Images de page
PDF
ePub

dered by the orders of a former sultan, though their pardon had been stipulated with Catharine II. Their hopes were also strengthened by the war which broke out between Turkey and Persia, and they never gave up the confidence that the "Moscoviti" would at last arm for their protection, which Russia had taken upon herself in the three last treaties with the Porte. Meanwhile the Turkish general in Epirus, Khurshid Pacha, who was besieging the rebel Ali (q. v.), in Yanina, had sent troops against the Suliots, into the Morea and to Thessaly. But the Ætolians under Rhangos, and the Acarnanians under the brothers Hyscus, obliged the Turks to shut themselves up in Arta, and made themselves masters of Salona. Ulysses put himself at the head of some Armatolics (q. v.), in Thessaly, and the archimandrite, Anthymos Gazis, called the peasants to arms. In Euboea (Negropont), all the peasants took up arms, and obliged the Turks to shut themselves up in the fortified cities; but these movements were not decisive, because they took place without coöperation; and, in fact, nothing was effected, but the driving the Turks from the country into the cities. The pacha of Saloniki delivered the pacha who was besieged in Larissa. Omer Vrione, the lieutenant of Khurshid Pacha, entered Livadia; the inhabitants of Athens fled to the islands; the Acropolis was garrisoned by Turks. The Greeks afterwards retook Athens, and attempted to reduce the Acropolis by famine; but it was relieved by Omer Vrione, July 30, 1821, and the inhabitants of Athens again fled to Salamis. On the Achaian sea, Greek and other pirates frustrated the plans of the navarchs (admirals) in Hydra, and the European powers were obliged to protect their vessels by cruisers. In the general confusion, the islanders distinguished themselves by their valor in battle, and their greater order in the organization of government; and if much complaint has been made against their piracies, it must be remembered, that the convulsed state of things offered great temptations to piracy; that the government was too weak to repress it; and that, privateering being lawful against the Turks, it was not strange that a people, so much removed from the influence of European civilization, exceeded the legitimate limits of private warfare. The Greek sailors were bolder and much more expert than the Turkish, their vessels much swifter. In fact, we can hardly imagine a navy in a more

wretched state of discipline than the Turkish. When, therefore, the first Turkish squadron left the Dardanelles, May 19, the Greeks constantly pursued it with their fire-ships, avoiding, at the same time, a general engagement; and, June 8, they attacked a vessel of the line, which had got ashore at Tenedos, burned it, and compelled the rest of the squadron to put back to the Dardanelles. June 15, the Ipsariots landed on the coast of Asia Minor, and took possession of the ancient Cydonia, now the Greek city of Aivali; but, after they had retired, the Turks burned the city, and 35,000 inhabitants either perished or were driven from their homes. The ill success of their expedition added fresh fuel to the rage of the Turks. The Greeks in the island of Candia, who had avoided all participation in the insurrection, were disarmed, and their archbishop and several clergymen executed. But the peasants in the mountains, and the inhabitants of the small island Sphakia, called the Suliots of Candia, refused to give up their arms, collected, and drove the Turks back again into the towns. From that time, the struggle continued, and the Turks, though supported by several thousand men from Egypt, were never again able to make themselves masters of the highlands. They, however, maintained themselves in the cities. Madden, in his Travels in Egypt, &c., gives some interesting details of the Egyptian expedition to Candia. On the island of Cyprus, where also there had been no appearances of an insurrection, the Greeks were disarmed in November, 1821, and almost all the inhabitants of Larnica, with the archbishop and other prelates, murdered. The peasants united for mutual protection; as a punishment for which 62 villages were burned in August, 1822. Since that time, the stillness of the grave has brooded over Cyprus. Similar atrocities were committed by the Turks at Scala Nuova, in Rhodes and at Pergamos, after the Greeks had surprised the latter place. In Smyrna, also, new cruelties were committed; and the European consuls did not succeed until November, 1821, in inducing the pacha to put a stop to the enormities of the Turks. Since that time, the public security has rarely been interrupted in that place.* But in the European prov

[ocr errors][merged small]

inces of Turkey, the cruelties against Christians continued, as the sultan had issued a hatti-sheriff (September 20, 1821), calling upon all Mussulmans to take arms against the Giaours. This order was not published in Constantinople, for which the populace, in that place, revenged themselves by setting fire to the city, whenever news of ill success exasperated them against the Greeks.

The great Turkish fleet, under the capudan pacha, Kara Ali, strengthened by Egyptian, Tunisian and Algerine vessels, had, indeed, driven away the Greek flotillas, supplied the Turkish garrisons in the Morea with troops, arms and provisions, burned the small village of Galaxidi, in the gulf of Lepanto, October 2, 1821, and taken some small Greek fishing craft in the harbor of this place. Yet the fleet had effected nothing decisive. Hardly had it returned to the Dardanelles, October 22, 1821, when the Greek fleets renewed their system of blockade, and became, as formerly, masters of the Egean sea and the gulf of Saloniki. Meanwhile, Demetrius Ypsilanti had arrived at Hydra, with prince Alexander Cantacuzeno, with authority from his brother, Alexander Ypsilanti. In Hydra, the unfortunate result of the struggle in Walachia was not yet known. Demetrius promised the aid of Russia, and announced the restoration of the Greek empire. Yet it was with great difficulty that he succeeded in being appointed, on July 24, 1821, archistrategos (commander-in-chief) of the Peloponnesus, the Archipelago, and all the liberated provinces, and, as such, in being placed at the head of the Greeks in the Morea, where the dissensions among the capitani, and the undisciplined state of the soldiery, had a most injurious effect. Soon after (August 3), the principal Turkish fortress, Monembasia (Napoli di Malvasia) surrendered to prince Cantacuzeno, and Navarino to Demetrius Ypsilanti; but the rapacious Moreots did not observe the articles of capitulation. Some details of what happened after the capitulation of Navarino are related in the editor's Journal in Greece (in German, Leipsic, 1823). Demetrius, disgusted at this disorder, declared his intention to leave Greece, unless he were invested with power to put a stop to this licentiousness, which he received at least nominally. At the same time, the senate of Calamata united with persons, who would otherwise have become the victims of Turkish or Greek fanaticism.

that of Hydra, in order to assemble a congress of deputies from all Greece, at Calamata. Whilst Mavrocordato and others were making these preparations, Demetrius Ypsilanti was closely besieging Tripolizza, the chief fortress of the Turks, situated in the plain of Mautinea, in the centre of Greece. The garrison was on the point of surrendering, when the appearance of the Turkish fleet, in the waters of the Peloponnesus, gave them new courage. But in order to induce the Turkish troops to make an obstinate resistance, from fear of the vengeance of the Christians, the Turkish commanders, at Tripolizza, ordered 80 priests and noble Greeks, who had been brought there, in part, by the treacherous invitations of the beys, to be all murdered, excepting two. October 5, after 2000 Albanians had received permission to depart, and the negotiations with the Turks were broken off, Tripolizza was taken by storm. The last post was surrendered, on terms of capitulation, by the gallant Kiaja Bey; but the Moreots could not be restrained, and 8000 Turks perished. Even the Albanians were attacked, and some of them plundered. In Tripolizza, the Moreots gained their first heavy cannon, and the place became the seat of the soi-disant Greek government, until it was transferred to Argos.

Ulysses was equally successful in Thessally. He and some other guerilla leaders, or capitani, among whom was Perevos, on September 5 and 6, near Thermopylæ, defeated a Turkish army, which had advanced from Macedonia. January 26, 1822, the Acrocorinthus (q. v.) fell into the hands of the Greeks by capitulation. On the other hand, the pacha of Saloniki took the peninsula of Cassandra, Nov. 11, by storm, the Greeks having become enfeebled by dissensions. 3000 Greeks were put to the sword, women and children carried into slavery, and the flourishing peninsula made a desert. The monks and hermits on mount Athos (Monte Santo), alone saved themselves by a heavy ransom, and remained undisturbed, because the Turks consider these rocky hermitages sacred. At the same time, Khurshid Pacha, November 13, assaulted Ali's fortress Zathariza, and the old tyrant of Epirus in vain expected succor from the Greeks in his last place of refuge, a castle in the lake near Yanina. The Greeks, towards the end of November, having occupied Arta, without obtaining possession of the citadel, were obliged to leave the city in the middle of December, when Omer Vrione returned from Livadia, and dis

perse themselves in the mountains. During this irregular war, the government began to acquire some form, as the separate senates established connexions with each other. They invested Demetrius Ypsilanti with the chief command in the Morea, Ulysses with the same office in Thessaly, and somewhat later also in Attica. Prince Mavrocordato received the chief command in the Albanian provinces. They finally sent prince Cantacuzeno to the emperor Alexander, to implore his assistance; but the prince could not obtain passports for St.Petersburg, because the system of the holy alliance was neutrality (as they called it), and discouragement of the Greek insurrection. Equally unsuccessful were the navarchs, in Hydra, in their attempts to secure the neutrality of the viceroy of Egypt by sea, as he now hoped for an opportunity of uniting Crete with Egypt.

First Attempt towards a Political Organization of the Greeks, January 13 (January 1), 1822, in Epidaurus, until the second National Assembly in Astro, March 14, 1823. With the greatest difficulty, Mavrocordato and some prelates had succeeded in giving somewhat of a federative constitution and a central government to a country which was by no means yet entirely freed from the Turks, and was occupied by parties often hostile to each other. The western part of GreeceAcarnania, Ætolia and Epirus, sent thirty deputies to Missolonghi, who, under the presidency of Alexander Mavrocordato, formed a government or gerousia, Nov. 4, 1821, consisting of ten members; the eastern part of the main-land, comprising Attica, Boeotia, Eubœa, Phocis, Locris, Doris, Ozola, Thessaly and Macedonia, sent thirty-three deputies to Salona, who, under the presidency of Theodore Negris, formed, on the 16th of November, the areopagus of fourteen members. The Morea, or the Peloponnesus, with the islands of Hydra, Ipsara, Spezzia, &c., sent sixty deputies to Argos, who assembled, Dec. 1, under the presidency of prince Demetrius, and established the Peloponnesian gerousia of twenty members. These three governments were to prepare a permanent constitution, which was to receive, in future, such amendments as experience should suggest. For this purpose, 67 deputies from all the provinces of Greece formed the first national assembly in Epidaurus, Jan. 10, 1822, under the presidency of Mavrocordato, which, January 13, the Greek new year's day, proclaimed a provisionary constitution. Its principles were the following: the annual

The

election of all chief magistrates of the provinces, districts and communities; laws were to be made by the concurrent vote of the deliberative and executive councils; the execution of laws was to rest with the executive council, which appointed the eight ministers; the independence of the judiciary was to be provided for; this branch of government was to be exercised by the district, provincial and supreme courts. The congress then elected the thirty-three members of the legislative and the five members of the executive council. Mavrocordato was elected proëdros, or president; Theod. Negris, secretary of state of the executive council; Ypsilanti, who had expected this place, was appointed president of the legislative council, but never discharged the duties of his office. Finally, the congress of Epidaurus issued a manifesto, Jan. 27, 1822, in which they pronounced the union of the Greeks under an independent federative government. operation of this was not so beneficial as had been expected. A people so long enslaved, and so deficient in civilization, could not at once establish a wise and firm government. The central government fixed its seat at Corinth, and, at a later period, again at Argos. The Porte was now obliged to divide its forces. One army was unsuccessfully employed in Armenia on the Euphrates, against the Persians; another was stationed on the Danube, to observe the Russian army in Bessarabia. But Ali's fall encouraged the Porte, and it was with difficulty that the Austrian and English ministers could convince the divan of the peaceable intentions of Alexander. But, in 1822, at the request of Russia, the sultan ordered the restoration of some Greek churches, and the election of a new patriarch in the usual way. The choice fell upon Anthymos, bishop of Chalcedon. He was treated with respect, for the purpose of inducing the Greeks to accept the amnesty. The Asiatic hordes, in May, 1822, evacuated the principalities of Walachia and Moldavia, after committing every kind of excess; in July, new hospodars were appointed-Ghika for Walachia, and Sturdza for Moldavia; both were Boyards, and Greeks were excluded from all offices in the principalities. The new hospodars were under the superintendence of Turkish seraskiers, and European Turks continued to occupy the principalities; they were, however, withdrawn from Jassy, which they burned and pillaged, August 10, 1822, enraged at the orders of the divan.

rea.

Meanwhile, the year 1822 had produced important results in Greece, because both parties had followed, in some sort, a military plan of operations. After Ali's fall, Khurshid Pacha in Thessaly determined to collect reinforcements from Rumelia, in order to conquer Livadia and Morea, whilst, in February and March, 1822,a Turkish fleet, under Hali Bey, was to reinforce the garrisons in the Morea, so that Jussuf Pacha, from Patras and Lepanto, could support Khurshid's attack upon the isthmus and his invasion of the MoBut the attempt of the Turkish fleet to reduce the Morea by fresh troops, totally failed, and the opposition of the Suliots kept back the seraskier in Epirus. These events gave Colocotroni time to shut up the troops, which had been landed in Patras, and to send assistance to Acarnania. At the same time, new insurrections broke out in several places, which again divided the power of the Turks. The misfortune of Scio saved the Greek main-land. The numerous Greek population of the flourishing and defenceless island of Scio (see Scio) had declined every invitation to engage in the revolution; but, March 23, 1822, a Greek fleet from Samos, under Logotheti, having appeared on the coasts, the peasants, who labored under the greatest oppressions, took up arms. Great disorders occurred, and the Turks, after having taken 80 hostages from among the richest inhabitants of the city, retired into the citadel. At this moment, the great Turkish fleet made its appearance. In order to punish Scio, the capúdan pacha abandoned his plan of operations against the Morea, and landed (April 11th) 15,000 of the most barbarous of the Asiatic troops, after the Sciots had rejected the offer of amnesty. The islanders were beaten, and in a few days the paradise of Scio was changed into a scene of fire and blood. It was with great difficulty, and at the risk of their own lives, that the European consuls (among whom the courageous French consul Digeon was distinguished), and the captains of some European vessels, were able to save a few hundred Greeks. Part of the people escaped to their vessels; others continued the struggle of despair in the mountains. The European consuls, by means of a pastoral letter of the archbishop, and by the written assurance of the surviving hostages, that the Sciots might trust the offered amnesty, if they would deliver up their leaders and their arms, finally effected the submission of the peasants. Still, murders, burnings and

pillaging did not cease. According to the Turkish lists, down to the 25th of May, 41,000 Sciots, mostly women and children, were sold into slavery. A similar fate was prepared for Ipsara, Tine and Samos. But the Ipsariots, having already made preparations to send their families to the Morea, hovered round the Turkish fleet with 70 small vessels, among which were several fire-ships, called hephastia, which were as ingeniously constructed as they were skilfully directed. Fortythree Ipsariots and Hydriots devoted themselves to death, rowed with their scampavias (a kind of gunboats) into the midst of the fleet of the enemy, which still lay in the road of Scio; and in the night of June 18, 1822, captain George attached fire-ships to the ship of the capudan pacha and to another vessel of the line. The former blew up, with 2286 men; the latter was saved. The capudan pacha was mortally wounded, and carried on shore, where he died. The Turks were at first stupified; but their rage soon broke out, and the last traces of cultivation, the mastic villages, so lucrative to the Porte, were destroyed. In Constantinople, Turks bought Sciots merely for the purpose of putting them to death at pleasure. The merchants of Scio, resident at Constantinople, and the hostages which were carried thither, were executed in secret or in public, without any kind of legal process. Thus the Morea and the Archipelago were taught what fate they were to expect. The Porte, however, began to perceive that it was destroying its own resources by the system of devastation. The pacha of Smyrna, therefore, received strict injunctions from the sultan to maintain order and to protect the Greeks. In Scio, the new governor, Jussuf Bey, gave back the lands to those Greeks who returned. In Cyprus, where the murder of the Christians had been continued until the end of 1822, Salih Bey, a humane officer of the pacha of Egypt, finally protected the district under his command from utter devastation; and, in 1823, the new governor, Seid Mehemet, endeavored to restore order in the whole island. The insurgents also occupied the Turkish troops in Macedonia. The enormities of the Asiatic troops, who traversed this province, to join Khurshid's army, excited an insurrection among the mountaineers, who had previously remained quiet. Under the capitani Diamantis, Tassos and others, they occupied the passes of the Olympus, and, March 24, 1822, captured the im

portant place of Cara-Veria, the ancient Bercea. But the pacha of Saloniki, Abbolubut, finally defeated them with his cavalry at Niausta; the peasants dispersed, and about 150 villages experienced the fate of Scio. 5000 Christian families perished, and the pacha boasted that he had murdered in one day 1500 women and children. Even the Porte disapproved these measures, and the pacha was condemned to be strangled; but, surrounded by his body-guard, in the fortress of Saloniki, he escaped the execution of the sentence. (The Porte afterwards, how ever, appointed him seraskier of Rumelia, and in November, 1823, he marched with 15,000 men from Larissa to Zeitun.) Whilst Scio was desolated, and Macedonia bled, the central government at Corinth, under Mavrocordato, president of the executive council, was engaged, in connexion with the provincial governments, in organizing the administration of the country, provisionally, by the law of April 30, 1822 (the first year of independence), introducing order into the army, raising a loan, promising the soldiers land (by the law of May 7, 1822, May 19, new style), and, as there existed no taxes except customs, in laying a tax on the productions of the soil; but they met with resistance in almost all their attempts, particularly from the old capitani, who had been entirely independent during the government of the Turks. Each desired to command and to fight on his own account, and for his own profit. Thus the avaricious and ambitious Colocotroni, the fierce Ulysses,* and the haughty Mavromichalis, and even Ypsilanti, yielded with reluctance to the new order of things. The deficiency of human language, which obliges us to use the same word for things which are very different, constantly creates misunderstanding, and we must warn our readers not to connect with the words government, ministers, law, &c., applied to Greece at this time, such ideas as they annex to the words when used of European or North American affairs. If a nation, which has been for centuries in a state of oppression and lawlessness, rises, it must undergo many changes before the elements of order are developed. Under the Turks, the Greeks had no connexion with each other; how could they be expected to form at once a peaceful whole? * Ulysses even ordered a brave officer, the colone! Haverino Palasca, and a capitano, Alexis Nuzzo, sent by government to induce the wild capitano to act in concert with a general plan of operations, to be put to death.

The bravest soldiers among them were the capitani from Maina and Suli, but these had been, mostly, clephtes or robbers, totally independent, and wished to continue the war independently, for their own interests, as they had previously done. Of this class is Colocotroni. Submission to any sort of national organization was foreign to their habits. The inhabitants of the Morea were mostly wretched peasants, who had always lived in such a state of bondage, that they were only fit to engage an enemy under shelter, or when their numbers were greatly superior, but could never be brought to fight in open combat on equal terms. They were, moreover, poor, and few among them could be induced to make any sacrifices. At the same time, they thought liberty delivered them from all taxes; and, indeed, what had they to pay? War, putting a stop to production, left the government without resources, and without the means of exercising authority. Add to this, that the Greeks were continually quarrelling among themselves. The editor was present at a fight between the capitano Niketas and some Moreots, for the possession of some cattle. Under these circumstances, the words law and government must be understood in a very restricted sense. The editor's Journal, above referred to, relates particularly to the state of Greece at this period. All that enabled the Greeks to continue their struggle was the wretchedly undisciplined character of their Turkish enemies. Mavrocordato had a difficult part to perform, because he had not obtained his dignity of proëdros on the field of battle. Yet, by the influence of Negris, he received the command of the expedition to Western Hellas (Epirus), with full civil and military power. The proëdros, with 2000 Peloponnesians and the corps of Philhellenes* (about 300 men, under general Normann, formerly a general in the Würtemberg service), joined, on June 8, the Albanian bands of the brave Marco Botzaris, for the purpose of covering Missolonghi, the strong-hold of Western Hellas, of relieving Suli, and capturing Arta. Here they had to contend with the pacha of Yanina, Omer Vrione, and the pacha of Arta, Ruchid, whilst the Turkish commander-in-chief(seraskier) Khurshid, who had made an unsuccessful attack on Thermopyleæ in May, had forced his way (June 17) through Tricala to Larissa. Šuli, in

*Those Europeans and Americans who had gone to Greece to serve in the insurrection.

« PrécédentContinuer »