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citizens of the Ionian Islands, were offered to those of the inhabitants who were unwilling to become Turkish subjects, and who wished to leave their native town.
Singular to relate, not one Parganote remained; they disinterred and burnt the bones of their ancestors, and then expatriated themselves. At the time a great outcry was made about the barbarity of the English, who were most absurdly accused of selling Christians to the infidels; and the enemies of England vociferated loudly about this alleged stain on the honour of the nation. Sir Robert Liston, the British ambassador at Constantinople, and Sir Thomas Maitland, the Lord High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands, were censured and condemned for this transaction all over the continent of Europe. But the simple fact may be reduced to the unavoidable fulfilment of a contract entered into by two foreign powers, which were in possession of the place, and were at liberty to do what they pleased with their own. England having given a general ratification to the treaty, was in duty bound to act up to it when circumstances placed Parga in her hands. No new incident or event had arisen to constitute a bonâ fide cogent reason for an exception being made to the destiny of the other ex-Venetian towns. Moreover, in consummating this averred act of cruelty, every possible kindness, consideration, and justice were shown by England; and the poorer Parganotes received rations during a month, with the use of military barracks on their arrival at Corfu.
The cession of Parga has been the subject of more than one volume; and it was then a matter of discussion in the House of Commons, for it was vested with a degree of political importance which it did not and never could possess. The town was represented as being indispensable to the welfare, and even to the safety, of the Ionian Islands, and as being an acquisition of the greatest value to the Porte. It is true that Ali Pasha, in the name of the sultan, ardently desired to possess it; but the ambition and covetousness of that despot were boundless. Now that Parga is, and has been during many years, separated from the Islands and incorporated with the Turkish dominions, the loss to the one and the gain to the other would never have attracted the least attention, had not so much been said about the cession of it. If it had been retained, Parga, as well as the other Venetian towns on the mainland, would have contributed towards the advancement and maturing of the destinies of Epirus and Thessaly; but as an actual possession they were of little value to any power.
These vicissitudes of the Ionian Islands have had a sensible effect on the intellectual condition of the inhabitants, and their political reformation has consequently advanced with more rapid strides than that of the population of Albania. The existence of the Ionian Islands as a semiindependent state has also promoted the general improvement of Greece and Turkey, for Corfu is now virtually the capital of Albania ; the trade of the Continent is partly supported by the supplies which are drawn from the Islands, and the consequent intercourse between them has sown the seeds of future civilisation. Epirus and the lonian States are closely connected, and re-act powerfully upon each other; the protecting sovereign who fosters the prosperity of the latter, and secures their welfare, might therefore also stretch forward the hand of sympathy and friendship to the former.
The advantages which may accrue from the propinquity of the Islands to the mainland would have been, however, infinitely more rapid in their realisation, had the previous connexion which existed between the two branches of the same nation been upheld. On this account their separation is much to be regretted; for the ulterior combinations with regard to Epirus have thereby been rendered less sportaneous, more difficult, and more tardy. And besides these considerations, many present inconveniences to both parties have, in addition, arisen from it; among others, the necessary quarantine impedes the trade of the Continent, which exports to the Islands to a considerable extent; and prevents the easy employment of Albanian labourers, who are required to supply the deficiency of population in the latter. The scarcity of workmen in the Islands would have been a greater source of profit to the Albanians, who could have crossed the channel in search of work with more readiness and facility than they now can; and the Islands have moreover been exposed to acts of piracy and brigandage, from the lawless state of the opposite coast.
When the Treaty of Paris, in the year 1815, declared the Ionian Islands to be a free and independent state, and placed them under the protection of Great Britain, the whole Greek nation lay under Turkish dominion, with the exception of this one small fraction of it. therefore, the nucleus of the future freedom of the Greeks. Many of the islands being within a few miles of the coast of Greece, and one of them, the ancient Leucadia, being only divided from it by a channel which can be waded across, the enslaved Greeks had every opportunity of judging of the happy fate of their Ionian fellow-countrymen. A germ existed even then on the mainland, which was struggling to bud forth under the crushing blight of slavery; and at last it fructified in the year 1821, when the Greek Revolution broke out. The Ionian States, encircling the western coast of the Turkish Empire, from the southernmost point to the mouth of the Adriatic, by a long line of islands, commencing with Cerigo and terminating at Fano, to the north of Corfu, might have exercised an immediate influence over the development of the destinies of the Greek nation; and the English, being in possession of them, might have contributed most efficaciously towards their well-being, whilst they would have acquired at the same time an exclusive ascendancy in the Mediterranean.
A constitution was given to the Ionians, by which the English retained a direct control over their affairs. In this there was no harm, inasmuch as the first Lord High Commissioner was a man whose statesmanlike qualities secured to them the enjoyment of the greatest degree of freedom which was compatible with their actual condition; and he had himself declared that they should gradually be further emancipated. They are impatient, however, to see their hopes realised, and to participate more largely in the administration of their country. They are dissatisfied with the delay, and assert that the English withhold their rights from them, as they now consider themselves to be fit to conduct their own government.
In the island of Cephalonia, the feeling of discontent displayed itself on Good Friday of last year in a singular manner.
A religious procession of all the Greek priests, bearing a catafalque, with a representation of our Lord's body when taken down from the cross, passes on that day through several streets of the town; and it had been customary to
stop for a few minutes in front of the house occupied by the resident of the Lord High Commissioner, while the Archbishop offered up a prayer for him. On this occasion, the native authorities informed that English agent that they had reason to apprehend that some manifestation of popular dislike might take place at that part of the ceremony, and they recommended that it should be dispensed with. Their proposal was rejected; accordingly a mob collected for the purpose of preventing this act of homage. A scuffle ensued, which led to the interference of the police, and it was put down, although not till after the holy relic had been most roughly handled, and had been forcibly carried forward by the people; whilst the Archbishop, who narrowly escaped being jostled into the sea, remained with some of the priests to pronounce the usual litany for the resident. The movers of this species of riot were prosecuted by the government; and, as some of them belonged to the first families of the place, a great sensation was produced in the country by the legal proceedings, which resulted in the imprisonment of several of the culprits, and the exile from the town of others. These latter, who were sent to the villages, agitated with the utmost activity, and during six months the greatest excitement pervaded the island.
A collision with her Majesty's troops at length took place, in which two of them and six of the natives were killed, besides many
others who were wounded. The leaders of the insurgents escaped to Greece, and the remainder were pardoned, with a few exceptions. The exasperation which led the peasants of Cephalonia to the extreme measure of descending from their mountains in arms to attack the town, was certainly produced by turbulent demagogues; but a desire of change is universal in the Ionian islands, and the moderation which exists in some of them is only rendered the more praiseworthy and deserving of being listened to, by the contrast which it presents with the violence of these rioters. Many of them would wish to repudiate the protection of Great Britain, and to unite their islands with the kingdom of Greece, although they well know that the actual state of the latter is not such as would insure their prosperity ; but they complain that their constitutional charter is made illusory and merely nominal by the English. Others would desire perfect independence by means of an altered form of government, and a purely military protection on the part of England ; whilst the majority, and the most respectable portion of the inhabitants, have no thought but that of the practical application of the constitution, which is now the fundamental law of the land. There exists also a radical party, which dreams of a pure democracy, but they have no weight in the country. The press is now free; and if the mode of election of the representatives were somewhat improved, it is probable that all parties would be satisfied. England would then be more looked up to in the Mediterranean, and the happiness of this fraction of the Greek race would, in some measure, be secured.
AMBITION OF THE GREEKS OF THE HELLENIC KINGDOM. Let us now pass in review that portion of the Greek nation which peoples the territories of King Otho. We shall examine how it has been influenced by the policy of England, in what manner our future
conduct towards it may be beneficial, and how the spirit of change is there displayed.
At the close of the second year, after the standard of revolt had been raised by the priest Germanos, the Mediterranean squadron of England received orders to permit the cruisers of the insurgent Greeks to blockade the contested ports still held by the Turks. Two years later, a British minister, Mr. Canning, asserted in a letter addressed to the provisional government of the Greeks, that their rights as belligerents were respected by England; thus admitting that they were regarded as a people engaged in a lawful war, and not as rebels. `Again, an ambassador, the Duke of Wellington, was sent by Great Britain to St. Petersburgh, in the year 1826, to negotiate a mediation of the three great powers of Europe in favour of Greece. The joint proposals for her pacification were consequently laid before the Porte during the following year; and they were replied to by the Sultan in his note of June 9th, in which he declared that he would not listen to any foreign interference in a quarrel between him and his revoited subjects. The allied courts then formally hinted at the establishment of a Greek government, which they would at once recognise if he persisted in refusing their mediation ; and the obstinacy of the Divan finally led to the signing of a treaty in London on the 6th of July, which insisted on an immediate armistice on the part of the Greeks and the Turks. In answer to the communication of this decision, the Reis Effendi merely referred the allied powers to the note of June the 9th, as containing the ultimatum of the Porte. Orders were issued, in consequence, to the admirals commanding the respective fleets in the Mediterranean; and on the sailing of the Turkish and Egyptian squadrons from Navarino in the direction of Patras, together with the continuation of the atrocities committed by the army of Ibrahim Pasha in the Morea, the allied protectors of Greece destroyed the naval force of her enemies. The Bay of Navarino, in which the Turkish fleet had again cast anchor, was the scene of this extraordinary historical event on the 20th of October, 1827.
The two protocols of March 22, 1829, and February 3, 1830, next record the agency of England in concert with Russia and France, when stipulating the future existence of Greece as a kingdom. The very points of difference which are to be found between these two documents, prove the progression of a principle of protection entertained towards the new state: in the first protocol the Sultan is allowed to retain the suzeraineté of Greece, and to draw a yearly tribute from it; while the second establishes a complete separation of the one from the other, and total independence on both sides. Finally, a king was chosen for Greece; and England again, in conjunction with Russia and France, came forward as her friend to guarantee a loan of two millions and a half sterling. Here, then, is a series of facts which prove that England has contributed towards the alienation of Greece from the Ottoman empire, in order to raise her to the rank of an independent state ; and it may be asked, What were England's reasons for so doing?
The specious pretext of sympathy for a Christian race trampled upon by the Infidel—the philanthropical protection of the slave against his oppressor-or the classical yearning of a civilised nation towards the nominal descendants of the polished and enlightened Greeks, groaning under the thraldom of a barbarian yoke-would, no doubt, be reason enough in
of the French Philhellene. But the statesmen of England are not addicted to political sentimentalism : they may feel the force of such laudable impulses as strongly as those of any other country, and perhaps more so, notwithstanding that less may be said about it; but they do not generally allow their policy to be influenced by such considerations, unless they are backed by other and more palpable motives; and however plausible such claims may appear, the British cabinet would never have acted as it did without having more matter-of-fact and business-like reasons for their proceedings.
It has been supposed for more than a century that the Turkish empire in Europe would fall to pieces; and, indeed, at any time during that period, such a catastrophe has been regarded as far from being improbable or distant. Various vicissitudes have hitherto deferred this impending crisis, and, but for the changes and derangement of other countries serving as a reprieve and a prop to the tottering sceptre of the Sultan, on more occasions than one the expected event, which was on the eve of taking place, might have been consummated. But there are some politicians who reject this theory, and hold on the contrary that the Osmanlis, as a nation, are becoming gradually civilised, and that the apparently sinking condition of their empire is deceptive. Time alone can prove which of these two opinions may be the more correctly prophetic; but the mere existence of the belief in the decrepitude of that power—and no one can doubt its very general prevalence, even among the Turks themselves, as regards the European branch of their dominion-may serve to justify the wish, on the part of England, to make an experiment.
The Greeks in open rebellion, if unaided by Europe, must inevitably have been crushed ; and the Pasha of Egypt made no secret of his sanguinary intentions towards them, as the instructions which he gave to his son Ibrahim, on sending him with an army to assist the Turks in suppressing the revolt, were " to depopulate the country;" and they were so far put in execution, that nothing short of the defeat at Navarino could have stopped the intended butchery. Under these circumstances, the farsighted combinations of diplomacy became identified with the cause of humanity; and in saving the unfortunate Greeks, England would have the satisfaction of being better able to judge of the future fate of the Turkish empire. The interference in the dispute between the Sultan and his revolted subjects could, therefore, have no other motive than the justifiable end of giving a favourable turn to events which were in themselves inevitable. This first defection from the Turkish sway was the opportunity to give a salutary direction to the future dismemberment of the empire, if such were its destiny. Humanity and philanthropy may have dictated the immediate orders which led to the battle of Navarino; the known scheme of Ibrahim Pacha to extirpate the population of the Morea, by carrying to Egypt as slaves those who had not fallen victims to a war of extermination, and to repeople Greece by colonies of Arabs, may have roused the commanders of the allied fleets from their position of neutral observation ; but the general system of policy must undoubtedly have been based on the wish to make the dissevered province serve as the means of guiding further changes. The Sultan was also an old ally of England ; and if it appeared impossible to prevent his ultimate overthrow, it was at least right to make his fall more easy, as well as to prevent the shock from disturbing the peace of Europe.