not the handiwork of one who 
thinks himself too grand to write distinctly 
(according to the foolish sneer, which once 
had a vogue, that the aristocracy are all un- 
educated) ; it is the handiwork of a man who 
does not know how to write. His signature 
reads just as well upside down as not. During 
an age when classical quotations were the only 
recognised mark of an educated gentleman, Mait- 
land, throughout a long Parliamentary career, 
and in the course of an official correspondence 
almost unparalleled for its voluminousness, never 
once broke out into Latin. He once quoted 
Swift in the House of Commons ; he once 
referred the Secretary of State to Adam Smith. 
These were the authors who recommended 
themselves to his intelligence. Himself a man 
capable of any quantity of hard work, provided 


that there was human interest in it, he could 
appreciate (although he did not agree with) 
Adam Smith. The masculine common sense 
of Swift, his savage satire and his consummate 
knowledge of mankind, appealed to one whose 
lifelong study was man, and who brought to 
that pursuit a savage and domineering temper. 

Throughout an official career of twenty-seven 
years his labours were Herculean, and he had 
no intervals of learned leisure. He was quite 
incapable of turning good English into in- 
different Latin, or of discovering new species 
of plants or animals, or of tracing curves to 
banish ennui, or of writing treatises on the 
Apostolical Succession. Life to Maitland 
meant work ; work that it would have crushed 
ordinary men even to attempt. His diversion, 
his solace, was gross indulgence. He was not 
a brilliant or a popular man. He was a great 
human force controlled and driven by a will 
of iron. Principles he abhorred ; they were 
to him as a red rag to a bull. * Detestable 
principles' or 'ridiculous principles,' he some- 
times writes of, but never of principles that 
deserve respect. But we must not allow our- 
selves to be led away into the common and 


totally erroneous view of Maitland's character 
which condemns him as a gross and brutal 
tyrant. His life was illuminated and dignified 
by his unbending devotion to duty. One 
principle there was to which Maitland owed 
and rendered the loftiest reverence — the rever- 
ence of a life's devotion. It was, in the stately 
language of the Prayer Book, * The safety, 
honour and welfare of His Majesty and his 



Descent — The Law — The Army — India — Maitland the 

Little Englander, . . . . . i 


His Conversion and Active Parliamentary Career to its 

Close, . . . . . . x8 


San Domingo — The West Indian Interest — Toussaint 

L'Ouverture — Maitland * rescues and retires,' . , 26 


The United States — Belleisle — The Board of Control — 
The Privy Council — Estimate of Maitland as a 
Soldier and as a Statesman, . . . .50 


Ceylon — Zeal and Energy — Disastrous Effects on the 
Colony of Ceylon of Frederick North's Activity — 
Impending Ruin, ...... 72 

xvii d 




Ceylon — Common Sense — Maitland's Restorative Action 
— He will not be Goaded into War — He reforms 
THE Services, ...... 8o 


Ceylon — The Mutiny at Vellore — Interruption or Mait- 
land's Work BY Bentinck's Ineptitude — Maitland rescues 
Madras, and lectures the Governor General . . 98 


Ceylon — Internal Administration — Quarrel with the 

Chief Justice — Victory of Maitland, . . . 107 


Ceylon — Conclusion of His Term — He is called a * Pagan ' 
— Mr Wilberforce urges Lord Castlereagh to rebuke 
the Governor — Castlereagh's Coldness — The Mutiny 
at Seringapatam — Mackintosh's Estimate of Mait- 
land's Work, . . . . . .117 


Malta — Ancient and Modern Rivalries in the Medi- 
terranean — The Route to the East — The Plague — 
An Atmosphere of Arsenic and Brimstone — Quarrel 
WITH the Doctors 5 They are Routed — Quarrel with 
THE Admiral — Success of Maitland's Measures, . 130 


Malta — Internal Affairs — The Barbary States — Sanctuary 
— Authority of the Holy See — Land Reforms — The 
Universita — The Hospital, . . . .148 




The Ionian Islands — Early Difficulties — Anarchy and 
Bankruptcy of the Islands — Constitution-mongering 
— Maitland is spied upon — His Revenge, . .176 


The Ionian Islands — The Constitution — Extreme Com- 
plexity OF THE Situation — Ratification of the Con- 
stitution — The Most Distinguished Order of St 
Michael and St George, . . . .193 

The Ionian Islands — Cession of Parga, . . .215 


The Ionian Islands — Capodistrias -v. Maitland — Capo- 


Cabinet supports Maitland, . , . .223 


The Ionian Islands — Revolt in the Morea — Attacks on 
Maitland in Parliament — Gross Misrepresentations 
of Joseph Hume, ...... 243 


The Ionian Islands — Internal Affairs — Character of the 
People — Their Winning Manners — Their Failings — 
Sudden Death of Sir Thomas Maitland, . . 270 


Portrait* or Sir Thomas Maitland, from an Engravimg by 

Thomas Lupton, after J. Hopner, R.A. . Frontispiece 

Map or Ceylon in 1805, showing Extent of British Occu- 
pation, . . . . .to face page 74 

Map of the Mediterranean, illustrating the Growth of 

British Influence, 1661-1897, • • to face page 139 

Note. — * the Editor desires to express his acknoivledgments to the Earl of 
Lauderdale (the owner of the original picture) and Sir Arthur Lyon 
Fremantle (the Governor of Malta), for their assistance in con- 
nection ivith this portrait. 

Sir Thomas Maitland 




The Maitland clan is one of the oldest and sturdiest 
of the stubborn stock of Scotch nobility. They were 
of Norman descent, and did not become distinctively 
Scottish until the fourteenth century. From the first 
they were fighters, remarkable even among Border 
nobles for vigour, and still more for craft. Although 
they were always conspicuous figures in the fighting 
services, yet, even in the days when every man must 
be a soldier, it was more in the active conduct of 
public affairs than in battle that the Maitlands excelled. 
They were ever busy, active public men, with their 
full share of the unscrupulousness of their age and 
a considerable gift of successful intrigue. After the 
family had remained for four hundred years of simple 
knightly rank, their chief was in the sixteenth century 
raised to the peerage ; and in the year 1624, was 
advanced to the dignity of an Earldom by the title 


of Earl of Lauderdale. The second Earl was the 
Minister of Charles II. ; and of all the Lauderdales, 
is perhaps the one whose name is best known to 
students of English History. The initial letter of 
his title formed the last letter of the famous ' Cabal.' 

In John, second Earl and first and only Duke 
of Lauderdale, the Maitland characteristics found 
their completest development. He plunged into 
public affairs with all the ardour of a man pursuing 
a favourite sport. Public life was as the breath 
of his nostrils. He brought to it immense personal 
vigour, considerable suppleness in recommending him- 
self to his Sovereign, and a powerful mind destitute 
of scruples. He looked very closely after his own 
interests, and obtained the Dukedom of Lauderdale 
and the Marquisate of March. His carelessness of 
others earned for him the reputation of ' the wicked 
Duke,' and he lived riotously and somewhat brutally 
a very full and active life of sixty-six years. His two 
principal titles died with him, but his brother 
succeeded to the Earldom. He possessed but little 
of the Duke's capacity, but all of his violence and 
assertiveness ; and he got himself into many awkward 
places. His son Richard did even worse : floundered 
in the dangerous mire of Jacobite politics, was pro- 
scribed and exiled, and died at Paris out of favour 
with both William and James II. The fifth Earl, 
Richard's brother, warned perhaps by his predecessor's 
mistakes, accepted the Revolution, and accepted also 


the secondary position to which the violence and 
blunders of his kinsmen had reduced the once 
mighty house of Maitland. He lived quietly, and 
his son, the sixth Earl, was quite inconspicuous. 

But with the marriage of the seventh Earl a new 
strain entered the Maitland stock. The days of that 
wild statesmanship which we may almost without 
exaggeration call predatory politics ; the days when a 
Maitland, bringing with him all the daring and reckless 
acquisitiveness of the Border noble, could enter upon 
the business of state as a gamester, and make the most 
for himself out of the scramble — these days were fast 
passing away. The blindness with which the third, 
fourth and fifth Earls had continued to gamble with 
public life, while soberer men accepted the altered 
conditions of the nation and were profiting by them, 
had reduced the Earldom of Lauderdale to the position 
of a comparatively insignificant Scotch peerage. 

The marriage of the seventh Earl altered that state 
of things. James, Earl of Lauderdale, may be said to 
have married beneath him. Instead of selecting for 
his wife a Seton, a Murray or a Gordon, he espoused 
Mary, daughter of Alderman Sir Thomas Lombe, and 
grand-daughter of a weaver, a native of Norwich. The 
Alderman, her father, had accumulated a fortune — no 
very great fortune as men count fortunes to-day, but 
something for the eighteenth century — ^^ 120,000. 
The Countess of Lauderdale's share of this was one- 
half : but it was not so much the modest sum of ^^60,000 


that served the Maitlands, as the mingling of their 
lawless blood with the sober and thrifty strain of the 
old worsted-weaver of Norwich. 

Not that any great difference was apparent in the 
eighth Earl. He was a true Maitland of the old type ; 
ever to the fore in public life, quarrelsome, defiant, 
unscrupulous. From a violent Whig he became, in 
late life, a violent Tory ; but he regained the old 
Maitland trick of improving his fortunes, and if he 
took an unprofitable side from a mistaken estimate 
as to which was the winning cause, he at any rate 
mastered the rules of public life, and showed consider- 
able talent in availing himself of them. He very 
nearly succeeded in getting himself made Governor- 
General of India. 

It was in Thomas, the second son of the seventh 
Earl, the subject of this biography, that the daring 
and craft of the Maitlands showed itself so happily 
blended with the patience, the conciliatory temper, 
and the habit of compromise which go to make the 
successful man of business ; qualities that he may very 
well have inherited from the Alderman's daughter. 

The reading of Maitland's character in the light or 
his family history is by no means unprofitable. The 
ease with which, from the outset of his public career, 
he rose to every situation, however complicated, was 
derived from twenty generations of ancestors accus- 
tomed to public life. The savage glee with which he 
fell on and exterminated an enemy, when he could 


safely indulge his passion for a rousing quarrel, no less 
than the caution which impelled him to bear any 
affront with saintly meekness so long as it was unsafe 
to resent it, may all be traced to the instinct of 
centuries of Border strife. To the same source we 
may safely ascribe the amazing assurance with which 
he frequently announced to the Secretary of State 
that he was about to disobey orders. A long line of 
Maitlands accustomed to be a law unto themselves 
had issued in an enfant terrible of the service. But 
the service never lost by his disobedience. No 
Secretary ever crossed him without injuring the public 
interests ; for Maitland's sagacity was infallible. In 
later life his manners were atrocious ; even Bathurst 
deplored them. But here ends the tale of whatever 
qualities, good or bad, he may have inherited from 
his father's ancestry. He was the first and per- 
haps the only Maitland who was a sound financier. 
Dearly he loved to balance his budget ; dearly he 
loved to roll up a surplus. In the public service he 
was not only careful, he was miserly. In private life 
he lived lavishly, as his forbears had done who had 
always commanded money without stint, either from 
raiding, or from illustrious alliances, or from predatory 
excursions on the public treasury. But here, again, 
the habits of the great noble were corrected by the 
thriftiness of the weaver of Norwich. Though lavish, 
Maitland was not extravagant. Amid the howls of 
abuse that were heard whenever Maitland's name was 


mentioned, we discern no hint of dissatisfaction either 
at his public or private expenditure. He was accused 
of every fault of which a public man could be guilty, 
and of every private failing except parsimony. Spite 
is always blind, so we should expect this to be the 
very fault that he was inclined to ; but it was not so. 
At the time of his death, he was in treaty for the 
purchase of No. 7 New Burlington Street — not a 
very palatial or fashionable residence. His will was 
proved under ^30,000. It was re-sworn two years 
later under ^40,000, either in consequence of some 
legacies falling in, or in consequence of a sudden rise 
in the value of property owing to the rapid industrial 
development that was, at that time, taking place all 
over England. 

At the time of Maitland's death, however, all that 
he had to live upon was his pension, and the interest 
on ^30^00. If we say ^^4000 a year altogether, we 
shall be near the mark. This is not an unbecoming 
provision for a man of his rank ; but it is nothing to 
the sum that he might have laid by with parsimony 
out of the very large income of ^^ 13,000 a year that 
he had enjoyed for the last eleven years of his life. 

Such, as far as birth and descent can define a man, 
was Thomas Maitland j a man who, more than most, 
must be judged, if he is to be judged fairly, by his 
work ; for the work was the man. 

The place and date of his birth are uncertain. His 
elder brother, afterwards the eighth Earl of Lauder- 


dale, was born in the month of January 1759 at 
the family seat, Hatton House, Ratho, Midlothian. 
Thomas Maitland's birth is usually assigned to the 
winter of the same year. Thus he was one year 
younger than Nelson, and ten years older than 
Napoleon and Wellington. Probably he was born 
at Ratho, like his elder brother. 

The second son of the seventh Earl of Lauderdale, 
Thomas Maitland was destined for the Bar, and 
was entered at Lincoln's Inn on the 14th of May 
1774. Recognised authority says that he entered 
the House of Commons in the same year as member 
for the Haddingtonshire Burghs. But inasmuch as he 
was only fifteen years old at the time, we may be 
permitted for once to question recognised authority. 
The law did not attract him; and when in 1778 
the Seaforth Highlanders were raised, he obtained a 
commission. The regiment was sent to the Channel 
Islands ; and in these agreeable quarters Maitland 
spent the years from 1778 to 1781. In June of the 
latter year the Seaforth Highlanders sailed from Ply- 
mouth to the East Indies, and arrived at Madras in 
April 1782. 

If life in the Channel Islands had been pleasantly 
monotonous, life in the East Indies was desperately 
exciting ; and if Maitland had had that blood in him 
that makes the great soldier, assuredly he would never 
have turned his back on the service. While at home 
he must have chafed beyond endurance at the disasters 


our arms were yearly suffering in North America. 
In India he arrived at the moment when the English 
cause seemed lost for ever ; for he landed in the 
middle of the famous naval duel between Hughes and 
SufFren. It was to sheer good fortune only that 
England was indebted on this occasion for the 
preservation of her Eastern Empire. Here was food 
for reflection ; food of the most stimulating kind for 
the man who is to develop into the great commander. 
Maitland saw a little active service, and made good 
use of his time, as he afterwards showed when address- 
ing the House of Commons on Indian affairs ; but he 
had not found his true sphere of action. Nothing 
that the army had to offer was beyond his reach ; for 
he was much employed at headquarters, and patronised 
by Lord Cornwallis. But the army did not attract 
him. He seems to have tired of it, as he tired of the 
Bar ; and at the end of the year 1 790 he returned to 
England with the rank of Major, and entered Parlia- 
ment as member for the Haddington Burghs. 

At the age of thirty-two he commenced his third 
career. Conscious of abilities far above the average, he 
must yet have had to confess that after seventeen years 
of endeavour he was still, in effect, a failure. He set 
to work with the bitter energy of a man who is dis- 
appointed, but not quite beaten yet, and soon made 
himself felt with a vengeance. On the 28th of 
February 1791 he delivered his maiden speech: it 
was on the occasion of the war with Tippoo Sahib. It 


was at once plain that he would make a conspicuous 
parliamentary figure, but of what kind was not clear 
until he had sat down : after that there was no longer 
a doubt. He was what we now call a Little Englander, 
and one of the earliest of parliamentary obstructionists. 

In the course of his speech he violently attacked 
the policy of the war. It had been said that Tippoo 
was a 'usurper.' But who were we to talk about 
* usurpers ' ? we were usurpers ourselves. From every 
point of view he condemned the war ; and later on in 
his speech he lectured the House on the real nature 
of virtue. 'Goodness,' he said, 'is not an inert or 
speculative quality, but consists in exertion for the 
benefit and happiness of mankind.' On this laudable 
sentiment he contrived to found a spiteful and abusive 
assault on Warren Hastings, of all people. He was 
called to order by the Speaker. This was a most 
unexpected attitude for the future empire-maker to 
assume ; and he was naturally welcomed with rapture 
by the Little Englanders of the day. He had a fine 
presence, an easy flow of good language, and un- 
daunted courage. From the assurance with which 
he prostituted his great local knowledge by talking 
what he must have known to be nonsense, and 
dangerous nonsense, it was clear that he had no 
scruples ; and he readily mastered the forms of the 

Thoroughness was the dominant note of Maitland's 
character. As a Great Englander no man was greater ; 


as a Little Englander no man was more petty. Later 
in life, when face to face with real difficulties, his 
sagacity was never at fault. Often he was rude, not 
infrequently insubordinate : but never wrong. In 
Parliament, and while the attitude that he had taken 
up demanded that he should talk nonsense, no man 
talked greater nonsense than Maitland, or talked 
more of it or with a more convincing air. He now 
allied himself with the Whitbreads and the Sawbridges 
and the Greys, and particularly distinguished himself 
in the OczakofF debate on the I2th of April 1791. 
The debate was on an early stage of the then nascent 
Eastern question, and the problem was whether 
England was to support her representations by a show 
of armed force. Maitland was, of course, opposed to 
anything in the nature of an armed manifestation, and 
stoutly declared that he would be no party to bullying 
Russia. Bullying Russia ! One wonders how he con- 
trived to talk such astounding rubbish with a grave 
face ; and how he had managed to stifle his sense of 
humour. He wound up by declaring that not even 
for Constantinople itself should we be justified in 
going to war with Russia. Perhaps not : there are 
many who agree with Maitland ; but the Eastern 
question is not one to be so easily settled as that, and 
has troubled the sleep of a century of statesmen since 
he settled it so completely to his own satisfaction. 

Early in the year 1792, on the Address of Thanks 
for the speech from the throne, there was a compli- 


mentary reference to the Indian army, and Maitland 
would have none of it. He stoutly defended Tippoo 
Sahib. That much-injured Prince had been grossly 
oppressed by tyrannical England : his only crime was 
that he was a man of great abilities. Here Maitland 
showed himself more Royalist than the King ; for all 
native authorities agree that if Haidar was born to 
found an Empire, Tippoo was born to lose it : — if not 
to England then to some other enemy. 

Maitland was one of the most prominent of the 
' Friends of the People ' : others were Charles Grey, 
Alderman Sawbridge, Samuel Whitbread and R. B. 
Sheridan. On the 26th of April 1792, the Committee 
met at the Freemasons' Tavern and drew up their 
demand for Parliamentary Reform, followed by an 
address to the people of Great Britain. Two peers 
only signed : Lauderdale, Maitland's brother, and 
Kinnaird. They were now sailing very near the 
wind, and the next month a proclamation was 
issued against seditious writings. Maitland, who was 
afraid of nobody, openly declared from his place in 
Parliament that the proclamation was intended to 
stir up discord and blast the cause of Parliamentary 
Reform. The proclamation was followed up by 
Dundas's Alien Bill, requiring all immigrants to give 
an account of themselves. The French Revolution 
was at its height, and ' Revolutionary Principles * (of 
which, throughout his official career, Maitland always 
showed a proper horror) were a bugbear to most 


Englishmen. But Maitland championed the Revolu- 
tion, and would not allow that the unrestricted in- 
gress of aliens — or 'foreign emissaries' as they were 
called — was any danger to the kingdom. 

A month later he made an appeal to the House 
to abridge the trial of Warren Hastings. This ill- 
used man, he said, had returned from India six years 
before in such a state of health that no one would 
have given him six years to live. He had not only 
lived six years, but had endured throughout the 
whole of that time the most cruel persecution. Such 
oppression was a reflection on our national system 
of justice, and called for the attention of the House. 

This is, indeed, a surprising speech from the Mait- 
land who was called to order in his maiden speech 
for a most indecent attack on the man whose cause 
he was now championing. 

A fortnight later, on the 22d of February 1793, 
he supported the motion forbidding the construction 
of barracks. This appears to be a harmless, and even 
a useful way of spending public money. Since we 
must have an army, it is surely no more than our 
duty to make our men comfortable. But Maitland 
did not take that view. Never was he in finer form. 
To build barracks, he urged, would be to overthrow 
the British Constitution. It appeared that our Home 
army had reached the alarming total of 18,000 men. 
Naturally, the 18,000,000 of our civilian population 
would be at the mercy of such a band of Pras- 


torians. As it was, we were only saved from a 
military despotism by the half-civilian character of 
the soldiers. Once herd them together in barracks, 
and our liberties were gone for ever. He returned 
to the subject next year in the debate on the Army 
Estimates, by which time the barracks had been built 
at the cost of ^^ 100,000. This shocking waste of 
public money was not only unnecessary, but clearly 
unconstitutional. As the question was settled, how- 
ever, he proceeded to attack the policy of employing 
foreigners in places of trust. Maitland, who had 
shown such touching confidence in immigrants from 
a land at war with us, was horrified at the idea of 
trusting an ally. Why ! he exclaimed, if this kind 
of conduct were persisted in, we might actually see 
a Hessian in command at Portsmouth ! Britannia, 
as Maitland imagined her at this epoch, was a most 
hysterical female. She must not take steps to defend 
herself against her enemies, for that would be showing 
suspicion, which would be unkind. She dares not trust 
her allies ; she is frightened of her own soldiers. 

He was now absorbed in one of the most pernicious 
occupations that a Member of Parliament can indulge 
in, a violent diatribe against our foreign policy — on 
this occasion our Mediterranean policy. Of course 
the foreign policy of the country is, within certain 
usually admitted limits, a proper subject for discussion ; 
but Maitland's attack was hardly more than indis- 
criminate abuse. It was dangerous, however, because 


he was a soldier, and a soldier of experience. It was 
this attitude, persisted in by Maitland's party long 
after Maitland deserted it, that perpetually misled 
Napoleon as to the stability of England's policy in 
after years. 

The particular incidents that excited Maitland's 
anger were the Toulon Expedition and the occupa- 
tion of Corsica. These now half-forgotten episodes 
in the great drama of the French Revolution brought 
us considerable discomfiture : and yet they were, at 
the time, wise moves. The capture of Toulon was 
intended to give a rallying point for the Royalist 
party in France. But the Royalist feeling did not 
underlie the whole country ; it lay in patches, and 
the Revolutionary party, moving on inner lines, was 
able to attack the Royalists in detail and subdue them. 
The English were in this way driven out of Toulon ; 
but there was no cause for bemoaning our failure, 
for success had never been anticipated except from 
the co-operation of the French. The occupation of 
Corsica certainly had an unfortunate ending ; but it 
was a good move strategically, and gave us the com- 
plete control (if we had employed an Admiral capable 
of seizing the opportunity) of the politics of Italy. 
We lost our chance owing to the incapacity of 
Admiral Hotham ; but the chance was there, and 
the episodes of the conquest of Corsica were brilliant 
and highly creditable to the navy. 

Maitland's attitude throughout was little short of 


scandalous, but it was partly redeemed by its absurdity. 
What did it signify, he angrily inquired, if the French 
navy were paralysed by our occupation of Toulon ? 
Nobody could call the destruction of the enemy's 
fleet a military advantage. Besides, the whole expedi- 
tion was a monument of corruption and incapacity. 
He violently abused Lord Hood, a most gallant old 
sailor, who was half killing himself with overwork. 
He ridiculed the idea of capturing Corsica with only 
1400 soldiers. As a matter of fact, the island was 
captured without any soldiers at all, and by the almost 
unsupported efforts of the navy. It is difficult to 
say which of the two cuts the more pitiful figure — 
Maitland in Parliament denouncing the attempt to 
capture Corsica, or General Dundas in Corsica refusing 
to make the attempt. On the motion to inquire 
into Hood's * failure ' at Toulon, 35 members sup- 
ported Maitland, and 168 voted against him. Samuel 
Whitbread told with Maitland. 

One would think that the Corsican debate was 
enough of mischievous folly for one session, but this 
extraordinary man, who was miserable unless furiously 
active, found an occasion, only four days after the 
last division, to outdo all his previous performances. 

On the 14th of April 1794, it was moved that the 
House go into committee on the Bill to permit the 
enlistment of Frenchmen who had fled their own 
country, and to authorise the granting of commissions 
to them. Alien immigrants are not, as a rule, the 


best stuff out of which to make soldiers or leaders of 
soldiers. But we must recall the times. The French 
Revolution was at its height, and the emigrants from 
France were almost without exception men of position, 
while many of them, of course, were nobles. Mait- 
land's ravings on the occasion of the Bill to permit 
their enlistment had a real basis in his own consti- 
tutional antipathy to 'foreigners.' This antipathy 
burst out a quarter of a century later in his persecution 
of De Bosset — for which he had to pay dearly. But 
on the occasion of the Bill of 1 794, he became almost 
hysterical. Let the House consider, he urged, that 
any Frenchman taken in arms against his country 
would certainly be hanged ; the King's commission 
would avail him nothing. From hanging French 
prisoners it was but a step to hanging English 
prisoners ; of course we should be goaded into re- 
taliation, and then what frightful passions would be 
unchained. The Bill, he declared, militated against 
Magna Carta, against the Bill of Rights, and against 
the Act of Succession. As Maitland did not specify 
the Ten Commandments, we must infer that he did 
not think that the Bill actually infringed the 

Speeches like this lose nine-tenths of their effect if 
unsupported by an enterprising press and a good 
system of sensational reporting. There is no use in 
addressing gallery speeches to hard-headed city men 
and shrewd old country squires. They are perfectly 


capable of distinguishing sense from nonsense ; it is the 
idle or hurried readers of next morning who admire 
tirades of this kind, who are influenced by them, 
and who make the sensation-monger's public. This 
public was totally lacking to Maitland ; for complete 
parliamentary success he was born a century too soon. 
However, he made one final demonstration before 
he abandoned the part of agitator. The ministry 
determined to suspend the Habeas Corpus Act for the 
purpose of dealing with secret societies and the pro- 
paganda of treasonable and revolutionary literature. 
Naturally the measure was liberally denounced : it 
was a subversion of our liberties, it was an attempt to 
introduce lettres de cachet^ it was an odious piece of 
despotism. At half past three in the morning of the 
1 6th of May 1794, the Bill passed first and second 
readings and committee after eleven obstructive 
divisions, in four of which Maitland was teller, and in 
which he was left in minorities declining from 39 in 
a house of 240, to 13 in a house of 121. Third 
reading was fixed for three o'clock on the next day, 
Saturday, and the Bill was passed at three o'clock on 
Sunday morning after a twelve hours' debate. 



Maitland never appeared again as an obstructionist, 
or a Little Englander. He gradually withdrew from 
the debates, and at the end of 1797 obtained the San 
Domingo command. In that year he entered on his 
twenty-seven years of public service, and though he 
was often in Parliament, he rarely spoke, and always as 
an Imperialist. Although we shall be dealing with 
some events out of their due place, it will be con- 
venient to finish our examination of Maitland's par- 
liamentary career at once. Before we enter on this 
examination, however, there is a question (which every 
student of Maitland's life will ask himself) that we 
must inevitably spend some time in considering. The 
question, of course, is how to account for this sudden 
and complete abandonment of a cause in which he 
had shown so much fervour. 

The type of man who agitates until he is bought, is 
a very familiar and a very commonplace type. Is this 
all that Maitland was ? The facts would appear, at 



any rate superficially, to go to show that this is really 
all that there was in Maitland. After six years of 
totally unscrupulous parliamentary agitation he got 
what he wanted : so will say his enemies. But when 
we say 'totally' unscrupulous, we must admit some 
reserves. In Parliament, it is true, he did not hesitate 
to take any step, however absurd and undignified, which 
brought him into notice. But he lacked the full 
measure of the demagogue's spirit, in that he would 
not go on the streets. He did not hobnob in city 
coffee-houses like Popham, or allow himself the licence 
of Wilkes. Here then are * pointers ' which, in the 
absence of documents, may help us to realise what 
Maitland's nature was. He had a great sense of the 
dignity of the service ; and he had intense family pride. 
These are decided drawbacks to a man who proposes 
to embrace the career of a demagogue — ^supposing 
that to have been Maitland's object. But the way in 
which he entered on his duties as a colonial adminis- 
trator show almost conclusively that Maitland was a 
different stamp of man altogether from the man who 
agitates in order that he may be bought. Such a 
creature almost invariably rests content with his 
*job' when once it is secured. He does not earn the 
respect of his new employers ; still less is he ever in 
the position to master them. He is bought, and there 
is an end of him. Nor, while he lives, is he given, as 
a rule, to overworking himself. 

When we consider the way in which Maitland 


devoted himself to his country's service, the mountains 
of difficulties that he overcame, and the extent to 
v^^hich he v^^as leant on and trusted by the Home 
Government, wg can no longer regard him as an 
agitator bought and paid for. So we come back to the 
original question of how we are to explain the egregious 
parliamentary exhibition of the years 1 790-1 794. 

In the absence of documents (an absence which 
will probably be permanent, for Maitland was a care- 
fill man), we must come to a conclusion something 
like the following. It was not with any definite idea 
of earning an appointment that Maitland set out to 
make himself a parliamentary nuisance. He entered 
the House of Commons with the experimental views 
of life that a man is apt to cherish who has thought 
and acted much, yet without effect ; who with 
infinite labour has yet achieved nothing. Since all 
was uncertain in this life of chances, he took the first 
chance that came — the parliamentary opening. He 
had seen but little of London since he was quite a 
young man, and he probably overrated the attractions 
of a parliamentary career. A success he had certainly 
attained ; but after the debate on the Habeas Corpus 
Act, he must have asked himself whether such a 
success was not, in effect, the worst of failures. His 
reward when it came was not of those for which men 
sell themselves — for San Domingo was far indeed from 
being a bed of roses. Even San Domingo was not 
offered him until November 1797; so it can hardly 


be said to have been offered with that promptitude 
that would justify us in calling it a bribe. On the 
whole, we must conclude that Maitland's early parlia- 
mentary career is to be looked on rather as a young 
man's mistake or a young man's extravagance, than 
a serious step taken with serious views. 

We do not get a glimpse of the real Maitland until 
the year 1802, in the course of the debates prior to 
the conclusion of the Treaty of Amiens. On the 
14th of May 1802, he reviewed those provisions of 
the treaty relating to subjects on which he had special 
knowledge, commencing with Louisiana, which was 
to be ceded by Spain to France. The alarmists, of 
whom Maitland had formerly been the leader, were 
panic-stricken over this clause. From Louisiana, 
they declared, France would be able at one and the 
same time to menace Mexico, the United States and 
the British West Indies. Maitland reminded the 
House that Louisiana was originally a French colony, 
that it had long been in French hands, and that it had 
always been, as he expressed it, 'totally imbecile.' 
As to attacking the British West Indies (he went on), 
France, in order to do that, must have ' passes from 
the Lords Commissioners of His Majesty's Admiralty.' 
Had honourable members, he continued with crushing 
sarcasm, never heard of the British Navy ? Was it 
possible that they could suppose that a great military 
power was formidable to us so long as she was not 
also a great naval power ? 


He next turned to San Domingo, and warned the 
House not to be deceived about the state of that island. 
He had heard honourable members talk about the 
' Free Republic ' of San Domingo. Let them not be 
deluded : ' free anarchy ' would be nearer the mark. 
As for the Cape of Good Hope, which we ceded by the 
treaty, it was of the less consequence to us since we 
retained Ceylon. The retention of that island practi- 
cally made our East Indian possessions secure. The last 
point was Malta, which he thought we were doing well 
to evacuate, and on the whole he approved the treaty. 

Here indeed is a most extraordinary contrast with 
the Maitland of ten years before. But this is the 
real Maitland, now at the age of forty-three, for the 
first time in his life in his element. San Domingo 
and the United States had wonderfully sobered him. 
He had seen something of the real work of the empire, 
and he had rapidly, and as if by instinct, grasped the 
principles on which it was founded — the maintenance 
of sea-power, the holding of points of vantage, the 
ready surrender of all that was not vital, the con- 
ciliatory temper, the moderation which is but the 
expression of force in reserve. The empire had fired 
Maitland in the way that nothing else had done ; his 
speech has the true ring of statesmanship. The 
empire, at any rate, was a thing over which there 
must be no trifling. Here was work better worth 
doing than scoring points over a Bill for the suspension 
of the Habeas Corpus Act. 


In the debate on the resumption of hostilities, he 
spoke even more finely. In the course of December 
1802, on the increased Army Estimates which Mait- 
land supported, Samuel Whitbread made a tearful 
speech in which he assured the House that France 
meant no harm. He followed this up in May 1803 
by defending France against our insults and trickeries. 
Sebastiani's Report, he said, which was alleged as the 
cause of the rupture or relations between France and 
England, was only an answer to Robert Wilson's 
' Egypt.' He mourned over the iniquities of England, 
and inconveniently reminded his old colleague, Mait- 
land, of his opinion that Malta, for which we were 
going to war was not an important post for us to hold. 

Maitland simply and finely replied that it was true 
that he did not think much of Malta, although it 
was a strong place. Personally, if he had been the 
responsible minister he should not have gone to war 
on account of Malta. But it was enough for him 
that Malta was in the ultimatum ; and he should 
embarrass the Ministry with no comments. 

The event of the debate was the maiden speech 
ot Dallas, afterwards Chief Justice of the Common 

Samuel Whitbread had inquired with an air of 
mournful mystification why we were going to war. 
Dallas's peroration ran as follows : — ' For what are we 
going to war ? It is fit, says the honourable gentle- 
man, that the people of England should know. I 


agree with him that it is ; and therefore to the 
honourable gentleman and to the people of England, 
I explicitly say we are going to war for Malta, 
not for Malta only, but for Egypt, not for Egypt 
only, but for India, not for India only, but for the 
integrity and security of the British Empire, for 
the cause of justice, good faith and freedom through- 
out the civilized world.' 

This fighting mood was now Maitland's own. 
Not that he delivered many fighting speeches ; but 
his temper, always belligerent, now led him to 
attack huge masses of work, complicated situations 
and difficult problems. The empire was his true 
sphere of action. When he spoke, he spoke shortly 
and moderately. He rapidly grew to acquire the 
man of action's hatred of wordiness ; and beyond 
that considerable change in his character, we shall 
find that in the course of his official career he de- 
veloped traits of character which not the most intimate 
friend would have ventured to ascribe to him. He 
was to show an admirable tact, an almost womanly 
tenderness in handling men when coaxing could be 
of use. He was to prove himself one of the greatest 
of the builders of Greater Britain ; great not only 
because of the vast extent of the work that he 
accomplished, but because of the manner in which 
he accomplished it. 

It did not suffice for Maitland that a piece of work 
was done ; it must be done in the right way, or he was 


not satisfied. To attain this end there was nothing 
he would not do. In the King's name he would 
bully and cringe, if bullying and cringing would 
advance His Majesty's service. His enemies said 
that Tom Maitland would bully and cringe because 
he liked doing so ; but nobody ever accused Tom 
Maitland of being a patient man ; and yet on the 
King's service he bore with affronts from his equals, 
and impertinence from his inferiors, with a temper not 
only under control, but apparently of angelic sweet- 
ness. * The King's service ' was the talisman that 
steadied and almost transformed him. If Maitland 
was a bully, the first man that he bullied was him- 
self; if he was a slave-driver, no slave was driven 
harder than Maitland under the lash of his own 
imperious will. 

If there were no difficulties in any given course, 
Maitland was not the man to make any ; but he 
turned eagerly in some direction where he might 
find difficulties. To overcome these he would coax 
or bribe, menace or entertain, listen or bully, as 
occasion served ; but his last argument, which he 
always delivered fiercely as if threatening a blow, was, 
' The King's service, sir.' And when on more awful 
occasions Maitland would say, 'The honour of His 
Majesty's service, sir,' opposition to his will seemed 
to be rank treason, and the very air breathed courts- 





In 1897, the year of so many inspiriting national 
reflections for Englishmen, we shall do well to recall 
that one hundred years — no more — separate us from 
a year not only of national humiliation, but of what 
appeared at the time to be complete national collapse. 

In the year 1797, George Washington completed 
his second term in the Presidency, and was succeeded 
by John Adams. This peaceful succession of Presi- 
dent to President was the outward and visible sign 
of political conditions justifying the moan, * The sun 
of England's glory is set.' It was plain that North 
America, our greatest and wealthiest colony, after 
some years of hesitation had definitely resolved to 
separate from the Mother Country. 

We have found compensations elsewhere since then; 
but in 1797, wherever we looked we saw nothing but 
what emphasised the sense of disaster. In Europe 
we were reeling under the first buffets of Napoleon 



Buonaparte. We had been utterly and ignominiously 
expelled from the Mediterranean ; we had lost our 
trade there, and — which was worse — we had the 
mortification of seeing that France intended to use 
the Mediterranean as a route to the East. We were 
only partly compensated for this serious loss by the 
acquisition of the Cape of Good Hope. Both in 
Leadenhall Street and in Calcutta, the deepest 
anxiety prevailed : the East India merchants saw 
ruin staring them in the face. America was gone, 
the Mediterranean was gone, India was threatened. 
At home things were even worse. Ireland was in 
one of her most dangerous moods, and rebellion was 
clearly imminent. The harvest failed, the Bank of 
England suspended payment. Consols fell to 51. 
Short of revolution there was nothing worse to 
expect ; and revolution seemed not so far off to 
some of us. 

With our back to the wall we struck two heavy 
blows — St Vincent and the Texel — and recovered 
breath a little ; but even after these glorious victories 
Collingwood — cheery, sanguine Collingwood — could 
write, * It is a question whether we are to be any 
longer a nation.' 

These were the disheartening conditions under 
which Maitland left England to assume the duties 
of his first important colonial appointment. The 
duties were themselves depressing, for they were the 
duties attending the evacuation of San Domingo. 


But Maitland carried them out with a brave and 
confident bearing, and in the face of unparalleled 
obstacles. * Unparalleled ' is a bold word ; we shall 
have to see how far it is justified. 

The important island of San Domingo, or Hispaniola, 
or Hayti, was at this time an object of importance to 
the West Indian interest. ' The West Indian interest ' 
sounds almost a mockery to-day ; but a century ago 
it rivalled the East Indian interest. The basis of its 
power, of course, was slavery. Ill-disposed people said 
that the whole abolition movement was only a trade 
agitation on the part of the East Indian interest. 
When we remember how many serious, banking 
names figure in the list of abolitionists we may, 
perhaps, admit that there was a superficial justifica- 
tion for the sneer. Whether there was more than 
a superficial justification is not a question into which 
we need inquire ; but that the West Indian interest 
could ever have been spoken of as a rival to the East 
Indian is a state of things that we find it hard to 
realise to-day without some assistance, and we must 
endeavour to realise it in order to understand Mait- 
land*s troubles. 

San Domingo was divided into two portions — the 
west to France, the east to Spain. Since 1795 it 
had been nominally all French. Since 1793 the 
western portion had been in the hands of a British 
expedition. In point of fact the whole island, outside 
cantonments, was ruled by Toussaint L'Ouverturc, a 


full-blooded negro. But there were signs that the 
mulattos under Rigaud might succeed in overthrow- 
ing him. The whites all inclined to England, because 
of the decrees of 1791 (giving the mulattos the rights 
of French citizens) and of 1793 (enfranchising the 
slaves). The evil example of freed blacks in a colony 
so large and important as San Domingo horrified and 
alarmed the Jamaica planters, and they were all in 
favour of retaining our hold on the island. But 
Maitland's orders were to retire. 

When we say * Maitland's orders,' we are speaking 
loosely. In point of fact Maitland had no orders, 
except to obey Nesbitt, who never arrived. Mr Pitt 
was nervously anxious to put an end to the intolerable 
drain on our resources that was caused by the con- 
tinued occupation of San Domingo. So Nesbitt was 
hurried off in the Swan sloop-of-war from Portsmouth, 
while Maitland followed with the staff in the packet 
from Falmouth. Nesbitt fell sick at Madeira, and 
never reached his destination. Thus to the diffi- 
culties naturally attending the state of chaos in 
which San Domingo then weltered, there was super- 
added the unique difficulty that nobody in authority 
had any instructions. The officer in command was 
General Whyte, who was impatiently waiting to be 
replaced by Nesbitt, and had no intention of burning 
his fingers over the business. To him Maitland 
intimated that he knew what Nesbitt's instructions 
were, but that he had been told them in confidence, 


and had no authority to communicate them. Whyte, 
irritated perhaps, issued some orders to Maitland, who 
replied that he would not be responsible for the results 
if they were carried out, but that if the orders were 
repeated he would obey them. Whyte rejoined by 
inquiring, in effect, whether he commanded in San 
Domingo, or not ? 

Maitland, with unruffled politeness, admitted Whyte's 
authority, but gently urged that by Whyte's own 
showing and desire that authority was of a fleet- 
ing character. He made a further allusion to the 
mysterious instructions, and Whyte thereupon scorn- 
fully inquired whether (although he might not be 
honoured by hearing the decision of the Cabinet) 
Maitland would feel justified at taking over the 
command of the island from him ? This was pre- 
cisely what Maitland hoped would happen. He joy- 
fully accepted Whyte's offer ; and the General, only 
too thankful to be quit of the disagreeable business, 
sailed for England and left Maitland to evolve order 
out of chaos, since that was to his taste. The man 
was exactly suited to the work. To overcome diffi- 
culties, to unravel tangled skeins, was as the breath 
of life to Maitland. The slow and orderly procedure 
of a settled administration had no charms for him ; 
in fact, it exasperated him, and whenever, in his 
various charges, public affairs, owing to Maitland's 
exertions, began to assume a settled aspect, Maitland 
himself would fall to quarrelling out of sheer ennui. 


The island of San Domingo breaks towards the 
west into two peninsulas or horns, the one pointing 
toward Cuba, the other toward Jamaica. At the tip 
of the northern horn is Cape Mole St Nicholas ; the 
southern horn terminates near the town and district of 
Jeremie. At the apex of the irregular triangle, and 
far in the body of the island, is Port au Prince. The 
entire coast line of this deep indenture was held by 
the English ; and the instructions of the Cabinet were 
definite as to the evacuation of all of it except the 
points of vantage at the extremities of the two horns. 
These might be retained for the defence of Jamaica, 
at any rate for the present ; the rest was to be 
abandoned, and the whole cost of our occupation to 
be brought down from ^700,000 per annum to, at 
most, j^ 300,000. The expenses of the evacuation 
were not to exceed ^^ 100,000. 

To give any hint of these instructions would 
have been to precipitate a stampede, to bring about 
massacres and retaliation which would have loaded us 
with infamy and entailed a vast destruction of property. 
Nevertheless, the instructions had to be carried out, 
and carried out forthwith. Hesitation could only 
result in our being simply expelled, and that speedily. 
We had to choose, Maitland wrote, between a dis- 
graceful surrender and a timely evacuation ; and with- 
out some lull in the tempest of political hates and 
fears that distracted the island, even an evacuation 
became daily more and more of an impossibility. 


It was a situation where any man might be excused 
for losing his head ; but Maitknd never wavered for 
an hour. To steady public opinion he issued a pro- 
clamation stoutly denying the ill-conditioned rumours 
that we were about to retire and desert our friends. 
This may have been unprincipled, but it was eminently 
humane. Moreover, he wove in a patch of truth 
when he said that we should not desert our friends. 

Ever since the day he landed he had been studying 
the island politics, and he had now mastered them. 
The whites were all on our side, for they had no one 
else to look to. But they were as clamorous as they 
were powerless, and were continually reinforced by 
immigrants from England, who had been emigrants 
from France or San Domingo, and who all needed 
employment. So Maitland had admirals and generals 
serving under him as second lieutenants — which he 
found very embarrassing : but * the climate comes to 
our help, and provides for most of them,' he added with 
ghastly composure. The utmost that we could do 
with the whites was to make them safe from their 
foes ; to see that they were not massacred. For this 
we should, of course, get more curses than thanks, but 
that could not be helped. 

The temper in which he set about this, the most 
delicate part of his task, was well set forth by Maitland 
himself as early as October 1797, when at Waltham- 
stow, he first heard of his appointment, and learnt 
what his duties would be. 


* Great forbearance,' he wrote, ' must be shown 
towards the people during the evacuation. Nothing 
can be got by teasing and fretting a set of men who 
will deem themselves unfortunate, with a supercilious- 
ness of manner and a hauteur of demeanour at all 
times unpleasant, but which must be peculiarly ab- 
horrent to Frenchmen in their situation.' 

This praiseworthy frame of mind is not at all in 
consonance with the accepted view of Maitland's 
manner and behaviour ; but the plain truth is, that as 
success followed success, and the Maitland of San 
Domingo grew into the King Tom of Corfu, the 
cynicism of his nature, completely under control or 
perhaps not yet developed in his earlier years, prompted 
him to outbursts of scorn and temper that he never 
would have allowed himself while his reputation was 
still to make. 

The proof that his written sentiments were not 
merely pious opinions is to be found in what he 
achieved at the period of the evacuation. He pre- 
vented a stampede, and thus saved many lives and a 
vast amount of property. He not only prevented the 
French from losing faith in our intentions (which 
they would have been perfectly justified in doing), 
but, astounding though it may appear, he gave them 
confidence in the order of things that he managed 
to establish and leave behind him when he retired. 
The very men who, at the mere rumour of our 
retirement, were ready to denounce us as assassins 



for leaving them to the mercy of Toussaint, did 
not hesitate, when the convention w^as concluded to 
return to the land they had prepared to abandon, 
and to dwell under Toussaint's government. 

Having, by the proclamation before alluded to, 
somewhat calmed the public mind, Maitland sent an 
emissary to visit Toussaint in his camp. He selected 
the negro as the person to negotiate with for these 
reasons. Setting aside the whites, there were three 
parties in the island — the French, the mulattos and 
the blacks. Maitland had landed at Cape Mole 
St Nicholas on the nth of March 1798. On the 
loth of April, Hedouville landed from France with 
full power from the Directory to settle the affairs of 
the island and bring San Domingo back under French 
control. So long as we could withdraw our troops 
without bloodshed, it was a matter of indifference to 
Maitland who ruled in the island ; and as the French 
plenipotentiary was, at any rate, a properly constituted 
diplomatic officer with whom it was possible to enter 
into binding undertakings, many a man would have 
been tempted to open negotiations with him. But 
Maitland always looked to where the real power 
resided ; and his opinion of Hedouville was that, 
although he was called a plenipotentiary, he was in 
reality only a state prisoner of Toussaint's. 'If he 
is ever to regain any authority for France,' he wrote, 
*he will have to fight his way through seas of blood.' 
This is a terribly accurate prophecy of the French 


expedition of 1803, which cost the life of General 
Leclerc, Buonaparte's brother-in-law, and 6000 French- 
men ; to say nothing of the losses of the natives. 

Maitland, therefore, paid no attention to Hedouville. 
There remained Rigaud the mulatto, and Toussaint 
L'Ouverture. Rigaud's following was comparatively 
small, but he was himself a man of great energy and 
resource, and a much more bitter enemy of England 
than Toussaint. It would perhaps be more accurate 
to say that he was more ardently devoted to the cause 
of France ; for he had been outlawed by the Republic, 
and hoped to secure the removal of the ban by show- 
ing extra zeal in opposing the English. Clearly, there 
was nothing to be done with Rigaud. 

Toussaint L'Ouverture was a savage, but a savage 
of a high type. He was a man with the governing 
instinct, capable of compromise, and even preferring 
it to harsh measures. There was much said about 
his cruelties ; and no doubt there is a vast difference 
between war as waged by a penniless, ignorant, full- 
blooded negro, founding an empire by means of a 
revolution, and a modern general commanding a 
corps d^armee of Europeans, and carefully watched 
by representatives of leading London newspapers. 
But if we remember that when once his power 
was founded he more than doubled his influence by 
the mildness of his rule, we need not be too curious 
about some incidents of the battlefield. Maitland 
was not there to enter into the question of Toussaint's 


humanity or inhumanity. His business was to get 
the English out of San Domingo without a disaster 
if possible, and he addressed himself to Toussaint 
L'Ouverture in such language as that remarkable 
savage might be expected to understand. 

The negotiations were not opened until after 
some fighting had taken place ; it was hardly to be 
expected that they should be. Scarcely a fortnight 
after Maitland landed, on the 27th of March, a 
force of 6000 negroes under Toussaint himself 
attacked the British force under De Peystre, and 
were repulsed with the loss of nearly 500 men. 
The next day De Peystre followed up his victory 
and inflicted the loss of 200 more. The English 
lost 7 officers and 80 men killed and wounded, a 
loss which they could aflFord much less easily than 
the negro chief. Disease and death and the impos- 
sibility of recruiting made our ultimate defeat a 
certainty ; especially as numerous desertions to the 
enemy were taking place from our coloured regi- 
ments. This determined attempt on the part of 
Toussaint to expel us by force was supplemented 
by a separate attack on the same date on Count 
O'Gorman at Croix de Bouquets, an outpost a few 
miles north-east of Port au Prince. This attack 
also failed. 

It was a good thing for the English that Toussaint 
was a little too eager. The wholesome impression of 
these two beatings made him more amenable to terms. 


His ambition, of course, extended to the dominion of 
the whole island, and it would be a great step towards 
that end if he could only get rid of the English. The 
opportunity of doing so peaceably was now offered to 
him by Maitland. Without troubHng his savage foe 
with complicated conditions, the English general, by 
word of mouth of a confidential officer under a flag 
of truce, set forth the following terms : Either the 
English retire after blowing up the fortifications 
and destroying the private property of the citizens 
who will leave San Domingo with them, or, if the 
negro chief choose to come to terms and grant 
security to life and property, the English will leave 
the forts and all the private estates untouched. The 
advantage of accepting and observing these terms will 
be mutual ; the English will gain by being enabled 
to embark without the fear of attack, and Toussaint 
will enjoy the immeasurable increase to his reputation 
that will spring from it becoming known that he can 
keep an agreement, and that white citizens are con- 
tented to dwell under his government. 

These terms were accepted on the 30th of April 
1798, a little more than seven weeks after Maitland 
landed ; and the immediate effect of them was that 
many inhabitants of Port au Prince and the neighbour- 
hood who had already embarked returned to shore 
and took up their residence under the new govern- 
ment. Ten planters only preferred to sail with Mait- 
land. At noon on the 7th of May he evacuated 


L'Arcahaye ; at two in the morning of the 8th he 
evacuated Port au Prince. St Marc had been evacu- 
ated three days earlier. 

So far, then, the first part of his enterprise had 
gone well. From chaos he had evolved something 
like order j in the place of universal panic there was 
general confidence. He had rightly calculated that 
Toussaint was possessed of suflicient intelligence to 
appreciate the advantage of white subjects : the negro 
behaved very well, and the whites were gratified at 
not having to face poverty as well as expatriation. 
* I shall be contented,' wrote Maitland, ' if Govern- 
ment think as well of what I have done as the 
French who have decided to remain.' 

But the wear and tear had been frightful, and 
Maitland was very ill. He laboured all day, and far 
into the night. Upon his shoulders alone rested the 
responsibility of every step that was taken, the most 
trifling as well as the most important, and all this 
time he was acting solely in the spirit of orders given 
to another man ; orders which had been communi- 
cated to him in confidence only, which might have 
been revoked for all he knew, which might be at 
the bottom of the sea, or in the hands of the French, 
or which Nesbitt, when he arrived, might interpret 
quite differently from himself. 

Those orders were definite as regarded that part of 
them already carried out ; but discretion was allowed 
in respect of the rest of them. There was no doubt 


about the propriety of evacuating Port au Prince, but 
the tips of the two horns of Hayti — Cape Mole St 
Nicholas and Jeremie — * might be * retained, if neces- 
sary, for the protection of Jamaica. At Port au 
Prince the difficulty had been to deal in a satisfactory 
manner with Toussaint L'Ouverture ; the danger had 
been that the English and the French whites might 
all have been killed in battle, or — if Toussaint pro- 
longed the negotiations — killed by fever. In his new 
position there was no more fear from the natives. 
Toussaint had no fleet, and he could only reach us 
overland by long marches that would have wasted 
his forces in a most unprofitable manner. Besides, 
he had his hands full with Rigaud and La Plume, 
the Mulatto leaders. 

The difficulty of the new situation lay in the two 
words 'might be.' The questions Maitland had to 
answer were : Were the positions necessary in point 
of fact ? Did Jamaica think them necessary ? Did 
Maitland himself think them necessary ? Would the 
Ministry be likely to agree with him if he decided 
that they were ? Anxious, most anxious questions ; 
and the only counsellors whom Maitland could call 
to his aid were Dundas, the Secretary of State, who 
was six weeks off by post, and who could not make 
up his own mind, and Balcarres, the Governor of 
Jamaica, who (whatever his private opinions might 
be) was the official representative of the West 
Indian interest. 


Heavy indeed was the task that Maitland pondered 
as he sailed for Cape Mole St Nicholas with 4800 
emigrants from Port au Prince, whites and slaves, who 
followed the British flag. The first news that met 
him was that everything was going wrong at Jeremie. 
' It all comes,' he wrote angrily, ' of Spencer stuffing 
all his men into one or two places, and leaving no 
flying force to keep up communication.' Spencer 
was the officer in command, and Maitland determined 
to inquire strictly into the failure of his campaign. 
' I am much concerned,' he wrote, ^ at the outbreak 
of offensive operations ; ... we had better strike a 
blow at once, than go on in a state of perpetual petty 
warfare, draining our purses and killing our men.' 
No doubt : but in a country where there are no 
roads, and every thicket is a natural fortress, to strike 
a blow at once is what no guerilla leader will give his 
foe a chance of doing ; and to keep up petty warfare, 
to drain his enemy's purse and kill off his men one 
by one is the whole art of war. Maitland was more 
indulgent when he had seen the difficulties for him- 
self, and he wrote that Spencer had shown great per- 
sonal gallantry, and had not done so badly, although 
he had been defeated. 

Immediately on arriving at Cape Mole St Nicholas 
Maitland proclaimed martial law, and abolished the 
civil courts of the place. This measure, he said, not 
only discouraged litigation, but effected a very material 
economy in the expenses of administration. No doubt 


he was right in thinking, too, that the forms of civil 
process were not a little out of place in a state of 
society such as that obtaining in San Domingo in 
May 1798. But although he was severely censured 
(as indeed what vigorous officer has not been ?) by 
the stay-at-homes, it is remarkable that he only had 
need to make one severe example during the course 
of his negotiations with Toussaint. By proclamation 
dated the 26th of April, the Sieur Peyrade, convicted 
of highly seditious conduct, was condemned to be 
blown from a gun on the heights of St Robin at five 
o'clock in the afternoon. It was some time before 
Maitland heard the last of Peyrade's execution ; but 
the prompt measure probably saved much bloodshed, 
and enabled him to carry out the evacuation without 
distressing confusion. 

Having, during his brief stay at Cape Mole St 
Nicholas, set things in something like order, he sailed 
for Jeremie, at the tip of the southern horn of the 
island, to set matters right after Spencer's overthrow. 
The southern horn thickens considerably towards the 
tip. Jeremie is a little to the east, along the north 
shore ; still further east, along the south shore, is 
Aux Cayes. The extreme north-easterly bulge of 
the horn is Cape Dame Marie ; the extreme south- 
westerly bulge of the horn is Cape Les Trois, just 
north of Tiburon. The capture of Tiburon, long a 
favourite plan with the troops, was the object of 
Maitland's expedition. The Admiral, Sir Hyde 


Parker, sent him the Tork^ the Torturelle^ the Rattle 
and the Drake to help him ; and 1700 colonial 
troops were marched overland on the nth of June 
to cut ofF Tiburon from Aux Cayes. On the 15th, 
Maitland himself arrived by sea at Les Anglais, a bay 
betw^een Tiburon and Aux Cayes, and duly met his 
colonial troops. But beyond hailing each other they 
could effect nothing ; for the surf would not allow 
Maitland's men to land. He lost some men in trying, 
and then gave up the attempt, resting satisfied with 
having frightened Rigaud and captured five guns. 
It was something, too, to have extricated his colonial 
troops from what had now become a very perilous 
situation. This was the only incident of the evacua- 
tion that fell short of complete success. 

By the 6th of July he was back again at Cape 
Mole St Nicholas, and was able to report the result of 
his measures to compensate the emigrants from Port au 
Prince. Colonel Grant had been appointed President 
of the Board for this purpose, and had received the 
following instructions. The well-to-do were not to 
be compensated at all. Any person claiming compen- 
sation on the ground of services rendered to Govern- 
ment was to establish his claim in the clearest manner. 
The very poor might receive a compassionate allow- 
ance. 'I will be just if I can,' Maitland wrote, 'but 
I will by no means be generous.' Possibly with this 
end in view he effected something less than justice ; 
but he certainly attained his grand object of conducting 


the evacuation economically. The outside limit of ex- 
penditure permitted him on this head was ;£" 100,000 ; 
his actual outlay was a trifle under one-half of this 
sum, being a little short of ^^50,000. He might well 
congratulate himself on such a result. 

He now addressed himself to the most serious pro- 
blem of the relations of Hayti to Jamaica. Already 
while at Jeremie he had communicated with Earl 
Balcarres. In writing to the Governor of Jamaica he 
presumed that a copy of Nesbitt's instructions had 
been forwarded to him ; but expressed his own fear 
that Nesbitt might be at the bottom of the sea. 
Returning to the instructions, however, he reminded 
Lord Balcarres that under them the Governor of 
Jamaica was to decide whether Maitland should retire 
or hold on. It was important to decide, because 
matters were growing critical. How critical they 
were he now proceeded to detail to Dundas. * The 
British force,' he said, ' may now be truly said to be in 
a galloping consumption. Since May we have lost 
200 men by disease. Our cavalry is perfectly useless 
for campaigning in a country like this, and our 
effective force will soon be under 500 men. Feed- 
ing on salt food in the tropics is not the way to 
keep troops healthy, and we are excessively short of 
officers. With such a force as this we can do nothing, 
of course, and the enemy grows bolder as he perceives 
our weakness.' Undoubtedly, he wrote, Jamaica 
would be much benefited by the presence of English 


troops at Cape Mole St Nicholas and Jeremie ; but 
it simply cannot be done under half a million a year. 
This sum was midway between the former excessive 
outlay of over ^700,000, and the sum of ^^ 300,000 
which Mr Pitt thought should be sufficient for the 
effective occupation of the island. 

This despatch is dated the 6th of July 1798, and on 
the 22d of August, Dundas wrote to Knox, Mait- 
land's destined successor, naming this exact sum as 
the amount the Ministry was prepared to spend on 
San Domingo for the protection of Jamaica. With 
a quick passage the letters might have crossed, but 
the evacuation had been completed long before Knox 
had a chance to act on his instructions. 

The reference to Balcarres did not bring Maitland 
much comfort. Balcarres had not seen Nesbitt's 
instructions ; and as he gathered that Maitland him- 
self had no copy of them, he declined all responsibility 
in advising him as to the evacuation. He wrote, 
however, in a friendly spirit, expressed himself as much 
obliged to Maitland for his report, and in spite of his 
refusal to enter into the question of the evacuation, 
he wrote at great length on the subject, although 
somewhat discursively. Personally, he said, he looked 
on Jeremie as an outpost of Jamaica ; for Jamaica lies 
open through Jeremie to the attacks of San Domingo, 
and (which is much worse) to the propagation of the 
dangerous opinions which are rife in that island. 
Banditti could land with fatal ease from either Cuba 


or San Domingo, and then the defence of Jamaica 
would become a most serious matter. The white 
troops could not campaign in the lowlands ; they 
would have to be withdrawn from the coast, and the 
total force necessary for the defence of the island 
would be at least 8800 men. However, taking Mait- 
land's view that Toussaint was the destined winner in 
San Domingo, there was a plan that had elements of 
success in it. This was to arm the Jamaica negroes, 
make common cause with Toussaint, subdue the 
mulattos, expel the French, and bind San Domingo 
and Jamaica together. Unfortunately the Jamaica 
planters had not the nerve for so large a scheme, and 
they were alarmed at the mere suggestion of arming 
the blacks. On the whole, perhaps, Maitland had 
better evacuate Jeremie. 

There was not much backbone in this advice. 
Lord Balcarres's letter was really an intelligent and 
conversational essay on the conditions of the problem 
rather than a piece of counsel. Nothing could be 
more friendly than his style ; but the matter was so 
pleasantly impartial, so much more the deliverance of 
a disinterested spectator than of one who (if what 
he said was true) might at any hour find himself 
fighting for his life, that Maitland might well have 
shown some disappointment. But he did not do so. 
Throughout his official career Maitland was always 
the strong man supporting the weak, the man of 
resource coming to the aid of the helpless, and here, 


as everywhere else, it was only on Thomas Maitland 
that Thomas Maitland could rely. 

However, he was consoled by a letter from Dundas 
which reached him a few days later. The Secretary 
was carried away altogether by Maitland's performance. 
He overflowed with expressions of gratitude and relief. 
The * unexampled situation ' in which Maitland found 
himself owing to Nesbitt's illness was one in which 
he had acted with the Secretary's perfect approbation. 
He conveyed the * warmest acknowledgments ' of the 
Cabinet for the arrangements relative to the evacuation. 
The agreement with Toussaint L'Ouverture was not 
only judicious in itself, but liberally conceived, careful 
of the interests at stake, and generously carried out. 
The reduction of the expenditure was very satisfactory. 
The constitution of the Emigrants' Board was perfectly 
proper ; and Maitland had borne himself throughout 
his arduous services with humanity and dignity. 

This was the kind of letter that Maitland liked to 
receive : he had none of the Duke of Wellington's 
icy indifference to other men's opinions. He knew 
that he did better than other men, and liked to know 
that his superiors knew it. Men said that he was 
vain ; perhaps : he had something to be vain of. 
They said that he liked flattery ; very likely : most 
men do, and those most of all who affect to be in- 
different to it. But surely, if Dundas's letter be 
flattery, what is just acknowledgment ? The plain 
truth was that Maitland had done a piece of work 


that nobody but himself could have done. He created 
the conditions in which he acted ; he created the very- 
opinion on which he played ; and that which he had 
rescued by his efforts was nothing less than the lives of 
many whites and many more blacks, and the honour 
of the British name. Such services are not rendered 
every day ; and if Maitland throughout his official 
career was constantly receiving letters like that just 
summarized, it was not because flattery was necessary 
to keep him up to the mark, but because he was 
continually rendering services of such magnitude that 
only exceptional acknowledgments were appropriate to 
them. His work was approved ; but his health was 
broken. ' Let me have leave,' he wrote by every 
packet. ' I ought not to remain in San Domingo 
another day.' ' I may hold out another fortnight.' ' I 
am completely knocked up.' * I shall never recover 
the shock to my health.' ' The perpetual attacks of 
disease incident to a tropical climate wear a man out 
beyond belief.' He does not say what disease — 
dysentery probably. But what is remarkable about 
these moans are that they proceed from a man who is, 
at the moment of uttering them, carrying out work 
beyond the strength of any men but those of the 
toughest fibre — the Grants, the Wellingtons, the 
Strathnairns. Throughout his life Maitland always 
presented this singular spectacle, that he worked like 
a Hercules, and wrote of himself like a valetudinarian 
— even a hysterical valetudinarian. 


What remained to do after receiving Dundas's letter 
was comparatively easy. There w^ere no enemies 
near Cape Mole St Nicholas ; and Jeremie v^^as only 
feebly menaced by Rigaud. But Maitland vi^as ex- 
tremely anxious to send his San Domingo refugees to 
Jamaica. There was, however, a colonial law for- 
bidding the importation of French slaves into that 
island. If Cape Mole St Nicholas were retained, 
Balcarres undertook to secure the admission of one 
regiment of Colonials and a few French emigrants, 
but if not, he would positively decline to receive any. 

By August 1798, however, it had become clear 
that without the despatch of a fresh army from 
England, this condition could not be fulfilled. Sir 
Hyde Parker was vehemently opposed to the evacua- 
tion, as of course were all the Jamaica planters. But 
Maitland's reasoning was unanswerable. The place, 
he wrote, is only strong because it is difficult of 
approach by water. By land it is weak, in spite of its 
five blockhouses. If we remain here till the enemy 
close round us, we shall have just as much trouble to 
get out of Cape Mole St Nicholas as we had to get 
out of Port au Prince. So, as Balcarres could do 
nothing for him, he disbanded the Colonials and sent 
them back to where they were levied. Jeremie was 
evacuated on the 20th of August, Cayemite on the 
24th, and Les Trois on the 27 th ; in each case the 
withdrawal of the British took place with the greatest 
order and tranquillity. Maitland sailed on the 31st, 


and the evacuation of the Mole was completed by- 
Colonel Spencer on the 2d of October. 

In his last letter from San Domingo, written to 
Huskisson, Maitland expressed his anxiety as to the 
views of the Ministry, and the meeting with them to 
which he had to look forward. * For that meeting,' 
he wrote, * I am not a little solicitous, as I have a 
great deal to answer for if I have been wrong, and 
if I have been right, I shall at least have it to say I 
have effected my object more fortunately and at less 
expense than any man previously could possibly 
have imagined.' 

He need not have been anxious : from the moment 
after he landed at Falmouth from San Domingo, he 
was a marked man. He was immediately employed 
on a mission even more trying than that to San 
Domingo, inasmuch as it was from the outset hope- 
less. In San Domingo he had to face stupendous 
difficulties ; but in his negotiations in the United 
States he had to face impossibilities : from the outset 
he was set to weave ropes of sand. 





In his agreement with Toussaint L*Ouverture, Mait- 
land had (in addition to the articles of the armistice) 
arranged the terms on which commerce was to be 
carried on. Port au Prince was to be the only open 
port of the island, and only those vessels were to be 
allowed to ply that were furnished with passports. 
This did not aiFect Toussaint, because he had no 
ships ; and it did offer a certain measure of protection 
to British trade, because it empowered our cruisers 
to seize the numerous if diminutive privateers of 
San Domingo. These boats, though dignified by the 
name of pirate-ships, were, in reality, too small to 
eflPect much damage : but they could cause a good 
deal of annoyance to trade, and the passport clause 
was a useful one from every point of view. 

We had reckoned, however, without the govern- 
ment of the United States. At first Mr Rufus King, 



who represented the States in London, was disposed to 
view the growth of English influence in San Domingo 
favourably. 'The French,' he wrote to Dundas in 
December 1798, 'prey on our commerce just as if we 
were at war with them, and San Domingo is a frequent 
and convenient port of call.' That being the case, one 
would have supposed that in order to secure the advan- 
tage of an ocean-highway patrolled by an eflfiicient 
fleet, he would have been prepared to submit to some 
restrictions on trade as a reasonable condition of im- 
proved ease in traflic. But one of these restrictions — 
that relating to the import of provisions — he looked on 
as damaging to American trade, and accordingly he 
moved the Secretary of State to revise Maitland's con- 
vention in a direction more favourable to American 

The Secretary at once acceded, and turned to 
Maitland as the man best fitted to conduct the fresh 
negotiations. There were elements of success in the 
mission. The chief source of wealth in the Southern 
States, as well as in our own West Indian colonies, 
was, of course, the cultivation carried on by slave 
labour. The Americans, therefore, were just as much 
menaced as ourselves by the existence of a free black 
republic so near to their own coasts. Our interests 
in trade did not clash ; the Americans supplying grain 
and little else, while the English supplied manufactured 
goods and little else. The first plan suggested was, 
accordingly, that a close company should be formed 


on that basis, with a joint undertaking on the part of 
the two governments to forbid the importation of 
arms. This, however, was construed as an infringe- 
ment of the constitution of the United States. Other 
excuses less sound were urged from time to time, as 
we shall see, in order to prevent a solution of the San 
Domingo question ; but before we accompany Mait- 
land to Philadelphia, we shall do well to study another 
side to Toussaint L'Ouverture's character, the side that 
came most prominently forward in the course of these 
negotiations. Toussaint just fell short of being a 
great figure in history. At this period, the zenith of 
his power, when France was trying in vain to coerce 
him, and while England and the United States were 
bidding for his favour, he still retained the quaint 
forms of Republican correspondence ; he still headed 
his proclamations — 

Liberie Egalite 

an 8' de la Republique Franfaise 

une et indivisible 
le 11 pluviose^ or whatever the 
date might be. This, perhaps, was from a diplomatic 
reluctance to break altogether with France. But it 
seems more probable that it was from ignorance of 
any other calendar. He had a superstitious respect 
for anything in print, and Maitland often found 
Toussaint's mind occupied with productions like the 
following — ^La sceleratesse du machiavellisme brittanique 


s'est eleve a un si haut degre de demence et d^atrocite 
quelle ne saurait etre comparee qua la folk audace des 
geants de la fable revokes contre Jupiter et les Dieux 
d'Olympe^ ' Le Gouvernement anglais .... sest 
charge de tons les crimes de Pespece humaine a dater du 
jour desastreux oii Georges trois a pris le bandeau royaU 

* Cest cet imbecile monarque^ ce sont ces detestabks 
ministreSy^ . . . etc., etc. 

Toussaint took this kind of composition as seriously 
as the London Gazette. They were both in print ; 
and any attempt to draw a distinction between them 
only served to strengthen the impression produced on 
his mind by the French publication. To make a 
simple agreement of a few clauses with a man like 
this is possible, although difficult, but to make him 
understand the full meaning of a somewhat compli- 
cated treaty, and rightly to grasp the bearing on the 
future of each provision of it, is an impossibility. 

There remained the difficulties in the United States, 
difficulties which met Maitland on his landing, and 
which were never surmounted. It was with some 
diffidence that he accepted the mission, for he was, he 
said, quite ignorant of diplomatic business. He stipu- 
lated for a frigate for the round trip — Madeira, 
Philadelphia, San Domingo, Jamaica and home. He 
asked to be accompanied by Grant, formerly chairman 
of the Emigrants' Board at Cape Mole St Nicholas, 
and destined to be our Resident Consul at Port au 


Prince under the regulations that Maitland was about 
to establish ; by Nightingall as secretary, and (oddly 
enough) by a physician, Dr Wright. His conditions 
were at once accepted ; and on his complaining of the 
Dana'e\ the ship first placed at his disposal, it was 
changed for the Camilla. 

Travelling in this considerable state he reached 
Madeira on the 24th of February 1799. From this 
island he wrote a long despatch on the state of affairs 
there which seems to have made an impression. The 
French, he said, have now made peace with the 
Emperor ; their next victim will certainly be Spain 
or Portugal. In that event, why should not England 
take Madeira ? Very large sums of English capital 
were embarked in the wine trade of the island ; and 
as the neighbouring island of TenerifFe was neither 
more nor less than a rendezvous, or rather a home, of 
pirates (for the privateers were all owned by the 
resident inhabitants), a large squadron would soon be 
necessary to keep guard over our wine trade. Since 
they must be there, v^hy should they not (in the event 
of the island becoming French by the conquest of 
Portugal) make good use of their time ? The islands, 
as they were when Maitland wrote, were perfectly 
defenceless, and the first comer who took the place 
and fortified it would be able to hold it against all 
assailants with ease. 

This was actually done on the 23d of June 1801, 
or just two years after Maitland wrote, when the 


island was occupied by England in consequence of the 
article in the Treaty of Badajoz, by which Portugal 
agreed with France to exclude British shipping from 
Madeira and her other ports. 

Maitland arrived at Philadelphia on the 2d of 
April 1799; interviewed Robert Liston, our minister 
to the States, and immediately reported to Dundas 
that there were very grave fears of the failure of his 
mission. The mission, in effect, included coming to 
terms with Balcarres, Toussaint and the government 
of the United States. Balcarres, no doubt, would do all 
that he could, although the Colonial Assembly might 
be troublesome. We have seen what Toussaint was 
like ; he was ignorant and suspicious, but he did really 
wish to arrive at some definite understanding with us. 
The government of the United States, however, had 
no such desire. The only convention that they would 
ever consent to sign was one where each clause 
nullified the other, and the net result was that things 
stood as they were at the commencement. This was 
heartrending work, but Maitland went throught it 
assiduously and conscientiously. He followed the 
Secretary to each new position that he took up, went 
over the ground again and again, cast and re-cast 
the terms of the convention, remaining all the while 
conscious that he was only marking time. 

To add to the confusion, Toussaint sent to Phila- 
delphia an envoy of his own, who was favourably 
received, and with whom the States opened direct 


negotiations. * The game is taken totally out of our 
hands/ Maitland wrote ; the only chance remaining 
being, that while our wishes were altogether neglected, 
both Toussaint and the States were reckoning on a 
state of peaceful navigation that was secured solely by 
the presence of the British navy. So that while we 
had ourselves created, and could alone maintain, the 
conditions that made negotiations possible, we were 
the only parties to the discussion whose wishes were 
neglected. A plenipotentiary empowered to urge 
this view forcibly might perhaps be listened to ; but 
certainly nobody else would be. 

In so far as this disobliging attitude had any business 
basis, such a basis was to be found in the fact that at 
this time American so-called trade was really very 
little more than gambling. But slender capital was 
embarked in it, and the profits were very large — if the 
vessel was not captured. The element of uncertainty 
rather attracted the Americans than alarmed them, 
and they had no desire to regularize the situation. 
But Maitland, though he modestly said that he was 
no diplomatist, contrived out of this most unpro- 
mising situation to extract a few points on which 
England and America could be brought to agree ; and 
wrote, with truth, of ' our present happy understand- 
ing with America.' The Secretary did in the end 
agree that England and the States had interests in 
common, viz., to keep San Domingo quiet, and to 
keep out the French. As to all the rest, the United 


States remained unpledged, and Maitland saw that 
further negotiations would be a mere waste of time. 

He sailed for San Domingo, greatly depressed at the 
meagre result of his efforts, and found just that state 
of confusion that might have been expected when the 
two great powers concerned were obviously incapable 
of coming to an understanding. Toussaint continued 
to flout the French commissioner ; and the Directory, 
in revenge, sent their dispatches to Rigaud. Rigaud, 
encouraged by this attitude on the part of the govern- 
ment that had once outlawed him, finally broke with 
Toussaint, and the island became a scene of bloodshed 
and torture from end to end. 'America had much 
better have concurred in our proposals,' Maitland 
groaned ; and then this would not have happened. 
There was just a last possibility that Grant's appoint- 
ment as Resident Consul-General at Port au Prince 
might develope into the nucleus of some permanent 
settlement of the difficulty. But the Directory had 
been before us, and had forwarded to Toussaint various 
comments of the French press on Grant's appoint- 
ment, couched in the kind of language that has been 
already quoted. The impression left on Toussaint's 
mind was that Grant was a coercive agent of the 
wicked English Government, and that to allow him 
to enter on his duties would be but a step towards the 
destruction of Toussaint's power in favour of the 
English. Toussaint refused to see Colonel Grant, but 
he continued to allow the American agent to exercise 


his functions, and also in a sort of non-committal 
manner kept up relations with the French. Grant 
turned to Balcarres, but Balcarres could do nothing, 
not even give him advice. The governor had enough, 
more than enough, to do to manage the Colonial 
Assembly, and thought that perhaps Maitland might 
help the consul. Everybody leant on Maitland, but 
even Maitland was at the end of his resources. ' We 
can no longer maintain the convention,' he wrote ; 
in fact, it was non-existent. We were fairly elbowed 
out of San Domingo. As for Jamaica, it was in the 
wildest confusion. A very small force could have 
captured the island, for the Colonial Assembly had 
quite lost its head, and there were no forces ready for 
defence. ' Of course all the blame will be laid on me,' 
wrote Maitland, ' for having evacuated San Domingo ; 
but surely if there was anything in what the Jamaica 
men complained of, they might have found time in 
the last year to have put the island in some sort of 
readiness for attack.' All the irritation of the man 
of action against the men of words broke out. As 
for San Domingo, the scene changed from month to 
month ; every turn of power implying so many men 
on the other side massacred. Everybody had some 
share of influence but the English. The situation 
was as unreal as a nightmare, and Maitland sailed 
for England beaten and worn out. 

He made his way to Cheltenham for August 1799, 
and then moved back to London, to Berkeley Square. 


After barely six months' rest he was again employed ; 
this time in a purely military capacity. He com- 
manded the troops in the expedition to Belleisle in 
the summer of 1800. 'After eight years of war, 
after a vast destruction of life, after an expenditure 
of wealth far exceeding the expenditure of the 
American war, of the Seven Years' war, of the war 
of the Austrian Succession, and of the war of the 
Spanish Succession united, the English army, under 
Pitt, was the laughing-stock of all Europe. It could 
not boast of one single brilliant exploit. It had never 
shown itself on the continent but to be beaten, 
chased, forced to re-embark, or forced to capitulate. 
To take some sugar island in the West Indies, to 
scatter some mob of half-naked Irish peasants, such 
were the most splendid victories won by the British 
troops under Pitt's auspices.' 

There are some sidelights to this depressing picture 
which serve to modify its gloom. The vast sums of 
money here alluded to as if lavished on the British 
army were spent in subsidizing allies on the Continent 
of Europe. Outside Europe we captured the entire 
Colonial Empire of Holland and a good part of that 
of France : achievements that it is hardly fair to 
dismiss as the capture ' of some sugar island,' as 
Macaulay dismisses them. But in respect of our 
performances on the coast-line of Europe, no language 
could be too severe. 

One of the most ridiculous of all of them was being 


projected while Maitland was struggling with a hope- 
less situation in Philadelphia and San Domingo : this 
was the expedition to Belleisle. It was entrusted to 
him immediately on his return from San Domingo. 
It having been already proven that the civil authorities 
were in a complete state of bewilderment, there needed 
only this demonstration of the impotence of the army 
to fill Maitland's mind with that well-founded con- 
tempt for his superiors that runs through his correct 
and orderly despatches. As a rule, the only person who 
is fit to write the accounts of battles and sieges is a 
soldier ; but the Belleisle expedition was such a farce 
that even a civilian may attempt the narration of it 
without undue temerity. 

Belleisle is a considerable islet off the west coast of 
France, lying due south of Quiberon and between 
L'Orient and the mouth of the Loire. North-east of 
Belleisle, between the island and the mainland, lies the 
little islet of Houat. The object of occupying Belle- 
isle was to give a rallying-point for the disaffected 
Royalists of the west. The expedition was a repeti- 
tion of that despatched to Toulon six years before : 
that expedition against which Maitland himself had 
railed from his seat in Parliament. 

The only chance of success for such an undertaking 
was that it should be carried out with secrecy and 
suddenness, and that it should be of overwhelming 
force. If we had seized and held Belleisle as Sir 
Charles Stuart had seized and held Minorca only 


eighteen months earlier, there might have been a 
chance for the Royalist cause. We were in corre- 
spondence with Georges, who was conspiring in the 
Bourbon interest, and it was understood that we 
were to hoist the white flag, and proclaim Monsieur 
as soon as the fortress was reduced. 

Presumably the first point to settle was the strength 
of the garrison of Belleisle ; but this was left to the 
last, and it was not until Maitland was encamped at 
Houat that some attempt was made, by interrogating 
captured fishers and peasants, to find out the strength 
of the enemy. As regarded secrecy, so little was the 
expedition kept a secret that we might as well have 
published our plans in the London Gazette^ and for- 
warded a copy to Paris. As a result, the garrison was 
largely reinforced about a fortnight before the close 
of our preparations. 

Our preparations were conducted with the maximum 
of publicity and the minimum of expeditiousness. The 
plan finally adopted was, that one regiment from Ports- 
mouth and one regiment from Plymouth should form 
the English contribution. They were to sail separ- 
ately from the Irish regiments, and the whole were 
to rendezvous off Brest, but so that Maitland and 
the Irishmen were a little ahead. Apparently there 
was not sufficient transport available to despatch the 
Irish regiments at once ; so the transport vessels, 
having landed the first contingent at Houat, were to 
return to Ireland and bring out the second contingent. 


By this ingenious arrangement ten clear days' notice 
was officially (so to speak) given to the enemy that 
some hostile enterprise was on foot on the western 
coast of France. But, as we have seen, their extra- 
official information was so full that they reinforced 
the garrison at their leisure. 

As regards the strength of the expeditionary force, 
it was fixed at 4000 men, and Sir Edward Pellew pro- 
mised to contribute an additional force of 500 marines. 
This was pure guess-work, and in point of fact, 
the army was much too weak for the work assigned 
to it. So far, then, we had made a series of blunders 
that would have ruined any campaign. Provided, 
however, that the naval blockade was efficient (and 
it was thoroughly efficient), there was still a chance 
that the army might do something if despatched in 
tolerable order. But the equipment of the troops 
reminds us of the Duke of Wellington's summing-up 
of the Flanders expedition five years before — * It has 
always been a marvel to me how any one of us 

There was a strong fortress on the island ; but it is 
not clear how the commander-in-chief expected it to 
be captured, unless he conceived it to be like Jericho 
of old, and that the walls would fall down at an 
invitation. For there was no battering train where- 
with to silence the enemy's guns ; neither were there 
any scaling ladders ; neither were there any fascines. 
There was not even a light field train in case the 


enemy might by chance show fight in the open. 
Maitland asked for a couple of hundred dragoons for 
reconnoitring purposes ; and dwelt on the fact that 
there was not a man with the army who knew the 
island, and that without a reconnaissance now and 
then he might get into difficulties. But it seems 
that there was no precedent for the employment of 
cavalry on such an expedition ; and Maitland was 
given to understand that his request was irregular, 
and had given offence. 

Not only was Maitland expected to reduce a strong 
fortress without scaling ladders or a battering train, 
but he was evidently expected to get through his work 
in the course of an afternoon. 'The Queen's regi- 
ment, 450 strong,' he reported, * has come out without 
a single tent, canteen or camp kettle.' Presumably 
they were to use the enemy's quarters and utensils ; 
but Maitland's mind did not run at this heroic 
pace, and he added simply, * which renders them 
perfectly unfit for service.' 

With this burlesque army, Maitland sailed from the 
Cove of Cork on the i8th of May 1800. He made 
Brest on the 23d, and cruised ofF Ushant for St 
Vincent and the Grand Fleet. It was at sea that he 
discovered the alarming deficiencies of his army ; and 
while communicating with the fleet he also discovered 
that, though St Vincent was prepared to 'behave in 
the handsomest manner,' there was a serious deficiency 
of boats for landing his men. He reached Quiberon 


Bay on the 5th of June, and learnt that Belleisle had 
been strongly reinforced by the French. He now 
commenced his inquiries into the probable strength of 
the enemy, and came across the wildest contradictions. 
Sometimes it was stated as low as 4000 men ; some- 
times as high as 10,000. Whether this information 
was intentionally misleading or not, it had the effect 
of making Maitland pause. ' Supposing,' he said, 
' that the French are even 5000 strong,' what would 
be the use of landing ? It might even be a question 
whether we could land at all, as there was still a total 
deficiency of flat boats, and a great want of small craft. 
But to land even 4000 men in the face of 5000 would 
be the height of rashness : 8000 was the very lowest 
strength that the invading army ought to be reduced 
to. This, he said, was a most painful conclusion to 
come to ; but if we were to proceed he must ask 
for more men, flat boats, some hospital ships, more 
plentiful provisions, coals, spare stores and camp 
equipage, as well as scaling ladders, heavy guns and 
the small force of dragoons that he had previously 
mentioned. And this is the general's despatch when 
face to face with his enemy. 

On the 14th of June, Colonel (afterwards Sir Miles) 
Nightingall arrived in London with this despatch, and 
two days later Mr Dundas wrote to Maitland com- 
mending him for his judicious behaviour, and adding, 
* It is certainly His Majesty's intention to provide 
immediately a large corps of troops with a battering 


train and every other requisite sufficient for the 
reduction of Belleisle.' One would not gather from 
this language that Mr Dundas was addressing the 
general supposed to be actually engaged on the siege 
of Belleisle. The Secretary went on to say that 
affairs in the Mediterranean were critical, that Sir 
Ralph Abercromby needed an immediate reinforce- 
ment of 4000 men, and that Maitland was, in conse- 
quence, to despatch his troops to Minorca immediately 
on receipt of the order. This despatch reached Mait- 
land at noon on the 23d of June, and by four o'clock 
on the succeeding afternoon the troops were gone ; 
Maitland alone remaining behind. 

In the meantime, however, Maitland had twice 
inspected the island of Belleisle, and had decided that 
an attack must be made. From his own observation 
he was convinced that there could not possibly be 
many troops there : because he could not see them. 
But is it not a well-known ruse of war to affect weak- 
ness in order to draw the enemy on ? However, Mait- 
land was eager to make the attempt, and fixed the 
night of the 19th of June. Fortunately the sea was 
too rough, and the attack was postponed till the night 
of the 20th. On the morning of the 20th there came 
a confidential aide-de-camp from General Georges, 
conveying positive information that the garrison was 
5000 strong, and that every man in the island capable 
of bearing arms had also been forced into the Re- 
publican army. On the 21st of June he wrote to 



Huskisson that he supposed Georges must know ; but 
that 'the not making the attempt is a source of 
bitter mortification.' 

After he had despatched his troops to the Medi- 
terranean, he wrote to Dundas that he placed his 
information at the disposal of the general who would 
have the next command ; but he hoped for that com- 
mander's sake that the expedition would be kept quiet 
until it had started. There would be a difficulty about 
this, no doubt ; ' as the appearance and paraphernalia 
of a great attack, whatever the risk may be, is a most 
captivating dose to your old generals.' 

On the 1 8th of June, two days after the despatch 
commanding Maitland to send his troops to the 
Mediterranean, Dundas wrote to him to keep them 
at Houat. Maitland received the despatch on the 
26th, two days after the troops had sailed : evidently 
Dundas had no idea of the pace at which Maitland 
could drive a piece of work through. The reason for 
the change of ministerial attitude was the battle of 
Marengo. It was clear that nothing considerable 
could now be effected in the Mediterranean ; so the 
4000 men already at Houat might be used as the 
nucleus of the next army of Belleisle ; an army 
which Maitland now declared ought not to be less 
than 10,000 strong. However, they had sailed, and 
the nucleus was reduced to Maitland and a few light 
field pieces. Maitland was ordered home early in July 
1800. It is not hard to gauge his feelings. He was 


a proud, capable, energetic man, and he had been 
made the figure-head of an expedition that Macaulay 
justly described as the laughing-stock of Europe. 

On the 1st of November 1803, Maitland took the 
oath as a member of the Board of Control. 'I do 
faithfully promise and swear that as a Commissioner 
or Member of the Board for the affairs of India I 
will give my best advice and assistance for the good 
government of the British Possessions in the East 
Indies, and in the due administration of the Revenues 
of the same according to Law, and will execute the 
several powers and trusts reposed in me according to 
the best of my skill and judgment without favour or 
affection, prejudice or malice to any person whatever. 
So help me God.' 

Castlereagh, Henry Addington and Hawkesbury 
were Maitland's witnesses to the taking of this 
oath; upon the subscription of which he was free 
to enter on the enjoyment of his salary of ^1500 
a year, and the anxious duties of one of the 
most complicated pieces of administrative machinery 
ever devised by man. His tenure of office was not 
very long, for it only lasted from November 1803 till 
May 1 804. He had left India as a captain in a line 
Regiment ; he was now concerned with its affairs as 
one of its rulers. But the chief interest to him must 
have been not so much the remarkable contrast 
between his own position in 1794 and his position 
in 1804, as the contemplation of the cumbrous and 


creaking machinery which somehow, and in spite of 
all collisions, sufficed for the regulation of the affairs 
of a great empire. 

Let us cite as an example the appointment of a 
commander-in-chief for Madras, which took place 
while Maitland was on the Board. In our days a 
single line in the Gazette settles this. In Maitland's 
day H.R.H. the Commander-in-Chief wrote to the 
President of the Board of Control to the effect that 
His Majesty had been pleased to approve of the 
appointment. The president thereupon, without 
consulting the Board (which was only informed of 
his action after it was taken), wrote to the Chairman 
of the Court of Directors of the H.E.I.C., and 
requested him to move the Court to appoint Sir John 
Craddock. Thus the Sovereign's pleasure ultimately, 
and in effect, took the form of a simple request to 
a commercial body with whom the real authority re- 
sided. That request wound its devious way through 
three separate channels, brushing aside in its course 
the whole of the Board of Control, and markedly 
dissociating their authority from that of the chairman. 
A Sovereign supplicating his own subjects, a Board 
ignored by their own chairman, a commander-in- 
chief reduced to a mere ministerial officer, such 
were the principal features of this ingenious arrange- 
ment. The President of the Board was a Cabinet 
Minister, and therefore resigned with the Govern- 
ment. Formerly none but Privy Councillors could 


be members ; and as a matter of fact Maitland was 
sworn of the Privy Council a month after taking 
his seat. But since the Act of 1793 this was no 
longer an indispensable qualification. 

Yet somehow the arrangement worked, and the 
Board of Control was looked on at the time as an 
arrangement exceptionally favourable to the despatch 
of business and the due control of England's rapidly 
growing Eastern Empire. After San Domingo and 
Belleisle, nothing could have been much of a surprise 
to Maitland. He was a fairly regular attendant at the 
Board, and if he learnt nothing else, there he at any 
rate learnt with tolerable fulness ^with how little 
wisdom the world was governed.' 

As the expedition to Belleisle was the last occasion 
on which Maitland served as a soldier, it may here be 
convenient to review his military career. Maitland 
was a military man, but he was no soldier. It is not 
that he made mistakes ; for he always did his work 
creditably, but his heart was not in the service. He 
had seen eight years' service in India, in times of peace 
and in times of stress ; and he was not fired by his 
experience there. On the contrary, he gladly entered 
civil life, and at once made himself a conspicuous 
figure. His command in San Domingo was half 
military and half civil ; and in the exceptional circum- 
stances of the case, Maitland might have employed 
either arm without fear of reprimand. He instinct- 
ively negotiated rather than appealed to force. When 


active hostilities broke out in Jeremie, he went im- 
mediately to the scene of war ; but he never looked 
on the Tiburon expedition as anything but a tedious 
interruption to what was really of value — his negotia- 
tions with Toussaint. If Maitland had been a soldier, 
it would have been impossible for him to resist the 
temptation of closing with Toussaint. The expedi- 
tion to Surinam in 1804, in which his cousin Frederick 
Maitland was employed, was typical. It was one of 
many undertaken and successfully carried through 
about this time, and would certainly have filled the 
imagination of a man to whom the army was all in 
all. It was such a complete demonstration of the 
power of a small force acting with the command of 
the sea. If we compare Maitland with a contemporary 
of his — John Moore — we see the difference at once 
between the born soldier and the merely military man. 
Moore had not much wider experience of warfare 
than Maitland ; like him, Moore entered Parliament, 
and at one time, for want of occupation, became 
something very like a treasonable conspirator. Like 
Maitland he governed a colony — St Lucia. But 
whereas in civil life Moore when not ridiculous was 
quite ineffective, every piece of military work that he 
did shone with the stamp of genius. Precisely the 
opposite was the case with Maitland. He did a great 
deal of military work, and did it as well as, and no 
better than, a score of his brother officers could have 
done. But no sooner did he enter civil life than he 


was a marked man ; as an agitator he was a most 
formidable antagonist, as a diplomatist he could evolve 
order out of chaos. He failed in San Domingo only 
because he was attempting the impossible : he was 
endeavouring to do, with notes and civil interviews, 
what nothing but a large armed force could have 
effected. Even as it was, had the Americans not 
played for their own hand, he would have effected 
something. At the moment when he commenced the 
first piece of work of which England at the present 
time enjoys the benefits, Maitland was at his best. 
He was not one of those who develope early, for he 
was forty-six years of age when he took up his 
appointment as Governor of Ceylon. For five-and- 
twenty years he had been incessantly employed in 
the public service ; and his ripe experience was now 
brought to bear on a most difficult task, one which, 
it may be safely asserted, nobody but Maitland could 
have performed. If we would know, in a sentence, 
exactly in what his work consisted, it amounted to 
this : to undo as rapidly and as thoroughly as possible 
the work of his predecessor. 




The Honourable Frederick North (son of the second 
Earl of Guilford, and whom he succeeded as fifth Earl 
on the death of two elder brothers) was a gentleman 
of a tremulous and exacting conscience, with a fine — 
even a superfine — taste in the fine arts, an ingratiat- 
ing manner, large sympathies and many enthusiasms, 
chiefly of the sentimental kind. Prior to assuming 
the Governorship of Ceylon, his principal appointment 
in public life had been the Chief Secretaryship of 
Corsica, in which position he had earned a reputation 
for adroitness by his handling of Paoli, and his inter- 
view with the Pope. In examining these incidents 
of his career, however, it becomes clear that in the 
latter of these there was really very little difficulty, 
for it was all give on our side and all take on the part 
of the Holy See. As regards Paoli, it was not so much 
North's discretion as the threatened court-martialling 



of Moore that brought Paoli to reason. We must 
therefore look on North when he assumed the 
governorship as, practically, an untried man. 

As a governor, we should expect to find him 
leaning much on the permanent officials, earning a 
reputation for amiability rather than force. We should 
expect him to lead an elegant, and as far as possible, a 
splendid existence, perhaps leaving behind him some 
valuable monographs on the antiquities of Ceylon. 
Nobody could have anticipated that he would develop 
into a zealous and energetic officer of the most 
pestilent type. 

Zeal and energy are such indispensable qualities for 
a public official that no man can be said to be properly 
equipped for the public service without them. We 
have Talleyrand's word for the contrary : and Talley- 
rand was a great authority. But he served an im- 
patient and irascible master, and conducted the most 
delicate business in the world at the time when Europe 
was in a most inflammable mood. We therefore have 
to justify the phrase * a zealous and energetic officer 
of the most pestilent type.' The justification lies 
in the fact that the words are not here used in 
the dictionary sense, but in the official sense. In the 
official sense they are usually employed to describe 
any piece of work that makes a show, as distinguished 
from that quiet and unobtrusive devotion to duty that 
tells in the long run, but makes no show at the time. 
A man need not necessarily be himself either zealous 


or energetic in order to show zeal and energy : it 
suffices if he makes other people uncomfortable. 

As Governor of Ceylon, Frederick North made 
a stupendous show, and nearly ruined the colony. 
The Ceylon of a century ago was a very different 
island from the Ceylon of to-day. The British 
possessions there consisted only of a narrow ring of 
territory round the coast, the interior of the island 
being under the rule of the King of Kandy. 
Frederick North was the first British governor 
after the island was captured from the Dutch ; and 
if the Cingalese had been a warlike people, there is 
no doubt that he would have been the last also. His 
zeal was all-embracing ; it is the more difficult to 
know which of his blunders to mention first. Perhaps 
his attempt to alter the fabric of society takes preced- 
ence for its curious fatuity and its disastrous results. 

The constitution of society throughout the Indian 
peninsula is now tolerably familiar to most English- 
men from the writings of Sir Henry Maine. It is 
strictly feudal, but much more rigid than any 
feudal system of Europe, inasmuch as the distinctions 
between man and man are enforced by the iron 
partitions of caste. The basis of the feudal system 
was that the condition of the tenure of power was 
the fulfilment of duty. ' Power ' means ' land ; ' 
< duty ' means ' duty to the State ; ' the * State ' being 
an idea inseparable in the East from personal authority. 
Thus every village has its head — hereditary ; its ac- 






Map of Ceylon in 1805. 

Note,— The shaded portion roprcsents that part of the island subject to 
Great Britain at this date. 


countant — hereditary ; its menial officers — hereditary 
also : and all these officials are paid by lands entailed 
in their family from generation to generation, and 
rented directly from the ruler, whoever he may be — 
Mogul, Maratha, Hollander or Briton. Here we 
have the lower orders of society, all most jealously 
kept distinct. Bloody wars have been fought for 
village headships, so highly were they prized. Above 
these came a regularly graded aristocracy, all based on 
the same system — the possession of land and the ful- 
filment of duties (in the higher ranks mostly military 
duties) to the State. In peaceful times the duties 
of the higher grades of this aristocracy were not 
apparent ; and North accepted the higher ranks as 
he accepted the nobles of his own land, who also, 
at that time, enjoyed a magnificent position without 
any apparent responsibility. But what jarred on his 
temper was the enjoyment of lands by men calling 
themselves village servants. Government was in need 
of money, and here were many thousand acres of 
land nominally rented from government. With his 
head full of ideas obtained from works on political 
economy. North prepared a grand stroke of policy ; 
he resumed all the lands held for village service, and 
advertised them for rental. In the open market, he 
had no doubt he would get much higher prices than 
those that had previously obtained. But alas ! there 
was no open market. It scared and displeased the 
Cingalese to see their time-honoured customs thus 


uprooted. It would have been a sacrilege to bid for 
lands so long consecrated to * service.' So they lay- 
vacant. With the vi^orst of all obstinacies, the 
obstinacy of the over-educated man, North persisted 
blindly in his resolve. Difficulties supervened. The 
service rendered by these undesirable tenants had not 
perhaps been adequate ; but a certain amount of 
service had been rendered to government. Nov7 that 
the village servants had fled, the w^ork that they 
had performed — letter-carrying betw^een village and 
village, internal duties in the village itself — remained 
undone. Nothing daunted, the Governor imported 
gangs of coolies from ' the coast ; ' which meant the 
Madras coast. This cost about ;^30,ooo per annum, 
and effected nothing. For the coolies well under- 
stood and thoroughly respected the feudal system in 
which they had themselves been reared. They did 
not like the situation, and they shirked their work. 
As for the former village servants, they had all fled 
to the bush. The upper grades of society watched 
nervously to see who would be attacked next. But 
North had no attention of attacking anybody : he 
was only obstinate and unobservant — perhaps it would 
be more polite to say zealous and energetic — and 
he turned flightily away from a plan half finished 
to another with more elements of profit in it — the 
development of the cinnamon trade. 

He wrote the most glowing accounts of what he 
was going to do with the cinnamon trade. He was 


going to cover the expenses of the administration of 
Ceylon, and put a large surplus into the treasury- 
out of this trade alone. It will be sufficient to men- 
tion here that under the contract entered into with 
the East India Company, it was provided that a servant 
of the Company should watch the delivery of the 
goods on the part of his masters : there was, however, 
no similar provision on the part of the Ceylon Govern- 
ment. We shall see the result of this later. 

There was, next, the matter of the Dutch prisoners. 
Many of these, both officers and men, were in Ceylon, 
waiting for conveyance home. North had promised 
them a convoy of English vessels to Batavia — and 
was waiting for the vessels. Meanwhile he was 
feeding the Dutch prisoners. 

The Governor, with his head full of the profit 
reaped by so many English countrysides from such 
large works of internal navigation as the Bridgewater 
Canal, determined to do for the Cingalese something 
of the same kind. But the Cingalese, like most 
Orientals, respected the wisdom of their ancestors 
more than the wisdom of essays and treatises ; and 
North's internal communication works were un- 
favourably received. One of them, near Colombo 
itself, had the disastrous effect of leaving the capital 
of Ceylon almost defenceless to attacks which could 
not formerly have been attempted by a prudent 

To put the crown to his edifice of mismanagement. 


North must needs go to war. The King of Kandy 
was not a warlike sovereign, but he held an admirably- 
strong position in his capital, and he had two doughty 
generals — Jungle and Fever. The intrepid North 
ordered his troops to the attack with all the courage 
of a man who is not going himself. They were 
disastrously defeated with very severe losses, and one 
English officer — Major Davie — was left a prisoner in 
the King's hands. 

When Maitland arrived, therefore, the situation 
that he had to face was this : the English were 
conquerors in a conquered land, yet their own army 
was small and dispirited from recent defeat. The 
native allies and troops in our pay were in hardly 
disguised mutiny ; desertions . were frequent, and 
speculations as to our approaching downfall were 
generally rife. This was the natural consequence of 
a miserably unsuccessful campaign. The treasury was 
empty, and vast leakages in every direction had con- 
tinually to be stopped by drawing bills on England. 
Land had gone out of cultivation to a dangerous 
extent in consequence of the resumption of service 
lands. Trade was rapidly falling ofT, and there was 
a debt of ^^ 20,000 due to the East India Company 
under North's cinnamon contract. The condition 
of the civil service will be discussed later : it was 
highly unsatisfactory. 

Here was a state of affairs hardly distinguishable 
from what he had left in San Domingo. But there 


were two important differences. Firstly, whereas in 
San Domingo Maitland had, at first, only a delegated 
authority for a special purpose, and later no authority 
at all, in Ceylon he was the undisputed master. 
Secondly, the natives were not warlike. Except, 
perhaps, by Raffles in Java, never has finer work 
been done for the Colonial Empire of England than 
that which was wrought by Thomas Maitland during 
the five years of his tenure of office as Governor of 





Earlier in this book, it was stated that Thomas 
Maitland began life as a totally uneducated man. 
But life had educated him for the work of life most 
completely. His work in Ceylon, the repairing of 
the damage wrought by his erratic predecessor, is 
the most agreeable period of his career. He had 
not yet developed that fiercely cynical attitude of 
mind that he showed in his later years. Ceylon 
was his first considerable and independent appoint- 
ment, and Maitland brought to the task his large 
experience of public affairs, and his profound know- 
ledge of men, applying both in a spirit that was 
perfectly admirable. 

The work was the more difficult because North 
had been a highly popular governor with the 
Europeans. To a certain extent he laid himself 
out for popularity, and multiplied posts in a way 
that was perhaps hardly justifiable. But apart from 



this extravagance, there were excellent reasons why- 
North should be popular. He was a perfect gentle- 
man, and a most agreeable man ; and if his govern- 
ment was little more than a succession of wild 
experiments, the damage fell on the natives, and 
not on the Europeans. 

Maitland landed early in July 1805, and plunged 
forthwith into his new duties. It took him six 
months only to patrol his charge, to examine to 
the bottom every department of public expenditure 
and revenue, and to draw up a report in which he 
detailed the whole in 123 folios of manuscript, with 
57 enclosures : and as the first net result he was able 
to report an annual saving of ^300,000. The first 
of the measures by which he effected so vast an im- 
provement was the restoration of the service tenures. 
Considering that Maitland was writing more than 
half a century before Sir Henry Maine, it showed 
exceptional profundity of observation and originality 
of thought that he should write to the Secretary 
of State as he did on this subject. We are not, he 
said, living in the conditions that obtain at home. 
We are back in the Middle Ages. *I think your 
lordship will agree with me upon reflection that it 
would have been a most strange and unaccountable 
measure, supposing it possible when we were in this 
state of society, if one of the ancient barons had 
pulled out of his pocket Adam Smith, and said, " I 
will apply to you vassals principles that you do 


not understand, and that will not properly apply 
to your circumstances for another five hundred 
years." ' 

It was not, he argued, as if North's system of 
procuring labour in the open market were a success. 
There was not a single inhabitant of Ceylon who 
would work if he were not compelled to do so. 
' There is not an inhabitant in this island that would 
not sit down and starve out the year under the shade 
of two or three cocoanut trees, the whole of his 
property and the whole of his subsistence, rather 
than increase his income and his comforts by his 
manual labour.' 

One very quaint form of tenure he instanced as a 
remarkable example of the extent to which the custom 
prevailed of rendering service to government. At 
Colombo there were 300 or 400 people exempted 
from all other service on the tenure of * catching 
hares in nets for the governor.' 

But we are not to suppose that Maitland was as 
brusque in his handling of so grave a matter as North 
had been. On the contrary, although it was plain 
that the service system was the proper one to pursue, 
he would make no general order for fear of reflecting 
on North, of whom he always spoke in terms of high 
personal regard. He simply encouraged, as excep- 
tions, a return to the old system wherever there was 
a tendency to do so. The tendency was general, and 
the exceptions rapidly became the prevailing system, 


but so that no reflection was cast on * the honour of 
His Majesty's service.' 

He next, or rather concurrently, turned his attention 
to the state of the Civil Service and the condition of 
the different offices. One, in particular, he chose to 
deal with immediately, because it presented the most 
flagrant example of the laxness that had grown up 
under North's government. The collector of JafFna- 
patam was a protege^ not to say favourite, of North's. 
He had been rapidly advanced in the service, and 
although not much over twenty years of age, he held 
one of the principal collectorates of the island. He 
was ignorant of the language, and completely in the 
hands of his sheristadar. The result need hardly be 
recorded. Justice was sold and government revenues 
pocketed by the sheristadar and his nominees. Private 
trade was not then definitely prohibited to civil 
servants, and the collector traded largely on his own 
account through the sheristadar. This he did not 
from motives of greed, but from an excusable wish 
to do everything that there was to be done. He 
was a very bad trader, and the only person enriched 
was the sheristadar. The collectorate, of course, was 
ruined, and the countryside in dismay. Maitland 
felt that the case must be dealt with immediately. 
He sent for the collector and remonstrated with him, 
but without effect. He sent for him a second time, 
and the collector almost told him to mind his own 
business. ' I am sorely tempted to make an example 


of him,' Maitland wrote ; and he would have been 
perfectly j ustified in doing so, for although Maitland's 
knowledge of men told him that the collector was 
only a very foolish young gentleman, his proceedings 
had all the appearance not only of incapacity, but of 
flagrant dishonesty. But nothing would induce the 
governor to publicly reprimand a King's officer if he 
could by any possibility avoid doing so. It was an 
easy course, he wrote, and the only alternative threw 
heavy anxiety upon himself; but the alternative 
course was that which the governor adopted. He 
promoted the collector from JafFnapatam to Colombo. 
Here he had him under his own eye ; and he per- 
suaded the collector of Colombo to exchange for 
JafFnapatam ; how, he does not state, but probably by 
his talisman, * The honour of His Majesty's service, 

Thus appearances were saved. But there remained 
the recovery of the balances due to government from 
the collector personally and in his official capacity. 
These balances the governor was by no means dis- 
posed to forego ; and yet their recovery would 
necessitate a long and very complicated inquiry. In 
the ordinary course of the service this would have 
fallen to the new collector ; but Maitland would not 
hear of that. It would, to begin with, throw a vast 
deal of extra work on him which he had not bargained 
for when he consented to the exchange ; and it would 
also in great measure undo the good of the exchange. 


So he deprived himself of the services of one of the 
ablest civilians in the island — Mr Alexander Wood 
— and placed him on special duty for the inquiry. 
Thus everybody's sensibilities were spared — at the 
expense of heavy labour on the part of the governor. 
But Maitland had not done with the peccant collector 
yet. He summoned him before Council, and gave 
him a last chance. By this time the collector had 
begun to understand what crossing the governor 
meant. He made his submission, promised to do 
better, and was dismissed to his work with a reprimand 
— but not a public reprimand. Maitland immediately 
interceded for him with the Secretary of State. He 
was a very young man, he urged, and quite capable 
of doing good work in the future. He almost made 
it a personal matter that the young man should be 
forgiven, and forgiven he was. 

At that time the Ceylon Civil Service was recruited 
from youths of the age of fifteen. They served about 
twelve years as a rule. Nothing is more certain than 
that no Englishman is fit to commence arduous work 
in the East before the age of twenty-two. At twenty- 
eight and from then for fifteen years onwards he is 
at his best. The system prevailing when Maitland 
was governor combined every possible disadvantage. 
Civilians were useless for the first six years of their 
service (if they survived them), and were retired just 
when they were at their best. Maitland wrote about 
this system with the greatest concern. He always 


took the money point of view as being the safest to 
reason from, and from this point of view the system 
was simply ruinous. It was only natural, for example, 
that the men at the head of the service should look 
for the best appointments. Therefore the younger 
men were sent to the worse districts. There would 
be no harm in this if they were already seasoned. 
But, said Maitland, what happens if you send young 
gentlemen of fifteen or even of twenty to lonely 
districts ? They either (if they are conscientious) 
mope and worry over their work, having nobody to 
speak to ; or else (and perhaps that is the best for 
them in the long run) they get into all sorts of 
mischief. The effect on the revenue is the same in 
either case. It is no answer to this to say that 
they are * gentlemen,' and will rise to responsibility ; 
character, he urged, is not a thing cut in marble. 
It varies with circumstances, and may be completely 
changed by them. It is the same with their physical 
frames. A seasoned man of thirty will take no harm 
from a little fever ; a boy of eighteen goes down 
under it. And then what happens to the revenue ? 
We are simply sending out every year a crop of young 
gentlemen unfit for the work ; the service is constantly 
being recruited with rubbish, and the few who survive 
are retired as soon as they are of any use. Following 
out this line of reasoning, he appointed a military man 
of the rank of major to Batticolo, a district that 
formerly paid its way, but that recently under the 


rule of a succession of boys had turned into a desert. 
In spite of a direct command, he flatly refused to 
appoint boys to any such district in future. We may 
follow up this experiment to the end with advantage. 
The Secretary disapproved Maitland's appointment, 
the military man was withdrawn, and the district 
ceased once more to yield revenue. 

These measures are typical ; they have been entered 
into at some length for the purpose of showing that 
Maitland, far from being the gross bully that he is 
usually accounted, was in fact a man with an extra- 
ordinarily lofty sense of duty, and quite exceptional 
tact ; a strong man in the best sense of the word. 
There is no more certain sign of a weak judge than 
the habit of bullying juniors. There is no more 
certain sign of a weak administration than the habit 
of finding fault with the lower grades of the service. 
It shows (to superficial observers) a habit of watch- 
ing over everything, a sort of omniscience, when 
the governor concerns himself with the doings of 
youngsters, and in particular with their shortcomings. 
But nothing superficial commended itself to Maitland. 
He knew well enough that the lower ranks of the 
service are those that give the most trouble ; that 
their attainments must always be inconsiderable, their 
faults glaringly obvious. But the ideal that he set 
before himself was a service whose honour was to be 
most jealously guarded ; and before he would injure 
that honour by a public reprimand to a member of 


that service, he would endure any impertinence, any 
burden of work and anxiety rather than that the 
English should appear to be divided among themselves 
in the eyes of the natives. * Our power,' he said, 
* rests solely on their belief in our superiority.' 

Into the details of the revenue it is hardly possible 
to enter here ; but the cinnamon contract, an extra- 
ordinary example of ineptitude, requires some notice. 
The officer appointed by the East India Company to 
supervise the delivery of the cinnamon, in the discharge 
of his duty to his employers, selected from the bales 
submitted to him only those which contained cinna- 
mon not only good in quality, but good in appearance. 
As the contract provided for the appointment of no 
such officer on the part of the Ceylon Government to 
check these objections, quantities of cinnamon were 
rejected that were perfectly up to sample. The 
storehouses were loaded with the rejected goods, 
the island was already 5000 bales in arrears, and 
Maitland could do nothing : for, at the first hint of 
revising the contract, the Company would of course 
call upon him to pay up his arrears. So that all he 
could do was to watch the deficit growing, and suggest 
that representations should be made by the Secretary 
of State to the Board of Directors. 

The keep of the Dutch prisoners was a serious 
item of expenditure, their presence was a political 
danger (for they looked for a revival of the Batavian 
Republic), and their removal in British ships promised 


to be a heavy expense. So Maitland sent a flag or 
truce to Batavia, which was then in French hands, 
and suggested that the prisoners should be sent for. 
They were at once fetched away and landed at Java. 
Thus, without any outlay except that involved in the 
voyage of the sloop of war that carried the flag of 
truce from Colombo to Batavia, the governor rid 
himself at once of an expense and an anxiety. 

The anxiety, though he said little about it, was 
very well grounded. Our native troops in Ceylon con- 
sisted of some Sepoys who were scarcely effective, and 
more than suspected of disaffection, and some Malays, 
of whose conduct we can best judge by the following 
incident. During the war with Kandy they deserted 
to the enemy and joined in the massacre of our troops. 
When we retired the Malays marched back to barracks, 
which they were allowed to re-enter. They then 
presented a demand for their arrears of pay during 
the campaign. Seeing that they had been fighting 
against us, the impudence of this demand has probably 
never been approached. However, it was acceded to 
by North's government, and, as Maitland said, we 
thus put a premium on treason. To awe these very 
dubious mercenaries we only had 1200 European 
troops in the whole island, so that to get rid of the 
Dutch prisoners was more of a relief than Maitland 
cared to admit. 

These were some of his initial diflficulties, and 
perhaps the most serious of them. The surmounting 


of them, and still more the manner in which they 
were surmounted, was of incalculable service to the 
governor. After the conclusion of the collector of 
JafFnapatam's case, Maitland wrote, ' The other officers 
are already beginning to see that there may be such a 
thing as the interests of government to be considered.' 
That was a great step onwards ; for it was not so much 
the actual difficulties of reform that embarrassed 
Maitland as the spirit of laxness which pervaded the 
public service. After a warm eulogium of North's 
personal character, he wrote to Lord Camden, * I 
fear that his plans have very generally been formed 
upon mere theoretic principles without attending to 
local circumstances or religious prejudices, and I am 
sure that the execution of those plans has been left 
totally to themselves.' 

It was in the judicial branch of the service that 
the possible improvements were fewest. By strict 
supervision the collection of the court fees was en- 
forced, and the courts were made to pay their own 
way ; but that was all that could be done. ' No 
man will more rejoice than I do that the present 
unlimited spirit of litigation shall subside into a 
feeling of equity and honour of which at present 
the inhabitants are totally divested.' Maitland's 
grammar was not always very sound, but what he 
meant was that he looked forward to a subsidence 
of that spirit of litigation which produced, for ex- 
ample, the following figures. Between the ist of 


March 1805 ^^^ the 24th of February 1806, the 
sitting magistrate of Colombo decided 6812 civil 
cases. This implies the monstrous number of at 
least 22 civil disputes for every working day of 
the year. Betw^een the same dates the criminal 
cases numbered only 585, or the small total of 
II a week. The whole character of the Cingalese 
population is given in the figures : they were not 
violent or turbulent, but they were intensely 
litigious over small matters, and this temper there 
was no hope of changing. 

Except in JafFna, where the vagaries of the head 
of the district had brought about ^ a scene of pecula- 
tion and fraud and iniquity,' the judicial branch of 
the service needed comparatively little reformation. 

It was the revenue that was Maitland's despair ; 
in particular, the survey department. This indis- 
pensable adjunct to a well-ordered revenue system 
in a settled State was simply a white elephant to 
the disordered revenues of Ceylon as we found it. 
Without considering that the island could not afford 
the annual expenditure of ^25,000 to ^30,000 which 
the survey entailed, there remained the very plain and 
cogent facts that village service was indispensable to a 
survey, and North had abolished village service. The 
department had been established in consequence of an 
estimate of the probable progress of the island *full 
as ludicrous and full as romantic in its lucubrations 
as anything that is to be found in the Arabian Nights 


Entertainments.'^ Having evolved an imaginary sur- 
plus of j^50,ooo to ^100,000 a year, it was decided 
that ^^25,000 or ^30,000 of this could not be * better 
thrown away' than on a survey. *I wish to God 
they would have let it alone ; ' but on the whole he 
was grateful to it, for it enabled him to demonstrate 
to His Majesty's Government ' how absurd theoretical 
speculations are when not combined with local cir- 
cumstances, local feelings and local prejudice.' 

Having done all that was for the moment possible 
to ameliorate the revenue and judicial branches of 
the service — those that would naturally attract Mait- 
land first — the governor turned to consider the army 
and the Kandy war. There was no regular peace 
with Kandy, but Maitland was not anxious to re- 
commence hostilities. Kandy, he wrote, ' is infinitely 
beneath contempt ; there would be no glory in 
winning, and there was no dishonour in remaining 
as we were. It is not the Kandians that are formid- 
able, but Mr North's opinions on the subject that 
have rendered them formidable. The great fault was, 
from the commencement, regarding them as a regular 
power. Had I so considered them, I might have 
gone to war with them every day since I came here.' 
The situation was strained, but it gave Maitland the 
opening for one of those masterpieces of management 
in which he was such an adept. War was what the 
King desired ; and war was what the governor would 
not have. Firstly, it was expensive ; secondly, it was 


risky ; for our army had been beaten once, and the 
Malays were thoroughly untrustworthy. Yet the 
King was determined to force on war if possible. He 
had a hostage in the person of Major Davie, for whose 
restoration we were negotiating. But the King would 
not restore him without an embassy ; and an embassy 
Maitland was too wary to consent to. It would be 
the final recognition of the King as a regular monarch, 
and would be merely the prelude to new demands. 
To break the shock of the refusal, Maitland corrupted 
the High Priest with the present of a large looking- 
glass. He also won over the High Steward ; so that 
when war was debated in the councils of Kandy, a 
peace party suddenly made its appearance. The de- 
cision was put ofF from day to day ; and meanwhile 
the High Priest and the High Steward enjoyed the 
valuable privilege of smuggling letters in to Davie. 
Each one of these cost Maitland ^^20 ; but though 
a miser in the King's interests, the governor never 
hesitated to be lavish if the occasion justified the 
expenditure. He even went so far as to offer ^^2000 
to anyone who would bring Major Davie away. 
' Money is of no consequence in such a case,' he 
wrote. But though the bribe was high, the danger 
of arousing the King's vengeance was too great, and 
nobody volunteered for this perilous service. The 
plain fact was that any man who attempted to release 
Davie would have to spend the rest of his life outside 
the dominion of the King of Kandy ; that is, in effect. 


under British protection ; and there was still great 
doubt in the minds of the Cingalese whether British 
protection was likely to be permanent. So Davie 
lingered in captivity. But the covert correspondence 
with him served two purposes : it kept up that un- 
fortunate officer's heart, and it cemented our influence 
at the court of Kandy. At the expenditure of a few 
hundred pounds the peace was kept, the breach of 
which would have cost us scores of thousands of 
pounds, and more lives than could be estimated. 
' War in this climate ! ' wrote Maitland, with a back- 
ward glance, perhaps, at the not dissimilar climate of 
San Domingo. As for Kandy, the King would always 
quarrel with whatever power held the coast ; so that 
unless we meant to extinguish him (which we 
certainly were not strong enough to attempt), our 
only possible course was to ignore the affronts that 
he offered us, and to find our consolation in keep- 
ing the peace, even if it were rather an ignoble 

In evolving order out of chaos, in developing a 
balance out of a deficit, the difficulties that Maitland 
encountered were too varied and complicated to be 
enumerated. A few have been instanced, together 
with the expedients adopted by him to meet them. 
One source of revenue was the agio on the sale 
of Government bills ; and to give some idea of the 
complexity of these transactions before the days 
when there was a standard rupee, we may take 


this advertisement of the rates of exchange for the 
6th of June 1806 : — 

On Great Britain ^i Sterling = 9I Rix Dollars. 
On Bengal 360 Arcot Rupees = 400 Rix Dollars. 
On Madras 100 Star Pagodas = 400 Rix Dollars. 
On Bombay 350 Bombay Rupees = 400 Rix Dollars. 

When Maitland had been at work little more 
than a year, he commenced a masterly review of 
the value of Ceylon as a military post. We must 
recall the circumstances that led to our retention 
of the island. Ceylon was the only portion of the 
Dutch Empire (the entire area of which had been 
conquered by England) that we retained at the 
Peace of Amiens. We made this exception because 
the campaigns of SufFren had shown us that we 
could not afford to leave so important an outpost 
in the hands of so feeble a power as Holland. In 
his report to the Secretary of State, Maitland re- 
minds the Government of these facts when he is 
considering the strength — or rather the weakness 
— of Ceylon. * Whether at peace or war,' he 
wrote, the whole objects of the French *seem to 
me to be limited to two : to conquer India in 
England or England in India.' In Maitland's day 
it was not every politician who saw the situation 
so clearly. 

In this scheme of conquest, where is the place of 
Ceylon ? It stands at the gate of India, and can 


only be viewed in relation to the continent. When 
we say that Ceylon guards India, we mean of 
course that the fort and harbour of Trincomalee 
do so. Of the general defence of Ceylon he merely 
wrote, as of a matter of course, of * the total 
neglect that had hitherto been shown to put the 
island in a decent, far less a formidable, state of 
defence.' Of Trincomalee itself he reported that 
its defences stood * exactly where they did in the 
year 1781, with this essential difference, however, 
that the trifling works then in decent order are 
fast mouldering into decay.' Now Trincomalee is 
*the real key by the possession of which alone you 
can hold the naval superiority of India.' 'So long 
as we are supreme at sea it does not matter; but 
directly a hostile squadron with four or five thousand 
men makes its appearance, we shall lose all that we 
have paid so much for during so many years.' 

In fact, 'if we are not prepared to fortify Trincomalee 
not only adequately but formidably, we may as well 
give up Ceylon altogether.' 

So much for external defences. As regards the 
interior, a good deal would be achieved as soon as 
the Secretary of State should sanction his restoration 
of the service tenures in the villages. Not much 
additional military strength would accrue from this 
measure, but the difficulties of transport, of supply 
and of internal communication would be minimised. 
The actual forces at his disposal were quite inadequate. 


numbering only 1200 Europeans, with a regiment 
of Sepoys (who were comparatively harmless), a 
regiment of Malays (who had been convicted of 
treason), and both of whom might be warranted" to 
desert to the enemy at the first reverse suffered by 
our arms. 



OF maitland's work by bentinck's ineptitude 



On the south side of Cavendish Square there stands, 
looking towards Oxford Street, a heroic statue of a 
very handsome, very arrogant and (it must be said) 
very dull man. It is that of the second son of the 
third Duke of Portland — Lord William Bentinck. 

Lord William Bentinck's dulness was perfectly 
compatible with lofty intentions and great personal 
nobility of character, but it was not to be denied. It 
was of the aggressively British type. He always 
acted as if he really believed that the British Con- 
stitution came down from heaven ; as if it was not 
only metaphorically but actually a palladium of 
liberties ; and not only of our liberties, but of the 
liberties of all other peoples. If facts did not square 
with the British Constitution, so much the worse for 
the facts. 

He passed a public life of many years in making ex- 
periments on these lines ; experiments that were often 



made with kindly intentions but were (with a single 
exception) of disastrous effect. The exception was 
the abolition of Sati ; which earned for him an epic of 
panegyric, and a statue in Cavendish Square. With 
his blunders we need not concern ourselves, except 
with the first, which nearly lost us India. In his 
capacity as Governor of Madras, while Maitland was 
Governor of Ceylon, he ordered the native soldiers to 
parade without their caste-marks ; as if that was not 
enough, he ordered them to shave in a particular 
fashion ; as if that was not enough, he ordered them 
to wear a cap of a particular shape resembling a 
European head-dress. Short of outraging their private 
life and defiling their temples, there was nothing else 
that he could do to stir up a bloody rebellion. His 
own defence is such an excellent resume of the situa- 
tion that we may spare a line for it. He said that 
he had signed the orders as he understood them to be 
mere matters of form concerning the military depart- 
ment only. As if, in the East, matters of form were 
not often of vastly greater moment than matters of 
fact. As regards the defence that they concerned 
the military department only, this demonstrates that 
Bentinck had failed to learn his first lesson, viz., 
that religion in the East pervades all departments of 
life, and can by no means be set aside at the call of 
military expediency. 

Of course the inevitable happened. The abomin- 
able orders were no sooner published than English 




officers were shot down, a universal massacre seemed 
imminent, and the fabric of our dominion trembled 
to its foundation. Of course Maitland was sent for. 
On the 3d of August 1806, a swift vessel was 
despatched to Ceylon for help. Beating against the 
south-west monsoon, it took ten days on the voyage. 
It reached Maitland at four o'clock in the afternoon 
of the 13th, and at six o'clock all the men that he 
could spare were already embarked. The orders to 
Colonel Buchan were to proceed to Negapatam 
without a moment's delay. The men, numbering 
400 in all, were in a vessel that, running before the 
wind, made their destination in three days. Maitland 
wasted no words in sending them, and offered no 
comments. He only asked to have them sent back 
to him as soon as possible, as Ceylon was now defended 
by the navy only. The Governor of Madras in 
council overflowed with gratitude, as well he might. 
But Maitland preserved a grim silence, receiving and 
annotating reports, making all possible inquiries, and 
never hesitating all the while to render every assist- 
ance in his power to the panic-stricken Government 
of Madras, to whom he offered no advice, simply 
accepting their report on the situation, and acting 
on it with a promptitude and loyalty that could not 
be surpassed. Then he sat down ; and, the immediate 
danger being past, and most of the facts in his possession, 
he wrote : but not to Bentinck, to Minto, the new 
Governor-General. Maitland was boiling with rage. 


Of what use was it that he should be working him- 
self to death to set matters straight in Ceylon after 
North's vagaries, if another, a more violent and head- 
strong North, was to set the continent of India in 
a blaze with his folly ? Ceylon was only useful as 
an outpost to India, and if Lord William Bentinclc's 
conduct was a sample of the course we were about 
to pursue there, there would very soon be no such 
thing as British India. Tact, tact, tact ; this was 
the text of Maitland's daily sermon to the service. 
Study life, study men ; above all the men around 
you here in the East and as they are. Learn local 
manners, local customs, local habits, local religions, 
local prejudices. Not till you are at home in all 
these can you venture to move, still less to alter 
what is around you. But here was a governor who 
was prepared to throw the East and all her hoary 
traditions and notions into a bonfire, and for what ? 
For a question of stocks and shakoes. 

As for their measures taken after the mutiny, 
Maitland was beside himself with impatience. ' The 
Madras Government,' he wrote, 'are giving out 
orders, stating what every child and driveller knows 
to be false — that they have perfect confidence in their 
Sepoy establishment at the very moment they are 
sending to me to say that they have none.' 

After his first outbursts Maitland settled down into 
a detailed examination of the system of Indian ad- 
ministration, and of some incidents of the mutiny. 


There had been an attempt to connect the outbreak 
with the ambition of Tipu's family, who were living 
rather magnificently at Vellore on their allowances 
from the British Government of ^30,000 per annum. 
Maitland dismissed these rumours without much 
attention. Even if there was anything in them, that 
is no great discovery. ' It is not in the nature or 
feeling of a Mahommedan to hang up his sword and 
sit quietly down to cultivate the land.' It is one 
of the standing difficulties of Indian government to 
deal with this temper. It was not on this head, 
but on the feeble and complicated system of Indian 
administration that Maitland now addressed Minto. 
' It is a system,' he wrote, of * perfect inefficiency and 
imbecility.' Every ensign thinks himself a com- 
mander-in-chief; every writer talks as if he were 
the head of a government. They all write far too 
much, spending hours of time and reams of paper 
over matters that could easily be settled in an inter- 
view of ten minutes. Very different, he writes, 
is my government. Here you shall see no piles of 
records, and stacks of correspondence and accounts : 
there is nothing to be seen in Ceylon but results. 

It is not as if all members of the service were 
efficient : there are plenty of ' idle, assuming and 
indolent coxcombs ' who are pushed into places where 
they can do nothing but harm to the service. 

The mutiny is not of course owing to these 
shortcomings. But if we do not set our house in 


order, there will some day come another mutiny 
with which we shall not be able to cope unless our 
system is altered. The outbreak at Vellore has been 
a terrible warning. Let us not neglect it ; you 
cannot quiet mutinies with proclamations announc- 
ing that you have full confidence in the Sepoy 

So wrote Maitland to Minto ; the Governor of 
Ceylon to the Governor-General of India. There 
was no official connection between the two officers. 
They had sat in the same Parliament, and may be 
presumed to have been acquainted. But let us for a 
moment imagine the reverse situation. Let us suppose 
that it was Maitland's system that was being remarked 
on, and that Minto was the critic. It is easy enough 
to imagine the fury with which he would have received 
any criticism, especially one unasked for, especially 
one of such vehemence ; above all, a criticism from 
an officer who, though not actually a subordinate, 
held a post of far inferior importance to his own. It 
would have been different if Maitland's communication 
had been private or semi-official. Yet, although he 
must have known perfectly well, at the time when 
he was lecturing the Governor-General on the proper 
method of conducting the administration of India, 
that he was taking a step that was of very questionable 
manners, to say the least of it, he afterwards expressed 
his astonishment that any offence should have been 
taken at his expression of opinion. Offence was 


taken, dire offence : the sting of Maitland's comments 
being, of course, that they were perfectly sound. 

We shall best realise the situation if we imagine 
the same or similar occurrences to have taken place 
during the great mutiny of fifty years later. Surely 
in such a time of stress a small, or even a considerable, 
breach of official etiquette would have given rise to 
very little comment. The Vellore mutiny happened 
so long ago that most of us have forgotten the very 
name of the place where it originated, and where, 
fortunately for India, it was stamped out. But at the 
time there is no doubt that it shook our confidence 
most seriously. Maitland evidently thought that any 
catastrophe might be expected, either in India or in 
Ceylon. Within the limits of his own charge, there 
were practically no troops to be depended on. To 
any man, and especially to so strenuous a worker as 
the governor, it is exasperating to lose one's life for 
another man's blunder. It was under the conviction 
that no less a danger than this stared him in the face 
that Maitland wrote. His feelings were intensified by 
the genuine zeal that he always showed for the King's 
service ; and though right may technically have been 
with his enemies, and though the result of this and 
some other incidents was to make Maitland one of 
the best-hated men of the day, there is no doubt 
that his conduct (at this distance of time) looks 
admirable. The happy instinct of compromise — the 
absence of which has often been the ruin of administra- 


tions more logical than our own — prevailed on this 
occasion. No reply was sent to Maitland ; no official 
notice was taken of his action. It was allowed to reach 
him privately that his language had given offence, and 
the matter dropped. Both Bentinck and the com- 
mander-in-chief in Madras were recalled from their 
posts. Bentinck's family influence, at once territorial 
and parliamentary, was far too important for his 
blunder to count for much, although it would have 
ruined the career of a less influential person. He con- 
tinued his public career, the career of a kind-hearted, 
energetic man untaught by experience and apparently 
unteachable ; and there has gathered around his name 
a halo of reverence and admiration. 

Before we quit the incident of the mutiny of 
Vellore, there are one or two gems from Maitland's 
correspondence on the subject that ought to be pre- 
served. A week after writing his first despatch, he 
wrote again to Minto (28th September 1806). He 
repeated his opinions previously expressed; and added 
that the measures taken by the Madras Government 
were * farcical and unsatisfactory.' It was 'obvious 
to every child ' that the palace and the Sepoys were 
pulling together, and though that was not the worst 
of the business, it was absurd to issue proclamations 
denying it. ' The Vellore business,' he concluded, 
with an attempt at cheerfulness, was ' a severe 
paroxysm of a violent disorder, but it is nothing 
but a paroxysm.' 


The remedies adopted, however, were a miserable 
quackery ; the real remedy must be radical. ' The 
whole system of India must be considered by His 
Majesty's Government. The whole of its military 
system completely revised and corrected, a due pro- 
portion established between the Europeans and the 
Sepoy establishment,' etc. This is fairly strong advice 
to a Governor-General of India. But it is very mild 
language compared to that which he used privately. 
To Sir George Shee he w^rote on the 23d of March 
1807, that the Madras Government had cherished the 
causes of the mutiny ' by a degree of folly, imbecility 
and madness unequalled even in the history of the 
Island of Ceylon.' This is no longer advice ; it is 
castigation, not to say abuse. If such was the 
language that he allowed himself to use in writing, 
we may guess what he said in conversation. Here 
we may finally quit the story of the mutiny at 
Vellore : a miserable episode, in which Maitland bore 
himself with admirable courage, loyalty and prompti- 
tude. He also succeeded in making a host of enemies 
for himself — chiefly those whom he had rescued from 
the consequences of their own folly. 





The system to which we of Europe have habituated 
ourselves of strictly dividing the executive, judicial 
and legislative duties of government is a strange 
system in the eyes of Easterns. To them it is natural 
that the King shall make or alter laws, and shall also 
execute them by the hand of servants holding ofEce 
at his goodwill. To deprive him definitely of the 
power of executing his own laws is already a deroga- 
tion of his dignity ; while the intrusion of a judge 
on the Sovereign's sphere of action is nothing more 
nor less than a challenge to his royal authority. If 
not checked immediately, it simply amounts to re- 
bellion ; their allegiance is at once divided, and they 
await the inevitable appeal to armed force more or 
less resignedly, according to their temper. 

Nevertheless, there has been no hesitation on our 
part to carry out in the East what must always be 
the English ideal of a sound system of government. 



But it is none the less the part of a loyal judicial 
officer to see that the authority of the governor is 
unchallenged, so that there can be no room for doubt 
as to who is the real head of the government. Especi- 
ally was this attitude on the part of the judicial bench 
a desirable one in Maitland's day, when we consider 
the perilously uncertain state of the society over which 
he was called to rule. 

Mr Lushington was Chief Justice of Ceylon. He 
had a seat in council, which was exceptional for the 
Chief Justice ; and the authority of his high position 
was thus considerably enhanced. Mr North had dealt 
gently with the Europeans ; and though not in very 
good odour with the army, he was much considered 
by the other English in the colony. He was a very 
easy-going man to deal with, and Lushington's con- 
sequence rose, as the consequence of a very conse- 
quential man will always do, unless his chief is really 
a strong administrator. This is a moderate way of 
stating the situation. Maitland stated it rather more 
vigorously. ' When I came to the island,' he wrote, 
' all general authority was annihilated,' and Lushington 
was as great a man as the governor. He proposed to 
continue his former habits, and frequently called on 
Maitland, and gave him advice about the proper method 
of conducting the military arrangements of the island. 
The new governor, as we have seen, had but little 
time to spare for academic debates ; but he was far 
too wary to commence his term of office with a 


breach with the Chief Justice. ' Nothing could be 
so mischievous in a government like this as any 
public difference between the two branches of the 
public service.' According to this opinion, so 
often expressed by Maitland, and so often enjoined 
by him on his own subordinates, when the time 
came for him to be heckled himself he bore his 
punishment unmoved ; but not without secret re- 

The earlier part of his term as governor was filled 
with anxious work, and Lushington had things his 
own way. But gradually the state of public affairs 
quieted down ; the Civil Service came into line and 
the deficit disappeared, and its place was taken by a 
surplus. The native army, if untouched, fell into 
a better frame of mind as it saw the steady improve- 
ment in British affairs, and the grip that the new 
governor had acquired over his subordinates. There 
was no more talk of the British Raj coming to 
an end ; and Maitland, having broken his unruly 
team into something like shape, had leisure to 
attend to his own affairs, and prepared himself to 
face the Chief Justice if a conflict was to that 
officer's mind. 

Lushington was no match for Maitland at this 
kind of work. He seems to have supposed that 
because the governor, a full major-general, patiently 
submitted to be lectured on his military duties by a 
lawyer, therefore he might be neglected altogether, 


and that any liberty might be taken with him. He 
continued, therefore, his habit of laying down the 
law on every subject, little guessing what a terrible 
antagonist he was challenging. Maitland was silently 
waiting until Lushington should take up ground that 
was obviously untenable before closing with him. 
Many causes of difference arose, but Maitland passed 
them by, either because they were not precisely the 
opportunity that he desired, or because his hands were 
full in other directions. At last Lushington com- 
mitted himself ; and before the quarrel was over the 
Chief Justice was beaten, and driven not only from 
council, but from Ceylon, and the governor's 
authority completely rehabilitated. 

It was the duty of the Chief Secretary to Govern- 
ment to countersign orders by the governor. But 
sometimes the governor went on tour, and it might 
be inconvenient to take the Chief Secretary away 
from headquarters ; or the Chief Secretary might be 
sick. In either of these cases, what was to be done ? 
Would the signature of the Deputy Secretary suffice ? 
This was the question duly submitted to the Chief 
Justice for his official opinion. It was the kind of 
question that the Chief Justice delighted in. He en- 
larged on the separate responsibility of the two officers 
at great length ; and finally (on the parallel of the 
Sovereign of England) decided that no act of the 
governor was valid that was not countersigned by 
the Chief Secretary. Maitland protested against this 


view, partly on the ground of the extreme incon- 
venience that would result to the public service if 
it were acted on, and partly because of the extra- 
vagance of the parallel between a colonial governor 
and his Sovereign. Apart from the indecency of 
such a parallel (and Maitland expressed himself as 
greatly shocked by it), there remained this plain dis- 
tinction : that the constitutional maxim of England 
was that the King could do no wrong, and it was 
therefore necessary that some minister should be 
in each case pointed out as the responsible officer. 
In a colony the case was totally different. The 
governor was responsible in his own department, and 
the Secretary in his ; but in countersigning govern- 
mental orders the Secretary did not relieve the 
governor of any share of his responsibility. His 
function was simply that of a witness ; and for that 
purpose the Deputy's signature was equally good 
with that of his chief. These sober and weighty 
reasonings told to a certain extent with Lushing- 
ton, and he gave, in full council, a hesitating assent 
to them. 

A test case soon arose. The governor went on 
tour and took the Deputy Secretary with him. He 
exercised his prerogative of pardon, and the Deputy 
countersigned the order. From the bench of the 
High Court the Chief Justice refused to allow the 
order for the prisoner's release to be executed. Here 
was a challenge thrown down to the governor in 


the face of the whole population of the island. If 
the governor might not exercise his prerogative of 
mercy w^ithout the permission of the Chief Justice 
(and that is the only way in which the natives could 
possibly have interpreted the difference between the 
two officers), it was clear that the Chief Justice was 
the greater man. Maitland took up the challenge, 
and reminded Lushington of his opinion expressed in 
council that the Deputy's signature sufficed. Lush- 
ington discriminated : his opinion in council, he ex- 
plained, had been delivered in his capacity as a 
Member of Council ; his opinion from the bench 
was delivered as Chief Justice. Inasmuch as his 
rank as Chief Justice was higher than his rank as a 
Member of Council, his opinion delivered in the 
higher capacity necessarily overrode the other. It 
is hard to say whether he really believed this non- 
sense ; but there is no doubt whatever that if his 
explanation had been accepted it would have left 
the natives in no dubious frame of mind : the 
governor would have been reduced in their minds 
to a figure-head, and Lushington would have stood 
out as the real if secret depository of power. 

Maitland had chosen his ground admirably. There 
was no dispute as to the propriety of the pardon. It 
was the case of a man condemned to one year's 
imprisonment for a civil debt ; and as he had a family 
depending on him and there were openings for his 
work, it was a clear case where an exercise of the 


prerogative of mercy was to the advantage of the 
colony. Consequently even those w^ho disliked the 
governor, or vi^hose tempers inclined them to the 
adoption of Lushington's view of the question, were 
compelled to admit that, even supposing right to be on 
the side of the Chief Justice, expediency was clearly 
on that of the governor. A council was called and 
the Chief Justice invited to attend. He declined ; 
having, he said, nothing to add. If he supposed that 
this would be a checkmate to Maitland, he was greatly 
mistaken. An order was immediately issued dispens- 
ing with the further attendance of the Chief Justice at 
council. It was added that His Excellency had no 
use for Mr Lushington in military affairs, that his 
opinion would always be of utility in legal matters ; but 
that, as he had declined to give it, his conduct could 
not be passed over. This return blow was decisive of 
the relative importance of the governor and the Chief 
Justice. For the public the question was settled ; but 
privately the quarrel was only beginning. It com- 
menced at fever pitch and did not subside until 
Lushington left the island. The two officers assaulted 
each other with long reports and memoranda, detailed 
examinations of the interviews and even reflections as 
the manner in which various interviews were con- 
ducted, or remarks made. The dispute went worse 
and worse for Lushington ; he lost his temper, and 
his style grew more and more peevish and even 
abusive. Maitland swelled with importance. His 


language grew grander and grander. Whatever 
his private conversation may have been, no one 
bore himself, officially, with more stateliness than 
Maitland. He was dignity and propriety personified. 
Very different was it with Lushington, who was 
reduced at last to such a state of mind that the 
governor could complain with good show of reason 
that he was ' daily and hourly insulted by the Chief 
Justice.' There could only be one issue to such a 
situation. There was but one Maitland, but the 
English Bar could produce a dozen Lushingtons at 
a moment's notice. The Chief Justice was con- 
soled with an appointment in England, and Maitland 
reigned supreme. 

It has been necessary to enter into the details of 
this long-forgotten quarrel, because it was one of 
several in which Maitland engaged, and in conse- 
quence of which he came to be denounced as a 
quarrelsome man. This is a most damaging reputa- 
tion for a public servant, and if it were accurate it 
would go far to justify the neglect with which 
Maitland's name has been treated. Charles Napier 
called him a ' rough old despot.' * Rough ' he was 
sometimes ; although, if occasion called for self- 
suppression, he could be as patient as Marlborough. 
* Old ' he came to be as men counted age in those 
days — sixty-five. But if Napier meant 'despot' to 
be a term of detraction, he was mistaken in applying 
the word to Maitland. For it so happened that his 


whole public service was passed in situations where 
nothing could have been achieved if Maitland had not 
made himself as near an approach to a despot as the 
British Constitution admits of. It would have been 
a derogation of his duty to * the King's service * if he 
had allowed his authority to be disputed, either in 
Ceylon or afterwards in the Mediterranean. 

But there is this much truth in the charge that 
Maitland was quarrelsome. Undoubtedly he reduced 
quarrelling to a fine art. He chose his ground with 
infinite patience and discrimination ; and being once 
entered on his quarrel he threw his whole soul into 
it. He had an admirable gift of exposition, a perfect 
mastery of all the arts by which his enemy might be 
put in the wrong. He always represented himself 
as the embodiment of governmental interest, and 
showed up his opponent as the satanic hinderer of 
the King's profit. To Maitland a quarrel, when 
once determined on, was simply a piece of work to 
be turned out as finely as all his other work. It is 
no more than the barest justice to say that he avoided 
quarrels as far as possible, and that he escaped from 
countless disagreeable situations where other officers, 
less keenly mindful of the King's service, would have 
allowed quarrels to be fastened on them. But it is 
also only fair to admit that he thoroughly enjoyed 
quarrelling wherever the King's service would admit 
of the indulgence. So long as things were going 
badly, there was no man more long-sufFeriiig and 


patient than Thomas Maitland j but when smooth 
water had been reached it was time for those who 
had put affronts on him to be wary. Lushington and 
one or two other men neglected this precaution. 






seringapatam mackintoshes estimate of 

maitland's work 

The sanguine belief that the light of the Gospel 
had but to be shed on the darkness of India for all 
her people to quit the errors of their ways and enter 
the Church was, at this period, very generally pre- 
valent in England. Since Maitland's day some pro- 
gress has, perhaps, been made. But we begin to 
realise, too, how painfully slow must be any general 
process of conversion. Hinduism has room in her 
large pantheon for all the creeds of Christendom ; 
Islam is militant and relentless as ever, though perhaps 
for the moment less authoritative. The light, indeed, 
has shined ; but the people have not followed in the 
way that it points them. Perhaps our Asiatic fellow- 
subjects may retort that we have not shown them a 
very good example. But however all that may be, 
the grand distinction between then and now remains 



— that in Maitland's day the people of England were 
keenly intent on the spread of the Gospel, whereas 
now we may be said to be of a somewhat more 
deferential mind towards the creeds of the East. We 
even, sometimes, remind ourselves that Christianity 
itself is, in its origin, one of the creeds of the East. 
Maitland held these views — or something like them. 
Very advanced views they were for those days. If 
we followed the quaint fashion of revolutionary times, 
and gave him a double nickname to symbolise his 
character by allusions, ancient and modern, we might 
perhaps call him Erastus-Gallio. Firm in his own 
faith, he yet had a horror of thrusting it on other 
people. If we inquire what faith was his, we may 
describe it as a sort of Georgian Catholicism. His 
critics in England called him a pagan — for shortness 
perhaps. ' If showing proper respect for their feelings 
when I visit their temples is to be a pagan, I am one,' 
he rejoined. But we can measure the depth of the 
resentment that was roused in England by this attitude 
on the part of a British governor by the anxious haste 
with which Lord Castlereagh responded to a prompt- 
ing from William Wilberforce. Wilberforce's inform- 
ants were the missionaries — respectable authorities, 
no doubt. But their view — that 200,000 eager cate- 
chumens had been deprived, by a stroke of Maitland's 
pen, of all means of learning the truths of the Gospel — 
was not sound. Wilberforce no doubt acted rightly 
in reporting their view to Castlereagh. He would 


have done better to have aw^aited the minister's reply 
before concluding that Maitland v^^as the monster of 
vi'ickedness that he assumed him to be. But the 
temper in w^hich he sought to remedy matters is well 
set forth in the follow^ing extract from his diary, 
^We are to save only about ^1500 by what is the 
moral and religious ruin of the island. O Lord, how 
deeply do we provoke Thy resentment ! Yet have 
mercy on us, and spare us, much as we deserve 
punishment. I have had some intercourse with Lord 
Castlereagh about it.' 

This extract reveals a state of mind that one would 
rather leave veiled than pry into. Nevertheless, as 
the attack on Maitland was made, it is only just to 
him to examine in what temper it was made. Here 
we have it. Wilberforce saw nothing incongruous in 
mixing up the ^^1500 and the interview with Lord 
Castlereagh with his own expression of profound self- 
abasement, and prayer that the Divine wrath might 
be averted. It is not with a view of dwelling on this 
incongruity that this passage from his diary is cited. 
His language was in accordance with the religious 
feelings of his school and his day, and was perfectly 
honest and genuine. 

The points on which it is submitted that Maitland 
was right and Wilberforce wrong are two. The 
first is the quiet assumption that Maitland's reported 
action would be the * moral and religious ruin of the 
island.' Surely Christians are not the only moral and 


religious people on the face of the globe. Secondly, 
Wilberforce was praying for pardon for a crime 
which, as a matter of fact, had not been committed, 
Castlereagh was clearly somewhat inclined to this 
opinion, for Wilberforce, in reporting his interview to 
a friend, wrote, ' You cannot conceive (yes, you can, 
on reflection) how cool Lord Castlereagh was about 
the schools.' 

In reply to Castlereagh, Maitland remarked that 
he had presented, out of his own pocket, the most 
expensive service of communion plate that could be 
ordered, and evidently considered that he could not 
be called on for any further display of religious zeal. 
But he reported constrainedly, adding, 'If a man must 
speak of such things.' Evidently the whole subject 
gave him pain. Not so much because of the suspicion 
of himself that was implied, as on account of the 
distastefulness of making such a subject the matter 
of official inquiry. There was quite as much of 
religious feeling in Maitland's attitude as in Wilber- 
force's, although his harsh style makes one as un- 
comfortable as Wilberforce's exaltation. It is hardly 
to be denied that Maitland's conduct was the highest 
wisdom, and that the zeal of Wilberforce was not 
according to knowledge. The abstention of the civil 
arm from any intrusion on the sacred ground of 
religious belief is one of the surest supports of 
British domination. Forcible religious conversion 
may succeed ; in fact has succeeded ; but only at the 


expense of degrading the converts and crippling their 
country. But it more often fails, and when it fails 
it leaves behind it the seeds of a hatred that endures 
longer than that induced by any other course of 
human action. There was, however, one direction 
in which Maitland decided that a certain amount of 
pressure was justifiable. It was no part of the 
Buddhist faith that its priests should be dependent 
on the authority of the High Priest at Kandy ; and 
it was politically inconvenient that they should feel 
themselves to be so. He did not scruple, therefore, 
to bind the Buddhist priests in our dominions to our 
interests, rather than allow them to become the 
nominees of Kandy. So much interference was 
justifiable and useful, but in all religious matters he 
moved very reluctantly, and only after long ponder- 
ing and with many precautions. The Dutch had 
insisted on candidates for public office professing the 
Reformed Faith, so numerous conversions took place. 
But Maitland was sceptical as to their thoroughness. 
He observed that in courts of law, when a man 
professed himself a Christian, and took the oath 
according to the Christian form, the other party 
always insisted on the Christian repeating the oath 
in Buddhist form, and the Christian never refused. 
From this he drew the inference that neither party 
thought the Christian oath binding, which would 
not be the case if conversions were generally believed 
to have been for conscience's sake. 


After the resignation of Lushington, and his with- 
drawal from Ceylon, there only occurred one event of 
importance during Maitland's tenure of office : this 
was the mutiny at Seringapatam. Before dealing 
with this, however, we may with profit note the very 
remarkable progress that the governor had made in 
his internal administration, in spite of interruption 
from outside, and obstruction where he might have 
looked for support. From the outset he had set 
himself to work to balance the accounts, and to 
accumulate, if possible, a surplus. Maitland held that 
no government was entirely successful unless it could 
point to a surplus. Considering the frightful con- 
fusion of the finances of the island when Maitland 
took over charge, the accumulation of a surplus may 
well have been held to be an impossibility. Some 
very short mention has already been made of the 
measures that Maitland took to stop the leakage of 
public money and to develop the resources of the 
island. Undoubtedly the measure that produced the 
greatest results was the infusion, by means of his own 
personal influence, of a new spirit into the civil 
service. Private trade was strictly forbidden to civil 
servants. It was further intimated to them that very 
strict accounts would be demanded from them in the 
future. These accounts, especially when followed by 
a personal visit by the governor, were a very different 
affair from the loose audit that had been enforced by 
Maitland's predecessor. Almost all the officers were 


involved ; some of them deeply involved. Tv^^o of 
them — Mylius, a Dutchman, and Kirbey, an English- 
man — committed suicide rather than survive to see 
their accounts inspected. The loss to government 
in the second case was not much under ^^20,000 ; but 
v^^ith time the greater part of this sum v^^as recovered. 

Private trade being forbidden, the governor had no 
hesitation in saying that the service was now under- 
paid. His own expenses of installation, which he 
only partly recovered, had amounted to £jooo. 
Although a poor man, he lived lavishly ; and though 
a miser in the public service he disapproved of misers 
in private life. One officer, who was eligible for pro- 
motion, he deliberately passed over on the ground 
that he was excessively greedy of money. Precisely 
for these reasons he insisted that the service ought to 
be well-paid — much better paid than it was. An easy 
existence, he said, was indispensable to a man if he 
was to do heavy work in the East. If the services 
felt his hand somewhat heavily in the matter of 
private trade and public money, there is no room 
for blaming the governor on that head ; for the 
system that preceded his own was fatally easy-going ; 
and where their just interests were affected he rigor- 
ously championed their cause. 

The effect of five years of this work was seen 
when the mutiny at Seringapatam broke out. The 
mutiny at Vellore had tested the government of 
Ceylon severely. It struck Maitland's work, so to 


speak, between wind and water ; he himself had very 
grave doubts whether it would not end in our losing 
Ceylon altogether. But the mutiny at Seringapatam 
three years later found him in a much stronger posi- 
tion 5 and although the actual danger was more 
serious than on the occasion of the mutiny at 
Vellore, the governor expressed no anxiety about 
the state of his own charge, and denuded Ceylon 
of European troops in order to support the Madras 
Government without fear and without hesitation. 

The mutiny on this occasion was that of the 
European officers, not of the native troops. It was 
occasioned by a measure of economy advised by Lord 
William Bentinck, and carried out by Sir George 
Barlow, his successor. Bentinck and Barlow were 
two of the bravest blunderers that have ever been 
employed in the Indian services. Bentinck was a 
soldier ; Barlow was a civilian. Bentinck had the 
excuse (if it is an excuse and not an aggravation) of 
being ignorant of local conditions. Barlow had no 
excuse at all. He was a civilian who had been 
created, for long and distinguished services, a baronet. 
He had been also created a K.B. as some compensa- 
tion for not succeeding Lord Cornwallis as governor- 
general. His whole life had been spent in India, 
and he was therefore perfectly aware of the risks that 
he was running, in treating the Madras army with a 
mixture of insolence and contempt that no troops, not 
the meekest in the world, could be expected to endure 


with patience. The risk, as he very well knew, was 
that he might break down the fabric of British rule. 
He ran that risk, and when he had set the whole 
Presidency in a flame, he applied to Maitland for help. 
Maitland was quite accustomed to this by now. He 
sent off his European troops at six hours' notice, and 
abstained, on this occasion, from comments which 
were as clearly useless to the Madras Government 
(since no attention was paid to them) as they were 
damaging to himself. But he allowed himself to 
make some comments to the Secretary of State. 
'They are making a mess of things on the coast,' 
he wrote. 'Barlow shows great personal courage, 
but he looks at nothing but measures, and never 
considers men.' As to the source of the troubles, it 
was simply 'a complete jumble of all the authorities 
in one mass.' Of course the East India Company's 
officers have done plenty of good work, but there is 
' a total want of every well-regulated principle of 
military subordination' in their army. When the 
mutiny was suppressed, he wrote, ' they have got well 
out of a scrape,' but Lord Minto's measures left the 
situation ' dangerous, insecure and uncomfortable to 
a degree beyond conception.' The Madras Govern- 
ment continually issues soothing resolutions, but 
everybody knows that jealousy, discord and dis- 
satisfaction abound. But nothing will induce him 
to interfere again. 

It was shortly after the mutiny at Seringapatam 


that Maitland received Lord Liverpoors sanction to a 
measure that he had long advocated — the settlement 
of Ceylon by Europeans. Nothing else, Maitland 
had said for years past, would be of any avail. The 
natives had no capital, and if they came to accumulate 
it, they v^ould still lack the energy to develope the 
island. Accordingly, after long delay, permission w^as 
given to him to allow Europeans to take up land for 
cultivation, but so that no single settler held more 
than four thousand acres. This was Maitland's last 
considerable piece of work for Ceylon. In the autumn 
of 1 8 10 he had a violent attack of seasonal fever, with 
rather dangerous complications. As he had served for 
more than five years continuously, he now begged to 
be relieved of his charge. He was advised that it 
would be a serious matter for him to risk another hot 
weather in Ceylon. At this time, almost immediately 
before the governor's departure. Sir James Mackintosh 
was travelling in the island. He has left on record 
his estimate of Maitland's work which we may profit- 
ably consider, — 

*It is impossible for me to do justice to General 
Maitland's most excellent administration, which I am 
convinced never had an equal in India. By the 
cheerful decision of his character, and by his perfect 
knowledge of men, he has become universally popular 
amidst severe retrenchments. In an island where 
there was in one year a deficit of ^700,000, he has 
reduced the expenses to the level of the revenue, and 


with his small army of five thousand men he has twice 
in the same year given effectual aid to the great 
government of Madras w^hich has an army of seventy 

We need not be carried away by this opinion, for 
Maitland was just the kind of man to strike Mackin- 
tosh's imagination. * I cannot learn the game of life,' 
he once sadly confessed of himself. Now the * game 
of life ' was one in which Maitland was unapproach- 
able. No man played it with such consummate 
success. Mackintosh's admiration would at once be 
compelled by the career of such a man. But if his 
own career was somewhat spoilt by his indolence and 
his preference of observation to action, these very 
faults — if faults they were — made him the more 
valuable critic of another man's work. We must not 
forget that Maitland and Mackintosh were old allies, 
for Mackintosh had been the secretary to the Society 
of the Friends of the People, of which Maitland had 
been a founder. But we must also not forget Mackin- 
tosh's judicial habit of mind, his keen observation, 
and the uprightness of his character. On the whole 
we may accept without misgiving this tribute to 
Maitland's work. He found the Civil Service corrupt 
and inefficient ; he left it purged from corruption and 
as efficient as a service can be expected to be that is 
recruited with boys of fifteen. He found a mountain 
of debt, which he paid off, and vast leakages of ex- 
penditure, which he stopped. He found scandalous 



profits being made in every direction, one example of 
which will suffice. The victualling contractors of the 
navy gave up ^^ 30,000 a year rather than relinquish 
their contract. These profits he could not always 
deal with directly, owing to the divided authority of 
of the Army, the Navy and the Company ; but he 
did much to frighten the peculators. 

He found vast tracts of country uncultivated ; he 
brought them back to cultivation. He found the 
whole fabric of native society dislocated ; he restored 
it. He found war with Kandy impending. At the 
expense of a few pounds sterling and a few toys he 
kept it ofF for five years. * My relations with Kandy 
are precisely the same as they were when I took 
office,' he wrote, with just pride. He found the 
restoration of the Batavian Republic being not 
obscurely plotted ; he got rid of the conspirators. 
He found the judicial authority openly lording it 
over the executive. By an admirable combination 
of patience and defiance he routed the Chief Justice 
and drove him out of the island. He found the 
native armies on the verge of rebellion ; they never 
ventured to rebel, not even when the island was de- 
nuded of European troops. He twice saved Southern 
India from the consequence of the mischievous folly 
of two successive governors. 

These are not startling or impressive achieve- 
ments, and they have all been forgotten. They are all 
in the realm of pure administration. They were 


achieved by the governor himself acquiring an in- 
timate knovi^ledge of every trifling detail of the 
service ; by his determination to put up w^ith any 
inconvenience, any aflront even, so long as the King 
was best served by his governor showing tact and 
patience. But when the time for patience was past, 
he bore down obstruction and insubordination with a 
resolution that was nothing short of ferocity. His 
labours in Ceylon are now totally forgotten ; but he 
was soon to be employed on a task, one part of which 
(like his work in Ceylon) remains to this day, and one 
part of which has been swept away. In connection 
with this task, which filled the last twelve years of 
his life, his name is still faintly remembered, but 
remembered more on account of his personal defects 
and eccentricities than for the excellence of the fabric 
that he reared. How far we have been just in this 
judgment we shall be able to decide when we have 
examined Maitland's work in the Mediterranean. 








On the historic stage of the Mediterranean all the 
nations of the old world have at different times sought 
to play parts ; some have striven to play leading parts, 
and a few have succeeded in doing so. Future historians 
will probably single out two great rivalries for the 
mastery of the inland sea : in the ancient world the 
rivalry of Rome and Carthage, and in the modern 
world the rivalry of England and France. Carthage, 
a commercial and colonising power, sought to make 
herself mistress of the Mediterranean and failed. If 
we enquire why she failed, we shall find that it was 
not so much Rome who defeated Hannibal as the 
Carthaginian Senate. Quite different is the case with 
the great modern rivalry. France — marked out (to 
all appearance) by nature as the dominant power in 



the Mediterranean — has failed to secure the undisputed 
position that she would seem to desire, for the reason 
that her schemes of domination were royal or minis- 
terial schemes, and lacked the driving force that is 
supplied by the backing of the popular will. If we 
inquire, on the other hand, why England is at the 
present moment playing a leading part in the Medi- 
terranean, we shall find that it is not so much the 
genius of her admirals or the prowess of her soldiers, as 
the impulse of the British nation that has projected 
English influence from the Pillars of Hercules to 

A vague conclusion of this kind is most unsatisfac- 
tory unless borne out by abundance of evidence. The 
evidence is there. All through the second half of the 
seventeenth and the whole of the eighteenth century 
we are incessantly confronted with the same situation. 
A point of vantage is gained in the Mediterranean, 
and forthwith the Cabinet sets to work to trade away 
the post. Sometimes the ministry goes so far as to 
face Parliament with their proposals ; and in the 
Commons those proposals are invariably received not 
only with uneasiness but with determined opposition. 
More often, when a hint of their intentions has been 
allowed to escape as a sort of feeler, the temper of 
the country has answered the mute question in so 
unmistakable a manner, that the Cabinet has incon- 
tinently dropped the subject : to agitate it was to 
precipitate their own fall. 


Of all the places that we have at different times 
held along the waterway, none has been so frequently 
a subject for angry discussion in our own days as 
Gibraltar. The * immorality ' of holding it has been 
as often insisted on as the inexpediency. Just at 
present there seems to be a tacit consent to drop the 
question of its surrender. Far other was the state of 
mind of the successive ministries of England through- 
out the eighteenth century. Gibraltar was expen- 
sive ; it was useless, being a mere 'barren rock'; it 
constantly embroiled us with Spain ; it aroused the 
jealousy of France. We can count no fewer than six 
determined attempts to get rid of it. These attempts 
took the form, now of a royal promise, now of a 
ministerial undertaking ; but they never attained to 
a more definite shape, for the Commons of England 
forbade it. There was very little attempt at reason ; 
the debates were mere menace and declamation. This 
determined, if unreasoning, attitude of mind attained 
to a remarkable pitch of exaltation directly England 
acquired a second post in the Mediterranean. Gib- 
raltar was ' the brightest gem in the Crown of Eng- 
land ' ; but if we condense this nebulous phrase it 
comes merely to this, that Gibraltar is necessary as 
a support for Minorca. Minorca, on the other hand, 
was ' indispensable to the honour and security of our 
country.' But this, upon examination, turns out to be 
merely a paraphrase of the conclusion that Minorca is 
necessary as a support for Gibraltar. When Minorca 


fell, the whole nation was stirred to its depths. It was 
not, as some have held, a few ' raucous jingoes ' who 
called for Byng's blood ; it was the entire population 
of the United Kingdom : they must have blood for 
this dishonour. The people fell into that state of 
mind (so rare with Englishmen) which is exactly 
described by the phrase that our neighbours so often 
employ in moments of disaster — Nous sommes trahis. 

Very different was the language of the nation about 
a West Indian island, or an Indian or African settle- 
ment. When there was a question of any such loss 
or gain, the ministry clearly understood what their 
course should be : they would have to deal with the 
Africa House, with the 'West Indian interest,' or 
with Leadenhall Street. Outside this little ring of 
commercial interests, there was but small agitation ; and 
none that any ministry was afraid to face, if not with 
rhetoric, then with stolid composure. But to touch 
the Mediterranean was to awaken the curiosity and 
anxiety of the constituencies. It profits nothing to 
rail at this temper. The only course that is open to 
a statesman face to face with such an exhibition is to 
accept it as the index of a nation's destiny. It cannot 
be turned aside ; it cannot be defied ; still less can it 
be reasoned with, for it hardly pretends to be rational ; 
it is hardly more and nothing less than an obstinate 

We are accustomed to speak of * the Mediterranean 
Route to the East,' and we constantly reason as if 


there would be no talk of our holding the Mediter- 
ranean if we did not happen to hold India. So that, if 
only it could be made clear that there were several 
alternative, and even preferable, routes to the East, 
opposition to our withdrawal from the Mediterranean 
would subside. History does not lead us to any such 
facile conclusion. On the contrary, history tells us 
that long before the phrase ^ the Mediterranean Route 
to the East ' was dreamed of, long before men thought 
of the great waterway except as an ocean inlet where 
we might have some trifling trade interests, the 
mind of England was doggedly set upon securing for 
her fleets the domination of the Mediterranean. It 
was not till the close of the eighteenth century that 
France, by invading the East, showed us what the use 
of the Mediterranean was. Even then the demonstra- 
tion was incomplete. No less a man than Mr Pitt 
brushed it aside. That expression, indeed, falls short 
of explaining his state of mind on the subject. To 
brush a view aside, a man must at any rate take 
some notice of the view submitted to him. Mr Pitt 
took no notice of it at all. He simply ignored the 
whole question of the Mediterranean considered as a 
route. He estimated the amount of our annual 
trade with the Smyrna ports, contrasted it with 
our trade with Jamaica or Calcutta, and concluded 
that it was nought. The deduction was obvious : 
we must retire at once from all our conquests, so as 
to avoid giving umbrage to France. So Mr Pitt was 


only one more, if the most illustrious, in the long 
line of British statesmen who have done their best to 
keep us out of the Mediterranean, or to uproot our 
influence there when once it was founded. Never- 
theless, at the Great Peace, the Mediterranean was 
more than potentially an English lake. In order to 
understand Maitland's difficulties on taking over his 
new charge, we shall have to examine, as briefly as 
possible, the series of events that led up to this 
singular situation. 

They all fall into shape round Napoleon's three 
attempts to dominate the route. It was hotly con- 
tended at the time that Napoleon was a harmless and 
even a benevolent monarch, who meant no manner 
of damage to England, if we had not given him pro- 
vocation. So much of history has been unravelled in 
the course of the last hundred years that it is per- 
haps unnecessary to refute that proposition. There is 
now no doubt that, as Maitland put it, the object 
of France was to conquer England in India, or to 
conquer India in England. This is a curious an- 
ticipation of Napoleon's own phrase, * I will re- 
conquer Pondicherry on the shores of the Vistula.' 

The three attempts were preceded by the expul- 
sion of the English in the year that Maitland sailed 
for San Domingo. Next year came the Egyptian 
expedition, which was intended to extend French 
influence through Egypt to India. The chief events 
of this war (which closed at the Peace of Amiens) 


as regards England in the Mediterranean were 
the Battle of the Nile, the occupation of Minorca, 
the capture of Malta, and Baird's march through the 
desert. The net result was that, instead of French 
influence being extended through Egypt to India, it 
was, on the contrary, England that was drawn from 
India to Egypt and permanently encamped at Malta. 
After 1802 there followed a sort of interregnum, 
composed of a short peace and a time of intense 
anxiety for England, during the whole of which 
period Napoleon was rapidly pushing on his prepara- 
tions for conquering India in England. This period 
closes with Trafalgar. It was now plainly impossible 
for France to effect anything material where a great 
fleet was necessary. Napoleon instantly turned to 
his alternative scheme, which was that of surround- 
ing the Continent of Europe with a ring fence of 
tariffs, the object of which was to ruin the com- 
merce of England. This period began with Aus- 
terlitz. The Emperor's first thought was for the 
Mediterranean. ' La dynastie de Naples a cesse de 
regner ' was among his earliest proclamations from 
Schonbrunn. His brother Joseph mounted the 
vacant throne, and Napoleon's second attempt to 
dominate the route was made. This was to be 
compassed by thrusting his arm down the peninsula 
of Italy, and throwing the English right and left. 
The English answer to this was the occupation of 
Sicily. 'Lose not a moment in seizing Sicily,' he 


commanded King Joseph immediately after the 
crown had been conferred on him : then, later, 
*I will never make peace without having Sicily.' 

But Sicily was an island, and to seize an island 
without a fleet was beyond even Napoleon's power. 
The second attempt to control the route simply 
ended in a very great enhancement of the power of 
England. So long as France had only to defend her 
own shores, her fleet was adequate to the task. But 
by extending the frontiers of France throughout the 
whole length of the double coast line of Italy, the 
Emperor gave us an opportunity of fastening our fangs 
into the body of the empire — an opportunity that we 
gleefully embraced. We could not be shaken ofF; 
and from the moment of its foundation the French 
kingdom of Naples was slowly bleeding to death. It 
was not so much the famous battle of Maida that 
effected this, as our minor expeditions. Maida was, 
in effect, an insignificant combat ; although, in a 
way, a forerunner of Waterloo. It had a prodigious 
vogue at the time and earned for Sir John Stuart 
the dignity of a Neapolitan count, and the grandiose 
title * The Hero of the Plains of Maida.' But Maida 
was only an incident. Our army was insignificant, 
but our navy was all-powerful ; and wherever a little 
seaport garrison flew the flag of imperial France, 
there, in due time, descended an English expedition, 
superior in force, and resting on the fleet. When a 
superior French force was marched overland to oust 


us we quietly retired, having caused the enemy vast 
expense and anxiety at no cost w^hatever to ourselves. 
In this w^ay vv^e occupied Capri, Procida, Ischia, Ponza 
and Ventotiene among other places. For the French 
the situation w^as hardly endurable : for the English 
it v^^as a mere series of holiday excursions. This state 
of things lasted from the date of the occupation of 
Vienna by Napoleon down to the date of the Treaty 
of Tilsit. A secret article in this treaty gave the 
Emperor his third and last chance of dominating the 
Mediterranean route, for it provided for the cession of 
the Ionian Islands by Russia to France. 

The French were unable to move a single regiment 
from one port of the Mediterranean to another. 
But they could, and did, march a mighty army across 
Europe, and wring this great concession from Alex- 
ander at the point of the sword. This is hardly a 
more remarkable fact than that Russia should have 
islands in the Mediterranean in her gift. By what 
astounding chances the Ionian Isles fell under Russian 
domination will be examined when we come to con- 
sider the work of the first British Lord High Com- 
missioner there. At present we have only to observe 
that the object of the secret article was to secure for 
France a point of vantage in the Mediterranean, as 
a support for the French kingdom of Naples, and a 
set-ofF to Malta. The annexation of Corfu and the 
dependent islands formed the third attempt of Napoleon 
to dominate the route to India j or perhaps, we should 


say, to modify so far as possible the complete control 
of it that had now been acquired by England. It is 
hardly necessary to point out that he was foredoomed 
to failure. If his fleet could not protect Naples, or 
conquer Sicily, how much less could it maintain the 
dominion of France in seven little islands that could 
be cut off and reduced one by one. On our side, 
if harrying the coasts of Naples was so easy as hardly 
to be called active service, still less was the reduction 
of the Ionian Islands to be reckoned among the con- 
siderable achievements of the British fleet. The 
islands fell, one after the other, almost without resist- 
ance, and at the Great Peace were handed over to 
England under exceptional and 'burdensome conditions. 
But outwardly, and to the uninstructed eye, 18 15 
found us in complete mastery of the Mediterranean 
from end to end. Malta was ours, the Ionian Islands 
were ours, except with reservations that were often 
not taken seriously. Minorca was only not ours be- 
cause we did not choose to keep it. 'Minorca is 
ours whenever we like to take it,' Nelson had written, 
and accordingly we had handed it back to Spain. We 
even occupied Lampedusa, a little island about one 
hundred and fifty miles from the coast of Africa. 
Some importance was attached at the time to the 
possession of this little rock. It certainly appeared 
on the map as if it were a formidable support to 
Malta, the two islands together completely blocking 
the waterway. Through Corfu we commanded the 


Adriatic ; Gibraltar, the impregnable rock, closed the 
Straits. For years we had occupied Sicily ; and it 
was well understood that the Neapolitan Bourbons 
owed their restored throne to England and to England 
alone. Egypt we had occupied, and handed back to 
the Porte in the name of the integrity of the Otto- 
man Empire. This was the result of the century- 
long struggle to get us out of the Mediterranean. 
The chief features of the struggle were the extreme 
jealousy of our presence there that had always been 
shown by France, and the nervous eagerness of suc- 
cessive British Cabinets to show every consideration 
for that jealousy. This situation reached its highest 
pitch of development at the Peace of Amiens, when, 
in spite of the French having (in the Egyptian ex- 
pedition) shown us their hand in the openest manner, 
even Mr Pitt acquiesced in the retirement from all our 
conquests, thus leaving the way open for a second dash 
on the East on the part of France. On this occasion, as 
on so many earlier occasions, it was the dogged deter- 
mination of the British people that defeated at one 
and the same time France and the British Cabinet. 
The resolve to hold on to Malta provoked the second 
and third attempts of Napoleon to break the chain 
of our communications, and resulted in England secur- 
ing the complete and exclusive domination of the 
Mediterranean from end to end. 

Exactly fifty years after Maitland entered on his 
work in the Mediterranean the old spirit of retiring 


at any cost flared up again in England. On this 
occasion it so far commended itself to the British 
people as to produce the most famous surrender of 
modern times — that of the Ionian Islands. This 
surrender was made by way of a concession to the 
sensibilities of the Greeks; just as, throughout the 
eighteenth century, the surrender of Gibraltar was 
continually designed by way of a concession to the 
feelings of the Spaniards. In such matters England 
is not supposed to have any sensibilities ; or, at 
least, her Cabinets do not encourage her to indulge 
them. But in 1813, when Maitland assumed the 
Governorship of Malta, there was no longer any 
talk of this kind to be heard. He stepped on to this 
stage in the eyes of all the world as the visible 
embodiment of the mastery of the Mediterranean 
by England. That mastery had been won after 
fifteen years of incessant fighting, and it was clearly 
understood that he was sent there to maintain it. 
The obscure colonial governor was now to pit his 
brains against the astutest intriguer of Europe — 
we shall see with what success, and how events 
justified his attitude. These quasi-external em- 
barrassments gave him more anxiety than the 
current difficulties of his administration; but these 
latter were weightier by far than any that he had 
hitherto been called upon to face. In San Domingo 
and the United States he had been set to weave 
ropes of sand; but though the situation weighed 


heavily upon him, an untried man, the issues were 
not really momentous. His work in Ceylon was 
as fine as could be; but the stage was small and 
obscure. In the Mediterranean he was the centre 
of a world of plots and intrigues, of baffled ambitions 
and clamorous hopes. It was here that he earned 
for himself the nickname King Tom — the offspring 
of affectionate admiration and marvelling hatred. 

He landed at Valetta on the 3d of October 
1 8 13, and assumed the government on the 5th. 
The plague was raging. *We breathe very much 
through a medium of arsenic and brimstone at 
present,' he wrote, *but I am told, when I get 
accustomed to it, it will be quite delicious.' The 
physical atmosphere he was prepared to accept, 
under protest ; but the moral atmosphere he was 
determined to alter forthwith. It was Maitland's 
fate to find his authority uncertain wherever he 
went. In San Domingo he had none; in Ceylon 
he must needs rest content to share it with 
Lushington until he could find time to deal with 
him ; in Malta he was expected to be the humble 
servant of the doctors. He sent for them, one by 
one, and asked of each, ' What is the plague ? ' 
* How can you tell whether a given disease is 
plague or not ? ' As there was no possible answer 
to either of these questions that could be regarded 
as satisfactory, the governor gave the faculty to 
understand that, under the circumstances, he con- 


sidered that he knew as much as they did, and 
that he therefore proposed to resume the reins of 
government. * Nothing can be more absurd,' he 
wrote, ' than to suppose that any medical man is 
a bit better judge than any other member of the 
community how the plague is to be stopped.' *The 
whole of the cure consists in two things: care and 
separation — the rest is nonsense ' — including, perhaps, 
the arsenic and brimstone. 

Certainly the measures of the medical men had 
not been remarkable for wisdom. They commenced 
with the establishment, here and there, of pest-houses, 
combined, as Maitland wrote, with so little care to 
prevent the spread of infection that the only wonder 
was that the plague had even partially subsided. The 
governor's first measure was to abolish the pest- 
houses — which turned the whole island into one 
vast hospital — and establish a lazzaretto island. The 
principal measure, he wrote over and over again, is 
to isolate the case, and this is a step that has very 
little dependence on medicine and its professors. 
Careful to guard himself from the appearance of 
arbitrary dealing, he quoted the conduct of the 
government to which we had succeeded — that of the 
Knights of St John of Jerusalem. Far from leaving 
the subject of ' sanita ' to the doctors, they would 
not even leave it to the Grand Master, but jealously 
reserved it for a committee of Grand Crosses. The 
committee sent for the doctors once a week and 


gave them instructions, but unless they were asked 
for their advice they w^ere never permitted to give 
it, or to take any steps on their own initiative. 
Perhaps in revenge for being so long and strictly 
held in, they claimed such powers from the British 
that Sir Hildebrand Oakes (Maitland's predecessor) 
had to put his foot down so as to avoid losing the 
reins of government altogether, whereupon they 
all resigned their posts on the Medical Board, 'the 
most fortunate event that could have taken place,' 
commented Maitland. 'If the plague gets a fresh 
start' (he wrote), 'I shall have to put the island 
under martial law.' Not that this strong measure 
would make much difference, for at the moment 
of writing the infected villages were all surrounded 
with cordons of troops who were under orders to 
fire on anyone attempting to pass them. But at 
the end of a month's work he still had to write, 
'the plague is the most teasing of all things,' not 
only for itself, but because it isolates the island and 
stops trade. 'The plague decreases, but the deficit 
rolls up.' Sicily was continually writing to him for 
bullion, but he could only reply that Sicily and 
Malta were, in that respect, in the same boat, 'and 
all we can do is to scramble on the best way we 

Sicily, at this time, was more or less in the hands 
of Lord William Bentinck, the British Plenipotentiary 
at the Court of Palermo. Bentinck sent an agonised 


appeal to Maitland to lend him some troops. The 
collection of revenues, he wrote, could only be enforced 
by the military ; and Sicily was threatened with con- 
fusion and anarchy. If that were the case, it was 
Bentinck's own fault, for he had exercised almost un- 
bounded authority in the island, and if he could only have 
abstained from meddling in what he did not understand, 
the term of his embassy might have been looked back 
on by the Sicilians as a truly Saturnian reign. As it 
was, his statement was a very great exaggeration of 
the actual facts. But Bentinck was still the Bentinck 
of Vellore. As for sending troops to his assistance, 
however, Maitland was in no position to do anything 
of the kind. He had only 3200 men under his own 
command, and was so tied hand and foot by the 
plague that (as he wrote to Sir Henry Bunbury on 
the 28th December 181 3) he had not even touched 
his instructions. It was impossible to do anything 
but look after the plague and keep the island 

In the midst of his troubles, Admiral Langhorne 
arrived from Gibraltar with three men on board 
suffering from yellow fever. He proposed to land 
them, but Maitland would not allow it. The admiral 
urged that his fleet might become infected, and Mait- 
land said that he would deeply grieve if that should 
occur. But, he added, the people of the Mediterranean 
are infinitely more afraid of the yellow fever than they 
are of the plague. If it once got about that the yellow 


fever had been in Malta, the island would be quaran- 
tined for God knows how long, 'which would have 
the most fatal consequences ; for we are already in 
positive want, and we should then have a famine in 
addition to our other comforts.' It was a very serious 
situation for the admiral, however, and there is little 
to wonder at in his insisting, with some irritation, 
that his invalids should be allowed to land. But 
Maitland had enough troubles on his own shoulders 
without taking Admiral Langhorne's as well ; and 
even though the admiral grew disagreeably (although, 
from his point of view, perhaps justifiably) heated over 
the dispute, Maitland would not budge. His perse- 
verance was rewarded. By July 18 14 he was able 
to report that every vestige of the plague had disap- 
peared from Malta, although at Smyrna they were 
dying at the rate of 1000 a day, and at Alexandria 
at the rate of 500 a day. The disease was 
raging all over Greece, and even in Tunis. The 
last case of the plague in Valetta was on the 20th of 
October 18 13, in the lazaretto of Valetta on the 31st 
of January 18 14, in the lazaretto of Curmi on the 
7th of March 1814, and in Gozo on the nth June 
1 8 14. Nevertheless, Sicily refused pratique as late as 
February 18 15 for a very curious reason. Not on 
account of any real dread of infection ; because, as 
Maitland wrote, ' Never was plague so little concealed 
or so thoroughly stamped out.' Nor was it because 
the Sicilian Government was particularly unfriendly 


towards us ; but simply because the smuggling trade 
paid the merchants of Sicily (English merchants 
mostly, we regret to record) so well that the profits 
gave them the wherewithal to bribe the Sicilian sanita 
to refuse pratique, 

Maitland did not, however, wait for the plague to 
subside before he addressed himself to his instructions. 
As soon as it was fairly on the way to extinction he 
commenced his report to Lord Bathurst on the state 
of the island. Many changes would have to be made, 
but in the forefront of his action he placed this recorded 
conviction, ' To make a change beneficial we must at 
all times look not only at the thing itself, but at the 
temper with which it is received.' This conviction 
it was that marked Maitland off from the Norths and 
the Bentincks. It was because he acted in this spirit 
that he was able to effect so much with so little friction. 
Personal animosities he might and did arouse ; but he 
could afford to despise them, because his measures were 
sound, and because he always looked * not only at the 
thing itself, but at the temper with which it was 
received.' He had need of all his tact to deal with 
the unique and highly complicated situation that he 
was called upon to face in Malta. 





Over all Maltese business there brooded two most 
menacing tempers, that of the ecclesiastical power, 
and the popular temper induced by the ecclesiastical 
power. The two questions that Maitland must needs 
deal with at once were, the Right of Sanctuary, and 
the Church of St John of Jerusalem. Formerly the 
right of sanctuary had been insi'^ted on in all cases. 
Then it was given up, except in cases of murder and 
treason ; but an affidavit was always required to the 
effect that the accused should not be tried by the 
civil arm until he had been found guilty by the 
Bishop's Court. The difficulty here was that from 
the Bishop's Court an appeal lay to Rome ; so that 
there was no finahty of jurisdiction in the island. 
On this point Maitland made himself clear at once. 
There could be no question of any appeal outside the 
island except to the Sovereign. Moreover, if he 
found that sanctuary interfered with the administra- 
tion of justice, he should not hesitate to abolish it 



altogether. That he might offend the people was 
possible ; but the first indispensable condition of a 
well-ordered State being a sound judicial system, he 
should not hesitate in such a matter to face popular 
discontent. With these preliminary remarks to the 
archdeacon, he then announced his willingness to 
make any reasonable compromise. He had no objec- 
tion, he said, to an appeal to the bishop and two 
assessors. The archdeacon assured the governor that 
the bishop's authority would not be found to be an 
obstruction to the course of justice. ' I am inclined 
to agree with him,' commented Maitland grimly. 
Then with that cynical frankness that was rapidly 
growing to be his habit, he added, to the Secretary 
of State, ' I have little doubt that an arrangement 
could be made on this head, carrying into effect 
every substantive purpose of justice, and reducing the 
Bishop's Court and the Court of Assessors to a mere 
nonentity.' The question was very early raised on 
a side issue, and in a manner that would have en- 
trapped any man less wary. 

On the 1st of January 18 14, a Te Deum for the 
subsidence of the plague was ordered to be sung in 
the Church of St John of Jerusalem. The Te Deum 
was ordered by proclamation, and the bishop immedi- 
ately wrote and inquired whether His Excellency 
proposed to attend. His Excellency was a heretic, 
and might have pleaded lack of grace, but he foresaw 
that though he might, in this manner, glide out of the 


present embarrassment, he would be laying up a crop 
of difficulties in the future. He therefore announced 
his intention of being present. The bishop then 
inquired whether the governor would occupy the 
throne. Now the throne of the Grand Master of 
the Knights of Malta was placed on the north side 
of the high altar, and, by special licence from His 
Holiness, it was within the altar rails. To occupy it 
would be, in a measure, to admit the very authority 
which — in the matter of the Courts of Law — Maitland 
was disputing. To leave it unoccupied would be an 
admission that some part, at any rate, of the authority 
of the Grand Master was lacking to his successor. In 
the eyes of the people the inference would be obvious, 
and the governor would lose no inconsiderable amount 
of prestige. Nevertheless, with a fine expression of 
modesty, Maitland said that, as he could not himself 
pretend to a licence from the Holy See, it would be 
quite improper for him to sit within the altar rails, and 
he should occupy a smaller throne immediately outside 
them. In that case, said the bishop, perhaps the 
bishop had better occupy the throne. Not at all, 
returned Maitland ; the throne was for the Sovereign ; 
that much was perfectly established from long usage. 
Now the Sovereign was absent in England, he, 
Maitland, being merely the Sovereign's deputy. The 
proper course, therefore, was for the Royal Arms to 
occupy the throne, while the bishop would sit opposite 
to the governor, on the other side of the altar. 


Thus dexterously, and by a complete surprise, did 
Maitland evade a situation fraught with a distinct and 
public menace to his authority. It was impossible for 
anyone to take offence, for he had conducted the 
delicate negotiation from first to last in a humble 
and diffident manner. Although he had deposed the 
bishop from the first place to the third in this and 
all succeeding gorgeous functions, he had not taken 
the first place himself, and had throughout consulted 
nothing but the dignity of his master. To cavil at 
his decision would be merely disloyal. 

The next question that he had to decide was that 
of church accommodation for the garrison. It had 
been suggested to him either to take the Church of 
St John for this purpose, or else the disused Church 
of the Jesuits. In such matters, as we have already 
seen, Maitland moved most reluctantly. An order, 
he said, he would obey, but he prayed the Secretary 
to consider how hardly the population of Malta would 
take either of these steps. Accommodation must be 
provided without a doubt, but let us provide it, if it 
can by any possibility be managed, without disturbing, 
not to say deeply wounding, the feelings of the 

His alternative was ready, and, though expensive, 
he nevertheless urged it, in spite of the pangs that 
spending public money always cost him. The alter- 
native was the enlargement of the palace chapel. To 
his great relief the Secretary approved of his sug- 


gestion, and the Roman Catholic churches were left 

He returned at once to the reform of the judicial 
system, and submitted a draft of regulations for a 
new commercial court, of which the ninth clause 
must be quoted verbatim^ so eloquent is it of the 
state of things that Maitland was dealing with. ' All 
private applications relative to depending causes, 
whether of professional men or of suitors to the 
judges or consuls, shall be prohibited under the fol- 
lowing penalties, namely, that the professional men 
be degraded from their profession, and be deemed 
incapable of serving in any court in this island and 
its dependencies. The party to the cause, whether 
plaintiff or defendant, shall undergo a penalty of 
one-half of the amount in dispute.' 

Extraordinary as this clause appears, it was the 
only way of dealing with the prevailing system under 
which every cause was iniquitously settled, so to speak, 
* in chambers,' chambers of bribery and corruption. 
The open trial in court which took place subsequently 
was a mere piece of dull play-acting, unless by signs 
in court the party forejudged could induce the judge 
to alter his decision. In this case the proceedings, 
although still the very reverse of judicial, rapidly be- 
came the reverse of dull ; violent imprecations and 
menaces being hurled at the bench, and by the bench 
returned with interest. Thus, until Maitland's arrival, 
the only check on a general system of judicial oppres- 


sion had been the judge's fear of personal violence at 
the hands of the defeated party. His codes were 
drawn up under unique difficulties. * There is not 
even a Common Law Book here,' he wrote. The 
Maltese could give him no help, nor did they wish 
to do so ; and Tyers and Laing, his principal English 
assistants, were equally helpless. Laing was Chief 
Secretary, and made a very good Chief Secretary. 
But he was no lawyer, and was, as a matter of fact, 
in Holy Orders. Some legal assistance was provided 
by the appointment of Mr Wright ; but of him Mait- 
land wrote, * I wish Mr Wright had never made his 
appearance. He will make a constitution, civil or 
criminal, in any given time ; but he does not study 
local conditions. He wants to overset the whole law 
of the island ; a mighty easy way of saving himself 
trouble. It enhances his consequence — which is the 
only thing he attends to.' Nevertheless * I think it 
will succeed,' he wrote to Bunbury, ' but I long to 
hear what Lord Bathurst says.' 

He interrupted this important work for a few days 
in order to visit Lampedusa, where we were still keep- 
ing up a garrison at considerable expense. He was 
reminded of our occupation of Lampedusa by Lord 
William Bentinck writing to him that Sicily was about 
to put in a claim for Malta in the approaching settle- 
ment of Europe. If this were to be conceded, it 
would become important to know whether anything 
could be made of the smaller island. Lord Castle- 


reagh's instructions to Bentinck at this juncture were 
to recognise the French kingdom of Naples, pro- 
vided that Murat, on his part, would recognise Fer- 
dinand (formerly King of the two Sicilies) as King 
of Sicily, and provided that we could find Ferdinand 
some consolation for the loss of the Kingdom of 
Naples. Perhaps Malta was to have been the con- 
solation ; it would not have been an unreasonable 
request from the Sicilian point of view. But Fer- 
dinand need not have been alarmed, for Bentinck, to 
put it plainly, disobeyed Castlereagh. He did, it is 
true, betake himself to Murat's headquarters, but he 
presented himself to the King ostentatiously (and, 
under the circumstances, one must say, most offen- 
sively) wearing the violet cockade of the Neapolitan 
Bourbons. Far from recognising Murat as King of 
Naples, he would not even recognise him as a King, 
and addressed him as Monseigneur. In fact, he entered 
on his negotiation with the evident intention of mak- 
ing it fail, as it immediately did. But Maitland knew 
nothing of all this. He received Bentinck*s note in 
the middle of April 1814 ; a month later he was back 
in Malta, having reviewed the defences and resources 
of Lampedusa, and made up his mind that it could 
never be of the slightest use to England. By pro- 
clamation dated exactly four months later, he with- 
drew all our troops and stores from the island, and 
announced that there would be no further connection 
between Malta and Lampedusa. There was, it should 


be noted, no natural connection between the two, for 
the island was owned by a Neapolitan Prince who 
took his title from it, but who lived very modestly 
(after the fashion of a good many great people in 
those days), and was cheerfully contented to increase 
his income by leasing the rock to a successful man 
of business. 

The governor could now no longer avoid dealing 
with the ' Universita,' ' the most difficult and compli- 
cated point connected with the island.' It would be 
fairer to say that he now, for the first time, found a 
little leisure to grapple with this knotty question. 
The Universita was not a corporate body entrusted 
with the education of youth, as we should infer from 
its resemblance to the English word ; it was a board 
charged with the duty of purveying food for the con- 
sumption of the Maltese. It was also ^ the most 
troublesome dunghill of corruption I ever met with ; ' 
and nothing was more certain than that we should 
never recover one shilling of its deficit, so ingeniously 
were its accounts kept. Seventy thousand quarters of 
wheat were annually required for the maintenance of 
the island. It was the most considerable outgoing of 
the Maltese treasury, and made the government a great 
merchant. Needless to say, vast leakages occurred 
over every transaction. ' I have seen a good deal of 
corruption in the West Indies and in the East,' wrote 
Maitland, *but nothing like what I find in Malta.' 
It was not only that the corn contract offered bound- 


less opportunities for fraud : it was that the Maltese, 
having grown accustomed to be fed at the public 
expense, now considered that all supplies ought to be 
furnished by the government — even ice. All this 
involved inquiries of a ' most irksome and distressing 
nature.* The first point to determine was the quality 
of the different grains. There was a very precarious 
supply to be obtained from the African coast, and an 
abundant supply (but of the worst corn in the Medi- 
terranean) from Egypt. The best supply, the most 
constant supply of grain of good quality, came from 
the Black Sea ; Taganrog corn being preferable 
to Odessa. This much determined, he despatched 
Richard Flasket, who had been with him in Ceylon, 
to Constantinople with ;^ 30,000 to effect the neces- 
sary purchases, to dismiss both the rival agents in 
the Levant, collect outstanding debts, and order the 
various officers of Malta to send in their accounts 
immediately. He then turned to the Universita 
itself; and here, as elsewhere, he made bad things 
serve good ends. In the confusion of the preceding 
fifteen years one member of the Board had obtained 
a complete ascendancy over all the others in the 
external affairs of the Board. He had used his power 
corruptly, and was now dead, having wrought as 
much confusion as possible. He was an Englishman, 
however ; and Maitland gladly made a precedent out 
of the state of things that the Board had allowed to 
grow customary. He appointed an Englishman to 


succeed Livingston, confirming him formally in the 
powers that Livingston had usurped, and thus effected 
a radical change under the cloak of follow^ing a prece- 
dent. With one responsible Englishman in Malta, 
and one responsible Englishman as agent in the 
Levant, that control which government had long lost 
over this most important item of expenditure was 
at once restored. Responsibility was fixed ; and 
leakages were stopped. How serious those leakages 
had been in the past we may realise by remembering 
that (from a chain of circumstances unnecessary to 
detail here) there were two rival agents in the Levant 
buying corn for the Maltese government, bidding 
against each other and raising, at one and the same 
time, the price of corn and the rate of exchange. 
This was now put a stop to, and the waste thus 
prevented, supplemented by the actual saving in 
money and stores effected at Lampedusa, relieved 
the finances of the island to an appreciable extent. 
But Maitland shook his head over them. We are 
j^200,ooo in debt, he wrote ; even supposing that 
the plague cost us ^^ 100,000, the remaining debt is 
still much too large to be easily dealt with. Then 
came one of those curious moans that Maitland was 
continually emitting about his health. He had only 
been at work a year, after a year's holiday, and though 
the year had been very trying, it sounds strange to 
hear the governor exclaiming that he must have six 
months' leave immediately, as his health imperatively 


demanded it. ' I do not sleep upon a bed of roses,' 
he wrote at the end of 1814 ; 'but perhaps if I were 
granted leave I might go to Rome for my holiday 
and see the Pope about the question of sanctuary in 

However, the momentous year 18 15 opened, and 
found Maitland still at work. By this time despatches 
had reached him from England, and informed him that 
his work was approved. He warmly acknowledged 
the * handsome manner' in which Bathurst spoke of 
his services. The new court, he admitted, worked 
well or ill according to the temper of each individual 
judge ; but, as a total result, they got through 
in months what had formerly taken them years. 
On the whole, he was satisfied with the spirit in 
which his changes had been received ; but there 
still remained one very thorny question — that of the 

Early in January 18 15 the Grand Cross of the Bath 
was conferred on Maitland. It was in this year 
that the Order, which had formerly consisted of one 
class only, on the model of the Orders of the Garter 
and the Thistle, was broken up into three divisions, 
its present constitution ; and Maitland was in the 
first batch of Grand Crosses. But though he was 
gazetted (on the 2d of January 1815) he had no 
insignia for a long time ; and on the 25th of June 
he wrote, 'I wish you would manage to send on by 
the first packet the insignia of the Bath either with 


an order for investiture or a dispensation to wear 
them. As far as it relates to myself, I should certainly 
not have given you this trouble, but the people here 
are excessively tenacious on everything of that kind, 
and they cannot understand a man being a Grand 
Cross w^ithout his wearing the badges thereof.' This 
passage is quoted verbatim in order that Maitland's 
feelings about decorations may be justly appreciated. 
His enemies w^ere accustomed to say that his soldierly 
roughness v^as a mere affectation, and that in fact he 
was childishly vain, and greedy of adulation and dis- 
tinctions. There is abundant evidence of his feelings 
to be found in the correspondence relating to the 
establishment of the Order of St Michael and St 
George. Far from bearing out the view of Maitland's 
enemies, it will be found that it shows Maitland to 
have been revoltingly cynical on the subject. He 
never spoke of Orders (and he wore three Grand 
Crosses himself) without obviously imitating the 
language of Swift about Flimnap, the treasurer of 
Lilliput, and his two pieces of silk — the blue and the 
red. Whether his vanity was of that monstrous kind 
that can only be covered by so vast an affectation is 
the point on which the friends and foes of Maitland 
will always be divided. But there is abundant justi- 
fication for the view that though his cynical temper 
could not resist the temptation to write about 
decorations as he did, he yet perfectly recognised 
their place in a sound scheme of government. He 


neither abused nor lavished them ; in this, as in all 
matters, he was punctiliously careful of the King's 
honour, and if that be demonstrated, his personal 
vanity or lack of vanity is a question of no import 

Piracy in the Mediterranean was no new grievance, 
and Maitland (now Sir Thomas) very early in the 
year expressed his anxiety lest our naval forces should 
be unequal to the task of dealing with it. He said 
that we wanted at least three small ships of war to 
protect our trade, and keep open communication with 
Smyrna and Constantinople. There was, however, 
no immediate menace, and the question that occupied 
the governor for some time, and caused a long corre- 
spondence with Sir Robert Liston, our Ambassador at 
the Porte, was the very undesirable appointment of Mr 
Critico as Turkish Consul at Malta. Liston was his 
old acquaintance of Philadelphia. 'Though Liston 
is an excellent man,' he wrote, ' he is rather timid, 
and requires a little hint now and then to get him 
to act.' But we must be fair to Liston, and admit 
that Critico's immediate recall was not a very easy 
thing to ask for from the Turkish government ; and 
it was especially disagreeable to him to have to ask 
it, because Liston had himself recommended Critico 
to Maitland. The consul's offence consisted in 
laying on heavier dues for ships clearing for Turkish 
ports than the island government charged to Turkish 
ships plying to Malta. This was * an unheard of 


innovation,' and would materially injure if not totally 
annihilate the most lucrative part of the trade of 
Malta.' Critico remonstrated with the governor, 
and talked of his * embarrassing situation ' : ' nella 
mia deli cat ezzay he said, the question ought to be 
dealt with more gently. He little knew Maitland. 
' Delicatezza ! ' he angrily replied, there was none : 
and Mr Critico's course was a very plain one ; he 
would either revise his tariff of fees or go. ' Between 
ourselves,' he wrote to Bunbury, ' this Critico is a des- 
perate bad one. You can find out his character in 
England, where he has long lived. . . . It is too much 
that the King's Government in England should be 
exerting itself to create trade here, and that a vaga- 
bond of this description should be doing infinitely 
more harm than you can do good.' 'It is totally 
impossible to go on with such a fellow ! ' Critico 
against Maitland : the fight was decided almost 
before it was begun. The man who had routed 
Lushington hardly condescended to put on his 
armour for a mere consul. Flasket and Hankey 
and Wood, the governor's satellites, must have 
smiled grimly as they saw Critico going forth to 
do battle with 'King Tom' with no more formid- 
able weapons than ^ mia delicatezza.^ 

The question of piracy now suddenly flared up. 
As so often happened to Maitland, he found himself 
face to face with a situation where he had to act on 
his own initiative. As regards the Barbary States^ 


and the attitude that Malta should assume towards 
them, his instructions were silent. He did not hesitate 
on that account. 

'Sir' (he wrote to the Pacha of Tripoli on the i6th 
of March 1815), Mt is with extreme regret I feel myself 
under the necessity of addressing Your Highness on a 
subject that may, in its consequences, compromise 
that amicable understanding and friendship which has 
so long subsisted between Your Highness and the 
British nation. But it is impossible for me to admit 
of any open indignity to be shown to the British 
nation or the British flag in this neighbourhood, with- 
out immediately taking such notice of it as is suitable 
to the dignity, power and maritime pre-eminence of 
the King, my master. 

I therefore have the honour to inform you that I 
have sent instructions to His Majesty's Consul, Colonel 
Warington, to demand instant redress and reparation 
for the insult offered to the British Crown in permit- 
ting two vessels with British colours flying to be 
seized in the port of Your Highness, and under the 
guns of your works ; and I have further directed the 
consul to intimate to you that he can enter into no 
communication of any kind till such redress is given.' 
*My letter to the Pasha,' he wrote to Bunbury, 'is 
pretty pithy, but it is the only language that suits 
these gentlemen.' 

In reporting the incident, he asked that the flaw in 
his instructions might be remedied ; but, he added as 


a warning, 'nothing impresses these powers except 
military or naval force.' 

Lord William Bentinck, having resigned the 
Palermo Embassy to A'Court, was already up to his 
neck in a fresh difficulty that he had created for him- 
self — this time at Genoa. Napoleon had just escaped 
from Elba, and no one could tell where he would strike 
his first blow. Bentinck, as was usual with him in 
times of crisis, lost his head at once, and sent an 
urgent appeal to Maitland for support. ' It is most 
unpleasant to have to refuse,' wrote Maitland to 
Bunbury, but if he were to help Bentinck in Genoa, 
he could hardly refuse Macfarlane in Sicily, who was 
also asking for the loan of some troops ; and his duty 
would not allow him to leave Malta without a garrison. 
Bentinck is rather gloomy, he continued, and always 
takes the worst point of view. In point of fact there 
was no real danger, as Maitland very well knew. 
The idea that Napoleon would turn on Italy instead 
of proceeding to Paris was the foundation of Bentinck's 
alarm. But that Bentinck should have entertained any 
such idea only shows to what little purpose he had 
followed the great events that were taking place 
around him. He had a second, and hardly less lively 
scare, which was that the French in Italy would 
march against him in the cause of the Emperor. And 
yet Bentinck had been in the thick of the negotiations 
with Murat, and could hardly have helped knowing 
that the King of Naples was about the last person in 


the world to come to Napoleon's help. That the 
public should have been scared and bewildered was 
perfectly excusable ; but what was the use of Bentinck's 
being in the innermost circle of diplomacy if he was 
to share the panics of the ignorant public ? 

When the battle of Waterloo put an end to all 
uncertainty, Maitland made no allusion to it in his 
correspondence, except by noting that it had taken 
place, and might be expected to have a favourable 
effect on trade. His correspondence is singularly 
devoid of comments on passing events. Most 
governors and high officials spent a few minutes 
now and then in compliments or allusions to home 
politics, but Maitland never digressed in this way — 
not even for the battle of Waterloo. But he did 
once offer to get Lord Bathurst some maraschino 
if he liked it good. 

In the summer of 1815 Maitland took six weeks 
casual leave, General Layard officiating as Lieutenant- 
Governor in his absence. He attacked very little new 
work in the course of this year. It was as much as 
he could do to superintend the development of his 
new arrangements for the purchase of corn, and keep 
an eye on the working of his reconstituted Courts of 
Justice. The tremendous events that were passing 
on the continent of Europe were enough to hold even 
Maitland's attention ; and he was contented to see that 
his accounts balanced, and to wait for the new settle- 
ment that must be impending. But he found time 


to send two young Maltese of family to England for 
their education. In commending them to Bathurst, 
he begged that they might not be * treated with 
that redundancy of attention ' that had befallen the 
two Mudeliars whom he had, with the same good 
object, sent'home from Ceylon — spoilt, in short. Ad- 
ministration was one thing, and a very important 
thing ; but as regards the character of the Maltese 
there will be nothing done, he wrote, without a change 
in the system of education. Young men would do 
well to go to England ; all those, that is, who could 
afford to do so. As regards the educational estab- 
lishments in the island, he could only report that 
'as every man has a right to be taught for 
nothing, very few think it worth their while to 
learn at all ; ' while the Greek College was an 
actual nuisance. 

But the principal object of his attention, and the 
chief subject of his correspondence throughout the 
year 18 15, was the rumoured retention by England 
of the Ionian Islands. He was sounded on this point 
as early as May ; and his first remark was that in 
any such intended settlement of Mediterranean affairs, 
it was much to be desired that there should be one 
commander-in-chief for the Mediterranean, exclusive 
of Gibraltar. He admitted that this suggestion com- 
ing from him looked like a proposal for his personal 
aggrandizement ; but could only trust that his known 
zeal for the King's service would protect him from 


any such imputation. He calculated rightly, and his 
suggestion was acted upon later. 

As the months went by, and Maitland found him- 
self face to face with the growing certainty of our 
permanent occupation of the Seven Islands, he ex- 
pressed himself as much perturbed at the prospect. 
* I cannot look to the assumption of the sovereignty 
of the Seven Islands without some dread,' he wrote in 
September 1815 ; 'we shall find them very expensive 
if we do not take care,' and the cheapest way to 
govern them undoubtedly would be to double up the 
governments of Malta and the Ionian Islands. If this 
were done (as it was ultimately), he was of opinion 
that the modest sum of ^1000 extra as yearly salary 
for the new governor ought to suffice. It was now 
becoming plain that he was being thought of for 
the new post, and although communications on the 
subject were still ' private and confidential,' he entered 
more freely into details. ' As regards our new posses- 
sions,' he wrote, 'a great deal should be done — and 
nothing.' By this he meant that a great deal would 
have to be done to set things going at all, but that the 
ground was all so new and strange that we ought to 
make it plain from the commencement that every- 
thing was provisional. As regards * granting new 
liberties,' he was strongly of opinion that we ought to 
move slowly. It is difficult to draw back, but easy 
enough to move on, if we only move cautiously. 
By October it was practically settled that the new 


government would be conferred on him. *As soon 
as I receive official notice of my appointment I shall 
proceed straight to Corfu, and from there to the other 
islands.' Our difficulty at first would be nothing less 
than a dilemma ; if we appoint too many Englishmen 
there will be jealousy ; yet nothing is clearer than 
that the government that we set up will succeed just 
so far as it is administered by Englishmen, and no 
farther. What that government will be it is impos- 
sible to say, for, 'as the lonians have professed equal 
attachment for all the powers that have ruled them in 
turn, there will be a queer state of things to deal with.' 
' Least of all can I think for a moment with temper 
of anything like a representative government. We 
tried that experiment in Sicily, and the result was 
what one naturally would have expected where the 
whole community was divided into two classes, viz., 
tyrants and slaves. Neither the one nor the other 
are fitted to enjoy the blessings of a free govern- 
ment. We may hereafter prepare them for it. In 
the meantime, all we can do is to correct the abuses 
that may exist, to rule them with moderation, and turn 
their thoughts gradually to improvements that may be 
made as tliey advance in their ideas, and in their 
knowledge of true and sound policy.' Words of ex- 
alted wisdom, which exactly describe what ought to 
have been done. Nevertheless, it was representative 
government that Maitland was ultimately commanded 
to establish. 


'The experiment of Sicily,' he went on, *was 
certainly a most unfortunate one, injurious to the 
very thing it wished to establish, for it has gone 
very far to convince all the considerate people in 
this country that a free government is incompatible 
with the existence of a strong one, they never dis- 
covering that the fault lay not with the government, 
but with the person who administered it.' 

The ' experiment of Sicily ' was the work of Lord 
William Bentinck, so Maitland could hardly be 
expected to admire it ; and in fact it was not 

Nothing more definite was either said or settled 
during the year 1815, and Maitland turned back to 
the duties of his old charge, Malta. A very curious 
embarrassment had recently been added to his duties ; 
he had become the custodian of Savary, Duke of 
Rovigo, who was immured at Malta, but was not 
treated with harshness. He had succeeded Fouche 
as chief of Napoleon's police, and had been con- 
cerned in the restoration which preceded the 
Hundred Days. He was a great inconvenience to 
us, and was in the end allowed to escape. But 
while under Maitland's care he was in much anxiety, 
for his one belief was that his head was being 
demanded at one and the same time by the 
Bourbons on account of the murder of the Due 
d'Enghien, and by the British Government on 
account of the mysterious disappearance of young 


Mr Bathurst at Hamburg in the year 1809. As a 
matter of fact, we had no wish either for Savary's 
head or for the information that he was daily and 
with much eagerness offering to the governor as 
the price of his safety. Maitland never saw him, 
and paid him no attentions beyond those civilities 
that were proper to so distinguished a prisoner. He 
was far too busy to occupy himself with the scandals 
of the secret police of Paris, and Savary's long and 
damaging memorials were forwarded by him to 
England without comment. The only point that 
he concerned himself with was his prisoner's keep ; 
he was anxious to be allowed to treat him well, and 
not to charge him for his wine. But what was 
really occupying his attention during the last month 
of 1 8 15 was the attitude of the Barbary States. 
There being some confusion there, he wrote, 'I 
shall go and personally inspect the consulates. It 
is not a pleasant journey, but things have to be set 
right both with the pachas and with our consuls.' 
He returned from his journey on the 7th of 
December, and was relieved not to have to 'plague 
Lord Bathurst' with any unsolved difficulties. But 
difficulties there must be in the future. We shall 
have to consider all these powers '(i) as powers 
possessing sovereignty, but (2) as exercising that 
sovereignty in a manner so totally discordant to 
every recognised principle of civilised nations that 
we are all bound to resist it.' Compulsory ransom 


of Christian slaves ought at once to be insisted on by 
all the Christian powers. 

Sir Thomas Maitland laid himself open to criticism 
in many ways. But in one respect he was unapproach- 
able as an administrator : he paid precisely the same 
attention to every one of his duties, both small and 
great. To be born a Maitland was already so much 
of human greatness, that no rank or dignity of em- 
ployment could add to his natural importance. No 
post could be beyond his merits, and no kind of work 
beneath him. From the height of his pride of birth 
all minor elevations disappeared in the level plain of 
duty. Hence he was neither elated at being called to 
perhaps the most difficult post in Europe, nor revolted 
at being compelled to divide his attention between the 
grave duties of Lord High Commissioner designate, 
and the somewhat sordid difficulties attending the 
reform of the public hospital of Malta. They were 
both pieces of work in the King's service, for which 
he had taken the King's pay ; and it behoved him to 
turn out both in the best possible manner, as befitted 
a Maitland. The actual condition of the public 
hospital when the governor turned on it, with the 
savage energy with which he always attacked an 
abuse, was such that most governors would have 
been well pleased to leave its reform to a capable 
subordinate. But, if truth be told, Maitland had no 
capable subordinates ; he did not encourage them. 
He liked subordinates who were capable of nothing 


but taking orders from himself. This gave colour 
to his enemies' gibe that he surrounded himself with 
sycophants ; and in feeble hands the habit would 
doubtless have led to grave inconveniences. A man 
who will delegate no fraction of his power must 
needs do all the work himself, in which case it will 
be badly done ; and the current of governing force 
which ought to flow in a steady stream, fed from 
many sources will end by spreading out into a delta 
of ineffectual rills. 

But not Napoleon himselt was a greater glutton 
for work than Sir Thomas Maitland. He patrolled 
the public hospital, inquired into the qualifications 
of the surgeons and the capacity of their assistants ; 
examined the patients and the visitors, studied the 
regulations of the buildings, and then changed 
everything. ' Formerly,' he wrote, * it was a scene 
of filth and disorganisation more disgusting than 
anything I have ever seen, and more in the nature 
of a place of public resort than of a charitable in- 
stitution for the cure of diseases. All the friends 
of the patients and others were indiscriminately 
admitted at all times into the hospital, and the 
patients were allowed at all times to go forth out 
of it ; and, in fact, it was neither more nor less 
than an institution where, with the benefits of getting 
a ticket, which they always could, the idle and 
the profligate were living at the expense of govern- 
ment.' The net result of his reforms was to 


reduce the number of 'patients' by one-half. 
This was his first piece of work in the year 1816. 
His second was to make a fresh assault on the 
Universita. Having practically suppressed it as a 
body purveying corn for the island, he now at- 
tacked the supply of cattle, macaroni, oil and ice, 
in regard to all of which they pretended the right 
to cater for the island. But this was beyond him 
for the moment ; that gigantic ring of corruption 
beat, for the moment, even the governor's energy. 
It was with the energy of the recoil that he turned 
on the judges, who chose this moment of discourage- 
ment to demur to some new regulation touching 
the law of evidence. Maitland sent for them most 
gladly, and menacingly ordered them to do as they 
were told. 'With firmness and steadiness in the 
head of the government,' he wrote complacently 
after the interview, ' I have no doubt they will 
be brought into every measure that may be desir- 

Rightly was Maitland nicknamed King Tom, for 
no monarch ever acted with more entire freedom 
from respect to other men's views when he thought 
that the King's service would be advantaged by his 
disregarding his orders. He had been straitly com- 
manded not to leave Malta until the arrival of 
Layard, as the officer on whom the Government 
would devolve in Layard's absence was not com- 
petent. Nevertheless, late in January 1816, he 


announced his intention of going to Zante forthwith 
in order to commence his tour of inspection, leaving 
Anderson and Wood behind him to look after the 
acting Lieutenant-Governor, ' who cannot do much 
mischief in these few days.' That is, he was deter- 
mined to do the identical thing that he was forbidden 
to do. ' The King's service will suffer less by my 
disobeying orders than by obeying them.' He there- 
fore spent the spring of 18 16 in touring through the 
seven islands that were soon to be his charge, leaving 
behind him, however, a fervid memorandum on our 
relations with Ali Pacha. Within the pacha's pro- 
vince there was a small district that had always been 
regarded as an outpost of Corfu. This mainland 
possession took its name from the chief town, Parga, 
a little fort and market, the cession of which was to 
give rise to more fierce discussion, and to get Maitland 
into more hot water than any other event of his 
administration. It was upon the resident at Parga that 
the duty of conducting our negotiations with Ali 
Pacha would devolve : and the resident at Parga was 
the only subordinate with whom Maitland in his long 
career wrestled a fall and was thrown. The plaintiff 
in the case De Bosset v. Maitland^ was a Swiss who 
had entered the British service and had risen to the 
rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. Decorated with the 
Third Class of the Bath, we shall see later under what 
circumstances — so flattering to himself, and so severely 
reflecting on Maitland — he was made a K.H. Of 


the post where De Bosset earned most of the ill-will 
that produced his dismissal, Maitland wrote (before 
he had any inkling of the man who would be ap- 
pointed) : ' For this post anybody will do ; but 
although I am indifferent to the individual filling 
the post, I must insist on his being placed under my 
control ! ' Maitland's enemies were never tired dwel- 
ling on his anxiety to see everybody placed under his 
control, but he gave (as always) plausible reasons for 
his anxiety on this occasion. 'It is impossible to 
imagine in England what strides gentlemen are apt 
to take in remote situations, and when they have no 
immediate control over them, of which indeed I have 
seen enough from the general feelings of the consuls.' 

On this occasion he deigned to expand his views 
on the needs of the King's service which were im- 
pelling him to disobey orders. The mass of intrigue 
that was going on in the Ionian Islands as to the ap- 
pointment of the Lord High Commissioner was, he 
wrote, unimaginable. There was some sort of idea 
that he was to be elected by the lonians. Frederick 
North (Lord North, as they called him) was a 
hot favourite. Lord Aberdeen was in the running 
also ; but North had remarkable recommendations 
for an Englishman. Not only was he a good Greek 
scholar, but he spoke modern Greek fluently. More- 
over, his domineering conscience had compelled him, 
very early in life, to decide for himself which was 
the true Church, and he had made (for an English- 


man) the singular choice of the Orthodox Church. 
Here were strong qualifications indeed. He was, 
moreover, as we saw in Ceylon, a perfect gentle- 
man, with engaging manners and a romantic and 
sentimental nature. He was, perhaps, the most 
gentlemanly and the most thoroughly incapable 
colonial governor that England ever sent out to a 
difficult situation. As Lord High Commissioner, a 
scarecrow would have been more efficient. The 
sooner the lonians had it brought home to them that 
Thomas Maitland and not Frederick North was to 
be their new ruler, the better for all concerned ; 
especially for the King's service. So reasoned Mait- 
land, as in the spring of 18 16 he betook himself 
to Zante and reviewed the ground that was to 
be the scene of his heaviest labours and his greatest 






The traveller in Verona may see in the Square of the 
Burnt Houses a commemorative tablet with this in- 
scription, — 

// nome di questa piazza rammenta 

U ultimo giorno di Venezia repuhlica. 
Apr He 1797. 
Those were the days when the young Napoleon 
said, * Venice shall find me an Attila ; ' and when 
the territory of Venice, island and mainland, were 
portioned out among her invaders. Austria took the 
mainland, and held it till Sadowa ; France took 
the islands. 

So fell the ancient Republic of Venice. She had 
been wealthy, and perhaps greedy of wealth : but 
she had never been greedy of territory. Towards 
her neighbours she had maintained an attitude of 
masterly inactivity, and was perhaps as much hated 
on account of her selfish isolation as because her 



government was worse than that of other States. 
In one direction, however, she had been acquisitive, 
and tenacious of her conquests. Her most lucrative 
trade had always been with the East, and in order 
to control the trade route through the Adriatic she 
had annexed the Ionian Islands, and stoutly defended 
them. For four hundred years they had been 
Venetian ground. 

But by the end of the eighteenth century the con- 
ditions of trade had wholly changed. Venice was 
no longer a first-rate power, and the Adriatic was 
but a backwater. Why then should Buonaparte be 
so eager to retain the Islands, and to leave to Austria 
the wealthy provinces of the mainland ? It was 
because he was scheming to make them the start- 
ing point for his expedition to the East : an ex- 
pedition that was to be not a business enterprise, 
but a conquest, a second invasion of Alexander. To 
serve this end the Ionian Islands were to be retained 
by France as a nursery for her sailors and a refuge 
for her fleets. 

At the moment when he set his enterprise on foot, 
the Mediterranean was clear of English ships, but 
before the disorganised dockyards of Toulon could 
come to his help, the English had made good the start 
that they had lost. The battles of the Texel and St 
Vincent set our fleets free, and the genius of Nelson 
completed the ruin of France in the Mediterranean. 
The Ionian Islands, a department of the French 



Republic, were now beleaguered by hostile fleets. 
Not, however, by English fleets, but by a joint flotilla 
of Russians and Turks. The Russians had already 
made a bid for a post that would give them some 
influence in the Mediterranean by offering us their 
support toils viribus during the American War in ex- 
change for Minorca. They now hoped to do at least 
as well for themselves in the Adriatic. But Turkey 
looked on the derelict islands as properly belonging 
to the Balkan Peninsula, where she was at that time 
supreme. She considered herself the natural inheritor 
of these waifs, as well as of the territory of Parga on 
the mainland. The situation resulted in a compromise ; 
and the two most despotic powers in the world agreed 
to erect the Seven Islands into a republic. They 
granted it a constitution which went by the name of 
the Byzantine Constitution. This is probably the only 
example of Turkey granting representative institu- 
tions, if we except the constitution of Midhat Pacha. 

The Byzantine Constitution would not work ; and 
St Petersburg (not Byzantium) was appealed to to set 
it in order. Again were modifications asked for ; the 
constitution was re-drafted, and verbally approved by 
the Czar Alexander as he was setting out for the 
Tilsit campaign. When this campaign had been 
fought, Russian influence might be considered on the 
decline for a time. By a secret article of the treaty 
that concluded it, the Islands were ceded to France. 

This was the opening of Napoleon's third attempt 


to break the chain of British communications. The 
Islands were, one by one, occupied by English naval 
and military forces, with the exception of Corfu. 
Thus the authority to which Maitland succeeded 
was twofold : in six of the islands it was the right 
of conquest ; in the seventh it was cession under a 

This rapid and fragmentary survey of the history of 
twenty years is necessary, if we would attain to any 
measure of comprehension of Maitland's difficulties. 
The eyes of all Europe were on him ; for all the 
nations of Europe had coveted the Islands over which 
he was now called to rule. The Islands were valued 
for two reasons, firstly, because of the prescriptive 
renown that they enjoyed while part of the dominions 
of Venice ; secondly, because of the use to which it 
was known that Napoleon had designed to put them 
— a stepping-stone to India. Nor was that all. To 
and fro for one hundred and fifty years, the tide of 
British influence had ebbed and flowed in the Medi- 
terranean. Our position at the Gates had proved 
impregnable ; but beyond the Gates all was uncertain. 
We had advanced to Minorca and retired — once, 
twice, and thrice. We had proclaimed George 
III. King of Corsica ; his kingdom had proved as 
ephemeral as that of Theodore, who died a bankrupt, 
having scheduled ' my Kingdom of Corsica ' as his 
sole asset, and whose epitaph on the walls of St Anne's, 
Soho, was written by Horace Walpole. Some such 


fleeting memorandum seemed to be the destiny of all 
our Mediterranean conquests. We occupied Egypt, 
and returned it to the Sublime Porte. We occupied 
Sicily, and handed it back to the Neapolitan Bourbons. 
We had occupied Italian islands by the handful, and 
evacuated them. Two only of our conquests remained 
in our hands at the Great Peace. Malta had sur- 
rendered to our arms after a blockade lasting two 
years — a blockade so close that it was run by only 
five ships throughout the entire period ; and the 
ancient sovereignty of the Knights of St John of 
Jerusalem; was succeeded by the government of a 
crown colony. After a series of unparalleled vicissi- 
tudes, the Ionian Islands had fallen most unexpectedly 
into our hands. What was to be the fate of these 
new possessions ? Was Corfu to be another Minorca, 
and was Malta to go the way of Sicily ? Everything 
depended on Maitland. 

We must not fail to realise the immense im- 
portance of the position at that time occupied by 
England in the Mediterranean. French contemporary 
essayists admitted, without any reserve, that England, 
who at the commencement of the war of the 
French Revolution held only the key to the inland 
sea, now held in her hands, unchallenged, the Mastery 
of the Mediterranean. It was no idle phrase. There 
was, of course, no such power as Italy. France 
was prostrate and Spain no more formidable than she 
is. now The posts that we held were undoubtedly 


far stronger than any that we had relinquished. Nor 
was that all. To-day, European powers have settled 
in force along the African shore of the sea, and 
Russia has pushed very near to the Bosphorus. In 
Maitland's day Turkey was vastly stronger than she 
is at present, and no single Christian power held 
a square mile of territory on the southern shores 
of the sea. To-day, we are but one strong power 
among several : three-quarters of a century ago we 
had no rival and no appearance of a rival. 

Some estimate can now be formed of the im- 
portance of Maitland's post as Governor of Malta 
and Lord High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands, 
and of the difficulties inherent in the heavy two- 
fold duties thrown upon him. These difficulties were 
more than doubled by the character of the people 
with whom he had to deal, and by the obligation 
laid upon him by the Treaty of Paris to govern 
the Islands constitutionally. If we would in any 
way realise them, we must do as Maitland did, and 
examine (although not necessarily so thoroughly) 
some incidents of the twenty years of history that 
closed with the surrender of Corfu. 

Venice had held the lonians * in the most abject state 
of slavery and ignorance.' This was to the advan- 
tage of Venice ; the lonians were thus more easily 
governed. The rule of Venice had been succeeded 
by a fleeting moment of French domination, followed 
by the grotesque joint government of Russia and 


Turkey. Under the agreement between these two 
remarkable allies, Turkey was recognised as the 
Suzerain of the Islands ; but Russia furnished the 
garrison. The suzerainty of Turkey was not for- 
mally abrogated until Maitland brought it about ; and 
it was understood that the mainland territories of 
Venice — Parga and the surrounding country — were 
to become definitely Turkish. Whether this meant 
that they were to be surrendered to the Sublime Porte, 
or to the local governor — the powerful vazir, AH 
Pacha — made one of the stormiest questions of the 
day. How much respect was paid to this conven- 
tion was shown when Russia, from the vantage 
ground of Corfu (Turkish territory), made war on 
Ali Pacha — a Turkish governor. How the lonians 
understood their position may be gathered from 
their description of Count Mocenigo as 'the en- 
lightened minister our countryman, the faithful in- 
terpreter of his generous Sovereign's magnanimous 
intentions.' As ' our countryman ' must needs be, 
like his fellow-countrymen, a Turkish subject, one 
would suppose that ' his generous Sovereign ' here 
referred to was the Sultan. By no means ; it was 
the Czar. But this is only the beginning of the 
absurdities of the situation. Count Mocenigo left 
Corfu as Minister Plenipotentiary at St Petersburg. 
He was charged with the duty of asking for a con- 
stitution. But he was to make no suggestions ; he 
was to accept everything unquestioningly from the 


* adorable hand of Alexander.' He left as an Ionian, 
he returned as a Russian, the Minister Plenipo- 
tentiary of the Czar to the Ionian Islands. From 
the moment of his return he always referred to the 
Czar as *my august master.' He commanded the 
senate to drop a bill that he considered to be op- 
posed to * the will of the Sovereign.' He issued his 
instructions, in fact, like a Russian governor. Con- 
fusion of ideas could hardly go further. Yet when 
the constitution broke down, it was to Turkey that 
application was made to set matters straight. The 
Suzerain rose to the occasion and issued a thunder- 
ing firman, in which he threatened the most severe 
punishment to the unruly. What the * adorable 
Alexander' thought of the firman is not recorded, 
but no protest was issued against it ; indeed, it was 
a perfectly regular act. But with two sovereigns, 
a Russian army ashore, a Turkish fleet at sea, a 
couple of constitutions, both crazy, to choose from, 
and nothing more luminous to guide them than the 
traditions of Venice, it is not to be wondered at that, 
as Plato Petrides reported, 'the nation had fallen 
into the last state of passive vegetation.' Capo- 
distrias, the Secretary of State, described the country 
as completely disorganised, and unfit to stand alone. 
But * passive ' was hardly a proper description of the 
Ionian character ; they were a very fierce and pas- 
sionate people, and the unique combination of a 
highly intelligent population seething with angry 


passions, and completely emancipated from authority, 
produced some horribly grotesque incidents. There 
were several cases discovered (and probably many 
undiscovered) w^here a w^ould-be murderer, having 
marked down his victim, betook himself to the judge. 
Not, however, with the object of making confession, 
in order that he might be restrained from his hate- 
ful crime, but with the object of striking a bargain. 
The man was to die ; for how much then would 
the judge undertake to deliver a verdict of not guilty. 
The bargain once struck, the murderer went his way, 
knifed his man, and then gave himself up to ' justice.' 
A country in which such incidents were possible can 
hardly be said to have emerged from the first stage 
of savagery. Yet it would be most unfair to the 
lonians to lay on them the blame of their country's 
disorder. That freedom and independence are plants 
of slow growth is the most commonplace of plati- 
tudes ; and what chance had the miserable lonians 
ever had of developing either their national character 
or their national institutions ? Among the arts in 
which the world will long remain the humble pupil 
of Venice, the art of government has no place. Her 
methods of government may furnish periods to orators 
and plots to grand opera, but to live under them 
must have been debasing and humiliating beyond 

But although we may sincerely commiserate the 
lonians for their misfortunes, we must not conceal 


the fact that their misfortunes had, in point of fact, 
told most lamentably on their character. Even to 
have ruled the Islands as a non-regulation province 
would have taxed the courage and resources of the 
most capable Lieutenant-Governor that England ever 
sent to the East. To ask Maitland to rule them under 
a constitution conferring representative government on 
the people, was to ask him to perform a sheer and 
ludicrous impossibility. There was nothing to work 
on. 'The character most dreaded and detested in all 
these countries is that of an honest and upright man. 
They equally detest an honest government. They 
neither understand nor appreciate a fair, open and 
manly part.' * " Liberty and independence " means 
independence of all judicial proceedings, and liberty 
of plundering their country.' * Such is the inveterate 
propensity to venality and corruption on all hands, 
that they consider being employed under government 
as a trust delegated to them for no other purpose but 
to make the most of it for their private interests.' 

This is an unpromising beginning ; but Maitland 
was resolved to make it perfectly plain that he was 
being called upon to clean an Augean stable. He 
therefore wrote more in detail to Lord Bathurst, 
showing quite clearly what manner of duty he was 
now being called upon to face. 

Speaking of the nobles, he wrote, ' If we look at 
the characters of the rulers here, we find them ever 
bending to the power of the day, taking new oaths to 


their new masters with the same fulsome civility they 
obeyed their old ones, rescinding this hour what they 
had done the last, and looking at no one thing but 
how, at the expense of character, of honour and of 
integrity, they are to maintain themselves in the 
degraded situation in which they are placed.' This 
is severe indeed, but hardly more than a bare recital 
of facts. Somewhat more critical is this passage, 
* One of the radical faults that pervades all classes 
here is the idea they entertain of making a consti- 
tution : they do not hold this by any manner of means 
to be laying down fundamental principles of govern- 
ment binding upon all, immutable in themselves, and 
made solely for the benefit of all, but they consider it 
eternally connected with the executive government, 
the smallest portion of which, if they retain in their 
own hands, they think the constitution is good ; but 
if not, they think it equally bad, and are ripe for any 
novelty. They consider it not as tending to give 
security to all, but as tending to benefit themselves ; 
and, in fact, consider and look at nothing else but 
personal aggrandizement at the expense of the in- 
terests of the rest of the community.' ' If we gave 
such a people a real constitution, they would simply 
violate it from day to day.' 

Maitland then added a weighty comment, which, 
while it tended to excuse the lonians, also added 
materially to our own perplexities. ' Every promise,' 
he said, ' every promise that has been made since the 


fall of V enice has been made but to deceive. They 
therefore believe nothing that is said to them. They 
will assent to any constitution, but they will look upon 
it as a mere juggle.' Nor would they even believe 
that our hands were clean the while, for there was 
little doubt that both Mocenigo and the French had 
made considerable fortunes out of their dealings with 
public affairs. 

Capodistrias had stated with perfect plainness his 
own opinion that there was no chance of governing 
the Islands successfully except through the medium of 
a large armed force. By a ' large armed force ' he 
meant 14,000 troops and a fleet of 36 sail. This 
was the force that the Russian government 
kept up in the Islands as late as the date of 
the Treaty of Tilsit, 1807. This was the force 
that enabled them to defy the remonstrances of 
the Porte and abrogate the Byzantine Constitution 
in favour of Mocenigo's. The impotence of the 
Porte in the face of so great a display of the military 
so enraged them that they gladly gave Sebastiani an 
undertaking to recognise the Islands as part of the 
French Empire. All that was now ancient history; 
but the impression remained that no government was 
possible unless resting on the support of an army of 
this size. It is hardly necessary to say that Maitland 
never had an army approaching this size under his 
command. The troops of all arms with the colours 
numbered 4260 only on the 28th of September 181 7. 


This was about the average strength of the army 
in the two garrisons of Malta and Corfu, although 
Maitland himself said that they ought never to fall 
below 6000. 

We have, then, to observe that the internal 
difficulties which had baffled all his predecessors in 
their efforts to maintain a stable government had 
been partially overcome by the display of a great 
armed force, and even that resource was taken 
away from Maitland. There was another difficulty 
which applied to him alone, that will be noticed in 
its place ; a difficulty greater than all the others put 
together. But leaving that out of the question for 
the moment, the simple conclusion of contemporaries 
was that we were attempting the impossible. 

On the 29th of November 18 16, Maitland issued 
his first proclamation to the Ionian people. He an- 
nounced that he would do his best to fulfil the wishes 
of the Allied Powers, and further the welfare of the 
lonians. He should immediately proceed to draft a 
constitution ; and in order to give an idea of what it 
would be, he reviewed the various constitutions under 
which the lonians had dwelt in the preceding twenty 
years. Nothing, he said, would induce him to revive 
the government (if it could be so called) of Venice. 
Here we must pause and read between the lines. 
This allusion to Venice was Maitland's silent but very 
plain menace to the nobles. It was under the rule of 
Venice that they had attained to complete authority, 


and shared the plunder of the Islands. Their power 
was unlimited, and — chiefly in consequence of their 
corrupt influence over the Courts of Justice — un- 
shakable. When Venice fell, the nobles had been 
set to guard the trees of liberty erected by the 
French. But they had rapidly regained their power ; 
and all the disturbances of the last twenty years had 
their origin in blundering attempts to take it away 
from them, and in their own stubborn resolve to 
preserve it. Maitland, in his first proclamation, thus 
gave them to understand that he would not endure 
their usurpations. He next reviewed the other con- 
stitutions, examined the causes of their failure, and 
finally announced that he should take Mocenigo's 
constitution of 1803 as the basis of his own. 

At this time Mocenigo was in Naples with Capo- 
distrias. He dined with A'Court, our minister there. 
A*Court opened the subject of Maitland's proclama- 
tion as one likely to interest his guests, and said that 
perhaps they might like to know its purport and 
the manner in which it had been received in 
Corfu. Mocenigo smiled, and assured A'Court that 
he was very well pleased with its tenour ; but he 
knew his countrymen, he added ; and then, with a 
shrug, ' If General Maitland expects to keep them in 
good humour for any length of time, he will be 
greatly disappointed.' A'Court was a good deal taken 
aback. But Mocenigo was pleasantly frank, and had 
no objection to A'Court knowing that he had had 


Maitland's despatch opened and detained on the road, 
and a copy forwarded to him before the original went 
to the ambassador. His information was thus several 
days ahead of A'Court's. 

Thus was Maitland from the outset brought face 
to face with his greatest difficulty. This was the 
elaborate network of intrigue and spying with which 
he was surrounded. Nobody could be trusted ; not 
even his own couriers, or the couriers of foreign States. 
Everywhere there were Ionian agents working to 
supply the nobles and their party with secret inform- 
ation. But they little knew the resolute man with 
whom they were dealing. If they could mine, 
Maitland could countermine. If they opened his 
letters, he opened theirs ; and in this contest he had 
a notable advantage. For a single hint was enough 
to let him know where his enemies were, of whom he 
should beware, and how he could baffle them. And 
he was in power, and could dispose of good things. A 
single intercepted letter gave him the key to the 
whole intrigue. 'I will soon find out w^hat this 
Maitland is like, and then I will let you know what 
I make of him for His Majesty's information.' His 
Majesty was the Czar Alexander; the writer of the 
letter was old Capodistrias, and it was addressed to 
Count John Capodistrias, the Russian Secretary of 
State. Alexander's share in the business appears to 
have been greatly exaggerated. He did indeed write 
autograph letters of recommendation for Capodistrias, 


letters which gave the Cabinet infinite trouble, and (to 
some members of it) no small anxiety. But there his 
interest ceased, or appears to have done so. Never- 
theless * the Russian party,' with old Capodistrias as its 
centre in Corfu, and John Capodistrias as its powerful 
agent abroad, was, throughout Maitland's administra- 
tion, his greatest anxiety. Having got the clue, he 
speedily made use of it. Henceforth, when one of 
the Russian party paid a visit to the palace he was 
received with overwhelming civility, and numerous 
posts were pressed on him. But the civility was 
impenetrable, and the posts were always uninfluential. 
When other posts were applied for, the application was 
most favourably received ; but there was generally a 
hitch sooner or later, and the post went to someone 
else. Earlier in the year, Maitland had not hesitated 
to dismiss, without the slightest ceremony, no fewer 
than four senators and the secretary, who forthwith 
posed as martyrs in the cause of Ionian liberty. 
* Martyrs ! * wrote the Lord High, ' corrupt and 
insufferable intriguers.' 

So, one by one, and occasionally in batches, the 
Capodistrians were edged out of the good things and 
condemned to inaction. No wonder they raged 
secretly but not silently, for the good things were 
many, and Maitland gave them all to their enemies. 
No wonder that a sort of gunpowder plot was dis- 
covered, the object of which was to annihilate Mait- 
land. It was not really a plot, but it was disclosed, 


half hatched, to the Lord High Commissioner, ap- 
parently with the intention of shaking his nerves. 
From the beginning he expressed his total incredu- 
lity of the whole story. The officer who discovered 
the ' plot ' was given clearly to understand that run- 
ning with the hare and hunting with the hounds 
was not what Maitland approved. He was to get 
his reward from the Capodistrians for managing the 
details, and from Maitland for disclosing them. 
Whatever he got from his first employers, he got 
nothing from government except a clear intimation 
that he was seen through, and had better not try 
the same thing again. Gradually the Ionian nobles 
began to confess to themselves and each other, raging 
the while, that they had found their master. Not 
Russian admiral, nor Turkish pacha, nor Imperial 
marshal, nor (in the old days) Venetian provveditore, 
had been so hard to deal with. In fact, there was no 
dealing with him. The only course to pursue was to 
obey him, or else retire into private life. It soon be- 
came plainly advantageous to keep in with the Lord 
High. Already the constitution was under weigh. 
Already there were rumours of a new Order of 

Disaffection, or as Maitland adroitly put it in his pro- 
clamation, ' opposition to the Treaty of Paris,' rapidly 
subsided. There came a short period of hesitation, 
and then, as he scornfully wrote, ' it has become a 
race which of them can run fastest into our arms.' 






This was a favourable moment for the promulgation 
of the constitution, that famous instrument whose 
only function was to throw a decent veil over the 
despotism of Thomas Maitland. His instructions 
were to govern under a constitution ; instructions 
which carried contradiction in every line. It was 
not that the lonians were actually ungovernable. 
They were not more so than, for example, the 
Afghans, who, under the personal rule of a genius, 
make comparatively good subjects. It was that 
no constitution hitherto set going in the Islands 
would work. Nothing would have been easier 
than to draft a fresh instrument of government, 
conferring, say, the limited franchise that subsisted 
in England before the first Reform Bill. The 
heads of the noble houses would have made a re- 
spectable House of Lords. The power of voting 
money would have been restricted, of course, to 



the Commons, and patronage would have been taken 
out of the hands of the Lord High Commissioner, and 
vested in his * Cabinet.' 

This would have been an easy course to pursue, 
and it would have had immediate and valuable 
results. It would have quieted Brougham and 
Hume and the Radicals, together with 'that worst 
of Radicals, Capodistrias,' as Maitland called him. 
Moreover, it would have worked for, at the out- 
side, six months, at the end of which time we 
should have had to send an army corps to Corfu 
to restore order. Martial law would have been 
proclaimed, and the signatories of the Treaty of 
Paris would have been called together to reconsider 
the treaty. The clause providing for a constitu- 
tion would have been abrogated, and the- Seven 
Islands turned into a crown colony. This would 
have been better for everybody concerned, as Mait- 
land told the lonians. They had caused several 
applications to be made to him for assistance from 
England, and he had at once pointed out to them 
how much they had lost by their constitution. 'If 
you had been a crown colony,' he said, 'you might 
have drawn on the British treasury, but as you 
are an " independent republic," you must forego 
that advantage.' But to be at once ' independent ' 
and dependent was exactly what the lonians were 
seeking. Maitland, for his part, was perfectly 
contented, so long as the King was well served, 


and he himself remained in effect a despot, two 
conditions that he regarded, and probably with 
reason, as inseparable. However audacious his 
' constitution ' may appear to us to-day, there re- 
mains this very cogent fact, that Capodistrias, 
from his great position as Russian Secretary of 
State, and availing himself of the personal recom- 
mendation of his imperial master, dragged Maitland's 
proceedings into the light of day. He angrily and 
unscrupulously arraigned them, and was patiently 
and laboriously answered by Castlereagh himself. 
The Lord High Commissioner was conclusively 
shown to have kept strictly within his powers 
under the treaty. A still better justification, 
although one that probably made no appeal to 
Capodistrias, was furnished by the magnificent 
results of his labours. 

Turning aside, then, from the tempting course of 
drafting a real constitution — the failure of which 
would have made a fine appeal to his grim and 
cynical temper — he summoned a Primary Council. 
This, as he was careful to point out, was the 
precedent set by the Russians. When we say 
* summoned,' we should perhaps be better to say 
'nominated.' In fact he called together ten magnifi- 
coes whom he knew to be well-afFected, or whom 
he bought with promises (and of whom he could 
feel comparatively sure), and took them into his 
confidence. Nominally they were deliberating on 


the constitution ; practically they were reading over 
Maitland's draft and altering it at their peril. 
They sat under a president, an officer who 
formerly enjoyed the title of prince, but until the 
constitution was passed he was not ' Your High- 
ness ; ' he was only * my dear sir,' or at best ' dear 
baron.' Maitland, as the fountain of honour, 
recognised no distinctions that did not flow from 
himself. The Primary Council were to be ex-officio 
members of the Legislative Assembly. By this 
ingenious device the Lord High Commissioner at 
once secured eleven votes in the Lower House, the 
total number of whose members was only forty. 
The twenty- nine remaining seats were to be filled 
by members elected by the Seven Islands pro- 
portionately to their population. But they were to 
be elected from lists of eligible members drawn up 
by the Primary Council ; so a considerable control 
was exercised over the whole of the Lower House. 
The Upper House was elected by the Lower, but 
the Lord High Commissioner could veto any 
senator and order a fresh choice. If he vetoed the 
second choice, he must within twenty-four hours send 
down the names of two men of whom he approved 
as senators, and from these two the Lower House 
must make their choice, which would be final. 

In his address to the Primary Council, Maitland 
gave a fairly broad hint of how much discretion he 
expected them to exercise. The first clause of the 


Treaty of Paris relative to these Islands describes 
the Ionian Islands as a single, free and independent 
State. But the appointment of a Lord High Com- 
missioner takes that away. *If there be any per- 
sons,' he continued, 'whatever who can entertain 
a different feeling upon this subject, to such I 
can only say that all discussion of every kind with 
them must be totally useless.' To Lord Bathurst 
he wrote that it did not really matter what sort 
of a constitution was set up, so long as it prevented 
the lonians from 'running wild.' The difficulty 
would be not to get the constitution passed, but to 
establish the practice under the constitution, as the 
Ionian 'duplicity, chicanery and want of principle 
cannot be exaggerated.' He was almost as plain 
spoken to the Primary Council. To the poor, he 
said, who should be the special care of the govern- 
ment (this was another hint to the nobles that they 
would no longer fatten on the spoils of the State), 
it matters nothing what system of administration be 
set up. But it is of the first importance that the 
administration of justice should be sound and speedy. 
Therefore (and Maitland's language menacingly 
underlined the conclusion), the judges must no 
longer be appointed by election. Instead of the 
electors choosing the judges, the Lord High Com- 
missioner will nominate them. 

Very wide powers were given to the senators. 
They could nominate the regents of the Islands, very 


important officers. They could initiate legislative 
measures. They could conditionally arrest the pro- 
gress of bills in the Lower House, and could also 
negative bills altogether. As the senate was only 
another name for the Lord High Commissioner, we 
can now arrive at some notion of the extent of power 
that Maitland reserved to himself. All the machinery 
of representative government was there : Upper 
House, Lower House, elective system and five-yearly 
parliaments. But this was only a pageantry : nothing 
could really move except by the will of the Lord High 
Commissioner, who was, in addition, commander-in- 
chief of the King's troops in the Islands and in Malta, 
as well as governor of the latter island. If there was 
ever a more absolute monarch on earth, it would be 
the Rajah of Sarawak. 

Although from Maitland's emphatic and audacious 
language we might perhaps suppose that he was given 
to settling important matters in too great haste, we 
should make a great mistake if we rested in that con- 
clusion. In dealing with the lonians he did not, it is 
true, waste words. But he only dealt with the lonians 
after he had most laboriously and in inconceivable 
detail recounted to the Secretary of State the grounds 
of his conclusions, and had made sure that his con- 
clusions were approved of. 'Though I will not 
intrude upon your lordship with any opinion of my 
own,' he wrote to Lord Bathurst, 'it is but fair I 
should state it as a positive fact that I never have 


yet seen or conversed with any man here, either of 
consideration or of common talents, who does not at 
once acknowledge that they are not in that state of 
society that fits them either for a free constitution or 
for being left to themselves under any government 
of any kind.' Maitland's enemies said that he never 
listened to any man who did not flatter him ; and that 
it was very well understood that he would listen to 
nothing that he did not want to hear. So it will be 
valuable to recall this passage, and compare it with 
what the lonians themselves said. We shall be able 
to do this with better effect when we come to Capo- 
distrias's assault on Maitland, and Castlereagh's defence 
of him. Continuing this view, however, Maitland 
went on, *I have no difliculty in stating to your 
lordship that under all the circumstances of the 
situation — looking at it in every point of view (and 
I believe many of the most sensible men in these 
Islands concur with me), that it would have been 
infinitely more for their benefit and advantage had 
they at once been made colonies to England than 
left as they are by the Treaty of Paris. This, how- 
ever, was impossible to be done under the treaty — we 
had therefore only to endeavour to give them a 
constitution which could enable us to assure them for 
the present a better state and condition than they 
hitherto had been placed in at any former period, 
leaving it in our power to alter and amend it as we 
might deem advisable — but not placing in their 


hands any such power — and this your lordship will 
perceive is effectually done by the reserving clauses 
relative to the judicial establishment in the chapter 
of justice.' 

On the general principles that had guided him, 
he wrote as follows, ' I have always considered the 
Treaty of Paris as a treaty made between Russia 
and England for the benefit of the Ionian people, and 
though, in fact, the other great powers were stiled 
principals upon the occasion, that in truth they were 
mere accessories to that treaty. 

' The principal upon which I understand the treaty 
to have been bottomed was the feeling on the one 
hand that the Emperor Alexander was anxious to 
repair the unfortunate state in which he had been in 
some degree the means of placing them, from the 
necessity he was under of signing the Treaty of Tilsit, 
and, on the other, a wish to replace them in the 
condition in which they stood with regard to their 
liberty and independence antecedent to that calamitous 
treaty. If I am correct in this, and if it be true that 
such was the real object of that treaty, it naturally 
follows that if we did give to them either a better 
regulated system of government, or an extension of 
liberty and security they never before possessed, that 
we had fulfilled both in the letter and spirit the obli- 
gation we had entered into with Russia, and that that 
Court, at least, could not have the smallest pretence 
for saying that we had stretched the power granted to 


us as a protecting sovereignty under the Treaty of 
Paris. I am fully persuaded that it is unnecessary for 
me to explain to your lordship the grounds upon 
which I maintain we have done both the one and the 
other. It would be a mere recapitulation of what I 
have said in my address to the Primary Council, but 
I am sure your lordship will agree with me in this 
general and incontrovertible sentiment, that definite 
power, however extensive, is a lesser evil in any State 
than power alike undefined and uncontrolled.' 

There will be many to agree with Maitland's con- 
clusion ; there were many when he wrote. But we 
would hardly say that it is a * general and incon- 
trovertible sentiment ' ; and it would have filled the 
sentimental 'friend of the people,' the Maitland of 
1794, with a holy horror. 

After dwelling on the very extensive powers that 
he had reserved to himself, he pointed out that the 
lonians would always remain subject ' not to the will 
of a despot, not to the change from Paul to Alexander, 
but to the constitutional laws and practices of our 

As regards the lonians, there was among them * no 
considerate man who does not acknowledge that no 
government could ever exist in these Islands without 
a constant interference of the protecting power,' al- 
though it was true that 'the words liberty and in- 
dependence conveyed to their irritable minds an idea 
that they could once more open all those seeds of 


discord and dissension which had so frequently un- 
happily tended to their misery and destruction.' 

Perhaps those ' seeds ' might be * opened ' in the 
future ; but there was little to fear from that, ' for 
we can always give more to those who go with 
us than they can possibly expect to gain if they go 
against us.' 

The provision of the constitution which he most 
feared to see attacked was that relating to the double 
list of candidates. On this point he related an 
anecdote. 'In 1806 they tried to alter it — and 
what was the consequence ? that finding a set of men 
elected the most unfit in the country, they took away 
the balloting boxes from the place of election ; the 
person entrusted with the business arranged the 
balls according to the list he had got from the 
plenipotentiary, and next day produced the balloting 
boxes — so arranged ; and declared the election ac- 
cordingly, a measure undoubtedly infinitely more 
destructive of any idea of liberty than any restriction 
that could have been laid down — and the disgraceful 
notoriety of this fact was the sole reason why I did 
not specify it in the Primary Council.' 

He concluded his report to Lord Bathurst with an 
expression of his hope that the constitution, though 
not ideal, might be found to be workable, and a 
stepping-stone to a better state of things. 

This constitution was ratified in the throne room 
of the Pavilion at Brighton by the Prince Regent 


on the 26th of August 181 7. It was Maitland's 
most considerable achievement, although not that 
which lasted the longest. It remained in operation 
until 1 849, and was even to the end of our occupation 
the mainspring of the government ; for some of its 
provisions, inadvertently retained when the constitu- 
tion was remodelled, were the only means by which 
the government could be kept going. But to Mait- 
land's successors it proved a veritable bow of Ulysses. 
Even the rapid sketch that has here been given of 
its provisions must suffice to show what exceptional 
qualities were needed to work it effectively. 
Maitland's invincible energy, impeccable knowledge 
of men and single-minded devotion to his duty, 
enabled him to work wonders under it. He stopped 
leakages of public money, wiped out the deficit, and 
rolled up a surplus. He scared the nobles into good 
behaviour, and utterly routed a far more formidable 
conspiracy than his successors ever faced. He kept 
the island steady, while the mainland on both sides, 
the Morea and Naples, was heaving in revolution. 
The common people arose and blessed his name : 
for they tasted daily of the consolations of justice 
impartially administered. But what happened after 
Maitland is painful to recall. Fortunately it lies 
outside the scope of this biography. 

An attempt has here been made to do something 
like justice to Maitland's admirable work over the 
Ionian constitution. We must not shrink from 


reviewing the unpleasant story of his persecution of 
De Bosset : it is, on the whole, the most painful 
incident of his career. We saw that in the year 
1794 Maitland made one of the few speeches that 
appear to have been prompted by genuine personal 
feeling — his speech on the enlistment of ' foreigners,' 
for whom he always had a John Bullish hatred. 
Later on, I ventured the statement that he often 
fell to quarrelling out of sheer ennui. The two 
moods jumped together in his persecution of De 
Bosset. He had had enough of constitution draft- 
ing, and he turned to quarrelling as a delasse-menty 
having no other resources. There was a good sub- 
ject ready to his hand. De Bosset was a Swiss 
gentleman who had seen twenty-one years' service 
in the British army, and had attained the rank 
of lieutenant - colonel. On the reorganization of 
the Order of the Bath he had been decorated with 
the third class of the military Order. At the con- 
clusion of peace he was sent out to the Ionian 
Islands as Resident in Cephalonia. He was 
then despatched on special duty to Lebeda, the 
ancient Ptolemoea Leptis, to superintend the de- 
spatch to England of some monuments of an- 
tiquity ; but was recalled before he could complete 
his work, and appointed inspector of militia in the 
Ionian Islands. He arrived on this duty on the 
30th of January 18 17. On the 17th of March he 
was despatched in great haste to Parga with a re- 


inforcement of 300 men for the garrison, but again 
recalled within three months. He was then ordered 
on special duty, to which, for reasons given, he 
demurred, and was promptly deprived of his com- 
mission, and his services dispensed with by pro- 

This treatment would be enough of itself to 
show Maitland's animus. He knew well enough, 
being one of the most successful administrators that 
England ever possessed, that the grand secret of 
good administrative work is not to harry your sub- 
ordinates. Any man not fundamentally incom- 
petent can with assiduity master the duties of his 
post if he is left long enough in it. But the most 
brilliant man if incessantly moved about will always 
find his work beyond him ; and five such different 
appointments in the short space of two years were 
enough to bewilder De Bosset, who was only a 
simple soldier, with no pretensions to any but quite 
ordinary abilities. 

Unfortunately there was much stronger direct 
evidence that Maitland meant to drive De Bosset out 
of Corfu. De Bosset reported himself to the Lord 
High Commissioner, and was immediately invited to 
dinner, and afterwards, on the 6th of February 181 7, 
to a ball. In the ball-room Maitland pointedly and 
deliberately approached the colonel ; and the other 
guests fell away out of respect and left His 
Excellency and his victim face to face, with no one 


within earshot. Hence we have only De Bosset's 
word for what followed. But there are such volumes 
of evidence on the whole case, and De Bosset's word 
was so continually and fully substantiated, that we can- 
not avoid noticing his account of this short interview, 
and indeed it is only too likely a story. * Colonel 
De Bosset,' said the great man, ' I am very glad to 
welcome you to Corfu, and to say that I think you 
had much better go away. You have many enemies 
here, and you would do better if you went away as 
soon as possible.' The unhappy man could only 
stammer incoherently in reply to so fierce an assault ; 
whereupon Maitland, smilingly and ingratiatingly, 
with every possible mark of affectionate attention, 
repeated his menace. De Bosset could only bow, and 
leave the ball. Next morning he called on the 
military secretary and asked what it all meant. 
After so broad a hint, he said, there was nothing 
to do except to go. Perhaps the Lord High Com- 
missioner had some plan to that end that he might 
fall in with. But Hankey would not help him. 
There was nothing in it all, he said ; everybody had 
noticed how drunk His Excellency was, no doubt he 
had forgotten all about it by now. But no man in 
De Bosset's position could rest satisfied with such an 
answer. ' It may be,' he replied, ' that His Excellency 
was drunk, although personally I cannot think it. 
His speech was quite plain, startlingly plain, and no 
drunken man could so command his features as to 


threaten me with ruin while apparently he was over- 
whelming me with compliments.' 

But Hanlcey stood by his chief. Sir Thomas was 
drunk, and there was an end of it. * Granted, then,' 
said De Bosset, * since you will have it, that His 
Excellency was drunk, there still remains a proverb 
that you will be acquainted with, and that I take 
leave to remind you of, in vino Veritas : and there is 
the question to which I have received no answer — 
How am I to go away ? ' It is to be presumed that 
the military secretary had his cue, for he would say 
nothing. It was not Maitland's intention that De 
Bosset should be honourably retired ; he meant to 
expel him ignominiously. When this had been 
achieved, and the quarrel thus artistically rounded 
off, the unhappy man made his way to England and 
waited on the Duke of York. * Nobody,' said His 
Royal Highness, 'could take away an officer's com- 
mission except His Majesty, and the colonel might 
rely upon his assurance as commander-in-chief that 
this would not be done without the fullest in- 

The investigation went in De Bosset's favour. 
He had been deprived of his travelling allowance ; 
he was granted two months' pay in lieu of the 
same by special order from the Horse - Guards ; 
he was provided for on the half- pay list. It 
became increasingly clear that he had been shame- 
fully bullied, and in April 181 8 he was created a 


Knight of the newly-established Guelphic Order of 
Hanover 'for distinguished service in the Medi- 
terranean, particularly in the Ionian Islands and 
Parga.' It w^as hardly possible to convey more dis- 
tinctly to Maitland that his conduct vi^as thoroughly 
disapproved of. In the meantime, Maitland's justifica- 
tion of himself vvras called for. It came at great 
length, and contains much of 'the workings of an 
ill-regulated mind,' 'disappointment of exaggerated 
pretensions,' 'total contempt of decorum,' 'disregard 
of facts,' and so on. De Bosset was not referred to 
except as 'this fellow,' or 'this person.' This is 
mere abuse, and there is a curious passage about 
Lebeda which shows as clearly as possible what a 
weak case Maitland had. 'The truth is (and I 
ought perhaps to be ashamed to confess it), that the 
research for monuments of ancient sculpture never 
has been to me, personally, an object of the smallest 
moment.' This is very ingenuous and winning; but 
as Maitland's taste was not in question, it is totally 
irrelevant: in fact, he was shirking the point. The 
report was not well received; and De Bosset was 
given to understand that his military reputation 
and his general conduct met with the approval of 
the commander-in-chief; but that Maitland was, 
in point of fact, indispensable. The matter did not 
end here; but although this painful incident could 
not in honesty be passed over, it is hardly necessary 
to dwell longer on it. The same year that saw De 


Bosset made a K.H. saw Maitland decorated with 
his second star, the Grand Cross of the same Order ; 
and he was soon deep in his great design for creat- 
ing a new Order of Knighthood. 

In the matter of De Bosset, Maitland cut a sorry- 
figure. In the matter of the most distinguished 
Order of St Michael and St George, he cut a very- 
grand figure indeed. Yet in the negotiations lead- 
ing to its foundation he has so written himself down 
that we would gladly see the correspondence de- 
stroyed. ^ But it is all a matter of history by now, 
and as it is no part of the duty of a biographer to 
make agreeable selections from his subject's work, 
we must needs drag ourselves wearily through this 
long negotiation. 

The Order was first suggested as a means for 
rewarding the services of distinguished lonians. That 
being accorded, Maitland proposed to extend it so as 
to include the Maltese. The sticklers for precedent 
were all opposed to this measure, as it would set 
a precedent for inhabitants of other colonies receiv- 
ing decorations, which was too irregular to be 
thought of. This was exactly the precedent that 
Maitland hoped he should set, and exactly what has 
happened. The Order of St Michael and St George 
has grown into the great Order of civil merit for 
the whole of the British Empire ; the Indian Orders 
seem comparatively provincial by the side of it. 
Perhaps Maitland knew his audience too well to 



indulge in so wild a speculation. Be that as it 
may, he took much lower ground, but ground on 
which he was perfectly safe. 'As regards Malta,' 
he wrote, 'the whole point is that this is the only 
colony of the British Empire where we have suc- 
ceeded to an actual sovereignty. Hence we live 
here surrounded by an atmosphere of stars and 
ribbands,' and the only Maltese who go un decorated 
are those who are faithful to their King. There 
was no opposing this argument, and Malta was in- 
cluded as a concession. 

The next point was the constitution of the Order. 
Until the re-constitution of the Bath, English Orders 
had always been of one class. That would never do 
here, he wrote; the whole point was to make a man 
think that he was better than his neighbour, so it 
was decided that there should be three classes of the 
Order. The next point was the name. It was first 
proposed that the order should be called the Order 
of St Spiridion. That was all very well, he wrote, 
as regarded the Ionian Isles ; but the saint was not 
'in such high feather' in Malta. The same diffi- 
culty would arise if a Maltese saint were selected ; 
the Corfiotes would not feel complimented. In fact, 
the two hagiologies were at daggers drawn, and we 
must find a saint who was equally considered both in 
the Orthodox and the Roman Church. How would 
it be if we took the old Order of St John of Jerusalem 
without the Jerusalem, and added some words symboli- 


cal of the occasion, but sufficiently vague not to give 
offence ? It might be supposed from all this banter, 
banter which was quite out of place, that Maitland 
was incapable of serious thought on the subject. We 
should be quite mistaken. The title that he now 
suggested was the musical and noble name, ' St John 
of the Isles.' As we know, the name finally adopted 
was ' St Michael and St George ' ; St Michael the 
Prince of Heaven, St George the Patron of England. 
Then came the insignia. The ribbon ought to be 
black and red, but so as to show more red than black. 
We need not trouble about collars. They would 
only be worn on great occasions, and they would be 
very expensive, he added, with an eye to Messrs 
Rundells, Bridge & Rundells's account. If provided 
at all, they ought to be of silver gilt, and made in 
England. It would have a most unfortunate effect 
if it should leak out that we could not make our own 
decorations. They might make them cheaper in 
Paris, but, in his opinion, they were unnecessary. 
The great point was the star, and it must be a showy 
star. As soon as the sketches of the Grand Cross 
were sent him, he shook his head over them. The 
St Michael was much too tame, he said ; the St 
Michael of Raphael or Guido would be better. 

But above all things, he wrote, hurry it on. No- 
body here believes that the Order is really going to 
be founded ; promises in this country are considered 
but as air, more to be honoured by violation than 


performance, and till the star twinkles in their eyes, 
we shall never get on well.' Pray let Sir George 
Nayler {Tork Herald and Blanc Coursier) come out 
before the end of the year. ' You can have no con- 
ception of the impatience of these gentlemen ; ' and 
when it finally appeared ^ there is no describing the 
enthusiasm of the lonians over the Order, for they 
never believed that it would come out.' 

As regards the first appointments to the Order, he 

wrote that he must have a Grand Cross for , as 

he was the leader of the Opposition here, and I 
bought him with the promise. Then I want two 

more for and , as I don't know how to get 

rid of them otherwise. Pensioning them would be 
too expensive, and they would not care for a knight- 
hood without something to pin on their coats. In 
Malta he wanted two more Grand Crosses for the 
same reason, but as these men were possessed of means, 
perhaps the Prince Regent would not mind making 
them counts. That would get rid of them equally 
well ; it would be a valuable exercise of the preroga- 
tive, and would save him two Grand Crosses. 

A Cabinet Minister, jaded with overwork and 
harassed by the anxious task of advising his Sovereign 
on the distribution of honours, may, perhaps, in a 
moment of irritation express himself somewhat in 
this manner to a trusted private secretary. But that 
a man in Maitland's position, charged with the 
inauguration of the Order, and holding the prophetic 


views that we know him to have held for its future, 
should thus write officially and deliberately of the 
favours of his master, is surely grossly irregular. 
His language was not appreciated in England, and 
he was given to understand this in the way that he 
would most feel. The nominations that he asked 
for were allowed as regarded Maltese and lonians, 
but when it came to English public servants there 
was a marked delay : and one officer whom he recom- 
mended for a Grand Cross immediately, was made to 
wait two years for the second class. As regards 
lonians and Maltese, Maitland always spoke as if the 
Order were something trivial and almost discreditable. 
But when Englishmen were candidates for a decora- 
tion, he invariably wrote with dignity, and dwelt on 
the eminent services of the men he recommended. All 
this is ancient history, and, until quite recently, secret 
history ; and if it damaged the Order it certainly 
would find no place here. But it does not ; it only 
damages Maitland. In truth, Maitland was now at 
his best — and his worst ; his best, for reasons already 
set forth ; his worst, because his savage, Swift-like 
cynicism was developed to its fullest extent. Not for 
a moment was his strong head turned by power ; his 
personal pride was of too sturdy a growth for any 
work to be either above or below him, and his native 
capacity was equal to any task. But he had so long 
played on human nature, and had found the task so 
easy, that he came to show an almost Napoleonic 


contempt for the decencies. He loved to give things 
their worst names ; to do good work, and speak of it 
disparagingly ; to throw out noble ideas, and degrade 
them in the developing until they almost disgraced 
him ; to reward service and call his rewards bribery ; 
to toss his favours to their recipients like bones to 
snarling dogs. There might be even worse to say, 
but this is bad enough ; and we are not to suppose 
that he neglected public decorum altogether. The 
hall of the Order was opened with great pomp. The 
three Ionian nobles who carried the constitution to 
Brighton received the K.C.M.G. Baron Theotoky, 
the President of the Senate, received the Grand Cross 
and a special medal from the Prince Regent. Mait- 
land himself condescended to accept the star in dia- 
monds, and an address of thanks which he described 
as 'the most contemptible thing on earth.' 



It is a relief to turn to a question — the cession of 
Parga — where there was no opening for Maitland 
to air opinions of this kind ; opinions which were 
.equally offensive, whether real or assumed. 

Parga was a European question as long as it lasted. 
The chief actors were Maitland and Ali Pacha on the 
spot, Castlereagh in London, and Liston in Constanti- 
nople. The audience included the people (even then 
a large body) who saw in the modern Greeks the 
lineal representatives of the Greeks of classic days. 
We do not need to exercise the imagination to realise 
what the temper of such an audience would be on 
such a question. Mavromichaelis's proclamation to the 
address of the Sovereigns of Europe, dated from * the 
Spartan camp,' 23d of March 1821, although pub- 
lished some years after the date we are now consider- 
ing, strikes the key-note in the phrase, * Our Mother 
Country, Greece, whose enlightened genius contri- 
buted to your civilisation.' This appeal always tells ; 



and the reminder that the genius of Hellas contributed 
to the civilisation of Europe was quite enough to 
enlist a large body of influential people on the side of 
the Greeks when they demurred to rendering to the 
Sultan the things which were his. 

Parga was a town on the mainland with some four 
or five thousand inhabitants, which had formerly been 
held by Venice, together with Prevesa, Butrinto and 
Vonizza. It contributed to the power of Venice in 
two ways. Firstly, it strengthened her hold on the 
Adriatic, where it was indispensable that she should be 
supreme ; and secondly, it was a convenient opening 
on the mainland for the export of corn to the Islands, 
where food often ran short. When the Repubhc 
fell, the Islands, as we have seen, became a fief of 
Turkey, and were garrisoned by Russian troops. The 
mainland possessions of Prevesa, Butrinto and Vonizza, 
were occupied by the Turks : but Parga held out. 
It was, however, clearly laid down by the treaty of 
1800 that Parga was to pass over to the Sultan, 
together with the other mainland towns. They were 
all specially excepted from the ' dependencies of the 
Ionian Islands.' 

The inhabitants of Parga were mostly Christians 
of the Greek Church. They gladly submitted to 
the French when the Islands were handed over to 
Napoleon after the Treaty of Tilsit. Parga was 
occupied by British troops on the 22d of March 
1 8 14; not by way of asserting its dependence on 


Corfu, but because the French garrison of Parga was 
a menace to our new possessions. When the limits of 
these possessions came to be defined, the treaty of 
1800 was taken as the basis of the new arrangements. 
There was, therefore, not the slightest doubt that the 
Sultan had the right to summon us to retire and admit 
his garrison. But the situation was a difficult one. 
It is easy enough, from this short review of the 
facts, to see what a good case could be made out 
by Philhellene enthusiasts. Here was a town that 
had gallantly held its own (the Turks said * rebelli- 
ously') against the Moslem. It was actually held 
by a British garrison. Was the King to withdraw 
his troops, and leave these fellow-Christians to the 
mercy of their ancient oppressors ? This was a very 
touching appeal and a very powerful appeal. Mait- 
land did not like the duty of acting in defiance of it. 
' I cannot help thinking the cession of Parga as a most 
unfortunate, though possibly a necessary measure,' 
he wrote. It was not that he had any sympathy 
with the Parganots. It was not that he shared the 
delusions of the Philhellenes. On the contrary, the 
principal difficulty in conducting his government was 
' the exaggerated notions entertained of the virtue 
and patriotism of the Greek people by travellers fresh 
from college, and full of classic imaginings.' His 
reluctance to cede Parga came from his far-sighted- 
ness. He saw that the Philhellene craze was only 
in its infancy. A tremendous impulse to its growth 


could be given if the Greeks could denounce us as 
the betrayers of the Greek cause. It was the kind 
of temper that might lead anywhere ; and in point 
of fact it did, in the end, lead to our ignominious 
withdrawal from Corfu. He would have given a 
great deal not to be compelled to stir in the matter 
of Parga. What he hoped was that the question 
might be allowed to rest until our rule in the Islands 
was demonstrably to the advantage of the Greeks. 
A very few years would suffice for this ; and we 
might then be able to laugh at rhetoric. But the 
Greeks, and the Greece in our midst, were far too 
keenly alive to the value of a strong agitation with 
a good cry to allow any such sensible delay. Nor 
did the Turks give us much help. There had been 
* painful incidents,' as Castlereagh called them, in 
the other ceded districts ; and agitators did not fail 
to remind the public that this fate and the other 
were all that Parga had to look for from the Turks. 
If it had not been for these ' painful incidents,' Parga 
would have been handed over unconditionally, and 
our garrison withdrawn five years before. 

As it was, however, we could not afford to neglect 
the outcry that daily grew louder, and we approached 
the Porte with proposals. In truth it was a very 
thorny question to handle. We had no right to make 
proposals at all. Turkey was as much entitled to 
occupy Parga as England to occupy Corfu. Indeed, 
the two powers had identical treaty rights in the two 


places ; and if Turkish officers had only conducted 
themselves with common decency in the neighbouring 
towns of Prevesa and Vonizza, there would have been 
no opportunity for England to make conditions. As 
it was, we offered to evacuate Parga if the Turks 
would compensate any Parganots who might be de- 
sirous of emigrating. The Porte took this proposal 
very ill ; and showed by several small disobliging acts 
that they did not like the insinuation. Later they 
expressed the Sultan's views with particular clearness. 
There would have been no talk of emigration, it was 
said, if England had not put it into the Parganots' 
heads : and this seems a reasonable statement. The 
Porte was amazed that England should think it worth 
while to quarrel with a friend of five hundred years' 
standing for a parcel of rascally Parganots. This 
was a most unpromising temper for our ambassador 
to deal with ; and there was nothing for it but to 
drop the matter for the moment. 

We were able to approach it soon after from 
another point of view. Parga lay within the pachalik 
of Janina. The vazir Ali had long been growing in 
wealth and importance, and was by now far too 
powerful to be agreeable to the Porte, It was true that 
the inclusion of Parga would add considerably to his 
influence. But it was plain that England was bent 
on getting money for the Parganots ; and it would 
be more convenient that it should be paid out of 
Ali's private purse than out of the treasury at 


Constantinople. Moreover, if any undertaking had 
to be entered into, it would be less undignified for 
a principal governor to make terms than for the 
Grand Vazir to do so. Besides consulting their 
wounded pride (and the Sultan's ministers were 
mortally affronted), this turn of affairs enabled them 
to forward a separate scheme. Ali Pachi had long 
been too powerful ; his ruin was now resolved on, 
and the manner in which he met the English demand 
for compensation would be a valuable indication 
of his resources in money. These were supposed to 
be fabulous, and in point of fact were considerable ; 
but how considerable was not precisely known at 
Constantinople. But this was only half the scheme. 
It was hoped that Ali would be so elated by his new 
acquisition that he might be led into some act of 
rebellion out of sheer over-confidence ; and this was 
well calculated. 

The negotiations on our side were entrusted to 
Maitland. He paid Ali Pacha a visit, and was re- 
ceived with great magnificence. The proceedings 
had to be opened with present-giving ; and Maitland, 
casting about for some appropriate gift, discovered 
incidentally that his proteges the Parganots were far 
from popular. It fell in this way. The usual presents 
of slaves it was not within Maitland's competence to 
offer. The pacha was reputed so wealthy that a gift 
of money or money's worth would have been common- 
place. Only some object of rarity would make a 


favourable impression ; and fortunately Maitland had 
such an object ready to his hand. He had recently 
become posseseed of a fine young lion almost full 
grown ; and he sounded Ali's secretary and agent as 
to whether the lion would be an acceptable present to 
the pacha. The secretary said that nothing could be 
found that the pacha would be better pleased with ; 
and then he was silent for a space. Maitland pressed 
him to repeat his opinion, as he really wanted to know 
the pacha's views, and the secretary was the only 
man who could communicate them. The secretary 
repeated, ' Nothing would give the pacha greater 
pleasure except one thing — to let the lion loose on 
the inhabitants of Parga when he had got him.' 

The Porte had rightly calculated that AH Pacha 
would make no objection to paying a round sum of 
money if he could include Parga in his pachalik ; 
and if the English chose to call it compensation to 
the Parganots they would be welcome to do so. The 
actual sum that he paid was 633,000 dollars. The 
Porte consented to recognise the Septinsular Republic 
as soon as we retired from Parga, and the evacuation 
took place on the 22d of March 18 19, after an occu- 
pation lasting five years. Maitland had made a very 
good bargain ; although best was bad, for the evacua- 
tion at once led to a violent outcry against him in 
England, and to a considerable increase in the ranks 
of the local agitators in Corfu j both of which re- 
sults added to his already serious difficulties. Four 


thousand starving Parganots (it was reported in 
England), martyrs in the cause of Greece, exiles 
who had abandoned their homes rather than 
submit to Turkish oppression — 4000 of these 
saintly and noble creatures had been compelled by 
Maitland's conduct to leave Parga and take refuge 
beneath our flag, where they were even now living 
on alms, in spite of the indemnity that had been paid 
over to Maitland for their benefit. The numbers 
were not greatly exaggerated, considering the cir- 
cumstances ; for there really were as many as 2700. 
' They are very great rogues,' Sir Frederick Hankey 
reported during Maitland's absence on duty in Malta, 
* very fat, well-fed and rich. They sold out of Parga 
at a good profit, and are successful usurers and even 
somewhat bullies.' 





We must not forget that all this time Maitland was 
Governor of Malta. In that capacity he was con- 
fronted with the difficulties arising out of the last 
occasion when Barbary corsairs plied their trade in 
the narrow seas. 

On the morning of the i6th of May 1817, H.M.S. 
Alert sighted a Tunis cruiser carrying eleven guns and 
a crew of 1 30 men off the Galloper. Her movements 
were watched, and she was observed to be boarding 
every vessel that passed her. Two vessels were lying 
to at no great distance. The Alert hailed the corsair, 
who was quite prepared to show fight ; but thought 
better of it as the Alert drew near and disclosed her 
armament. Questioned about the vessels lying to, the 
Tunisian denied all knowledge of them. But these 
vessels were boarded also and turned out to be the 
Ocean of Hamburg, homeward bound from Charleston 
with cotton and rice, and the Christina of Oldenburgh, 
outward bound with a cargo of wheat ; both vessels 



had prize crews on board from the corsair. The case 
was perfectly clear, and the corsair was ordered into 
Margate Roads. Her fellow-corsair was soon after- 
wards run down and captured in the Downs. 

This outrageous piece of buccaneering had been 
attempted under deliberate instructions from Tangier. 
Only Hanseatic vessels were to be boarded ; inasmuch 
as Barbary was at peace with all other nations. They 
would probably have got clear away with their two 
prizes if they had not waited to make a third capture. 
This information was obtained from a Norwegian on 
board one of the corsairs. He had been captured 
and forcibly converted to Islam, and now gave his 
evidence at the risk of his life unless he returned to 
Norway, which he was promised permission to do. 
The German diet was, of course, much incensed at 
the outrage, and Maitland was written to on the 
subject of obtaining redress. The question was raised 
at a very awkward moment. The Barbary consulates 
had long been in an unsatisfactory state, and Mait- 
land's negotiations would have to be conducted through 
our consul at Tunis, Colonel Oglander, a man whom 
the Bey would long ago have dismissed from his court 
if he had dared to do so. For Oglander would not 
kiss the Bey's hand. * He is eternally harping upon 
not lowering his consequence,' Maitland wrote 
angrily ; and instead of thinking about the business of 
the consulate, thinks of nothing but ' the foolish 
nonsense of kissing or not kissing the Bey's hand : 


ridiculous and absurd stufF ! ' It seems that the Bey, 
though exercising the functions of royalty, was only 
the son of the titular monarch, and a younger son at 
that. * He has been on his precious throne for only 
a year, owing to the murder of his elder brother.' 
Perhaps for that very reason he was the more tenacious 
of outward marks of respect ; and he hated Oglander 
for refusing them to him with all the hatred of an 
affronted Moslem. Consequently, when Maitland 
was directed to obtain satisfaction for the outrage off 
the Galloper, he felt that it was almost 'hopeless to get 
anything done through the consul ; and in fact his 
request was very roundly refused, and a long string 
of complaints and counter claims was sent in. 

This would never do ; for the excitement in 
Frankfurt was considerable, and redress must be had 
at any price. It is remarkable that the Bey should 
have shown so bold a front, for only a year had 
passed since Lord Exmouth's bombardment of 
Algiers. But he seems to have been in one of 
those states of anger and wounded pride that are 
hardly accessible to reason. Maitland determined 
to try him with a special mission. Careful as he 
always was of the dignity of officers of whom he 
could not get rid, he included Oglander in the 
mission, and joined him with Hankey and Spencer. 
He sent a man-of-war with them, as * a display of 
force is desirable.' The question of kissing the 
Bey's hand was discussed in the special instructions 



to the mission, and Oglander was advised to comply 
with the custom if the other consuls did so. It 
appeared that they did, with one exception ; and 
this point being really the root of the whole diffi- 
culty, the mission had an easy task to perform. 
Their instructions went back as far as the year 1682, 
and were based on the 8th Article of the Treaty of 
Algiers, signed in that year. But though all these 
goodly points were duly gone into with the Bey's 
ministers by the embassy, the battle was won at the 
outset by Maitland's politeness. The importance of 
receiving a special mission gratified the Bey ; he was 
appeased by having his hand kissed, and the rest did 
not really matter to him. He did, indeed, threaten 
to send a return embassy to England, but the question 
was evaded without giving offence, and the peace of 
the Mediterranean was preserved. 

Constantly moving backwards and forwards be- 
tween Corfu and Malta, bringing his despotic power 
to bear, with the shortest possible delay, on any 
irregularities that he might encounter, Maitland had 
by now hewn both these most troublesome com- 
munities into shape. Something like order had taken 
the place of the wild anarchy that had preceded him. 
If the difficulties that he overcame have not been 
already made sufficiently clear, there will be nothing 
gained by enumerating them. Although they were 
troubles of quite an exceptional kind, the amount of 
work that they entailed was not perhaps very greatly 


in excess of that thrown upon many colonial ad- 
ministrators in difficult times. But we now approach 
an incident quite without precedent, and calculated to 
disturb even the strongest nerves. Ordinary colonial 
officials have their chief, who may be exacting or 
petulant or (which is worst of all) indifferent; but 
beyond this control there is nothing. If they have 
factions to deal with, their part is done when they 
have satisfied their chief. If there are questionings 
in Parliament, there are the proper officers of state to 
answer for the service. Maitland, as we have seen, 
had numerous factions to dispose of; and he had 
dealt with them all to the satisfaction of the Cabinet. 
But this, which would have ended most men's 
anxieties, was only the commencement of his own. 
He now had to watch Capodistrias do his best to 
discredit him in England with the Cabinet, and drag 
his policy, if possible, before the House of Commons. 

Capodistrias was a very important person indeed ; 
the Secretary of State to the Czar Alexander, and 
wielding the authority and information of the Cabinet 
of a great European power, perhaps the greatest 
European power ; and he was determined to break 
Maitland if he could. Maitland, as we saw, was 
perfectly aware of this, and had spent a great deal 
of time and attention on the family of Capodistrias. 
To us, and now, the time would seem to have been, 
if not actually wasted, at any rate unnecessarily 
bestowed. But Maitland thought very differently. 


Great though the difficulties were that he had sur- 
mounted, he forgot them all when he thought of 
Capodistrias. 'The only evil we ever had, or shall 
have, in these islands is the family of Capodistrias.' 
' He wants to rule the Ionian Islands from his arm- 
chair by a sort of imperlum in imperio.^ * It is plain 
that what he wants is to have me removed. In that 
event the sooner England retires the better, for she 
will never be able to establish another government.' 
This fact had been thoroughly grasped by the Cabinet, 
who were fully resolved to stand by Maitland in the 
coming struggle. There was no need for Capodistrias 
to learn it as a lesson, for he had been a principal actor 
in all the scenes of misgovernment at Corfu, and 
knew perfectly well what the curse of his native land 
was. His bearing was the more reprehensible. ' I 
have now for four years been living on the top of a 
volcano,' wrote Maitland when the danger was actually 
over, although he did not know it ; ' perfectly un- 
aware when the explosion would take place. My life 
is a burden to me, but I would prefer to sacrifice it 
rather than that the intrigues of this despicable 
charlatan should injure the honour of England.' At 
this time he was writing with a copy of Capodistrias's 
memorial on the affairs of the Islands in front of him. 
' It is a scene of insolent and profligate assertion,' he 
wrote ; ' Capodistrias must know all the time that 
every word is false.' 

This very remarkable man was variously described. 


Maitland called him a despicable charlatan. Princess 
Lieven spoke very differently of him. ' Capo d'Istria 
has just arrived in England, and I cannot say hov^^ 
much I regret you do not know him. You have no 
notion hov^r fully he merits the hatred Metternich 
bears him. He is a very superior man, both in heart 
and head ; he has a noble intellect, and in short is as 
worthy of your esteem as he is of the hatred shown 
him by certain others.' — Princess Lieven to Earl Grey^ 
\']th August 1827. '.Well, my dear lord, had you and 
Count Capo d'Istria met, you would have found in 
him a man of honour . . . but before all you would 
have recognised in him an ardent patriot who all 
his life long has only had at heart the cause of his 
country's independence. . . . Never has a good cause 
had a better man to advocate it ; so noble and honest 
by nature, backed by so great a power of eloquence 
and of so commanding an intelligence.' — The Samey 
I2th September 1827. But besides the fact that (as the 
wife of the Russian Ambassador) the Princess could 
hardly avoid eulogising the Russian Secretary of State, 
that very astute lady probably chose the characteristics 
that she supposed would most commend a man to an 
English noble without any precise conviction that 
they fitted Capodistrias. 'Despicable' he certainly 
was not ; but perhaps he was a charlatan in the sense 
that he acted a part well — the part of disinterested 
patriot. But who was Maitland to call another man 
a charlatan ? He had just completed the inauguration 


of a new and august Order of Knighthood, and com- 
pleted it with every outward mark of decorum and 
magnificence. No one bore himself in more stately 
fashion in public when he chose to do so than Sir 
Thomas Maitland. But all this time he was pouring 
unbounded ridicule on his own performance, savagely 
denouncing the men he proposed to decorate, openly 
writing of the great Order as a mere means of corrup- 
tion, and chuckling over the influence he was acquir- 
ing at an outlay of ^ 1 183, i6s. — the amount of Messrs 
Rundells, Bridge &c Rundells's account. For a man 
who has just by his own confession completed the 
most monstrous piece of charlatanism to denounce 
another man as a charlatan is a valuable indication of 
character. Blindness to our own faults in other 
people makes the kindly critic : but blindness to other 
people's faults in ourselves makes the inflexible man of 
action, and such a man was Thomas Maitland. 

Maitland acted honestly and well, but did himself 
prodigal injustice in speaking and writing, Capo- 
distrias was unexceptionable in speech and in corre- 
spondence, but his actions have a queer look. One 
would hardly call him a gentleman, and his dishonesty 
was of that childlike kind that is almost engaging. 
His patriotism was of a sturdy growth, although 
deeply tinged with personal rancour and disappointed 
ambition for his family. But he died for it, and in 
his death he vindicated both himself and Maitland, for, 
as President of Greece, he was knifed in the streets 


of Athens by the men for whom he had undergone 
so many toils. Nor did his tragic end come before 
he had, from his own observation, pronounced his 
fellow countrymen to be unfit for the government 
that Maitland would not give them. 

But all this took place eleven years after the date 
we are now considering — the end of the regency. 
Maitland and Capodistrias were still mortal enemies, 
and the latter was hastening from St Petersburg to 
lay the complaints of the Capodistrians before the 
Cabinet of England. He bore autograph letters of 
introduction from his master to the Duke of Welling- 
ton and Lord Castlereagh. They caused a good deal 
of anxiety to Lord Liverpool at Walmer Castle and 
Lord Castlereagh at Cray. It was on Castlereagh 
that the duty devolved of replying to his complaints, 
but the interviewing was done by Lord Bathurst, 
whose stolid composure was rather diverted than 
disturbed by the fireworks of Capodistrias, and who 
was a good deal tickled at Count (afterwards Prince) 
Lieven's obvious anxiety lest Capodistrias should say 
something that might leave a legacy of discomfort 
behind him for the Russian Ambassador after he 
himself had returned to his chancellery. 

Both Secretary and Ambassador went down to 
Cirencester and stayed with Lord Bathurst together at 
his country house. The Russian Secretary of State 
poured out his complaints, and left behind him the 
written memorandum that had so aroused Maitland's 


ire. Strong though Maitland's language was, it was 
not too strong. Capodistrias's attitude was thoroughly- 
dishonest from first to last. Nobody knew better than 
he what the lonians owed to England. He had 
come of age under the government of the Venetian 
Republic, the meanest and most degrading of despot- 
isms, and he had borne a leading part in every succeed- 
ing government until he took service with the Czar. 
His experience of larger politics, and the saner outlook 
on Europe that any man not radically defective in 
intelligence must have acquired who had played a 
part in the Congress of Vienna, cannot but have 
shown him where alone the lonians could look for a 
decent form of government. The only honest part 
for him to have played was to have washed his 
hands altogether of Maitland's enemies, and to have 
cordially supported the Lord High Commissioner ; 
that is, if he really cared so much as he professed to 
do for the happiness of the lonians. 

He commenced by complaining that the Treaty of 
Paris had been infringed by the mode in which the 
constitution of the Ionian Islands had been drawn up, 
and the manner in which government was administered 
under the new constitution. 

To this Castlereagh replied that if ever general 
latitude had been left to a man it was so by the words, 
* shall regulate the forms of convocation of a legis- 
lative assembly, of which he shall direct the proceed- 
ings, in order to draw up a new constitutional charter.' 


It is true that subsisting authorities were left for the 
time, but that was only for carrying on the business 
of the government until the charter was settled. In 
drawing up that charter, no doubt consideration should 
have been had not only for the habits and customs 
of the peoples, but also for any particular form of 
government for which they may have had a preference. 
Such consideration, Castlereagh maintained, had been 
duly paid by Maitland ; and on the other point (the 
question of the attachment of the lonians to certain 
forms of government) he quoted with damaging 
effect Capodistrias's own words as Secretary of State 
to the Septinsular Republic — 'The primary cause of 
the late calamities of the Ionian Islands is to be 
ascribed to the Constitutional Code ; . . . people will 
accept without questioning whatever comes from the 
adored hand of Alexander.' The people could hardly 
have had a more open mind ; and they were rewarded 
by the constitution of 1803. This was not in working 
long enough for the people to have become attached 
to it. ' But,' quoted Castlereagh ruthlessly, * Your 
Excellency's sagacity appears to have convinced you 
at an early period of some of its defects ; ' for 
in Capodistrias's own letter to the Ionian charge 
d'affaires at St Petersburg he had written that 'by 
an enthusiastic admiration of abstract principles with 
a disregard of facts, a work had been completed, 
beautiful perhaps in the eye of a solitary philo- 
sopher, but not adapted to answer the wise views 


of a father of a numerous but indocile and unedu- 
cated family.' 

This, then, was Capodistrias's own view of the 
constitution of 1803 : it was defective, and had no 
time to get itself mended before it was swept away. 
If alterations had been made in it, Capodistrias was 
the last person who ought to complain. The assertion 
that those persons were elected to the legislative 
assembly who received the fewest votes (which, if 
it meant anything, implied that Maitland tampered 
with the ballot boxes), Castlereagh denounced as 
' positively false ; ' and indeed it was a very impudent 
assertion. The complaint that Maitland had too 
much power was skilfully met by a renewed re- 
ference «to the Treaty of Paris, under which the 
Lord High Commissioner was granted general latitude. 
Moreover, such power ' frees the Islands from elements 
of abuse which always lurk in undefined power.' As 
for the grumbles that Maitland was 'irresponsible,' 
the petitioners simply did not understand the British 
Constitution. The Lord High Commissioner was a 
servant of the Crown ; and all servants of the Crown 
were answerable to Parliament. This was a piece of 
' bluff' ; for an appeal to the House of Commons was, 
at this moment, precisely what the Cabinet were most 
anxiously dreading. However, Castlereagh had such 
a good case on Capodistrias's memorial that he thought 
he might risk it. On the groans about the ' military 
despotism ' of England, no better comment could be 


offered than the language of the lonians themselves, 
when Russian and not British troops were in question. 
They said * the nation themselves were unfit, from 
their known habits of insubordination and violence, 
to be loyal and obedient republican soldiers ; and 
that if the troops could not be Russian, they must 
be foreigners of some other description.' But, strong 
though this passage was, Castlereagh continued to 
quote relentlessly, ' the Russian soldiery were the life 
and soul of the State, that it was to them that they 
were indebted for security of person and property, that 
they were solicited and longed for as a gift from 
heaven, and that if they were to depart it would 
involve their complete destruction, and leave no other 
alternative than that of drowning themselves in the 
surrounding seas.' 

Such fervid self-abasement left no more room for 
deploring the military tyranny of the two or three 
battalions under Maitland's command. But Capo- 
distrias's memorial went on to declare that the garrison 
ought, in part, to have been Ionian, and that the Lord 
High Commissioner had deliberately ignored this con- 
dition of the treaty. A simple reference to the 5th 
article disposed of this complaint, and as regards this 
and the succeeeding grievances, Castlereagh quitted the 
defensive and ventured a rather more militant attitude. 
* I think I shall have no difficulty in convincing Your 
Excellency that an attempt has been made to deceive 
you by a strange perversion, or an utter mis-statement 


of the facts.' He was now approaching that part of 
the memorial which dealt with the grievous results of 
Maitland's unconstitutional behaviour ; and the first 
complaint was the vague one that the people were 
discontented, and longed for the good old days of 
Venetian rule. As to discontent, Castlereagh said 
there never was a State yet established where there 
was not some, and the amount of restlessness was not 
greater under British domination than under the sway 
of our predecessors. But that the Venetian Republic 
should be held up as a model to England was, indeed, 
a matter of astonishment. For, quoted Castlereagh, 
did not the Secretary of the Septinsular Republic 
(none other than Capodistrias himself, when he was 
eighteen years younger) describe that government as 
one of ' corruption, vice and imbecility ! ' 

These crushing quotations from Capodistrias's early 
correspondence were rapidly stiffening Castlereagh's 
style, and he now ventured on a description of 
Venetian methods of government which was only 
too accurate. When stripped of the polite circum- 
locutions of diplomacy, it amounted to this — that it 
turned the nobility into a band of legalised brigands, 
and placed the rest of the population under their feet. 
This was, of course, the favourable position from 
which Maitland had ejected them, and that he was 
determined they should not re-occupy. One of their 
great sources of profit had been that they had farmed 
the revenues. This most lucrative privilege they had 


long enjoyed, and therefore, wrote Castlereagh, it 
would have been most improper to deprive them of 
it suddenly. But he was quite unable to agree with 
Capodistrias that the matter had been handled roughly. 
On the contrary, he considered that this vicious system 
had been continued too long for the good of the State, 
and if Capodistrias thought that * due attention had 
not been paid to those who have the honour of being 
connected with Your Excellency's family,' he could 
only point to explicit cases where they had been 
handled with exceptional tenderness. 

But the gem of the despatch was Castlereagh's 
reply to the complaint that native lonians were passed 
over in public appointments, and lucrative posts 
conferred on ' foreigners.' To meet this, a list of all 
the public servants of the Islands was added to the 
despatch. From this it appeared that there were 
no ' foreigners,' except a few Sicilians in the Sanita 
and Customs. Here it was indispensable that native 
lonians should not be employed, for the same reason 
that coastguardsmen in England are preferred who 
have not local ties. Such ties very often impede them 
in the course of their duty ; and the habit of passing 
over natives was well understood throughout the 
Mediterranean to tend to the efficiency of the service. 
The allusion to * foreigners ' gave Castlereagh an 
opening of which he gleefully availed himself. For 
Capodistrias was quite as much a * foreigner ' at St 
Petersburg as any Italian could possibly be at Corfu. 


' But, after all, if any instance could be produced of 
any of these foreigners holding a high official situation, 
I am sure that His Imperial Majesty has had too much 
experience of the advantage which he has derived from 
the service of eminent men, not natives of Russia, to 
entertain any apprehension that the employment of a 
foreigner in a public situation is necessarily calculated 
to prejudice the interests, or can be regarded as deroga- 
tory to the honour of an independent State.' 

This is the venerable schoolboy retort, ' Foreigner 
yourself ! ' gaining considerably in force by being 
clothed in stately and courteous diplomatic phrases. 

Already in the course of his despatch had Castle- 
reagh had occasion to point out where Capodistrias 
had stated the precise contrary of the facts. He now 
had to deal with a very flagrant mis-statement. Capo- 
distrias had made the heavy charge that the Ionian 
people were, under English rule, for the first time 
kept in perfect ignorance of revenue and expenditure. 
Castlereagh adduced Maitland's published statement of 
accounts, and added that it was the ' first public state- 
ment of the receipt and expenditure of the Ionian 
revenue which was ever made to the people under any 
of their numerous constitutions ; and I must here 
take the opportunity of expressing my regret that 
Your Excellency did not condescend to avail yourself 
of the offer made by the Lord High Commissioner 
to give any explanation which you might desire with 
regard to any of the proceedings of the Ionian govern- 


ment. It is true, I find upon inquiry, that he made 
the offer only once, but his apology is that he was not 
encouraged to repeat it by Your Excellency observing 
that you had never read the constitution ; from which 
he not very unnaturally concluded that either, as His 
Imperial Majesty's Minister, you abstained from all 
possible interference with the internal proceedings of 
the Islands in rigid conformity with the 2d Article 
of the Treaty, or that, for some other reason, you 
had decided to have no communication with him 
on the subject.' 

Before closing the subject of Capodistrias's memorial, 
we may conveniently digress at this point, and notice 
what was the actual system followed by Maitland in 
the matter of appointments. It was an anticipation 
of that now followed in Egypt by Lord Cromer ; as 
few Englishmen as possible, and those picked men. 
They must be in influential positions, so as to 
penetrate the public service with the traditions of 
sound work and devotion to the public interest. But 
it was particularly desirable that they should be as 
little in evidence as possible, so as not to ' teaze ' (a 
word of which Maitland was very fond) the people 
with the constant reminder of the * foreigner's' presence 
and influence. The residents in each island were 
Englishmen. It was on these indispensable function- 
aries that the very heavy duty fell of compelling the 
feudal chiefs to pay that respect to the law that they 
had always refused under other governments. In fact. 


the law had been, in Venetian days, the principal 
instrument of their authority. In remote islands, and 
surrounded by their own people, these nobles were all- 
powerful but for the residents. The greatest of this 
useful body of men was Charles Napier, who was 
selected for the Residency of Cephalonia, not more 
on account of his inflexible uprightness, than because 
of his despotic temper. This temper, almost a repro- 
duction of Maitland's own, made him an ideal official 
for dealing with the schemes of arrogant and hitherto 
uncontrolled nobles in their own country, and his 
work was exceptionally fine. After dealing with the 
question of appointing * foreigners ' to places of trust, 
Castlereagh proceeded to examine in detail the various 
charges (one being a very gross charge of misappro- 
priation of public money) against Maitland, and con- 
cluded, ' Your Excellency will, I trust, pardon me if 
I altogether decline entering into any examination of 
the means by which the memorialists propose to im- 
prove the existing constitution. It is sufficiently 
evident that what is meant by improvement is the 
utter subversion of all that has been done under the 
treaty of 1815.' 

It is hard to say what can have induced so able a 
man as Capodistrias to expose himself to so severe a 
rebuff, and to so detailed an exposure of the aims of 
his party. It can only be surmised that he expected 
to overawe the British Cabinet. He may have cal- 
.culated that the personal intervention of the Czar 


Alexander, joined to a very natural unwillingness to 
take so much trouble as was involved in Lord Castle- 
reagh's despatch, would dispose the Cabinet to remove 
Maitland. But whatever his calculations may have 
been, the actual result of his journey to England and 
of his attack on the Lord High Commissioner was 
to strengthen Maitland*s hands prodigiously. To the 
youth of the Ionian Isles, Capodistrias was a figure 
of almost legendary renown : his power was sup- 
posed to be second only to that of the Czar himself. 
If their champion could effect nothing against Mait- 
land, it was clear that they would do well to make 
their peace as soon as possible. 

Accordingly we are to observe that at a time when 
the Mediterranean was a scene of bloodshed, rebellion 
and civil war, the Seven Islands, formerly the wildest 
and most turbulent spots in the Mediterranean, re- 
mained in profound peace. With one foot in Malta 
and the other in Corfu, King Tom stood out as the 
visible embodiment of a Pax Britannica, He bestrode 
the Mediterranean like a Colossus. Brigand-nobles, like 
those whose ruined castles fringe the Rhine, men who 
but five years before had been despots in their island 
fortresses, were now harmless and even useful citizens. 
Either they had entered the King's service, and dwelt 
apart from their lands, discharging the duties of their 
well-paid posts and decorated with the great Mediter- 
ranean Order ; or else, if they were not to be so lured 
away, they lived peacefully on their estates, scared into 


good behaviour, and fearful lest by misconduct they 
might forfeit what local influence was still remain- 
ing in their hands. Here was a wonderful change 
indeed ; it was almost the difference between the 
Scotland of 1745 and the Scotland of 1845, between 
the Germany of Anne of Geierstein and the Germany 
of Little Lilliput. Maitland's work would have been 
sufficiently remarkable if there had been no tempta- 
tions to the lonians to resist him. But besides the 
intrigues of Capodistrias which have just been noted 
in such detail, we shall only half appreciate Mait- 
land's magnificent achievement if we do not consider 
the state of the surrounding countries. 





Ferdinand of Naples, who spent his life in being 
expelled with ignominy from his capital and in 
returning to it amid thunders of acclamation from 
his fickle subjects, had just been expelled and re- 
stored for the last time — on this occasion by the 
force of Austrian arms. Writing of the state of 
Italy in 1821, soon after order had been restored, 
Maitland compared it to *the quiet and tranquillity 
of one of those receptacles of human misery where, 
when the keeper appears, all the maniacs are in 
highest regularity and order ; ' the keeper here being 
the Austrian Emperor. 

Maitland was in a position to judge, for he was 
writing from Rome, where he had gone at the 
invitation of Cardinal Gonsalvi to treat of the 
Church affairs of his double charge. Under his 
grim metaphor it is easy to see that the state of 
society was exactly that which most tempts ad- 
venturers ; and the lonians were adventurers from 
the beginning. But under Maitland's rule there was 



more money to be made by staying at home quietly 
than by risking one's neck in foreign revolutions, 
and a far better chance of enjoying it, when made, 
than the lonians had ever known before. 

If the state of the Italian coast of the Adriatic was 
alarming, that of the Turkish coast was appalling. On 
the 20th of May 1820, Ali Pacha declared himself 
independent. For two years he maintained his power 
against the Sultan's forces, and by the time that he 
was assassinated, on the 5th of February 1822, the 
Balkan Peninsula was in flames from end to end, 
and that great civil war was set on foot which only 
closed with the foundation of the state of modern 
Greece. Here were disorders far more serious than 
those of the Italian peninsula. Moreover, they 
made a constant and direct appeal to the passions 
that most moved lonians : their hatred of Islam 
and their desire for independence. First of Ali 
Pacha. He was an Albanian, nominally a Moslem, 
but hardly more than an occasional conformist. He 
greatly attracted Charles Napier, who was an en- 
thusiastic Ionian at heart, and who paid visits to 
Ali, advised him on military matters, and drew up 
plans of defence. In fact, he offered to lake com- 
mand of the insurgent army and march on Con- 
stantinople if it were made worth his while to 
throw up his commission in the British army. It 
is a most singular comment on the temper alike of 
Ali and the Greeks that they could not bring them- 


selves to the small outlay which this implied. For 
;^ 30,000 or ^40,000 they would have com- 
manded the services of a first-rate soldier. As for 
their resources, the Greeks drew easily on the 
London money market, and All's private fortune 
was not less than five millions sterling. Ali was 
eighty years of age when he revolted, and his 
avarice was unparalleled. It was in the end his 
ruin. He could not be persuaded to pay his soldiers, 
who slowly fell away from him. He could not 
bring himself to make a reasonable offer to the 
Porte, which was quite open to one ; and the re- 
sult was that instead of marching on Constanti- 
nople, as Napier had undertaken to do, he was 
gradually hemmed in by the Sultan's troops. 
Napier's conduct was watched in England with 
some curiosity, not to say suspicion. But there was 
no real cause for uneasiness. Besides the fact that 
both Ali and the Greeks were too avaricious 
to make Napier independent, there were other ex- 
cellent reasons for not employing him. The Greek 
insurgents would never have consented to put so 
much power in the hands of an Englishman : they 
were far too vain and greedy of power for them- 
selves. They took everything that was offered 
them as a right, and not as a favour. ' The Greeks 
generally appear to have considered the loan as a 
small payment for the debt due by civilised society 
to the country that produced Homer and Plato. ^.-^-^r^TTv 





The modern Greek habit of reducing everything to 
a pecuniary standard makes Homer, Plato and 
Co. creditors for a large capital and an enormous 
accumulation of unpaid interest.' It was the same 
with service. Napier was at liberty to ruin him- 
self for the Greeks if he chose ; but in return he 
would receive nothing but the approbation of the 
insurgent leaders for conduct which would have 
shown that he was not insensible of the debt that 
he owed to the country that produced Homer and 

Ali was equally grasping. It was not the support 
of a single officer that he desired, but the support of 
the whole nation. He frequently sounded us as to 
whether he might count on the British navy in his 
coming struggle with the Sultan ; but there was no 
hint of any advantage that England was to gain by 
such a course of action ; it would have been sufficient 
reward to have helped Ali. 

Ludicrous though this attitude is, it is not perhaps 
entirely incomprehensible to us to-day ; but what- 
ever extravagances may still be committed in the 
name of the country that produced Homer and Plato, 
they are as nothing to the extravagances committed 
three-quarters of a century ago. Lord Byron com- 
mitted a good many, but Byron was a sober and 
practical statesman compared to Frederick North, who 
had now succeeded to the Earldom of Guilford, and 
who went about the Islands masquerading as Plato, 


with his hair done up in a gold band, and arrayed in 
flowing purple robes. Lord Guilford had lavished 
money in the Greek cause, and was particularly 
anxious to see a theatre built in order to revive Greek 
tragedy. But alas ! Greek tragedy was no more to 
be revived by building a theatre for it than North 
could make himself like Plato by tying his hair up 
with a gold braid. 

But when two peers of England, both of them 
public men, and one of them the greatest living 
man of letters, could make themselves publicly absurd 
in the name of the land that produced Homer and 
Plato, we may imagine how smaller men were carried 
away by the same wave of enthusiasm. We may also 
imagine the stimulus which this kind of talk and be- 
haviour gave to those fiery spirits whom it was the 
business of Maitland's life to keep in order. He had 
had to teach the lonians the elements of sound com- 
merce and sound finance ; he had had to drill them 
in elementary notions of government and justice. He 
now had to show them the meaning of the word 
* neutrality.' * Neutrality,' he wrote, ' is a thing that 
no Greek understands ; he must always be meddling.' 
The ' meddling ' in this case was nothing else than 
a conspiracy, with its centre in Corfu and branches 
in all the Islands, to second the Greek rebellion on 
the mainland. *If the British Government had not 
been strong and steady, it would have succeeded,' he 
wrote. But this is his modest way of saying that, 


for the most part, the lonians were terrified at 
Thomas Maitland. He commenced his enforcement 
of neutrality by forbidding Turkish vessels to put into 
Ionian ports to refit. This measure was thoroughly 
approved in the Islands. But his next measure was 
received with boundless indignation. This was no- 
thing less than to order the disarmament of the 
Islands ; Corfu being ordered to disarm last as a 
compliment to the Corfiotes' loyalty. He was only 
just in time; and in two islands, Zante and Santa 
Maura, disturbances actually broke out. 

As much as possible was made of both by the 
enemies of British rule at home and abroad. ' This ' 
they said, ' is what comes of despotism. This is what 
happens when a noble and high-spirited people are 
ground down by a shameful tyranny, all careers closed 
to them, and all their lofty impulses thwarted.' It is 
submitted that under the circumstances the proper com- 
ment would have been, * If these things happen under 
Maitland, what would have happened without Mait- 
land ? ' There was one execution in Santa Maura, 
and there were five in Zante. In the latter island 
the neutrality of the port was violated, an officer 
killed, and for a time things looked serious. This 
was because there was a local head for the uprising 
in the person of Count Martinengo, who was the 
richest man in the Ionian Islands, and had been a 
disturber of the peace of every government that had 
been established there since the fall of Venice. 


The disturbances following on the revolt in the 
Morea gave him his first chance of playing this part 
under British rule, and he seized it ; in spite of being 
seventy years of age, a time of life when men mostly 
are rather fain to contemplate revolutions than to lead 
them. But the evergreen turbulence of the Greek 
temper, which led Ali into revolt at the age of eighty, 
broke out in Martinengo at a comparatively early age, 
and he played his part with considerable vigour. He 
had, however, underrated the change that had taken 
place in the state of society. In former days the poor 
people had to do whatever a man of Martinengo's 
wealth commanded them to do. Or, if they disobeyed, 
they did so at the risk of their disobedience being 
remembered against them. But now the poor people 
were much too comfortable, and much too secure in 
the fruits of their labours, to revolt at the bidding of 
any man. As for the risk of disobedience, it had 
disappeared ; for the law, as they very well knew, 
was afraid of nobody. Still greater was the change in 
Zante from the days of Martinengo's youth when he 
came to consider the nobles. Formerly they stood by 
each other, and lived on their estates ; but in Mait- 
land's time some were in Corfu, and others hoped 
to get there. Of those that remained some were 
disaffected, truly, but a few really admired a stable 
government ; and of those who did not, some were 
too scared to run the risk of rebelling against it. In 
fact, Martinengo was out of date, and his revolt came 


to nothing. He fled to the Morea, where he was 
followed and arrested by the order of Sir Frederick 
Adam, the deputy of the Lord High Commissioner, 
who was admmistering the government in Maitland's 
absence at Malta. 

This was very characteristic of Adam, and it gave 
much annoyance to Maitland. It looked like a strong 
measure, and was in fact a very feeble one. Nothing 
could have been more convenient for the government 
than that Martinengo should have run away. He 
would only be welcomed by the rebels for the sake 
of his money ; and as a forfeited rebel to the Ionian 
government, he would be unable to get at it, and 
would soon find himself in miserable circumstances. 
This was the punishment that he would most feel, 
and without a doubt he would soon be begging for- 
giveness. He might then be restored to his estates on 
our terms, and would be harmless for the future. In 
the meantime, we should have avoided the odium of 
the prosecution to which we were now committed. 
Such a prosecution would certainly have one ill 
effect, and might have two. It would infallibly 
give Martinengo an opening for posing as a martyr- 
patriot, and it might even break down altogether for 
want of evidence. Maitland's reluctance to prosecute 
was misunderstood by Martinengo. He thought it a 
favourable moment to make proposals ; and while 
Maitland was hesitating to prosecute, because he 
feared that the good of the State might be damaged 


by the trial, Martinengo imagined that he was wait- 
ing for an offer. He had precedent to go upon; for 
this was not the first time that he had been tried for 
his life, and on the previous occasion he had found no 
difficulty in buying his pardon. The offer that he 
made is the most eloquent testimonial that was ever 
rendered to Maitland's devotion to his duty. Martin- 
engo seems to have perfectly appreciated the difference 
between the Lord High Commissioner and his Russian 
predecessor. He quite understood that jewels and lands, 
castles or simple cash bribes would stand no chance of 
acceptance with Maitland. But knowing Maitland's 
zeal for the service, he offered firstly to keep Volterra 
(a Capodistrian agent) out of London; secondly, to 
show us how to recover the Church moneys (which 
had disappeared, and were concealed under a cloud of 
intrigue that Maitland had always failed to penetrate); 
and thirdly, to throw in his influence definitely with 
the English cause, on the single condition that he 
himself might be made a senator. A very consider- 
able bribe indeed ; and there have been crises when 
such offers must be considered. Maitland knew (and 
Martinengo was well aware of it) that Martinengo 
was the only man in the Islands who could render to 
the State these invaluable services. But the Lord 
High Commissioner merely observed that 'so profli- 
gate a degree of insolence and threat' settled the 
matter, and the trial must immediately be proceeded 
with. Privately, however, he was much vexed at 


having his hand forced ; for he had very grave doubts 
as to w^hether the power of the nobles was sufficiently 
curtailed for it to be possible for him to obtain any 
evidence. In the latter respect Maitland did his own 
system less than justice ; evidence in plenty was forth- 
coming, and Martinengo was tried and condemned. 
The greater part of his punishment was remitted, and 
he was restored to his estates. 

But the incident was ominous. Justice was done, 
and mercy shown ; but a vast amount of friction had 
been incurred, and much unpleasantness. It was all 
the difference between a man of first-rate capacity at 
the head of affairs, and a man of something less than 
second-rate capacity. Sir Frederick Adam was to 
succeed Maitland as Lord High Commissioner, and 
after Adam came a long line of Adams down to the 
disastrous 2d of June 1864. Never again were the 
Ionian Islands to have another Maitland for their 

It is difficult for us to realise the tempests of passion 
and hatred that raged around Maitland during the 
closing years of his life. Brigandage, the sheltering 
of those who were obnoxious to the law, the smuggl- 
ing of provisions, and especially of arms, every form 
of violated neutrality, in fact — these deeds, which were 
strictly forbidden to the lonians, were to their minds 
not only harmless, but positively laudable diversions ; 
and when performed in the cause of Greece and Greek 
independence — ^sacred duties. But if the lonians raged, 


Maitland raged also. It was one man against the 
Islands ; but the Ionian anger was as the anger of 
children beside Maitland's. He had been absent in 
Malta at the time of Martinengo's flight, but had 
hurried back ; and, now at Corfu, now at Santa 
Maura, wherever his presence could be most effective, 
he spent his days in enforcing that neutrality that the 
lonians were bent upon violating. We should also 
add, which they were encouraged to violate ; for 
while the Sovereign of the protecting powers was 
neutral, the people of England were violent partisans. 
English money came pouring into the insurgents' 
camp ; and explanations were haughtily demanded by 
the Porte. How is it possible to explain to an Oriental 
mind that government are of one opinion and the 
people decidedly of the contrary ? Our ambassador 
did the best he could to explain away the subscriptions ; 
but with only partial success. England in the person 
of the Lord High Commissioner was fiercely enforcing 
neutrality ; but by the purses and the speeches of her 
subjects, she was doing her best to render neutrality 

Under any man but Maitland it would have been 
impossible. There were regular bands of lonians 
servmg with the Greek insurgents, and calling them- 
selves ' the army of Zante,' ' the army of Cephalonia.' 
One body of emigrated Parganots banded themselves 
together to recapture Parga ; 3000 lonians altogether 
were serving with the army of the Morea. Sometimes 


these redoubtable patriots came to blows with the 
Turks ; and when they had run away, they expected 
to settle down comfortably in the Islands. But they 
received the most unpalatable order to quit within 
ten days. The less numerous sympathisers with the 
rebellion in Naples were also expelled ; and the result 
of this energetic dealing with incendiaries was that 
some measure of confidence in us was restored at 
Constantinople. The resentment still cherished 
against us by the Turks for our behaviour about 
Parga was enhanced by their mortification at seeing 
the Greeks financed from England. It was quite 
possible that unless Maitland inflexibly enforced Ionian 
neutrality, he would find some difficulty in compelling 
the Turks to keep outside the four-mile limit. A 
' Turkish cruiser ' had been a terrible visitor within 
the memory of many living men. How if, exasperated 
by the rebellion, there should come a time when 
Turkish captains were given to understand that 
any little irregularities on the Ionian coasts would 
not be too critically examined at Constantinople ? 
This was the danger that the hot-headed lonians 
were drawing down upon themselves ; and this was 
the danger that Maitland was resolved, at any cost, 
to avert. 

A very gross breach of neutrality occurred at 
Santa Maura, and the Porte haughtily demanded 
compensation. Maitland promptly acceded to their 
claim, and, to the infinite wrath of the lonians, 


mulcted the Septinsular treasury in ^^ 60,000. He 
was equally prompt in demanding compensation when 
the lonians were affronted. Two Ionian sailors were 
taken off a ship, carried away prisoners to Prevesa, 
tortured and executed. Instantly Maitland filed his 
claim for compensatory damages to their families, and 
his claim was admitted and settled without delay. 
These incidents, thus- told without detail (which 
would be merely wearisome), implied a heavy strain 
on the Lord High Commissioner, and long and 
harassing correspondence, for in every case prompti- 
tude was of the essence of the affair. If the Porte 
became suspicious of Maitland's intentions, * incidents ' 
would multiply with such rapidity that it would have 
been impossible to deal with them. If the lonians 
imagined that Maitland either could not or would 
not obtain redress for their wrongs, they would 
promptly have betaken themselves to that revenge 
which was the only justice they had known for 
centuries. For many months every hour was a 
crisis, but Maitland's vigilance and energy met every 
danger as it arose. As the war went on, a * Greek 
fleet' was called into existence, and duly made its 
appearance in the Ionian seas. Maitland was not 
sorry to see it, on the whole, as its chief object 
was to find out whether or no the Islands were 
really disarmed. They were welcome to any in- 
formation on this head that they could elicit. They 
were duly warned to keep outside the four-mile limit. 


and the approach of the Turkish fleet quickened 
their movements. 

While Maitland was toiling in the Mediterranean, 
enforcing neutrality with an iron hand, and doing 
his best to assure to his Sovereign the mastery of the 
sea-way, it will be in the highest degree instructive 
if we very rapidly survey the criticisms passed on 
his work in Parliament. To act with one eye on 
the House of Commons is a check on the actions 
of an imperial oflicer, and sometimes a wholesome 
check ; but there has always been, and it seems 
that there always will be, a little knot of members 
who make it their business to represent every deed 
in the most unfavourable light. To conciliate these 
men is not possible. A man may do what is just 
and expedient, but nevertheless, if there be a way 
of so handling the matter that it can be made to 
look unjust and inexpedient, in that way will the 
matter be handled. In days gone by Maitland had 
himself been a chief sinner in this respeet. Very 
early in his Mediterranean career, and at intervals 
throughout its entire length, he was to suffer the 
punishment that he had himself inflicted upon others, 
the punishment of hearing himself totally misrepre- 
sented while his own lips were sealed, and while 
even his defenders in the House were unable, for 
cogent reasons (connected with the service and 
diplomacy), to give the real grounds for justifying 
his actions. 


Never were there reasons more impossible to give 
publicly than in the case of the Ionian Islands. Wc 
have seen with what a network of complications and 
intrigues the Ionian question was surrounded. We 
have seen with what mingled force and dexterity 
Maitland threaded his way through the maze ; how 
many pitfalls he avoided, and how at last under the 
Treaty of Paris he evolved something like a stable 
government through the quasi-despotism with which 
he succeeded in investing the Lord High Commis- 
sioner : the stepping-stone, as he called it, to some- 
thing better. 

His work was not made easier for him by Sir 
Charles Monck, who moved, on the 21st of May 18 16, 
* That a committee be appointed to inquire into the 
present political condition of the Ionian Islands, and 
to report their opinion thereupon to the House.' The 
grounds for this motion were the lamentable misbe- 
haviour of the British forces in occupation of the 
Islands ; a behaviour which had been exceptionally 
reprehensible. Nor was that all ; Sir Charles under- 
stood that a sort of government was about to be 
established that would be grossly unjust to a 'great 
and considerable nation' (the lonians). P'irst and 
foremost he denounced the position to be occupied 
by the British commissioner, who, it appeared, could 
actually have the power of directing the proceedings 
of the legislature, an intolerable interference with 
national rights and independence. 'Would you, sir,' 



he continued, addressing an indignant appeal to the 
Speaker, * sit one hour in that chair ' on such terms. 
Of course the allusion was to Speaker Lenthal ; 
but the parallel of the President of the Legislative 
Assembly of the Ionian Islands with Charles Fs 
Speaker was somewhat forced. How would it 
work out if carried a little farther r We should 
have Capodistrias for Cromwell, and Mocenigo for 
Hampden. Perhaps some sense of the absurdity of 
the appeal stole over the minds of the Commons, for 
the motion was negatived without a division. When 
once the constitution was established, there was no 
single question that gave Sir Thomas Maitland so 
great anxiety as that of the cession of Parga. We 
have seen how unwillingly he approached it, how 
clear were the rights of the Turks, and yet how 
reluctantly the Lord High Commissioner admitted 
them — foreseeing the inevitable parliamentary debate. 
It was just the kind of question that attracted Sir 
Charles Monck ; he seized on it with a pleasure that 
he avowed to the House. The Parganots were *an 
interesting people,' 'struggling for freedom,' and he 
was sure the House would not refuse them its 
'sympathy and compassion.' Their surrender to the 
Turks would be 'so abominable that he could not 
suppose any British minister would give it his sanction.' 
'These spirited, free, independent patriots' were now 
about to be deprived of 'all that made civil society 
valuable.' The stress was applied to us, as we have 


seen, by a treaty obligation ; but Sir Charles passed 
lightly over that as an * unfortunate clause,' and then 
proceeded with his speech amid thunders of applause 
as if the clause were non-existent. 

On this occasion (26th May 18 19) he only moved 
for papers, a motion to which Lord Castlereagh at 
once acceded. 

The cession of Parga was resolved on, and it duly 
took place. In June following there was a short 
debate on the subject, a debate of which the most 
marked feature was the tribute paid to Maitland's 
'distinguished ability and humanity ; ' a tribute paid 
not only by Lord Castlereagh, who was Maitland's 
official champion, but also by Sir James Mackintosh. 
Mackintosh was strongly opposed to the cession, and 
made a statesmanlike appeal to the House on the 
subject. But though he was of this mind, he ex- 
pressed his opinions with moderation, and punctiliously 
paid a tribute to Maitland's character as that of a 
gallant officer whom he well knew to be 'a humane 
and honourable man.' He thus pointedly dissociated 
himself from the Moncks and the Humes : and as we 
said in the case of Ceylon, he was perfectly capable of 
appreciating Maitland's work. He dissented from that 
part of it that was concerned with Parga as a gentle- 
man and a statesman, and not as a raving agitator. 

Maitland's next assailant was a man of the latter 
type. On the 23d of February 1821, Mr Joseph 
Hume rose to move an inquiry into the revenue and 


expenditure of the Ionian Islands. Mr Hume was 
a very earnest advocate of retrenchment in public 
expenses. He w^as a man of means, having amassed 
no less a sum than ^40,000 during his short 
career of seven years in the Civil Service of 
India, from vv^hich he retired in the year 1807 at 
the age of thirty. He v^as thus both well and ill 
equipped for the part of financial reformer : well 
equipped in that he was himself independent, ill 
equipped in that his independence had been attained 
by very dexterously availing himself of alarming 
irregularities in the administration of the empire. 
When he set up as a financial purist, he might 
therefore very properly have been bidden to look 
first at home. 

Mr Hume had earned for himself a reputation 
as a disinterested public man. But when we study 
his speeches and compare them with original docu- 
ments describing the state of things he professed to 
be surveying, we can only marvel at the facility with 
which such reputations are earned. He commenced 
his assault by stating that the revenue of the Islands 
* had originally been adequate to all the charges 
upon it, and their government was conducted upon 
the principle of a regular and systematic economy.' 
On this statement the only possible comment is that 
when we assumed the control of the Islands there was 
no government existing as we understand the word 
government. Neither was there a * revenue,' nor 


were there ' charges ' upon it. Every man scrambled 
for what he could get, and the strongest got the 
most. The only * principle ' animating public life 
was the principle in which Mr Hume had acted 
when building up his own fortune — the principle of 
availing himself of opportunities of filling his own 
pocket. As for * regular and systematic public 
economy,' there was nothing in the Islands that was 
either regular or systematic, and there was no attempt 
at economy. In fact, his preliminary statement was 
a deliberate and elaborate falsehood. The rest of his 
speech was in line with the opening sentences. He 
stated that Maitland had taken ^^ 10,000 from the 
treasury for his star of St Michael and St George ; 
whereas it was only after twice refusing the offer 
that the Lord High Commissioner had consented 
to accept a star worth one-fifth of that sum. He 
abused him for living in a ' palace,' whereas he 
lived in a *palazzo' — a very different building. 
Even in his * palazzo ' he only inhabited two rooms, 
and gave up the rest to the public service. The 
rest of the speech is all in this vein. Castlereagh and 
Goulburn replied, and warmly defended Maitland 
from the charge of jobbing in the public service. 
Mr Joseph Hume charging Sir Thomas Maitland 
with jobbing ! It is a very pleasant incident. 

Six months later he was in even finer form, for 
he moved for an inquiry into the conduct of Sir 
Thomas Maitland. It is hoped that in the preceding 


pages there has been no attempt to magnify unduly 
the character of Sir Thomas Maitland, or to glide 
over awkward incidents in his career. The truth 
has been told so far as lay within the author's 
capacity ; the position has been ventured that the 
sole animating principle of Maitland's life was 'the 
safety, honour and welfare of His Majesty and his 
dominions.' In the course of his duty he came face 
to face in the Ionian Islands with a state of society 
that has hardly been glanced at in this volume. In 
one sentence, it was as if a section of the Rhine 
country had been cut out of the Middle Ages and 
planted in the Grecian Seas. The 'Teutonic paste 
in our composition ' enables us to realise quickly 
enough what the state of society must have been 
like. A thousand tales and romances have come to 
the aid of sober history and told us of the robber 
barons with their troops of vassals, their violent 
feuds, their lusts, their revellings, their fleecing of 
the poor, their intrepid rebelliousness. Because the 
lonians bore soft Italian or glorious Grecian names 
we think that they were very different men. The 
words ' lord ' or ' vassal ' call up visions that are 
not to be easily associated with sparkling seas and 
sunny skies. Still harder is it to realise that the 
incomparable grace, the almost Oriental charm of 
manner, the elegant speech and the superb intelligence 
of the Ionian noble covered passions as fierce, and 
a longing for revenge as ruthless, as any that raged 


and were sated in grey castles on pine-clad heights in 
the valleys that run to the Rhine. 

To rule such a society at all is hard ; to rule it 
without an overwhelming military force is monstrously 
hard ; to rule it constitutionally is impossible. One 
may draft a constitution, but it is in spite of, and not 
in consequence of, that constitution that order will be 
maintained. We have seen how Maitland achieved 
the impossible. All human nature lay open to him 
as a book, and on the passions, the fears and the 
hopes of man he played, until, in the nineteenth 
century, and in the eyes of all the world, he had 
hammered and welded into order a society that came 
to his hands straight from the fourteenth. 

Mr Joseph Hume proposed to criticise this perform- 
ance. He said that it was 'more odious than the 
tyranny of Turkey or Persia, and was a disgrace to 
England.' Maitland was * nothing less than a Roman 
proconsul, the alpha and omega in every proceeding, 
with the advantage of screening himself from 
responsibility behind his underlings : ' and without a 
man in some such position, as Mr Hume had quite 
sufficient intelligence to understand, society would 
have dissolved into its elements. Nevertheless, he 
went on, he pledged himself to prove *such a 
system of misrule as must excite the indignation of 
every good man, and he could only, if his motion 
could be refused, appeal to the House as a witness of 
his endeavour to prevent the disastrous consequences 


of rebellion and civil war which must ensue in 
these Islands if Sir Thomas Maitland was allowed 
to act the tyrant.' Particular instances of Sir 
Thomas's despotic behaviour were given to the 
House, but Mr Hume's hardest words were reserved 
for the case of Count Martinengo, whom he 
described as 'one of the richest and most respect- 
able inhabitants of the island.' Rich, Martinengo 
undoubtedly was, but respectable ? Perhaps he was 
also a respectable man ; but he was a good many 
other things as well, as we have seen. The lenient 
treatment that he received was denounced by Mr 
Hume as the last that could be considered accept- 
able to so ' high-minded ' a man. 

It is very disagreeable to Englishmen to think of 
the post-office being violated in any interest, most 
of all in the governmental interest. But when Mr 
Hume denounces Maitland's secret police as a 
system of 'revolting espionage,' one asks whether 
there was no 'revolting espionage' on the other 
side of the account ? To sum up, the English 
system of government was ' disgraceful to England, 
it was cruel to the lonians, and on the heads of 
these who supported such misrule would be the 
blood that would be shed.' 

Even so does the hired incendiary implore the 
mob not to nail their victim's ear to the pump. 

Mr Hume wound up with the usual peroration 
about public duty, and after having grossly mis- 


represented a King's officer throughout a long 
speech full of the most damaging and wounding 
insinuations, begged the House to believe that he 
had had no intention of hurting the Lord High 
Commissioner's feelings. 

Mr Goulburn replied, dwelling on the *very 
vulgar error in this country to call all systems of 
government tyrannical and oppressive which did 
not exactly resemble the British, although they 
might be much more suitable to the people among 
whom they were introduced.' To demolish Mr 
Hume's falsifications was a matter of no great diffi- 
culty, and Mr Goulburn wasted no time over 
them, concluding, 'the honourable member had 
charged Sir Thomas Maitland with a proneness to 
adulation, a fondness for show and parade, and, in 
fact, with supporting bribery and corruption. He 
was aware,' he continued loftily, ' that the high and 
meritorious character of that gallant officer could 
gain little from his advocacy,' but while repelling 
the charges against him, ' he did not feel it necessary 
to put the general character or the public service of 
that gallant officer in opposition to those charges.' 

This was a very handsome defence, but it was 
followed by a very unhandsome attack from Mr 
Bennet, who told with Hume in the division that 
followed. It was a very able speech, much shorter 
than Hume's, and deserves quoting in extenso as a model 
of unscrupulous and intelligent attack, although it 


could not have been made by any member who cared 
either for the comfort of the lonians or the good of 
the King's service. It amounted to this, that the 
Ionian constitution w^as an indecent sham. In a 
sense it was a sham, but it was a very creditable sham, 
and if it has not been already justified in these pages, 
there is nothing more to be said. Mr (afterwards Sir 
John Peter) Grant, who became Chief Justice of 
Calcutta, took up the very judicial attitude that he 
was sure that Maitland's conduct only needed ex- 
planation, but that as the motion implied a censure, 
he should certainly not vote for it. The speech of 
the evening was made by Sir Isaac Coffin, who was 
put down for the Earldom of Magdalen by William 
IV. Sir Isaac said, * He had known Sir Thomas 
Maitland thirty-five years, and a more able and gallant 
officer did not exist.' That was, in effect, all the 
answer that Hume deserved, but he rose and replied 
in a very angry and ill-mannered speech, grossly 
abusive of Maitland, and highly inflammatory of 
Ionian unrest. It is gratifying that he only carried 
27 members of the House with him, as against 97 
who voted against his motion. 

Maitland had two chief enemies, beside a whole 
crowd of lesser men ; the two chief were Capodistrias 
and Hume. It is remarkable to observe with what 
little effect these two most intelligent men attacked 
him. It is a profound tribute to Maitland's instinctive 
sagacity that when Capodistrias attacked him, he only 


succeeded in making himself absurd, and when 
Hume attacked him, he only succeeded in show- 
ing himself abusive and ill-tempered. But, in fact, 
it was not because Maitland's measures were bad 
that they were attacked ; it was because they were 
successful. Capodistrias had the saving grace to 
confess himself in the wrong before he died, but 
Hume remained to the last impenitent. We may do 
him the justice to believe that his motives were not 
personal. He always protested that they were not, 
and we may accept his protest. He did his best to 
get up a full dress debate every year on the conduct 
of Sir Thomas Maitland. From the most important 
of these (that of May 1822), we learn what Maitland's 
pay was. As Governor of Malta, ;^5000 ; as Com- 
mander-in-Chief in the Mediterranean, ;^3500 ; as 
Lord High Commissioner, ;^iooo ; as former Gover- 
nor of Ceylon, ^^lOOO; and he also commanded a 
regiment. Mr Hume (who would not be likely to 
understate it) estimated his income at ^13,000 a 
year. On this he had to keep up quasi-royal state in 
two places. Is this to be considered an excessive sum ? 
At the present day the salaries of many colonial 
governors are scarcely regarded as more than a contribu- 
tion (sometimes a considerable contribution) towards 
their expenses. There seems to be no general dis- 
satisfaction with this system, although there are obvious 
set-ofFs to its advantages. But the value of money has 
fallen so greatly in the course of the last three-quarters 


of a century that we must not suppose that Maitland 
was underpaid because on the same salary he would be 
underpaid now. In Maitland's day £1000 a year 
was private means, ;^3000 a year would support a 
baronetcy, ^^ 10,000 a peerage. With ^13,000 a 
year and two governorships to keep up, he was there- 
fore adequately paid, but hardly more than adequately. 

If one were to believe Mr Hume, we should 
conclude that the financial abuses of pre-revolu- 
tionary France were nothing by the side of the 
financial abuses of Corfu. One grows somewhat 
fatigued with the incessant denunciations of the 
constitution as 'one of the grossest delusions and 
most unblushing impositions that was ever submitted 
to the consideration of an intelligent people.' 

* Shameful ' it was for * England to be thus held 
up to the censure and derision of all Europe.' 
The cession of Parga was 'one of the darkest 
blots on our national reputation.' * Every act of 
our government was distinguished by violence and 
tyranny.' *The bare relation of them made the 
blood boil, but the endurance of them was ample 
motive for the lonians to make every exertion to 
throw ofF a yoke so unjust and so onerous. The 
wonder, indeed, was that these brave islanders, 
under such aggravated oppressions, had not made 
greater efforts to free themselves from such an 
odious bondage.' 

Thus judiciously and patriotically did the leader 


of the Radicals urge the lonians to treason and 

It does indeed make one's blood boil, even three- 
quarters of a century later, to read the mischievous 
nonsense that Mr Hume thought proper to spout 
in the House of Commons. 

Nothing was more certain than that without 
Maitland's disarming order the Ionian Islands would 
have been in flames from end to end. Thousands 
of lives must have been lost,"' and civilisation destroyed 
for the time. How does this course of action, at 
once vigorous and humane, commend itself to Mr 
Hume ? It was * an act inflicting the deepest 
disgrace upon the whole population, for to them 
to be without arms was a badge of slavery.' He 
further had the impudence to assert that Maitland 
was abusing the enforced neutrality for the purpose 
of favouring the Turks, and on* Lord Londonderry 
challenging the statement, Mr Hume said that he 
had no proof, but that 'in the nature of things 
it must be so.' After prolonged vituperation he 
wound up with the usual expression of hope that 
he had not expressed himself oflFensively. There 
was more ground covered on this than on any 
other occasion, and several questions were raised 
more keenly at issue than the single question of 
Sir Thomas Maitland's honesty. A much larger 
body of opinion, therefore, followed Mr Hume ; 
but his motions were rejected by 152 to 67. 





It will have been observed that throughout the fore- 
going debates Mr Hume always assumed that the 
lonians were the same people in essentials as the 
English. He assumed that the same measures would 
gratify them, that the same language would be under- 
stood in the same sense by both peoples ; that what was 
right and wrong at Clapham would be found to be 
right and wrong at Paxo. This is the common error 
of these facile critics ; but Mr Hume is the less to be 
excused for it, in that he was no stay-at-home. He 
had spent a good deal of time in the Islands, and had 
had ample opportunities of studying the Ionian char- 
acter. It was, of course, Greek in basis. A shepherd 
of Ithaca would allude to ' my ancestor Odysseus,' as 
if there could be no possible doubt about his descent. 
This assumption of descent from the heroes of the 
ancient world, and consequent presumed inheritance 



of their qualities, was pushed forward with much 
pertinacity and ability by the agitators of the time, as 
we have seen. On the strength of their country 
having produced Homer and Plato, the modern 
Greeks have been allowed a long credit in every sense. 
Without being swept away in a whirlwind of en- 
thusiasm for Hellas, like the 'semi-delirious lords,' 
Guilford and Byron, as De Quincey called them ; 
nor on the other hand descending to the con- 
temptuous abuse that too many Englishmen indulged 
in ; let us try to realise the lonians of Maitland's day 
as nearly as we can. 

* The merry Greeks are worth all other nations put 
together. I like to see them, to hear them ; I like 
their fun, their good humour, their paddy ways. As 
to cleanliness, they cannot brag. Yet they don't love 
dirt like the Venetians ; they only suffered it out of 
politeness when the last were their masters, and are 
now leaving it off in compliment to us ; all their bad 
habits are Venetian ; their wit, their eloquence, their 
good nature are their own.' 

This passage from Charles Napier's private notes 
(1825) gives the lonians a good character. The 
parallel with Ireland is noteworthy, and perhaps 
explains this excerpt from the diary of a confessed 
admirer of the Greeks forty years later — ' I hear that 
a whole family of five persons have been just assassi- 
nated at Zante by an act of vengeance in that land 
of frequent homicides.' This is another side to the 


Ionian character, and perhaps enables us to fill in 
the outline a little. Passionate, merry people these 
lonians, with a capacity for nursing hate, and a 
total indifference to animal suffering, as the following 
incident shows us, 'AH of a sudden, a number of 
lambs were dragged along and had their throats 
cruelly hacked at the thresholds of houses in the 
best streets of the town. Some of these creatures 
were ten minutes, or more, in parting with their 
lives, tortured in honour of the Greek passover.' 

Their family feelings were strong. The charge of 
loose morals is one which every nation levels at every 
other, and it has therefore become a perfectly ineffective 
charge ; and as a guide to national character, the 
inquiry is worse than useless. But this contrivance 
(unique surely) at the Foundling Hospital of Corfu 
deserves mention. * There is a circular box for the 
reception of babies. It revolves in a hole in the outer 
wall on a spring being touched, which at the same 
time causes the bell to be rung.' If we compare this 
contrivance (so carefully calculated to avoid embarrass- 
ing interviews) with the uncompromising notice out- 
side Captain Coram's institution in London, we shall 
find food for reflection. In religion the lonians were 
divided between the Greek and Roman Churches ; 
but to both Greek and Roman Catholic the very 
name Protestant was a term of reproach, and their 
behaviour to the Jews was a scandal. 'I have just 
prevented a massacre of the Jews here, all got up for 


the love of Jesus,' says Napier, describing one of his 
earliest experiences in Cephalonia. The treatment 
meted out to Jews is an infallible index to the state 
of civilisation attained by a country. * Every country 
gets the Jew^ it deserves' is an impeccably accurate 
guide. Ask in any land, ' How do the Jews fare ? ' and 
the answer is a condemnation or not, according as the 
Jews fare ill or well. In the Ionian Islands they were 
treated rather worse, until the advent of the English, 
than in other countries of Europe. It is not ignorance 
alone that this distorted habit of mind points to, 
although ignorance in plenty was to be found among 
those who should have been the people's guides ; as 
witness this story of Charles Napier and the new 
Bishop of Cephalonia. 'We have got a bishop 
appointed ; an excellent, pious man, who formerly 
lived by sheep-stealing, which he now calls his pastoral 
life. His depth of learning and length of beard are 
alike admirable : he piques himself on a thorough 
knowledge of the canon law of Justinian, which 
chiefly rules the Greek Church, and he assured me that 
the said Justinian wrote the Code Napoleon out of 
friendship for Buonaparte, as they had been at the 
school of Brienne together. Disputing this fact, I 
asserted that Justinian was King of England in the 
reign of Solomon, and that an ancestor of mine had 
been sent to Jerusalem to teach logarithms to the 
architect who built the temple. This greatly dis- 
turbed the bishop's theory as to Brienne.' If this was 


the ignorance of the learned, what was the ignorance 
of the peasantry ? But a very clear distinction must 
be drawn between the nobles and the populace. The 
nobles may, to a very small extent, have shared the 
ignorance of the people, and no doubt they had short- 
comings of their own in addition. But they were the 
only hope of the Islands. They had the habit of rule 
inherited from long centuries of undisturbed authority 
under the Venetian Republic. They were naturally 
at home in places of responsibility ; but they required 
most careful watching and constant curbing. To 
train this dishonest but highly capable oligarchy into 
a band of administrators who would feel that the 
peasant's cause, rightly understood, was their own — 
this was a large part of Maitland's duty. Ignorant, 
bigoted, revengeful, but merry and affectionate, very 
clannish, very talkative and, as we shall see, super- 
stitious, and totally destitute of any notion of what 
may be meant by the word truth : such was the Ionian 
plebs. First of their superstitiousness. Let us take 
this account of a Greek christening by a Philhellene. 

' Except the officiating priest and his attendant boy, 
I was the only person present who was not a relation 
of the family. The brother of Lascarato officiated as 
godfather. The ceremony commenced at four p.m., 
and lasted about an hour. It was a truly tedious, 
and I may say without exaggeration a disgusting 
affair. The priest gabbled over a great number of 
prayers in a most irreverent and unimpressive manner. 


Perhaps this was the custom ; but it is possible that he 
considered it useless to pray for the child of an excom- 
municated man. The uncle godfather held a large 
lighted candle in his hand throughout the ceremony. 
His chief task appeared to be the answering of 
numberless questions. The proceedings were opened 
by a long exhortation by the priest to the devil, who 
appears to be considered as especially present and active 
on such occasions. Amongst other performances the 
dirty little boy who officiated as clerk squeaked out 
the creed three times successively, with the most 
wonderful rapidity. The last twenty minutes of the 
ceremony were actively employed in torturing the 
baby. After various crossings and benedictions, it was 
stripped naked and carried in a cloth by the nurse. 
The priest then burnt a quantity of incense, and 
poured plenty of oil into a large iron caldron previ- 
ously half filled with tepid water. His reverence now 
seized the baby and plunged it three times into the 
caldron. The shrieks and piteous moans of the victim 
may be easily imagined. It was laid, still naked, on 
its back, and the priest, with a piece of rag soaked in 
oil, crossed its face, breast and stomach. After this it 
was turned on its face and the same ceremonies per- 
formed on its back. It was now put in a cloth, which 
was held by the priest at one end and by the god- 
father at the other. In this hammock-like position 
the baby was carried three times round the caldron 
and incense pan. It was then handed to the godfather 


by the priest, and passed on to the mother, and finally 
to the nurse ; all of them successively kissed it. I 
cannot pretend to recollect all the details of the baby's 
martyrdom, but the above description of what I do 
remember w^ill give the reader some idea of the cruel 
barbarity of a Greek christening. The enlightened 
parents v^ould of course have gladly dispensed with such 
abominations. But for the sake of the legal rights of 
their child it was necessary to conform to the custom, 
and to leave everything to the priest. Lascarato 
assured me that children are usually very ill for some 
days after their christening. But my only surprise is 
that they do not frequently die.' 

The lonians were, of course, at liberty to indulge in 
these and any other disgusting barbarities that they 
chose ; but when we are called upon to admit that 
the people who can tolerate this kind of procedure 
at the christening of their offspring are our rivals in 
civilisation, we can only demur. It is partly with the 
object of pointing the difference between the two 
peoples — English and lonians — that this ceremony 
has been recounted at length. But it is most in- 
structive as an illustration of Ionian superstitiousness. 
The core of the ceremony is indeed the familiar 
baptism, but the whole is so overlaid with incanta- 
tions as to be scarcely recognisable as a Christian 
ceremony. If superstition had still so firm a hold on 
a ceremony so dear to mothers — the most interested 
in abolishing superstition here if anywhere — we may 


infer what chance there was of ousting it from 
occasions when the leverage of human feeling was 
less powerful. It is hoped that by now some few 
hints have been given of the nature of the peoples 
over whom the English were called to rule. The 
conclusion of the most sympathetic of all English 
visitors to the Islands, the man who was as much 
admired and respected by the lonians as any English- 
man of his day, was this. * In my opinion,' wrote the 
Earl of Orkney, * constitutional ideas as cherished by 
Englishmen are simply absurd when applied to modern 
Greeks in their present state of incomplete civilisation. 
The best form of government for them for at least the 
next fifty years would be, I am convinced, an enlightened 
and popular despotism, if such a thing were possible.' 

This brings us back to Sir Thomas Maitland, the 
work of whose life it was to establish just such a 
government. There is not much more to be said. 
' King Tom's ' career was now rapidly nearing its end. 
But Maitland was not one of those who 'first die atop.' 
To the end his brain was as clear and as vigorous as 
at the beginning. If there is any sign of failing force, 
it is a tendency to repeat himself in his despatches. 
His writings have a very rage of emphasis. After 
pouring out twelve folios on the conduct of Mr 
Jabez Henry, an officer with whom he quarrelled, he 
says, ' But enough of this, to sum up ; ' and then 
proceeds to add another twelve folios in the same 
vein. But this is rather an error of style than a 


piece of senility. One would almost say that his 
vigour seemed to grow with his difficulties, since, with 
the Mediterranean countries in flames all round him, 
with the most violent attacks being continually made 
on his policy in England, with the multifarious com- 
plications of the Ionian constitution to be dealt with, 
far from cutting short his correspondence, he seemed 
to delight in making his despatches as exhaustive and 
detailed as possible. 

At the close of 1823 he betook himself to Malta. 
He was much abused for not spending more time 
there, and it was stated in the House of Commons 
that he only put in 309 days' residence at the seat of 
government in the course of six years. There was 
no answer made to this charge, and in point of fact 
none was necessary ; for Malta did not suffer by the 
governor's absence, except, perhaps, socially. It is 
easy to understand why this should be. He had had 
three years of Malta before he took up any other 
duties. During that time he had got the government 
into working order on sound lines, and all that Malta 
needed was time. As regards the work of his two 
charges, there could be no comparison. Malta was 
one, the Islands were seven. Malta was a crown 
colony ; but nobody could say what the Islands were. 
Malta could easily be controlled from Corfu, but 
Corfu could by no means be controlled from Malta. 
The never-ending unrest of the Barbary States, how- 
ever, took him to Malta, and on Saturday, the 17th 


of January 1824, ^^ had a long conference with Sir 
Richard Flasket. He then dictated a despatch on 
the subject. ' We shall be teased for ever if we are 
not firm' with the Barbary States. Macdonell, our 
consul at Algiers, was much to blame for the existing 
confusion. He never made even a pretence of report- 
ing to Maitland, as was his duty. His conduct was 
most indecent and insubordinate, and he would certainly 
have been suspended if Maitland had had a man-of- 
war handy. After his morning's work, the governor 
walked across to the house of Mr Le Mesurier, the 
chaplain of the forces. At half-past one he was seized 
with a fit of apoplexy. He at once became insensible, 
and by half-past ten that night he was dead, never 
having recovered consciousness except for a few 
seconds from the moment of his seizure. So died 
Thomas Maitland in the full heat of battle, with the 
harness on his back, as he would have wished to die. 

The following account of the last ceremonies, 
hitherto unpublished, is from the pen of an eye- 
witness and staunch admirer : — 

' On Monday the body was removed to the Hall of 
Saint Michael and Saint George, and there laid in 
state until the morning of the funeral. The utmost 
solemnity attended this. The room was day and 
night lighted by tapers ; an aide-de-camp was con- 
stantly at the head of the coffin, and on a table at 
the foot were placed three cushions bearing the 


insignia of the three different orders with which 
he had been invested. 

'Wednesday the 2ist was the day appointed for 
his removal from these last offerings of worldly 
honour and respect to the solitude and silence of 
the grave. The many who were from their situa- 
tions obliged to attend, and the multitude who 
voluntarily did so, met at the Palace at half-past one 
on that day. The procession was then arranged, and 
minute guns marked its progress. The service was 
read in most sincere and deep distress by Le Mesurier, 
and three volleys fired over his grave announced the 
completion of that barrier which was to shut out for 
ever to our mortal eyes this exalted, revered and most 
justly-beloved personage. 

* It is not for such a pen as mine to presume to 
speak of Sir Thomas Maitland as a public character. 
As a private one, his praises are best established by the 
deep and most deep grief which his removal has en- 
gendered, and never, I do believe, was a more efficient 
tribute to the excellence of a dying master offered to 
Him unto whom all hearts are open, than was on that 
wretched night to be traced in the sorrowing coun- 
tenances and stricken hearts of the many faithful 
servants and friends who surrounded his dying bed, 
and who thus saw themselves, by the fatal work of a 
few short hours, deprived of their fairest hopes for 
future days, of all their support and enjoyment of the 
present ones. 


* Still, amidst it all, there is for all food for con- 
solation. " To all men it is appointed once to die." 
The moment ordained by Almighty God on the 
present occasion seems to have been almost set apart 
for the purpose of concentrating into itself the many 
and various proofs which long years and distant 
quarters of the globe have produced of his public 
and private usefulness and value. He had returned 
from England, having gained a complete triumph over 
calumny and falsehood, and that without any in- 
terference of his own or of his friends. His own 
capacious mind fully penetrated the weakness of his 
opposers, and it was far beneath the dignity of his 
character to call in any other influence than the slow 
but sure progress of common sense and the power of 
his own unblemished name. 

'The peaceable state of this island had long borne 
testimony to the wisdom of its Governor, and his 
return to it now was marked with double welcome 
from the expression of his intention to make Malta 
in future his head quarters, and this, too, heightened 
by the contrast between his present satisfactory state 
of health and spirits, with the very impaired one in 
which he had left us in the spring. 

* After remaining a short time here, he found him- 
self obliged, by some important business relative to 
repairing the fortifications of Corfu, to repair thither 
for a few weeks, and he probably, too, thought it ex- 
pedient to pay the compliment of an early visit to 


a State which, bad as in itself it certainly was, had 
yet, like all other governments in which he had been 
engaged, yielded not only its most inherent feelings, 
but even its most determined character, to his wisdom, 
his determination and to his mildness. All this His 
Excellency could not but feel with an honourable 
pride, and one of his last letters from Corfu, dictated 
in his usual expressive language, said, "We are all 
here in a state that, if any man had told me five years 
ago I ever should have seen these islands in, I cer- 
tainly should have considered him a fool or a mad- 
man — quiet to the last degree. The courts shut, 
for they have nothing to do, and instead of murder and 
crimes of the most atrocious nature we have not now 
enough for a common Justice of Peace to execute." 

' His country, his Sovereign and his governments 
were thus all bearing testimony to his wisdom and 
abilities, and he was permitted to depart in the fullest 
lustre of both ; and his friends, in the midst of the 
deep grief which their own personal feelings of de- 
privation cannot but indulge, must yet feel a pride 
and consolation in the consideration of his having 
done so, and that every feeling but those personal 
ones, mingled with the remembrance of him who 
is gone, must be such as to call for thankfulness 
instead of sorrow.' 

* Sir Thomas was a mortal of strange humours and 
eccentric habits ; but it is due to the memory of that 


able man to say that his government bore the im- 
pression of his strong mind. "King Tom" was a 
rock ; a rock on which you might be saved or be 
dashed to pieces, but always a rock.' So wrote 
Charles Napier of him. It has been attempted to give 
in this volume a more detailed estimate of this very 
great man, in whom savage scorn for mankind was 
wonderfully interwoven with a delicate and even tender 
consideration for weaklings. He died unmarried; what- 
ever tenderness his nature contained was poured out 
so long as it lasted, and as occasion arose, on officers 
suffering wrong or indignity. But this gentler side 
of his character appears but little after Ceylon days. It 
was swallowed up in pride of achievement and contempt 
of men. We may say literally that ' his heart was in 
the service.' ' A rock ' he certainly was for stubborn- 
ness, but it would be difficult to find a simile for his 
furious energy. In this sketch there has been no 
attempt to describe his private life. It is generally 
admitted to have been remarkable in many ways. 
But this biography is the life of a public man ; and 
with his public career (it is submitted) the public alone 
are concerned. This is not said in order to screen 
Maitland from harsh criticism ; in so far as his public 
career was concerned, everything he did that was 
of questionable taste has been as fully dwelt on as 
those actions of his that call for admiration. 

But in biography, as in architecture, whatever is 
not a strength is a weakness. How, for example. 


does it strengthen our conception of Napoleon I. 
to know that the sight of a hair in the butter 
turned him (like a good many other people) sick r 
It simply distracts our attention from the warrior 
and the statesman to be called upon to study these 
trivial details, of which so many have been stored 
up for us. Supposing that all that we had to narrate 
of Maitland's private life was that he was skilled 
in water-colour drawing, or admired the music of 
Paesiello, or kept canaries ; how would the recital of 
these blameless diversions help us to realise the man 
who ruled the Ionian Islands and Malta together ? 
As a matter of fact, Maitland was exceptionally 
devoid of resources. Of him more than of most 
men we can say that the man's work was the man, 
and his work was monumental. More of it has 
survived than befell with some other adminstrators. Of 
his three great tasks, Ceylon, Malta and the Ionian 
Islands, Ceylon and Malta remain to testify to his 
capacity; the Ionian Islands have passed away into 
other hands. But when he died, and for forty years 
after, they were still English ; and Maitland must 
have felt that his life had borne abundant fruit. 
Wherever he had served he had been the right 
man in the right place. He was the very man to 
hew a colony into shape ; and to achieve that end 
with the least possible friction and in the shortest 
possible space of time. The most violent attack on 
his policy in Ceylon was made by De Quincey in 


his famous essay on the fall of Kandy. But it was 
implied rather than expressed; and of course De 
Quincey had no means of knowing the compulsion 
under which Maitland sacrificed everything to what 
he denounced as the ' very lunacies of retrenchment.' 
De Quincey could not know that the Malays were 
confessed traitors, the other coloured troops luke- 
warm in our interest, and the white forces totally 
inadequate to defend the island ; to say nothing of 
being continually called in to play nursemaid to the 
government of Madras. If he had known all this, 
he would not have blamed Maitland's inertia in the 
face of the atrocities that made Kandy a fouler and 
bloodier Kumasi. In point of fact, there has been 
no greater piece of pure adminstrative work than 
Maitland's government of Ceylon. 

His work in Malta was less remarkable, but we 
have been recently reminded how difficult the 
Maltese population is to handle in the face of a 
serious epidemic, and we are so far well equipped for 
appreciating the ease with which Maitland dealt 
with that panic-stricken state of mind. 

The question of the Ionian Islands was made from 
the outset, and perhaps designedly made, a question 
of the extremest complexity. Nobody would have 
been surprised or alarmed if England had annexed 
them ; but to call them independent when they ob- 
viously were nothing of the kind, to call them 
English when (from a diplomatic point of view) they 


were not English, was to lay up for ourselves and 
for the lonians certain disaster. It was evidently a 
source of the utmost mortification to the Capodistrian 
party that (thanks to the genius of Maitland) we got 
out of our immediate difficulties as well as we did. 
Our failure was prophesied from the outset, and it 
was hoped that our failure would be complete and 
immediate. Instead, we achieved a most remarkable 
success. It was common to attribute our eventual 
failure to our * unsympathetic ' and ' unconciliatory ' 
dealings with the lonians. But an examination of 
the dreary history of the protectorate shows us that 
this mental attitude is made up of a fondness for 
vague phrases, and an admiration (real or professed) 
for all qualities not English, and has very little basis 
in reason. The lonians, like many other subject or 
quasi-subject races, had no particular desire for our 
sympathy. For the most part they looked on us as 
decidedly their inferiors. However much they might 
orate against us, they had no rooted objection to our 
presence, and rather mocked at the talk about 'sym- 
pathy.' ' Either govern us or go away,' the most 
intelligent of them were accustomed to say. 

What was required for Maitland's work to be 
preserved was a succession of Maitlands. An ideal 
successor to Sir Thomas Maitland would have been 
Sir Stamford RaiHes. Raffles was possessed of all 
Maitland's courage, sagacity and insatiable power of 
work ; and he possessed, in addition, the tastes and 


manners of an accomplished gentleman. In the ap- 
pointment that was actually made, we see fore- 
shadowed the whole history of our failure. For 
Malta a man of first-rate capacity was chosen — 
the Marquis of Hastings. So important was Malta 
felt to be that Hastings, who had just retired from 
a ten years' term of office as Governor-General of 
India, evidently thought the island government no 
derogation from his dignity. But for the Ionian Islands 
no more considerable person was selected than Sir 
Frederick Adam, Maitland's understudy. This was 
an appointment that could not have been made if the 
impression that anybody would do for Corfu had not 
been general. Now and then, during Maitland's ab- 
sence in Malta, Adam had been called upon to act 
on his own initiative. He had the courage to act ; 
but he always acted wrongly. He was a man of 
second-rate capacity ; and Corfu was a post that 
called for a man of first-rate capacity, and provided 
even such a man with more work than was good 
for him. There is very little doubt that the work 
killed Maitland ; it would have killed most men 
years before. 

The Ionian Islands required unremitting attention 
both from the Lord High Commissioner and the 
Colonial Office. The apparent stability that Mait- 
land had so wonderfully brought about deceived all 
the Lord High Commissioners into the belief that 
they had nothing more serious to do than to attend 


to the routine of established administration. As for 
the Colonial Office, England was just entering on 
the long dead period during which it was the fashion 
to decry the colonies. Far from the Colonial Office 
being thought to be of any importance, or from it 
being held desirable that the office should be watch- 
ful over colonial interests, it was tacitly and often 
explicitly maintained that the sooner there were no 
colonies the better. Meanwhile, and awaiting its 
inevitable and desirable extinction, the Colonial Office 
could not do better than keep itself quiet, and, above 
all, avoid taking things seriously. Now, the one point 
of Europe which for the next forty years demanded 
daily and hourly to be taken seriously was the Ionian 
Islands. Not because it was the meeting point of 
such mighty interests as, for example, Florence or 
Frankfurt, but because of the unexampled complexity 
of the conditions under which its government was 
maintained. * Laissez aller ' was the worst imaginable 
policy for them, and ^laissez aller'' was daily cried 
up as the only possible policy — the policy at once 
righteous, wise and profitable. So the day came 
when the Islands were surrendered to Greece, and 
surrendered in such a fashion that we gave the im- 
pression of having been expelled. Our retirement 
marked the lowest point of England's influence in 
Europe and the world. At the beginning of the 
century England ruled the sea ; at the end she seems 
to have climbed part of the way back to that dominant 


position. During the middle of the century she 
seemed incapable and undesirous of doing more than 
rule herself and the Isle of Wight ; for our retirement 
from Corfu was generally understood to mean much 
more than the surrender of an agreeable winter resort 
for people of leisure : it was the open and definite 
renunciation of the mastery of the Mediterranean. 

A very short examination of the history of the 
growth of British influence in the Mediterranean 
has already been attempted above. The only point 
that it is necessary to notice here is that Sir 
Thomas Maitland's governorship coincides with the 
only period during which England actually held the 
mastery of the Mediterranean. This was not merely 
the result of his appointment at the moment when 
France was exhausted by the Napoleonic wars, and 
when no other nations were present in force to dispute 
our supremacy. These were, no doubt, the circum- 
stances under which he took up his duties. The most 
inconsiderable man would at such a time have been 
for a few years a conspicuous figure. But nothing 
like the mastery of the Mediterranean would have 
resulted from his measures. 

Maitland was a statesman, and the only Mediter- 
ranean statesman that England ever produced. There 
have been Indian and Canadian and African states- 
men not a few. But only for a brief period was Eng- 
land in a commanding position in the Mediterranean, 
and during that brief period her interests were watched 



and guided by Thomas Maitland. He not only 
managed his double charge ; he held it in the 
hollow of his hand. With his superfluous leisure and 
energy, he mastered every Mediterranean question 
that could directly or indirectly concern the interests 
of England. He knew the Barbary States, and all 
their persons and politics, by heart. He managed 
them to perfection ; now cajoling, now menacing, 
but always politely ; and supplementing, by the 
mere leavings of his own energy, the feeble fumblings 
of the consulates. 

As regarded the Porte, he was favourably placed ; 
for he had known Liston, our ambassador, for twenty 
years, and understood exactly how to take him. The 
extremely distasteful business of Parga he carried 
through in person ; thereby gaining, from personal 
observation, an invaluable knowledge of the affairs of 
the mainland. As for Italy, he was at home in its 
politics from the beginning. He frequently visited 
the baths of Lucca, and his valetudinarianism was a 
constant subject of scoffing among his enemies. But 
at Lucca he met all the considerable people of the 
Peninsula ; and in his situation, knowledge of people 
was everything. Many a man would have been dis- 
turbed by the alarming views that Lord William 
Bentinck was continually putting forward about the 
condition, now of Sicily, now of Genoa, now of the 
mainland. But Maitland had known Bentinck in 
India, and knew him for a well-meaning, blundering 


man who would always be in some difficulty. So he 
was quite undisturbed by his outcries. 

He had, of course, much to do with the court of 
Rome. Another man would have conducted his business 
with the Papal See by correspondence. But Maitland 
betook himself to Rome, and personally directed it ; 
not only because he was well aware of the essential 
importance of religious matters, but because he lost no 
opportunities of knowing men as they were rather 
than as they appeared on paper. So in the long list 
of his personal acquaintances the name of Cardinal 
Gonsalvi, the Papal Secretary of State, is one of the 
most important. It was no doubt largely owing 
to Sir Frederick Adam's extensive local knowledge 
that he was selected as Maitland's successor. But 
it is one thing to have knowledge, and another to 
know how to use it. 

If we regard the history of the English in the 
Mediterranean as beginning with the year 1661, 
we find that when it had lasted one hundred and 
fifty years the first and only Mediterranean states- 
man arose. Other men had had particular pieces 
of work appointed them to do, and they had acquitted 
themselves more or less creditably. No connected 
policy had inspired their instructions, or was served 
by their efforts. We drifted backwards and for- 
wards, torn between the impulse of the people and 
the reluctance of the Cabinet. To Maitland alone, 
in whose day those two impulses acted in the same 


direction, was confided the duty of definitely secur- 
ing the mastery of the Mediterranean to England. 
He secured it as firmly as the rock to which Napier 
compared his own character. When we lost it, there 
was the usual sage comments about the * inevitable,' 
the 'natural,' and so on. Yet it is not so astonish- 
ing that we should have retired as it is that Mait- 
land's work should have endured so long. After 
Maitland, nothing was added to the fabric of the 
Ionian government. But it took forty years of the 
wash of sentiment, forty years of the open assaults 
of enemies, forty years of the acid dribble of intrigue 
to wear away his work. 

Whether or not the Ionian Islands were a loss to 
the British Empire is a question for military and 
naval experts. But a civilian may offer the obvious 
comment that, in the hands of a power which (what- 
ever its virtues) is not likely to become a first-rate 
power from either a military or naval point of view, 
they can hardly be considered as a great danger. 
Moreover, since no one power is to have the mastery 
of the water-way, there is something to be said for 
the view that the more Mediterranean powers there 
are the better. 

Since Maitland's day we have advanced a good deal 
further. But the influence of other powers, has grown 
much more rapidly than our own. Our indirect 
influence has, however, increased prodigiously, and 
has increased in directions that could never have 


been foretold in Maitland's day. The Mediterranean 
question is still, for England, a burning question of 
foreign politics, as it has been any time since the year 
1 66 1. But although the Ionian Islands have sunk 
into complete obscurity, and the whole Mediterranean 
outlook has grown so much wider that the Adriatic 
has become a mere backwater, we can perhaps afford 
an hour to studying what it was that Maitland created, 
and how his creation was destroyed. There are still 
the two parties among us : those who angrily resent 
the idea of our withdrawal, and those who as angrily 
resent our presence in that quarter. To one of these 
parties the name of 'King Tom' will always be 
anathema maranatha ; but the rest of us will say, may 
England never want for Maitlands at a pinch. 


Abercromby, Sir Ralph, Maitland 

reinforces him, 65. 
Aberdeen, Lord, desired as Lord 

High Commissioner, 174. 
Abolitionist movement, 28. 
A'Court, British Ambassador at 

Palermo, 163 5 at Naples, 

Adam, Sir Frederick, 250, 252 5 

succeeds Maitland as Lord 

High Commissioner, 285, 

Adams, John, 26. 
Addington, Henry, 67. 
Agio on Ceylon Bills, 94, 95. 
jilert, H.M.S., seizes corsairs off 

the Galloper, 223. 
Alexander, The Tsar, 178, 182, 

183, 190, 200, 227, 233. 
Alexandria, The plague at, 146. 
Algiers, Treaty of, 226. 
Ali Pacha, 173, 182, 215, 219, 

220, 221 ; declares himself 

independent, 244 5 and is 

assassinated, ib. ; his private 

fortune and avarice, 245, 

246, 249. 
Alien Bill, Dundas's, 11. 
Amiens, Treaty of, 21. 
Army Estimates, Debate on, 13. 
Aux Cayes, 41. 


Balcarres, Earl, Governor of 
Jamaica, 39 ; corresponds 

with Maitland, 43 5 his 
views on San Domingo, 44 ; 
scanty concessions by, 48 ; 
his helplessness, 58. 

Bank of England suspends pay- 
ment, 27. 

Barbary States, 161, 169, 278, 
279, 286. 

Barlow, Sir George, 124 ; appeals 
to Maitland for help, 125. 

Batavian Republic, 88. 

Bathurst, Lord, 5, 147, 153, 158, 
164, 169, 185,197,198,202, 

Belleisle, Expedition to, 60 et seq.y 

Bennet attacks Maitland, 265. 

Bentinck, Lord William, 98 ; his 
dealings with the Madras 
army, 99 ; appeals to Mait- 
land for help, 100 ; his grati- 
tude, ib. ; recalled from his 
government, 105 ; Plenipo- 
tentiary in Sicily and ap- 
peals to Maitland for help, 
144; affronts Murat, 154-, 
in difficulties with Genoa, 
1635 appeals to Maitland for 
help, ib., 287. 

Berkeley Square, Maitland in, 58. 

Board of Control, Maitland sworn 
of, 67 ; its working, 68, 69. 

Bosset (De). See De Bosset. 

Brest, 61. 

Bridgewater Canal, jj. 

Brougham, 194. 

Buchan, Colonel, ordered to Nega- 
patam, 100. 




Bunbury, Sir Henry, 145, 153, 
161, 162. 

Butrinto, 216. 

Byron, Lord, 246 ; *the semi- 
delirious lord,' 271. 

Byzantine Constitution, 178, 187. 

Calcutta, Anxiety in, 27. 

Cape Dame Marie, 41. 

Cape of Good Hope, Cession of, 

Cape les Trois, 41. 

Cape Mole St Nicholas, 31 ^^ seq. 

Capodistrias, Count John, 183, 
189, 190, 191 ; 'the worst 
of Radicals,' 194, 195, 199, 
227 ; * the only evil we ever 
had in these Islands,' 228 ; 
*a very superior man,' 229, 
231 5 travels to England, ib. ; 
interviews Bathurst, ib.^ 232 
et seq.y 258 5 his assassina- 
tion, 230. 

Capri, 137. 

Castlereagh, Lord, 67, 118, 153, 
199, 215, 218, 231 5 replies 
to Capodistrias, 232, 240, 
259 ; replies to Joseph Hume, 

Cayemite, 48. 

Ceylon, State of, in 1805, 74; 
Civil Service of, Maitland's 
views on, 86, 87 ; native army 
of, 89 ; litigious character of 
the inhabitants, 90, 91 5 the 
Survey Department, 91 5 
military importance of in 
Maitland's day, 95, 96, 97 5 
settlement of, by Europeans, 
projected by Maitland, 126 5 
De Quincey on, 281. 

Channel Islands, Maitland in, 7. 

Cheltenham, Maitland in, 58. 

Coffin, Sir Isaac, defends Mait- 
land, 266. 

Collingwood, Admiral, 27. 

Colonial Assembly of Jamaica, 58. 

Consols fall to 51, 27. 

Cornwallis, Lord, 8, 124. 

Corsica, Expedition to, Maitland 
derides it, 14, 179 ; Theo- 
dore, King of, 176. 

Cove of Cork, 63. 

Cradock, Sir John, appointed 
commander - in - chief in 
Madras, 68 ; recalled, 105. 

Critico, Turkish Consul at Malta, 
160 ; quarrel with Maitland, 

Croix de Bouquets, 36. 

Cromer, Lord, 229. 

Cuba, 31. 

Curmi, The plague at, 146, 

Dallas's speech on the resumption 
of hostilities, 23, 24. 

Davie, Major, taken prisoner by 
the King of Kandy, 78, 93 ; 
Maitland attempts to procure 
his release, 93 5 fails, 94. 

De Bosset, 173, 174, 204 et seq, 

D'Enghien, Due, 168. 

De Quincey, his views on Byron 
and Guilford, 271 ; and on 
Kandy, 281. 

Deputy Secretary of Ceylon, no, 
III, 112. 

Downs, Capture of corsairs in the, 

Dundas's Alien Bill, 11 ; instruc- 
tions to Knox on succeeding 
Maitland in San Domingo, 
44 ; gratitude for Maitland's 
efforts, 46 ; his Belleisle de- 
spatch, 65 5 Houat despatch, 

Dutch prisoners in Ceylon, jj, 88, 


East Indies, Maitland in, 7. 



Eastern Empire, Preservation of, 8. 
Eastern Question, Maitland's early 

views on, 10. 
Egypt, 22 et seq.y 180. 
Enghien (D'). See D'Enghien. 
Elba, Escape of Napoleon from, 

Exmouth, Lord, 225. 

Falmouth, 49, 

Finances of San Domingo, 31 ; of 
Ceylon, 122 et seq. ; of Malta, 
155 ; of the Ionian Islands, 

Flanders Expedition, 62. 

Fouche, 168. 

French Kingdom of Naples, 138. 

* Friends of the People,' Maitland 
joins them, 11, 127. 

Georges, General, 61, 65, 66. 

Gonsalvi, Cardinal, 243, 288. 

Goulburn, Henry, defends Mait- 
land, 261, 265, 

Gozo, The plague in, 146. 

Grant, Colonel, President of the 
Emigrant's Board, 42 ; success 
of Maitland's instruction to 
him, 43 ; accompanies Mait- 
land to Philadelphia, 53 ; 
Consul General at Port au 
Prince, 57 ; Toussaint refuses 
to see him, ib. 

Grant, John Peter, 266. 

Guilford, Earl of. See North. 


Habeas Corpus Act, Debate on 
the suspension of, ij et seq. 

Haddington Burghs, Maitland sits 
for, 8. 

Hankey, Sir Frederick, i6i, 206, 
207, 222 J Mission to Tunis, 

Hastings, Marquis of, succeeds 
Maitland in Malta, 283. 

Hastings, Warren, Maitland at- 
tacks him, 9 5 defends him, 

Hawkesbury, Lord, 67. 

Hayti, 28. 

Hedouville lands in San Domingo, 
34 ; his position there, ib. 

Hispaniola, 28, 

Hood, Admiral, Maitland attacks 
him, 14. 

Hotham, Admiral, 14. 

Houat, Island of, 60, 61, 66. 

Hume, Joseph, 194 5 attacks Mait- 
land, 259 et seq. 

Huskisson, 49. 

India threatened by Napoleon, 137. 
Ischia, 137. 

Jaffnapatam, Collector of, 83 ; 

his vagaries, ib.; Maitland's 

dealings with him, 84, 85 ; 

effect on the service, 90. 
Jamaica, Relation of, to San 

Domingo, 43, 45. 
Janina, Pachalik of, 219. 
Joseph, King of Naples, 136. 


Kandy, King of, 74, 78, 92, 93, 
128 ; High Priest of, 93, 
121 5 High Steward of, 93. 

King, Rufus, his views on Mait- 
land's Treaty, 50, 51. 

Kinnaird, Lord, joins the * Friends 
of the People,* 11. 

Kirbey, Suicide of, 123. 



Laing, Chief Secretary of Malta, 


Lampedusa, 139, 153, 154, 157- 

Langhorne, Admiral, 145, 146. 

La Plume, 39. 

Lauderdale, Earls of, 2, 3, 4, 11. 

Layard, General, officiates for 
Maitland, 164, 172. 

Leclerc, General, Death of, 35. 

Le Mesurier, Mr, 279. 

Lieven, Prince, accompanies Capo- 
distrias to Cirencester, 231. 

Lieven, Princess, 229. 

Liston, Sir Robert, collaborates 
with Maitland at Phila- 
delphia, 55; Ambassador at 
Constantinople, i6o, 215, 

Liverpool, Lord, 126. 

Livingston, 157, 

Lombe, Sir Thomas, 3. 

Londonderry, Marquis of, 269. 

Louisiana, Maitland's views on, 

Lushington, Chief Justice of 
Ceylon, 108; interferes with 
Maitland, 109; quarrels with 
him, no et seq.; dismissed 
from Council, 113; retires 
to England, 114. 


Macaulay, Lord, views on the 
Belleisle Expedition, 59. 

Macdonell, Consul at Algiers, 279. 

Macfarlane, General, appeals to 
Maitland for help, 163. 

Mackintosh, Sir James, views on 
Maitland's government in 
Ceylon, 126, 127 ; and in 
Parga, 259. 

Madeira, Maitland's views on, 54. 

Magdalen, Earldom of, 266. 

Maida, Battle of, 137. 

Maine, Sir Henry, 74, 81. 
Maitland Clan, i. 
Maitland, Frederick, 70. 
Malay troops in Ceylon, their 
behaviour, 89; and character, 


Malta, Maitland's early views on, 
22, 23; reform of the judicial 
system of, 152; claimed by 
Sicily, 153; the Universita 
of, 155 et seq.; corruption in, 
155; corn supply, 156; Savary 
imprisoned at, 168; reform of 
hospital, 171; Maitland dies 
there, 279. 

March, Marquis of, 2. 

Marlborough, Duke of, 114. 

Martinengo, Count, Rebellion of, 
248, 249, 250; attempts to 
bribe Maitland, 251; tried, 
condemned and pardoned, 
252 5 championed by Mr 
Hume, 264. 

Mavromichaelis, 215. 

Mediterranean Sea, England ex- 
pelled from, 275 becomes an 
English lake, 135; Maitland 
recommends one commander- 
in-chief for, 165. 

Metternich, his hatred of Capo- 
distrias, 229. 

Midhat Pacha, 178. 

Minorca, 65, 132, 135, 139; 
Russian bid for, 178, 179, 

Minto, Lord, Maitland's cor- 
respondence with, 100, loi, 

Mocenigo, Count, 182, 187; 
opens Maitland's despatches, 
189, 258. 

Monck, Sir Charles, 257, 258. 

Moore, Sir John, comparison 
with Maitland, 70. 

Morea, Rebellion in the, 203, 
249, 253. 

Murat to be recognised by 
England, 154, 163, 

Mylius, Suicide of, 123. 




Napixr, Charles, 112, 240, 244; 
offers to march on Constanti- 
nople, /^., 246. ; views on the 
lonians, 271, 273, 279. 

Naples, Rebellion in, 203, 254; 
Ferdinand of, 243. 

Nayler, Sir George, 212. 

Nesbitt sails for San Domingo, 
29 ; falls sick, 29 ; confusion 
caused by his non-arrival, 43. 

Nightingall, Sir Miles, accom- 
panies Maitland to Phila- 
delphia, 54 5 carries his de- 
spatches to London, 64. 

Nile, Battle of, 135. 

North, Frederick, birth, 72 ; 
Governor of Ceylon, ib. ; 
Chief Secretary of Corsica, 
ih. ; career there, ib. ; char- 
acter, 73 ; abolishes feudal 
tenure in Ceylon, 75 ; scares 
native society, 76 ; his cinna- 
mon contract, 76, jj^ 78, 88 5 
his irrigation works, jj ; 
resigns the governorship to 
Maitland, 79 5 Maitland's 
high opinion of him, 90 ; his 
views on Kandy, 82 ; his 
dealings with the Chief 
Justice, 108 ; a favourite 
with the lonians, 174, 175 ; 
succeeds to Earldom of Guil- 
ford, 246 ; his extravagances 
in the Islands, 246, 247; *the 
semi-delirious lord,' 271. 


Oakes, Sir Hildebrand, 144. 

Oczakoff Debate, 10. 

Oglander, Colonel, Consul at 

Tunis, 224, 225, 226. 
O'Gorman repulses Toussaint 

rOuverture, 36. 
Orkney, Earl of, views on the 

lonians, 277. 

Paoli, Pasquale de, 72, 73. 

Parga, 173, 178, 182, 204, 215 f^ 
seq.^ 253, 258 ; cession of, 
resolved on, 259; * darkest 
blot on our national reputa- 
tion,' 268. 

Paris, Treaty of, i8i, 192, 194, 
197, 199, 257 ; Maitland's 
views of, 200. 

Parker, Sir Hyde, assists Mait- 
land, 41 ; opposes the evacua- 
tion of San Domingo, 48. 

Pellew, Sir Edward, supports Mait- 
land, 62. 

Petrides, Plato, 183. 

Peyrade, Execution of, 41. 

Peystre (De) repulses Toussaint 
rOuverture, 36. 

Pitt, William, 29 ; views on San 
Domingo, 44 ; and the Medi- 
terranean, 134, 140. 

Plague in Malta, 142 et seq. 

Plasket, Sir Richard, 156, 161, 

Ponza, 137. 

Popham, Sir Home, 19. 

Prevesa, 216, 219, 255. 

Prince Regent ratifies the Ionian 
Constitution, 202, 212, 214, 

Privy Council, Maitland sworn 
of, 69. 

Procida, 137. 

QuiBERON, 6d, 63. 

Quincey (De). See De Quincey. 


RiGAUD opposes Toussaint I'Ouver- 
ture, 29 ; his relations with 
Maitland, 35, 42 ; menaces 
Jeremie, 48 ; supplants Tous- 



saint, 57 5 and breaks with 

him, ih. 
Rome, Appeals to, from Malta, 

Rovigo, Duke of, imprisoned at 

Malta, 168, 169. 

Saint Anne's, Soho, 179. 

Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights 
of, 143, 1 80 5 Church of, 148, 
151 5 throne of the Grand 
Master of the Order of, 150 ; 
Order of, 210. 

Saint Michael and Saint George, 
Order of, 159 j 209 et se^. 

Saint Spiridion, 210. 

Saint Vincent, Battle of, 27, 177. 

Saint Vincent, Earl, 63. 

San Domingo, Instructions for the 
evacuation of, 31 5 Maitland 
lands there, 34 ; evacuation 
of commenced, 38 ; com- 
pleted, 48 5 to be retained 
as a protection for Jamaica, 
44 ; climate of, 32, 36, 46, 

Sanctuary, Right of, in Malta, 148. 

Santa Lucia, 70. 

Savary, Duke of Rovigo,imprisoned 
at Malta, 168, 169. 

Sawbridge, Alderman, ally of 
Maitland, 10, 11. 

Sebastiani, 23, 187. 

Seringapatam, Mutiny at, 122, 

Shee, Sir George, 106. 

Sheridan, R. B., ally of Maitland, 

Sicily, Lord William Bentinck 
in, 145 ; refuses pratique to 
Malta, 146 ; Macfarlane in, 
163 ; representative govern- 
ment in, 167 et seq.y 180. 
Smyrna, The plague in, 146 ; trade 
w^ith, 160. 

Spenser, Colonel, 40, 49. 
Surinam Expedition, 70. 

Talleyrand, 73. 

Texel, Battle of, 27, 177. 

Theotoky, Baron, 214. 

Tiburon Expedition, 41 ; it fails, 
42, 70. 

Tilsit, Treaty of, 138, 187, 216. 

Tippoo Sahib, Maitland's defence 
of, 8, 9 5 connection of his 
family with the Vellore 
Mutiny, 102. 

Toulon Expedition, Maitland's 
views on, 14, 15, 177. 

Toussaint I'Ouverture masters 
San Domingo, 28 ; his char- 
acter, 3 5 ; attacks the English, 

36 ; accepts Maitland's terms, 

37 ; his ignorance, 52, 53, 

Trincomalee, Importance of, in 

Maitland's day, 96. 
Tripoli, Pacha of, 162. 
Tunis, The plague in, 146. 
Tyers, Henry, 153. 


Universita of Malta, 155 ^r seq. 

Valetta, Maitland lands at, 142 ; 

the plague in, 146. 
Venice, Fall of, 176. 
Ventotiene, 137. 
Verona, 176. 
Vonizza, 216, 219. 
Volterra, 251. 




Walpole, Horace, 179. 

Walthamstow, Maitland at, 32. 

Warrington, Colonel, 162. 

Washington, George, 26. 

Wellington, Duke of, 46, 47, 62, 

Whitbread, Samuel, ally of Mait- 
land, 10, II, 15 ; attacks 
him, 23. 

Whyte, General, commands in 
San Domingo, 29 ; resigns 
the command to Maitland, 

Wilberforce, William, his anxiety 
for the missionaries in Ceylon, 

118 J interviews Castlereagh, 

119 5 Maitland's resentment 
at his interference, I20, 

Wilkes, 19. 

Wilson, Robert, 23. 

Wood, Alexander, placed on special 
duty in Ceylon, 85, 161, 173, 

Wright, Doctor, accompanies 
Maitland to Philadelphia, 54. 

Wright, legal assistant to Mait- 
land, 153. 

York, Duke of, 207, 

Zante, 173, 175, 248, 249, 253. 


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