Imágenes de página



FOR MARCH, 1826.

Art. I. 1. A Picture of Greece in 1825; as exhibited in the Personal Narratives of James Emerson, Esq., Count Pecchio, and W. H. Humphreys, Esq. Comprising a detailed Account of the late Campaign, and Sketches of the principal Military, Naval, and Political Chiefs. In 2 vols. royal 12mo. pp. 704. London,


2. The Greek Revolution; its Origin and Progress: together with some Remarks on the Religion, National Character, &c., in Greece. By Edward Blaquiere, Esq. Author of the Historical Review of the Spanish Revolution. 8vo. pp. 362. London, 1824. 3. Narrative of a Second Visit to Greece, including Facts connected with the last Days of Lord Byron, Extracts from Correspondence, Official Documents, &c. By Edward Blaquiere, Esq. 8vo. pp. 360. London, 1825.

[ocr errors]

4. A Visit to Greece in 1823 and 1824. By George Waddington, Esq. Fellow of Trin. Coll. Camb. and Author of Travels in Ethiopia. The Second Edition. Crown 8vo. pp. lx. 248. London,



HESE works comprise the reports of no fewer than five independent witnesses of high personal respectability relative to the affairs of Greece. On some points, their respective statements and opinions are, as might be expected, at variance; with regard to the real character of some of the most conspicuous leaders in the Revolution, singularly so; but all concur in representing the state of the country to be in every view most deplorable, and the cause, without European interference, hopeless. The sanguine hopes of those Philhellenists who looked to see a self-regenerated nation emerge like a phoenix from the flames of war, have at length given way to despondency, and in some quarters to disgust. To some persons, we fear, the cause of the Greeks has been interesting chiefly as a popular and democratic struggle which, VOL. XXV. N.S. $

it was hoped, would issue in the establishment of another free republic; and the downfall of the Turkish power would scarcely be hailed by them as a propitious event, were it to be replaced by a government formed on monarchical principles. On the other hand, the sympathy of legitimate governments seems to have been strongly excited in favour of the Turkish despotism, and the success of the Greek insurrection has been deprecated as an alarming precedent. In Italy and in Spain, the Holy Alliance has, in some measure, indemnified itself for the triumph of freedom and humanity in the western hemisphere; and it beheld with dismay a third rebellion break out in Greece, against the established order of things and the sacred rights of legitimate monarchs. Mr. Waddington states, that proofs of a correspondence between the Greek patriots and the Carbonari were presented at the Congress of Verona. It is easy to imagine what effect would be produced by such documents in the hands of Prince Metternich. The consequence was, that the Emperor Alexander, on whose favourable disposition towards them the Greek patriots so sanguinely calculated, was led to condemn the insurrection in its origin, and it appears never for a moment to have received its support. He viewed its principles as alike detestable and ominous; and the principles which he proclaimed at Laybach, were reechoed from the halls of Verona.'

[ocr errors]

During the course of the most difficult negotiation ever con'ducted, many pretexts and some reasons for war were afforded him by the blind pertinacity, not to say pugnacity, of the Turkish Government; public opinion, such as can be expressed in Russia, invited him to take advantage of them; and a part at least of his cabinet was active and incessant in its endeavours to seduce him into the same feelings; religion and ambition were eloquent in the same cause, and even honour appeared sometimes engaged to provoke him to hostility. The emperor was inflexible-bonour, or ambition, or religion, the intrigues of his ministers or the voice of his people, the very insolence of his adversary could not compel him to the support -of a cause whose principles he continued to disapprove.'

Nor was it over the mind of the Emperor Alexander only, that the master of the Emperor of Austria and of the Conti"nent succeeded in throwing his political spells. There is too much reason to believe that the late Lord Londonderry was either the easy dupe or the ready confederate of the wily Austrian. When, at length, after the atrocious massacres of 1821, an opportunity seemed to present itself for arranging the differences between the Turks and the Greeks on terms not unfavourable to the latter, a paper,' Mr. Waddington says, ⚫ was actually drawn up, by the proposal of Lord Strangford, which

was intended to be addressed to the insurgents by the foreign ministers united at Constantinople. It awaited only the sanction of the principal courts of Europe. The refusal of that sanction was, I believe, first notified by the Cabinet of Vienna. That of St. Petersburgh is stated to have been equally violent (and with more reason) in its expressions of disapprobation; and the late minister of Great Britain is said to have subscribed, without hesitation, to the political principle which prevented the ministers of legitimate sovereigns from all interference between the established Government of Turkey and its Christian rebels.'

This political principle,' however, did not prevent the interference of the ministers and armies of legitimate sovereigns between the established Government of Spain and Italy, and the rebels in those countries; any more than it prevented the French Government from interfering between Great Britain and her rebel colonies during the American war. Nor would there have been any scruple, probably, on the part of Austria, to interfere for the purpose of establishing the Imperial Butcher' more firmly on his throne, had not the sure and speedy extinction of the Greek Revolution been confidently anticipated as the result of the unaided might of the Porte. That it has not been extinguished, has been owing to nothing so much as to the weakness, imbecility, and infatuation of the Turkish Government. The Greeks have had every thing else against them, except the nature of their country and the providence of Heaven. All the efforts of British diplomatists have had for their sole object, not to meliorate the condition of the Greeks, but to prevent on the one hand a Russian, on the other a Turkish war. It must be admitted, that to have taken part openly with the Greeks against Turkey, would have been an unwise and not altogether justifiable measure. It does not appear that the Greeks ever courted our aid, or would cordially have accepted it, or were capable of being benefited by such co-operation. Mr. Emerson states, that an honourable predilection in favour of England has long been manifested by the Greek Islanders. But the Capitani or military party, who affect to consider the negotiation of the loan as equivalent to the sale of the Morea, call themselves Anti-Anglicans. On this account, Mr. Waddington says, they are stigmatised by their adversaries with the name of Russians; but he is of opinion that there does not exist in the whole country, a party either really Russian or really English. In the first instance, it is certain, however, that the Patriots looked to Russia for aid. Since then, German, French, and American adventurers and intriguers have had no small share in the affairs of Greece. The British Government of the Ionian Isles was long regarded

[ocr errors]

by the Greeks as actually inimical to their cause. Even if the military occupation of Greece by Great Britain could have been deemed a feasible and justifiable measure, it is not clear that we should not have found, at one time, a hostile population in the Greeks themselves, and traitors in their leaders. But had a favourable disposition towards the Greeks existed in the British Government at the commencement of the struggle, had the claims of humanity, to say nothing of policy, been allowed their due weight, some effort might surely have been made, without endangering the peace of Europe, to put a stop to a contest which involves every passive looker-on in almost the guilt of an accomplice.

• When the continental cabinets,' remarks Mr. Waddington,' shall at last perceive, that there is no longer any prospect of the subjugation or extirpation of the insurgents; when they shall at last be brought to confess, that nearly half a million of human beings whom they have allowed to be sacrificed in their presence, have poured forth their innocent blood in vain; and that the nerveless arm of the Sultan is unequal to the task of restoring the social order of his dominions; then perhaps will the philanthropic president of the Holy Alliance and its pacific and social minister unite with the British Government in the easy effort of obliging the Sublime Porte to some sort of convention with its intractable rebels.'

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

A single effort of sincere union between England and Russia, with or without Austria,' would, he adds, be sufficient to effect the emancipation of Greece from the Turkish yoke. At length, however, even the Porte itself seems disposed to come to terms; and in the event either of a Russian war, or of the Pasha of Egypt being embroiled with the Porte, their independence, if not their liberty, may be considered as achieved.

In the mean time, the most interesting inquiry relates to the real character of the leading men in the conflicting parties. The cause of freedom in Spain was lost through the want of efficient leaders,-the imbecility of the Constitutionalists, the jealousies, venality, and treachery of the Captains. These two great parties are now contending in Greece for ascendancy. This is always the case in revolutions. The Legislature seeks to usurp the prerogatives of the Executive, and to make the army its tool. The army, the only efficient Executive, is impatient of its many-headed master. The one grasps at the sword, while the other demands the purse, both of which are never safe in the same hands. The happiest event for Greece would be, that some Cromwell should step in between the two parties, and lay the foundations of a Grecian monarchy. But neither

Cromwells nor Washingtons, nor even Bolivars and Victorias are to be looked for among the Capitani of Greece.

The most prominent and clever personage among all who have taken any share in public affairs, is the person styling ' himself Prince Mavrocordato,'-as Sir Thomas Maitland chose contemptuously to designate him. He may be considered as the head of the Constitutionalists. His person is thus described by Mr. Emerson.

'I was rather disappointed in the appearance of Mavrocordato: his figure is small, and any thing but dignified or prepossessing. The little of his countenance which is visible through his bushy hair and eye-brows, and his fiercely curling mustachios, indicates more of childishness than intellect, though the deep glance of a penetrating eye gives it an occasional animation. His manners, like those of all Fanariots, though easy and obliging, contains too much of an overstrained politeness, which seems like intriguing servility; and this, together with a studied lightness of conversation and an extremely silly laugh, renders the first impression of him by no means favourable.'

This is not a very pleasing portrait. Count Pecchio speaks of him in the following terms.

He is

• His countenance appeared to me much handsomer and more animated than the pictures of him in London. He dresses à la Francaise. When I saw him the first time at Calamata, his dress was in holes, or rather torn, which proceeded, in my opinion, more from affectation than necessity. He speaks French with facility and elegance; his conversation is lively, agreeable, and full of wit. very ready in his answers. One day, General Roche remarked, "It is really a singular thing, that more is said at Paris about the affairs of Greece, than in Greece itself." Mavrocordato replied, "That is, because it is easier to talk than to act." The General then replied, "I believe it rather proceeds from our always speaking, like lovers, of those we love." Mavrocordato rejoined, "Pity that hitherto your love has been only Platonic." He has all the talents requisite in a secretary of state; and understands and expedites business with readiness. His enemies, unable to deny his ability on this point, say, that he handles the pen better than the sword. He does not possess such influence over his countrymen, as his talents and patriotism authorize; the reason is, that being born at Fanari, without connexions in Greece, without wealth, he is obliged to struggle singly against factions and cabals. For the same cause he is frequently obliged to make use of the arms of his enemies, and will find it difficult to reach the supreme authority in Greece. He is versed in the labyrinth of European politics, and his primary object is to preserve Greece independent. But, if ever she should be compelled to choose a protector, I am of opinion that Mavrocordato would give the preference to the most powerful. and disinterested state-to Great Britain.'

« AnteriorContinuar »