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Greeks take the accomplishment of their wishes into their own hands, as the Italians have done? The Greeks ask for an extension of territory : let the Rayahs be placed on a better footing, and they will be silent. The Congress justified the exclusion of the greatest part of Greece from the new kingdom, by offering a home to those disposed to expatriate themselves from the enslaved provinces : but it has been since denied them, for the Greeks of the Turkish provinces, who availed themselves of the offer, find themselves on the contrary as exiles in a foreign land, though neighbouring to their own, but in reality as alien as if in another hemisphere, on account of the rigour with which the Ottoman authorities prevent their communicating with their native country.
Many of the young Greeks have become distinguished lawyers, and have gained considerable renown by their literary as well as their forensic acquirements; and in most cases these have belonged to the Fanar. This name is derived from the lantern, or lighthouse, which stood in the quarter of the town inhabited by the remnants of the Byzantine families. After the fall of the Lower Empire, the principal Constantinopolitan Greeks, retired to this part of the city; and these are their descendants. They still retain the characteristics which are ascribed by the historian Anna Comnena to their ancestors: a prevailing taste for letters, and habits of constant study are peculiar to them.
“It is in the Fanar that we discover the purest remains of ancient literature," says a modern writer, the Hon. J. Douglas; “ and the patronage of its inhabitants has supported the few men of genius who have of late appeared among the Greeks.” Mr. Conder says, among this class (speaking from private information of the highest respectability) may be found examples of every social virtue which can adorn human nature ; probity, hospitality, 'strict honour, purity of morals, and decidedly the most finished politeness and the highest tone of manners that are to be met with in any capital. Neither the Castilian nor the Parisian presents a finer specimen of the true gentleman than the Constantinopolitan Greek.”
The Fanariotes rose to power in Turkey, from the absolute necessity under which the Divan was placed of employing them as dragomans. These high offices led to the still higher trust of provincial governments; and Wallachia and Moldavia, of which the inhabitants had so little analogy with the Turks that an ordinary pasha found it difficult to rule them, were confided to the absolute sway of Fanariotes. They were thus made reigning princes; and these honours almost became hereditary in some families (those of Soutzo and others); while they were recognised as such at foreign courts, and received the title of i Most Serene Highness."
When the revolution broke out, one of the principal Fanariotes, Prince Morousi, was beheaded, along with the unfortunate Gregory, Patriarch of the Greek Church; and others took refuge in Russia, where they were received by the government with the greatest kindness and respect. The princes Ypsilanti and Mavrocordato, who were two of the most distinguished among them, came to Greece, and became the main supporters of the cause ; while the young Fanariotes all looked towards free Greece as their future country. They have now altered their views, however; and by their ardent desire of seeing the Greeks of the Turkish Provinces more free, they have fostered the spirit of change in Greece, which tends directly to produce some violent and sudden
mutation of the respective conditions of the different portions of the Greek nation.
Those who have come to Greece from Turkey, as well from Constantinople as from the provinces of Thessaly, Macedonia, and Epirus, or from the Greek islands still included in the Ottoman Empire, are obliged to remain there in the mean time; and cannot return, because the Turkish government persecutes those who dare to cross the frontier after having fought against or left the dominions of the sultan. They have not only lost their lands, but in many cases their families, and have indeed had occasion to lament their hard fate for the last nineteen years. But now a change has arisen in the comparative fortune of the still enslaved provinces, and of free Greece, for the citizens of the latter can only look forward to the insignificance of a small and powerless state; while Thessaly, Macedonia, and Epirus, may confidently anticipate a far brighter lot, although uncertain as to the time of its consummation.
No less than seven different insurrections have taken place in the kingdom of Greece within the last two years, and five of them were raised by natives of the Turkish provinces who had entered the service of King Otho. The ultimate object is the extension of territory, although the immediate motive assigned has always been dissatisfaction with the government; and, of a truth, that element of change, as well as the former, is not wanting in Greece.
DISCONTENT OF THE GREEKS OF EUROPEAN TURKEY. The kingdom of Greece is peopled by 850,000 inhabitants. It thus contains but a small fraction of the Greek nation, which is supposed to number at least 5,000,000; and moreover, the population of the free kingdom being far from exclusively Greek, the proportion comes to be even still less. There remains, therefore, a numerous population of Greeks in the Turkish empire, of which the Ionian race, or those of Asia Minor, form a very considerable section ; but these are in a totally different state from their fellow-countrymen of Turkey in Europe, on account of their having undergone a less harsh treatment, and passed through milder trials. They are not possessed of the same martial and stubborn character, and have been more easily subdued; while the less tractable spirit of the European Greeks has kept them in a state of perpetual resistance and hostility towards the Turks. The consequence of their yielding temper has been, that the Asiatic Greeks do not suffer an equal degree of oppression from the Turks with whom they live, humbly and submissively acknowledging their superiority, and kissing the rod that beats them. The component parts of the population do not therefore exist in the same state of conflict. They are confined in Asia Minor to the two great families of Greeks and Turks, because the Armenians, although in considerable numbers, do not form a united body of people. Rayahs like the Greeks ; the latter have submitted so unequivocally to the dominion of the Turks that they have ceased to be a nation, and are now nothing more than the lowest class of the Ottoman population. With the Armenians, Christianity has not created any feeling incompatible with the habits and character of the Osmanli; and their example has, to a certain extent, reacted upon the Greeks of Asia Minor. This statement, however, is only appli
cable to the lower orders of Armenians; for in the large towns there are merchants and bankers of that race who are well entitled to, and do in fact enjoy, the respect of all classes. In the Asiatic provinces of Turkey the Mahommedans are much more numerous than the Christians, and the minority is much more easily kept in subordination; as the influence of the bold Albanians, so powerfully felt by the Greeks of Europe, is wanting in Asia. There the Rayahs, both Armenian and Greek, rest comparatively satisfied with their servile lot; and being resigned to their helpless destiny, their nationality has disappeared, and their very language is almost entirely superseded by the Turkish. In the great commercial towns, such as Smyrna and Broussa, it is true, the Greeks are in a far different condition; but there the contact with civilised European nations, and the activity of trade, have so mingled the various castes, that the feeling of social inequality hardly exists. The Rayahs of the interior are an abject race, who console themselves for the humiliations of their position by the enjoyments of a fertile soil, rich pastures, and exuberant vineyards. The Greeks, therefore, of these Asiatic provinces of Turkey have no claim to the same degree of commiseration with those of Thessaly, Macedonia, and Epirus. They do not suffer so much, being more submissive, and the pressure upon them being from that reason milder and more endurable; and consequently their present condition does not call so loudly for relief from the great powers which rule the destinies of nations.
The European Greeks are now as much vilified as they were extolled during their War of Independence. The Turkish rule is even asserted to be more suited to their nature than any system of government of their own ; and it is thought by some, that as Rayahs they are happier than they would be if free. And it must be admitted that this theme is supported by the experience of the Greeks who have been emancipated from Turkish bondage; for the free citizens of the Greek kingdom still talk of “the good old time of the Turks" in connexion with the taxation and other civil institutions of their state of independence. But this, be it observed, is an argument which only tells against the kingdom of Greece, without implying much in favour of Turkey; for it must be recollected that the Greek kingdom is misruled, and that the condition the European Rayah may hope to attain is far other than that which the free Greeks now possess. There are instances even now of greater happiness in Turkey than the peasant enjoys in Greece; but it should be kept in mind that these are exceptions to the general rule of the Rayah's circumstances. What is wished for by the Thessalians, Macedonians, and Epirotes is, that such a state should be insured to them all without exception; and it would not be of much consequence to any one but the sultan himself, whether it be under him or under a foreign prince. If it can be realised, therefore, without dismemberment of the Turkish empire, it will be so much the more desirable. joy There is an example of the degree of prosperity at which the Greeks may arrive under a mild government, in one of the provinces of Asia Minor ; and it is the more remarkable, as having occurred among the abject people, and under the absolute tyrants of that country; but the peasants in question were Epirote Greeks, and the Turk, under whom it took place, was "one among a thousand.” Many of the inhabitants of European Turkey, and especially of the dominions of Ali Pasha, had taken a refuge from oppression in emigration : some of them were, for
that purpose, attracted to Magnesia in Asia Minor, by the great reputation for justice and humanity which Cara Osman Oglu, chief of that country, had acquired ; and they settled in the plains watered by the rivers Hermus and Caicus, and soon brought them to a high state of cultivation and prosperity ; thus renewing the peaceful and happy rule of the Pergamenian kings in this magnificent country under a Turkish pasha.
The industrious and, consequently, rich communities of Thessaly are also convincing proofs that the Greeks, under circumstances which are favourable for turning the natural resources of a country to an advantageous account, do actually possess internal means of attaining wealth, happiness, and power. But in their present condition these are weighed down and buried under the superincumbent mass of ignorant tyranny and stupid persecution which form the principles of Turkish government.
The Greeks of the European provinces of the empire consider their happiest lot to be, when they are suffered to vegetate unnoticed by the Turks. This state of oblivion was enjoyed, for instance, by the islands of the Archipelago before the Revolution, as they were visited only once a year by the capitan pasha for the purposes of exaction. During the remainder òf the year, their inhabitants never saw a Turk : and when the Rayah succeeds in thus eluding observation, he considers himself fortunate ; but vexations and affronts are seldom tardy in reaching him: ruin and death hang over his head like the sword of Damocles; and the first opportunity of oppression and exaction speedily terminate his enjoy. ment of insignificance and oblivion. His family is then cruelly ill-treated, and his property is amerced. The slightest appearance of resentment, or even complaint, on the part of the sufferer, brings down upon him the most overwhelming oppression ; and by prostrate humility alone can he save his fortune or domestic honour from farther injury. Let him not, therefore, be condemned by the observer for dissimulation and cowardice; for these are the only means he dare resort to for safety, and even sometimes for maintaining fidelity to his religion. But when we consider that an act of apostacy to his faith would place him in the enjoyment of peace, protection, and independence, let him rather be extolled for his constancy.
It cannot be denied, at the same time, that a long and intimate acquaintance with the Greeks rarely fails to destroy any enthusiastic admiration which their unparalleled and adventurous history may have excited ; although it is, perhaps, scarcely fair to place them lower in the scale of morality than most other Eastern nations, which, although more or less free from the baneful influence of slavery, are generally imbued with similar characteristics. Undeniably the Greeks are a clever, lively, quick, and perspicacious race, apt and ready in the acquirement of arts and sciences, possessed of great versatility of talent, and capable of learning foreign languages with wonderful facility. Indeed it appears almost miraculous how illiterate men, such as are met with among the Greeks in the sea-port towns, should be able to acquire fluency in seven or eight different languages; and instances are equally frequent, in the better educated classes of Greeks, of their promptitude in mastering the difficulties of different arts. Among these latter, indeed, are to be found highly accomplished men, who do everything well, and with so much apparent ease to themselves as to prove how little effort is required to
enable them to excel. Their manners are fascinating in the extreme, but there is a tone of flattery in the voice, and a glance of insincerity in the eye, which generally destroys the charm they would otherwise possess; and joined to their politeness is a degree of obsequiousness, which banishes cordiality and confidence, leaving an impression that their civilities are not disinterested. In fact, covetousness is the ruling passion of the Greek, and avarice is his greatest vice ; he delights in usury; and generosity, in his estimate, indicates a weak intellect.
To the rich and powerful the Greeks are hospitable, and will often, even in the middling and inferior ranks of life, positively refuse any remuneration from strangers who come to their houses in towns where there are no inns; but in this there is usually a lurking design of future profit, or of thereby securing a friend where protection may be required.
Sir J. C. Hobhouse observes on this subject, that “they are attentive, and perform the rites of hospitality with good-humour and politeness, though no person can be sure that a speech of one of this people, however inviting in its beginning, will not terminate in the horrors of a petition ;” and in this he forms a correct judgment.
Nevertheless it would not be quite fair to conclude that meanness and hypocrisy are failings inherent in the nature of the race, for these are always to be found in a higher degree where the chains of slavery gall the most ; and it is surprising to observe the wide difference which exists between the characteristics of the various portions of the Greek population, according as their treatment by the Turks is more or less favourable to the development of their better qualities. Fraud is the first lesson which the rayah teaches his child ; and as a trade or handicraft is taught in other countries in order to enable boys to gain their livelihood, they are required in Turkey to serve an apprenticeship in the necessary art of deceiving the Turks. Under such circumstances, nothing else can be looked for than what exists; and a better moral character would be an inexplicable phenomenon with the Greeks of the northern provinces, as they now stand in respect to their masters, because every stimulus to honourable efforts, for the purpose of securing their possessions or gaining their bread, is denied them. Let them not, therefore, be blamed for bowing to the iron law of necessity, but let them rather be applauded because their faults are not greater ; for what are called the great vices of civilised nations are almost unknown among them: and this is a most significant fact, although we must admit petty pilfering and insincerity to be very frequent. The constant state of fear in which they live produces habitual deceit ; but notwithstanding these drawbacks, the Greeks are a nation eminently capable of improving themselves, although now degenerated, as must be the case with every people in proportion as they are deprived of their rational liberty and just rights.
Their regeneration must, however, be gradual. Precipitate measures cannot fail to prove abortive. The Greeks must be slowly and deliberately raised from the depths of degradation to the level of other nations. They must be first drawn out of the mire of slavery, and then they may by degrees be purified in the clear spring of liberal institutions ; for the evil must first be put a stop to, in order that there may be no counteracting influences which can nullify the effects of a beneficial change. Let the cause of the disease be removed in the first instance, and then the healing art may restore the suffering nation to perfect health. If a