« AnteriorContinuar »
ties, and had, on the contrary, like many other influential persons of his nation, considered the movement premature, and warned his countrymen against it as likely to lead to the most pernicious consequences. But it is vain, as we already remarked, to look for reasons that would satisfy any European ideas of justice in proceedings between Turks in authority and rebellious Giaours. The calm and solemn gentleman, enveloped in smoke and coffee fumes, whose bland dignity we so much admired in time of peace, becomes suddenly seized with a preternatural fury when the scent of Greek blood is in the gale. It is a primary law of his religion, inherited from the oldest Oriental theocracies, that no infidel is entitled to live; and if the head seems more serviceable for the nonce than the capitation-tax, which is its substitute, the law of the Prophet is satisfied, and no man has a right to complain. Mr Tricoupi now proceeds with his narrative.
"The execution being over, the great interpreter, the secretary, and their attendants, left the palace of the Patriarch. In the evening of the same day, Beterli Ali Pasha, who had recent ly been appointed Grand Vizier, went through the Fanar with only one attendant, and, asking for a chair, sat down for five or six minutes on the street opposite the suspended body of the Patriarch, looking at him, and speaking to his attendant. After an hour the Sultan himself passed the same way, and cast his eye on the Patriarch. The body remained suspended three days; but on the fourth the hangman took it down to throw it into the sea, it being contrary to law in Turkey that persons hung or beheaded should receive burial. Then there came to the hangman certain Jews, and having received his permission (some say that they bribed
him), bound together the feet of the corpse, and dragged it away to the extreme end of the quay of the Fanar, with mockery and blasphemous words. Then they threw it into the sea, and gave the end of the rope with which they had bound the feet to the hangman, who, having gone before, was waiting them in a little boat. He immediately, seizing the rope and dragging the body after him, came to the middle of the bay,+ and there attached to the body a stone which he had brought with him in order to sink it: but it proved not weighty enough for this purpose; so he left the corpse floating on the water, and, making for the strand, came back with two other stones, which he attached to the body; and then, giving it two or three stabs with his knife, to let out the water, he immediately sunk it. After some days, however, it came to the surface at Galata between two ships lying at the point where a great many boats are always stationed, for passing over to the city. One of these ships was a Slavonian, and the other a Greek, Slavonian saw the body first, and threw from Cephalonia. The captain of the
some straw matting over it, with the view of concealing it till the night, when he meant to bury it, like a good Christian. But when the evening came, the Cephalonian captain anticipated him, and perceiving from the unshaven chin that it was the body of a priest, brought into his ship secretly some Christians, who assured him that it was the body of the Patriarch. The pious Cephaliote immediately swathed the body in a windingsheet, and, transporting it to Odessa, deposited it in the Lazaretto there. There the body was examined by the order of the governor, and was recognised by certain signs as that of the Patriarch.
"Information of this being sent to St Petersburg, orders were given to bury the body with all appropriate honours. The sacred Russian synod came to assist in the funeral ceremony; and on the 17th of June there were assembled in the
* Δεν συστελλομαι νὰ ὁμολογήσω ὅτι ἤμῆν εναντιος τοῦ τοιούτου κινήματος κατὰ του Σουλτανου· ὄχι διότι θὲν επεθύμουν την ελευθερίαν τοῦ ἔθνους μου ἀλλὰ διότι μ' εφαινετο ἄωρον τὸ κίνημα, μὲ τὸ νὰ ἦσαν ἀπειροπόλεμοι οι ̔́Ἕλληνες καὶ ὁι πλεῖστοι ἄοπλοι, ὁ δὲ κίνδυνος μεγας.—PERRHAEBUS, Military Memoirs. Athens,
† του Κερατιου κόλπου—that is, we have no doubt, the large expansion of the Golden Horn west of Galata, and north of the Fanar.
The modern Greek has lost not a whit of the fine rich flexibility which has made the ancient dialect such a convenient organ for our scientific terminology. The word for Lazaretto used here is λooкadapтýρlov; and scores of such words are seen on the signboards of the streets of Athens at the present hour.
Lazaretto all the local authorities, political and military, the two metropolitan bishops, Cyril of Silistria, and Gregory of Hieropolis; also Demetrius, bishop of Bender and Akerman, all the clergy of the province, a great number of Greek refugees, who had fled from the butchery at Constantinople. Then the church bells were rung, the funeral psalms were sung, a salute of cannons was given, and, with the accompaniment of military music and the prayers of the congregated faithful, the remains of the venerated Patriarch were carried to the metropolitan church of Odessa. Here they remained three days, till the 19th, when the burial-service was again sung, and a funeral oration was pronounced by Constantine Economos, preacher to the Ecomenic Patriarchate, who happened to be in Odessa; after which the body was removed with great pomp to the church of the Greeks, and deposited in a new sepulchre within the railing of the holy altar, at the north side of the holy table, as being the body of a martyr. And thus-to use the very words of the semi-official journal of St Petersburg-by the command of the most pious Autocrat of all the Russians, Alexander I., were rendered due honours of faith and love to Gregory, the holy Patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Church of the Greeks, who suffered a martyr's death.”
Next to the butchery-which, by the way, the Greeks, as opportunity offered, were not ashamed to retaliate -the most noticeable thing in the Turkish conduct of the war was their extraordinary slowness, fickleness, inefficiency, and bungling of every sort. The insurrection, though attempted in Thessaly and Macedonia, did, in fact, never extend with any permanent force beyond the narrow boundaries of the present kingdom of Greece, with the addition of Crete, and one or two of the Ægean islands, now in the possession of the Turks; but to suppress this petty revolt of an ill-peopled and divided district, Occupying a small corner of a vast empire, all the strength of Turkey, both Asiatic and European, proved in vain; for it was not till Ibrahim Pasha, in 1825, was sent by his father, Mehemet Ali, with a large Egyptian armament that the Morea was recovered to the Sultan, and the insurrection virtually quashed. Now, when we consider that the Greeks of the Morea were stamped with the ser
vitude of nearly four hundred yearsthat they were, in fact, so awed by the hereditary authority of their haughty masters, that in the beginning of the war, as Gordon expressly testifies, three hundred of them could not be
made to stand against thirty Turks; that their only effective leaders were a few brigand chiefs from the wild regions of Acarnania, Etolia, and Epirus; that the land was of such a nature as to be kept in subjection by fortresses, all of which were in the possession of the lords of the soil; that the sea was open to the men of Stamboul as much as to those of
Hydra and to Mehemet Ali's Egyptians, we shall see plainly that nothing but a wonderful combination of slowness, stupidity, and cowardice on the part of the Turks could have allowed the Greek revolt to protract its existence during the space of those first four years, when-not without large aids from English gold-it continued to present a prosperous front to the world. What strikes us most in the account of the war given by Gordon-who will always be a main authority-is the great want of capacity and enterprise in the Turkish commanders both by sea and land— the very same weakness, in fact, which is remarked at the present hour as afflicting the Turkish armies-a want of good officers. There is in Turkey a want of a high-minded, independent, and energetic middle class, without which an army never can be well officered. Only one efficient Turkish captain appeared in the whole course of the Greek war; and he took Missolonghi.
We have been anxious to bring forward this sad account of the conduct of the Turks in the insurrection distinctly, as there is a danger, at the present moment, of the Turkish military virtue being overrated. No man who knew that nation ever doubted that they could defend a fort well in the present war, as they have ever done where they happened to have a good commander, and acted under encouraging circumstances. This is the secret of the recent successful defence of Silistria, for which we feel all respect. With the English and French fleet to guard their flank, and all Europe as spectators of their
mettle, with the very existence of their empire perhaps at stake, and with the choice of their own battle field-that is, the defence of fortsthe Turks would have been dull truly, never to be roused, if the old heroism had not flamed out with more than wonted fierceness. But the successful defence of this fort affords no proof that the people who made it possess a spirit and an organisation able to cope in a continued campaign with some Paskiewitch or Diebitch of the next generation. Let us look to the history of the Greek Revolution, and not believe that the Turks are great masters in the art of war till they have successfully conducted a great campaign. Above all things, matters must be so arranged at the next pacification that the preservation of the peace of Europe may not be left to depend on them.
Our third question has reference to the Greeks. Their conduct in the great revolt by which their independence was ultimately achieved, deserves to be noted with the greater care at the present moment, because there are not a few persons in this country who are only too ready, in the unhappy blunder of 1854, to forget the glorious heroism of 1821-26. Sir A. Alison, we are happy to say, with that large spirit of appreciation for which he is remarkable, has shown no tendency to chime in with this vulgar cry. He is not surprised that the brigands of Thessaly and Epirus should not possess all the virtues of Pericles and Aristides; and therefore he is not offended. The Greeks, in fact, in 1821, were the authors of their own liberty, as much as the Turks now are the authors of the retreat of the Russians from Silistria. Most true it is, that without the intervention of the Allied Powers, notwithstanding their utmost efforts, their cause was lost; so also will the defence of Silistria have proved in vain, if England and France, in the proceedings that are yet waited for, show weakness or vacillation. But the Greeks, in 1821, had this decided moral vantage-ground over the Turks of the present day, that the intervention would never have taken place had it not been forced upon the great Powers by the popular sympathy
which the heroism of the Greeks had excited. We may say, upon a review of the whole five years' struggle, that the Greeks displayed on that occasion all the weakness, and indeed all the vices, that belonged to a people just rising from under the weight of centuries of oppression-but virtues also of the highest order, which it is of the very nature of oppression to make a people forget. Oppression, in fact, had never done its perfect work with this noble-spirited people; it had made intriguers of those who remained in the Fanar, and mere moneychangers and money-makers of those who peopled the cities; the base stamp of slavery also might be found on the plains: but freedom remained among the mountains; and in Maina and Souli every brigand chief was a hero. In fact, under such a military despotism as that of Turkey, brigandage, which is outlawed by a good government, becomes the very church militant of liberty. Whatsoever virtues, therefore, belong to the indomitable spirit of nationality when forced to create its own law, and redeem itself from destruction by the desperate efforts of individual self-assertion, belonged to the Greek people, and those Albanian tribes who were identified with them in the highest degree. But there was more than that. The Greeks, as the whole spirit and tendency of Corai's writings show, were intellectually an advancing people. They had scholars, and thinkers, and poets among them, who were fighting not merely for the rude privilege of freedom-which a brute can understand as well as a manbut for the vindication of an intellectual heritage of which they were proud. To these men the possession of the uncorrupted Greek tongue was not a mere pretty plaything, as it may be to many of our academical men; but it was the badge which publicly proclaimed their brotherhood with that great hierarchy of intellect which had conquered ancient Rome, and inspired modern Europe. These men did not fight with the mere impatient spirit of vulgar insurrection: they came, like banished kings, claiming a long-lost throne; and Europe felt that there was a dignity in their work not belonging to every exile. But
there was another element of strength in the Greek revolt, without which it never could have succeeded, and an element which, like their zeal for intellectual culture, proved that the modern Greeks are the true sons of Themistocles and Pericles. This element was their use of the sea. The Turks, though they had possessed the finest harbour in the world for four centuries, though they governed a country where arms of the sea serve the same purpose that railroads do elsewhere, had not only made no progress in the nautical art, but had allowed their enterprising slaves to create for themselves a navy by which they were to succeed in driving their masters out of the field. When Ibrahim Pasha, in his march across the Morea in 1825, had arrived at that high ground between Tripolizza and Argos where the island of Hydra becomes visible, pointing with his hand to that little nest of daring adventurers, he exclaimed, "Thou LITTLE ENGLAND, when shall I hold thee!" This little England it was which saved Greece. There is nothing in the records of modern history more interesting than the dashing exploits of the gallant Ipsariote Canaris with his fire-ships in the Greek war; and wherever Miaulis the Hydriote appeared with his squadron, there everything that could be done was done. But great as were the exploits of the islanders, Europe, perhaps, knew more, and was justly more astonished at the gallant conduct of the land army in the two sieges of Missolonghi a fortress protected only by shallow lagoons and a mud rampart, and utterly unprovided with those long lines of fire-spouting barricades that make Cronstadt and Sevastopol so difficult of approach. Yet Missolonghi was maintained against the whole force of the Turks for two years; and when it did fall, the resolute garrison made no capitulation, but after having exhausted the last scraps of raw hides and sea-weeds which served them for food, cut their way with gallant desperation, men and women together, through the sabred ranks of their enemies. Nor were they without their reward. Let Mr Alison speak :
resistance had not been made in vain. It
On the other hand, we must not shut our eyes to the faults of the Greek people-which were, in fact, just the faults of their ancestors made more large and more prominent by the long-continued action of circumstances favourable to their development. Will it be believed?—during the time that this heroic struggle was going on, by a people manifestly unable, even with their strongest combined exertions, to withstand their gigantic adversary-even in the midheat and the critical turning-point of this grapple for free existence, the Greek captains were quarrelling among themselves! There were actually at one time, as Gordon assures us, seven civil wars among a people who could only collect hundreds to plant against the thousands of their masters! Such a self-divided people, one might almost say, was unworthy of liberty. Certainly if they could not agree to fight for themselves, it did not seem the business either of France or England to force them to be patriotic. But, after all, what was
"Thus fell Missolonghi ; but its heroic this but the natural result of the geo
graphy of the country, and of the circumstances under which its latent liberty had been maintained? What was it else but the same thing, on a small scale, which the Peloponnesian war exhibited on a large scale? Division is the weak point of Greece, and always was; and as for other vices which stank so strongly in the nostrils of some of our sentimental Philhellenes-cunning, falsehood, selfishness, rapacity, and blushless impudence of all kinds-such rank weeds grow from a neglected moral soil, not only in Greece, but in the streets of London and Edinburgh, and elsewhere; the only difference being that in our case a wicked or neglectful parent brings up corrupt individuals, while in the case of the modern Greeks, a wicked and neglectful government had brought up a corrupt people. There is, no doubt, some truth in the doctrine of races and hereditary propensities; and the Greek may probably be more subtle in speculation, and more cunning in practice, than the other families of the Indo-European stock. Nevertheless, we are inclined to believe that the proverbial falsehood of the Greeks, which is the worst vice now continually thrown in their teeth, is as much the result of circumstances as of blood, and that, under the same influences, any Teutonic race whose honesty is now most loudly bepraised, would exhibit a large development of the same vice. When a people is not allowed to play the lion, it must either learn to play the fox or perish.
We shall now make a few remarks on the fourth point stated-viz., the circumstances attending the conclusion of the war, as illustrative of the policy of Russia. Here a very interesting contrast immediately presents itself. Alexander, as we have seen, occupied with various benevolent projects and perambulations, fearing also not a little everything in the shape of rebellion and revolution, refused to have anything to do with the Greek insurrection. In this he behaved like a man, a gentleman, and a king, but not like a Russian. As a Russian he would have followed the footsteps of Catherine, who twice, in the latter half of the last century, raised a rebellion in the Morea, and assisted Greece not from any
classical enthusiasm, we may be sure, (such as helped not a little to fan the Greek fire of ourselves and the Germans), but that she might cripple Turkey by inflicting such a deep wound on her left leg as would render amputation necessary. this became plain in a few years. Alexander died. In the year 1826 Nicholas succeeded; and matters were at that period, by the fall of Missolonghi, and Ibrahim Pasha's occupation of the Morea, brought to such a pass that the bloody five years' struggle, with all its heroism, must have gone for nothing, had not the tide of popular sympathy begun to move so strongly in favour of intervention among the great European nations, that the governments were forced to take the matter up. England, as the most classical, and, may we not say also, the most generous, country in matters of international feeling, was the first to make overtures for a European demonstration in favour of Greek independence; and of the consulted Powers none came forward with greater alacrity than the new Emperor of the North. On the invitation of the Duke of Wellington, Nicholas was invited to send ships into the Mediterranean to co-operate with the fleets of France and England in coercing the Porte. Here was an opportunity thrown in his way, by pure accident, to achieve in a few days results more favourable to the most cherished projects of Russian aggrandisement than might have been brought about by the tortuous diplomacy and bloody encounters of long years; and this not only without exciting suspicion of ambitious views, but amid acclamations, and cheers, and philanthropic hurrahs innumerable. By joining England and France in establishing the independence of Greece, the Czar felt that not only would Turkey be reft of one of her limbs, but a new field would be opened for diplomatic intrigue in regions hitherto preserved, by the blessings of barbarism, from such refinements. A little tinselled court at Athens, with some German princeling on the throne, was no doubt even then seen in near vista, as the best possible theatre for the display of those arts of political falsehood and finesse in