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in the cities which the true believers have conquered sword in hand. This city was taken by storm by the great Sultan Mohammed the conqueror. Therefore, let your priests remove all their property from the churches in their possession, and, after shutting them up, deliver the keys to our master's officers, that the churches may be destroyed.' To this summons the patriarch replied in a distinct voice, I cannot answer, O grand vizier! for what happened in other cities; but with regard to this city of Constantinople I can solemnly affirm that the Emperor Constantine Palaiologos, with the nobles, the clergy, and the people, surrendered it voluntarily to the Sultan Mohammed.' The grand vizier cautioned the patriarch not to assert anything which he could not prove by the testimony of Mohammedan witnesses, who were able to certify the truth of what he said. The patriarch immediately engaged to produce witnesses, and the affair was adjourned for twenty days.
"The Greeks were in great alarm. Everybody knew that the patriarch had engaged to prove a lie; so that the only hope of safety appeared to be in the perpetual adjournment of the question. To effect this, the wealthiest Greeks-Phanariotes and merchants -offered to supply the patriarch with the sums of money necessary to bribe the grand vizier and the members of the divan.
"But the Patriarch Jeremiah and the grand vizier Toulphi did not wish to admit any strangers into the secret of their proceedings. So the patriarch sent men of experience to Adrianople, who met agents of the grand vizier, and at last two aged Mussulmans were found who were willing for a large bribe to testify that the patriarch had spoken the truth. These witnesses were conducted to Constantinople, and presented to the Patriarch Jeremiah, who embraced them, and took care that they should be well fed, lodged, clothed, and carefully watched, until they appeared before the divan. When they had rested from the fatigues of their journey, they were conducted to the grand vizier, who spoke kindly to them, told them the patriarch was his friend, and exhorted them to give their evidence without fear.
"On the day appointed to hear the evidence, the Patriarch Jeremiah presented himself before the divan. The grand vizier asked if he was prepared to produce the evidence he had promised, and the Patriarch replied that the witnesses were waiting without to be examined.
"Two aged Turks were now conducted into the hall. Their beards were white as the purest snow, red circles surrounded their eyes, from which the tears fell incessantly, while their hands and feet moved with a continual tremor. The viziers gazed at them with astonishment, for two men so far advanced in years had never been seen before on earth standing side by side. They looked like two brothers whom death had forgotten. The grand vizier asked their names, and encouraged them by making some other inquiries. They replied that they were both about eighteen years of age when Constantinople was taken by the Sultan Mohammed the victorious. Since that time they knew that eighty-four years had elapsed, and therefore they were aware that they had reached the age of a hundred and two. They then gave the following account of the conquest of Constantinople:
The siege was formed by land and sea, and long and bloody engagements took place, but at last several breaches were made in the walls, and it was evident that the place would soon be taken. Preparations were making for a final assault, when the Emperor of the Greeks sent a deputation of his nobles to the sultan to demand a capitulation. The sultan, wishing to save the city from destruction, and to spare the blood of the true believers, granted the infidels the following terms of capitulation, which the witnesses pretended to remember with accuracy, because a copy had been publicly signed by the sultan and read aloud to the troops: I, the Sultan Mohammed, pardon the Emperor Constantine and the Greeks, and grant their petition to become my subjects, and live in peace under my protection. I allow the nobles to retain their slaves and property, and I declare that the people shall live free from all illegal exactions, and that their children shall not be taken to be enrolled
in the corps of janissaries.* This charter shall be binding on me and my successors for ever. With this charter the Greek deputation returned to the emperor, who came out immediately, and falling on his knees before Mohammed the Second, presented to him the keys of the city. The sultan then raised Constantine, kissed him, and made him sit down on his right hand. For three days the two princes rejoiced together, and then the emperor led the sultan into the city.
"As soon as the members of the divan heard this account of the taking of Constantinople from the two old men who had witnessed the events, they drew up a report and transmitted it to Sultan Suleiman. The sultan, convinced that everything must have happened as the old Mussulmans deposed, immediately ordered that the Christians should be allowed to retain possession of their churches, and that no man should molest the patriarch of the Greeks under any pretext."
Now, the whole of this tale is an absurd forgery. Moreover, the ignorance of the Greeks who framed it is even more extraordinary than their utter disregard for truth. The accomplished sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent, and the learned grand vizier, Loufti Pasha, are represented as stupid Turks, destitute of all knowledge of the history of the Othoman Empire. Greek vanity is flattered by an exhibition of the way in which Romaic genius nullifies the power of the padishah, by availing itself of the corruption in the Turkish administration. But the strangest feature in the fable is the moral obtuseness of the Hellenic mind, which solicits admiration for the frauds and falsehoods of their patriarch. The inventor of the tale had in all probability heard that Loufti Pasha was an Albanian by birth, but was ignorant of the fact that he was a man of learning. He could not have known that, when in exile at Demotika, Loufti wrote a history of the Othoman Empire, which is still preserved. Indeed, a comparison of the flourishing state of Turkish
literature with the degraded condition of Greek literature in the sixteenth century contrasts in a singular manner with the contempt displayed by the Greeks in their illiterate records for the accomplished and warlike Othomans. But the Greeks have always viewed the history of other nations through a mist of prejudices which has bewildered themselves far more than their enemies.
This anecdote presents a faithful picture of the Hellenic mind, and of Greek political and historical knowledge, three hundred years ago. We shall now endeavour to place before our readers an equally correct picture of their mode of thinking and acting at present.
The constitutional system of government has proved as complete a failure in Greece as the absolute monarchy which terminated at the revolution of 1843. Our description of the actual condition of the country will explain the particular causes which have corrupted the representative system and the central administration. The court of King Otho is really quite as much the predominant feature in the political condition of Greece as his palace is in the landscape at Athens. Both are great deformities in scenes of great interest. There is a grotesque mimicry of royal state at the monster palace of the little capital of liberated Greece. A marshal of the palace and a master of the ceremonies, a grandmaîtresse, military and naval aidesde-camp, ordinance officers, ladies of honour, and young ladies-in-waiting, courtiers who cannot write, and courtiers who cannot ride; court carriages in a kingdom without mail-coaches; royal steam - yachts, but no packets even with oars; crosses, ribbons, and stars; salaries, places, and pensions;
everything which ruins a government, and nothing which enriches a people.
The power of the crown is great. It is supported by a civil list of one million of drachmas annually, in a state which has a net revenue of twelve. The enormous amount of this civil list may be estimated from the
* This passage may be admitted as a proof that the tribe of children was not regularly exacted from the population of the capital. The dimity Mohammed the Second found in repeopling Constantinople explains the exemptova
facts, that the salaries of the Greek ministers are only twelve thousand drachmas a-year, and of the Greek senators only six thousand. Besides the influence which this exorbitant wealth confers on the monarch, he possesses still greater social influence, for the whole of the upper classes at Athens consist of paid officials, every one of whom is liable to lose his place at a word from King Otho, who, with very little exertion on the part of that royal memory on which kings pride themselves, may recollect every man who resides at his capital qualified to enter his palace. The desire of King Otho to extend his personal influence, and centralise power in his own hands, is so great, that every individual who receives a public appointment, however insignificant, whether at Athens or in the provinces, is compelled to wait on his majesty to thank him for the favour, which he naturally pretends to consider as a reward for his attachment to the royal Bavarian, not as a reward for his services to Greece. King Otho has been an apt pupil of Louis Philippe in the political corruption that renders the constitutional system subservient to the royal power in a thoroughly centralised administration.
In one branch of political corruption King Otho may boast that he has outdone all European sovereigns. It is true, he found in the Hellenic mind a rich soil, but he may claim the merit of having worked it like a firstrate farmer. The local institutions to which the friends of Greece looked for a firm basis for liberal institutions, have in his hands been rendered the instrument for converting popular elections into royal nominations. When the Bavarian regency destroyed the communal system of Greece, they replaced it by municipalities of greater extent, and rendered the local authorities dependent on the Minister of the Interior. King Otho availed himself of the central control created by the municipal law, to make the mayor and local magistrates everywhere dependent on his personal favour. The mayors are now agents and spies of the court. This is effected in the following manner: By one of those preposterous regulations, framed by statesmen to delude the people
with a show of conferring on them free institutions, the nomination of the mayor is vested in the central government. An oligarchical college of electors selects three members of the municipality, and from these his majesty selects the most subservient to occupy the place. By availing himself skilfully of this absurd law, King Otho has filled the towns of Greece with magistrates entirely dependent on his will - men whom their fellowcitizens, if universal suffrage prevailed in the municipal elections of the mayors as it does in the more important elections of deputies to the legislature, would not allow to remain an hour in office. These nominees of the court are placed in possession of considerable salaries by the will of the central government, and as they are dependent on the court for their office, they act as its devoted agents. The consequence is, that King Otho is enabled to employ the funds of the Greek municipalities in maintaining a species of court policemen over the whole country. The influence thus gained may be estimated from the circumstance that upwards of two millions of drachmas are thus withdrawn from their legitimate use, in making roads and facilitating communications by land and water, and are devoted to pay a
band of royal shirri. Many persons in England have felt astonished that a man of such moderate talents as King Otho could render such effectual service to Russia, as to agitate the whole of Greece by making an invasion of Turkey appear a national movement. But the fact is, that the power possessed by the central government through the municipalities is so great, that we have to thank the extreme incapacity of King Otho and the general corruption of the instruments he employed for rendering the attack on Turkey as inefficient as it proved. The King gave the signal for a general recruiting to aid the Russian cause, but his instruments in the provinces employed the opportunity in attending to their own interests, before giving themselves much trouble about making a diversion for the profit of the Czar or the Bavarian. King Otho on this occasion paid the usual penalty of those who work by corruption.
We must not blame King Otho too severely for making use of corrupt persuasion as an instrument of parliamentary government. The proceedings of our Ministers rise up before us as an apology for the Greek monarchy. A Coalition of all the administrative talent of Britain cannot conduct the non-centralised government of the empire without a little local jobbery. Even Lord Aberdeen's own department publicly owns the necessity of throwing a few corrupt sops to a hungry and restive body of Liberal representatives. In the Treasury report, recommending some reforms in our post-office, the following words will be found,-it seems a very plain statement of adherence to the principles on which King Otho influences the Greek municipalities : My Lords (of the Treasury-i.e., Messrs Aberdeen & Co.) are of opinion that it is for the public interest that the appointments should be made as at present by my Lords, after consulting, through the recommendation of the members for the county or town, the convenience and wishes of the population." Population in this sentence, we presume, means the class who usually job such matters, for we have never before heard it asserted that the mob was the best judge of administrative capacity.
The fact that a man so notoriously deficient in politieal wisdom as King Otho has succeeded in establishing a system, giving him a predominant influence over the Greeks, is a sad evidence of the extreme venality of Greek society; for there can hardly be a doubt that the Greeks suggested to their King the employment of the national resources in purchasing the service of individuals instead of devoting them to the improvement of the nation.
We have but few observations to make on the late treacherous attack of King Otho and his subjects on their neighbour and ally, the Sultan Abdul Medjid. There could not be an act of greater folly; and even amidst the incapable and cowardly exhibitions of modern times, it is the national movement which has been conducted in the most incapable and cowardly manner. Of the complicity of King
Otho there never was a doubt, in spite of the denials of the Greek and German press. The courts of London and Paris have refrained from giving publicity to all the documents which fell into the hands of the Turks proving this complicity, as it was not their wish to increase the embarrassments of the hour by declaring the throne of Greece vacant. Regarding the attack on Turkey, however, in the light of a diversion for the advantage of Russia, it might have rendered important assistance to the Czar. Had it been conducted with energy and ability, it might have inflicted a serious blow on the Othoman Empire. When King Otho violated the treaties to which he owed his throne, and appealed to force as the arbiter of his future relations with Turkey, he expected, not without some chance of success, to become master of the line of fortresses that defend the frontiers of Turkey towards Greece. Volo, Domoko, Arta, and Prevesa, were almost without garrisons; and it was only by the extreme incapacity of the Greek leaders, and the misconduct of those who invaded Turkey, that these fortresses escaped capture. The court of Athens acted on the conviction that the Russian army would force the Balkan in a few weeks, and appear before the walls of Constantinople without encountering any serious resistance. It consequently believed that it would not be in the Sultan's power to detach a force sufficient to protect Thessaly and Epirus. Once in possession of the fortresses which command these provinces, the King believed that England and France would be compelled to treat with him, and leave him in possession of the spoil. Fortunately for the Othoman Empire, both the Emperor Nicholas and King Otho are very bad generais. Both appear to have calculated that the armed rabble of Greeks in fustanello could perform the duties of an army. And King Otho now finds that he has sacrificed the most valuable portion of his subjects' commerce to Russian interests, without any advantage to his cherished scheme of making himself an absolute monarch. The political morality of King
Otho, in his foreign as in his internal affairs, deserves the severest condemnation. His behaviour to Turkey has met with the most galling punishment. He retains his crown by the sufferance of those whom he has betrayed. His folly has ruined the commerce of his subjects, and transferred the neutral trade, which might have enriched the Greeks, to the ships of the Austrians, Genoese, and Neapolitans.
treaties, and the express provisions of the law, alike required, in my judgment, that all the constitutional power of the executive should be exerted to prevent the consummation of such a violation of positive law, and of that good faith on which mainly the amicable relations of neighbouring nations must depend.
"In conformity with these convictions of public duty, a proclamation was issued to warn all persons not to participate in the contemplated enterprise, and to invoke the interposition in this behalf of the proper officers of government. No provocation whatever can justify private expeditions of hostility against a country at peace with the United States."
Let us now contrast the conduct of the Greek monarch with the behaviour of the President of the United States in a similar case. Cuba is quite as desirable a possession to the Americans as Thessaly and Epirus are to the Greeks. In both countries a large part of the population eagerly desires the conquest. There is, however, this difference: The Greeks could not make any impression on their enemy, even though they took him by surprise; but the Americans would probably soon gain possession of Cuba, if their government only winked at the enterprises of private citizens. Had the President of the United States been as impolitic and selfish as King Otho, he might have encouraged piratical attacks on Cuba. The position of General Pierce bore a strong resemblance to that of the King of Greece, but his conduct was diametrically opposite. Even though General Pierce is now engaged in demanding from Spain reparation for acts of violence committed on the property of American citizens in Cuba, and though it is possible that the disputes between the two countries may soon lead to hostilities, the President of the United State uses the following terms in his Message to the Senate :
"The formal demand for immediate reparation (from Spain) has only served to call forth a justification of the local authorities of Cuba, which transfers the responsibility to the Spanish government. Meanwhile information was received that preparation was making within the limits of the United States, by private individuals, under military organisation, for a descent upon the island of Cuba, with a view to wrest it from the dominion of Spain. International comity, the obligations of
Contrast these words with King Otho's declaration to the ministers of Great Britain and France, that his royal conscience would not allow him to restrain the marauding forays and piratical expeditions of his subjects against Turkey, and that rather than attempt it he would himself march at their head. International comity and the obligations of treaties now compel the two protecting powers to employ against King Otho and the Greeks that force to which they appealed as arbiter of their relations with Turkey, and they must be forcibly obliged to observe that good faith on which mainly the amicable relations of neighbouring States must depend. Unless, therefore, the Greek King and the Greek nation can give ample security that no provocation will again induce them to commence private acts of hostility against Epirus and Thessaly while the Greek kingdom is at peace with the Othoman Empire, the tranquillity of Europe requires that the independence of Greece should be suspended, and the country remain in the power of a foreign force, until a government be firmly established which will respect the principles of the law of nations as laid down by the President of the United States in his Message to the Senate.
The Greeks in general apologise for their treacherous attempt to surprise the Turks, by declaring that the liberated territory is too small to constitute an independent State. They seem to overlook the corollary which the European cabinets may be in