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A portion of Greece was, therefore, made an independent kingdom. This was the first step towards the realisation of the events which had been so long foreseen by the politicians of Europe, and the first act in the consummation of the destiny of Turkey.
Whether or not the enfranchisement of Greece would be followed by further changes, was, it is true, still a question; but at all events, it was sound policy to establish this new state in such a manner as to secure a favourable result if any such consequence should take place.
A constitutional monarchy was promised, every facility for the working out of the scheme was provided, and England withdrew to observe the progress and to wait the result of her experiment.
A favourable issue of these arrangements would have prepared a flourishing state as a successor to the Ottoman power in the event of its dissolution ; and Greece would then have been worthy to inherit, and to continue in possession of, what was formerly her own. The equilibrium, to use the cant expression, would have been maintained, and no rival state would have been aggrandised to the detriment of England; but a new competitor would have stepped in, supported by her, and bound to her by national gratitude. Justice and expediency united to sanction such a combination; and the empire, which all Christendom in the middle ages had failed in preserving to Greece, would have been restored to her at some future time by the most enlightened of Christian nations. The dominions which would have been rendered weak and inconstant in the hands of a foreign people, by incongruity of habits and character with those of the population of European Turkey, would have become a powerful friendly state when united under a homogeneous Greek government. It was, therefore, rational to suppose that the experiment would succeed, and that a brilliant career was prepared for Greece, from the advantages thus conferred on her, with the chances of future greatness and glory, had she known how to realise them.
The alternative of the Ottoman empire becoming more consolidated, as there are some who think it will, was also provided for by the statesmen who founded the kingdom of Greece; neither did they leave the latter solely dependent for existence and welfare on the chance of its neighbour's ruin. Even supposing that no change should take place in the condition of Turkey, still every condition which could be requisite for future internal prosperity was granted to Greece; and, if an increase of territory was not in store for her, it was expected that a considerable augmentation of population, at least, would become the immediate result of her emancipation. It was intended that the freed state should serve, in the mean time, as an asylum to those of the Christian inhabitants of the other provinces, who should feel disposed to take refuge there from the oppression of the Turks. A clause was consequently added to the protocol, which held out encouragement to such immigration; and the benefits which might have been derived from this provision of the protecting powers would not only have enhanced the immediate well-being of the new state, but would also have ultimately led, by an increase of population of this peculiar kind, to create an important addition to the power of the kingdom ; for the immigrants from European Turkey to Greece, if the change was advantageous to them, would have materially contributed towards the future annexation of their native country to that of their adoption. In short, every possible aid was given to Greece to
enable her to fulfil the glorious destiny prepared for her : its realisation, however, depended on the conduct and progressive improvement of her people; and England expected much from both.
If these just and generous hopes on the part of England have been disappointed by Greece, it cannot be expected that her interests will be consulted in future arrangements. The Greeks of liberated Hellas have proved that they cannot be trusted to for the development of such vast political schemes; and if they, losing sight of their real advantages, give themselves entirely up to petty political intrigue, personal gain, and virulent private contention, they cannot wonder that they should be left to the enjoyment of what they seem so much to prize, and that the more important combinations of high diplomacy should be based upon other portions of the Greek nation. If they are thus excluded from future schemes, they have none but themselves to blame for it ; they must have been perfectly well aware of the real reasons which procured for them the patronage of Europe; and they cannot have been ignorant of what was expected from them. The line of conduct which would have then secured the continuation of that protection, and the gradual maturing of their future destiny, was evident to the meanest capacity ; but the Greeks, despising the dictates of common sense and prudence, follow the impulses of foolish vanity. They think themselves above such assistance ; they proudly conceive that they are able to carve out their own fortunes; and they reject the most friendly and judicious advice, because it humiliates their self-sufficiency: and this is the rock on which they split. The spirit of change in Greece consists, therefore, in the most ardent desire for an increase of territory, which they hope to achieve for themselves.
Sixteen years have now elapsed since King Otho landed at Nauplia ; administrations have been formed, and as often changed ; laws have been made, and broken ; much money has been received, but more has been spent; and civil war has now disappeared, yet peace and quiet have never been thoroughly established. A capital has been built, composed of palaces and hovels ; trade to a certain extent has sprung up, but there have been many bankruptcies, fraudulent and otherwise ; and agriculture has been revived, but the oppressive mode of taxation has ruined most of the cultivators. Immigrants have arrived-amongst others, the Samiansand they have been received with jealousy by the people, and with cruelty and neglect by the government; so that, instead of colonisation, emigration from Greece has ensued. A constitution has been at length granted, nearly destructive of the monarchical element altogether; a chamber of paid representatives in two divisions, an upper and a lower house, now meet for the guidance of state affairs; but small benefit to the country accrues from their labours, as malversation, disorder, and recklessness have hitherto pervaded every branch of the administration, and we may also add, every class of the people.
The experiment, therefore, has failed : time has been given, and time has proved that the kingdom of Greece has not fulfilled the expectation of those who were induced to make the trial. Indeed, the very
introduction of the representative system of government, which had been contemplated by the founders of the state, struck the last blow at any hopes they might still have entertained; for, on that occasion, a principle
was laid down by the people as a fundamental law of the land, excluding all Greeks not actually born within the kingdom from any participation for a certain time in the privileges of the free Greeks. Those who had come to Greece after the revolution, from the provinces and islands still under Turkish dominion, were classed as strangers, although as purely Greeks by race and descent as the others, and were deprived of any feeling of attachment to the new country: a wall of partition was thus raised by their own hands, which effectually cuts off all possibility of aggrandisement in a future union with any of the widely-extended portions of that ancient race. Stupidity so very gross only proves to what an unreasonable extent a sordid monopolising principle prevails in Greece ; as the natives, feeling that they were far surpassed in knowledge and education by the Greeks of other provinces, and especially by those of Constantinople and the Ionian Islands, invented this contemptible device to deprive those persons endowed with superior intelligence of the offices to which they had been promoted, in order that they might obtain them for themselves. This principle bears a remarkable contrast with the decision of the first national assembly of the Greeks, towards the beginning of their revolution, consisting of the distinguished leaders of their combatants, which declared every one to be a Greek who speaks the language and believes in Jesus Christ. At that time they desired assistance to gain their independence; but now they wish for none, that they may
alone enjoy the fruits of it. One result of the failure of the Greek kingdom is, the effect which it has produced on the Christian population of the Turkish provinces-the occupants, in fact, of northern Greece, still enslaved, but anticipating their enfranchisement at some not distant period. They trust that their fate will be all the happier, on account of the misfortunes and the faults of their liberated neighbours; which are a warning to themselves to manage better, for they now consider any union with them as the worst lot which could befall them.
The experiment has, therefore, borne some fruits, if not those which were looked for. It will serve as a lesson to the remainder of the Greeks who have continued to be rayahs of the Sultan ; and it also furnishes a most useful precedent to the cabinets of Europe. If another attempt be made, it will have the advantage of the experience which has been gained by all parties; statesmen will know what latitude may be safely given ; and another portion of the Greek nation will better appreciate the advice of powerful friends.
If, then, it should appear possible to redeem lost time, by still realising the hopes which were formerly placed on the conduct of the free Greeks, or if other changes seem likely to occur before these hopes can be matured, it is not now too late to renew the experiment with the next branch which may fall or be severed from the hollow trunk of the withering tree. The next province of Turkey in Europe which succeeds, were it only in alleviating the weight of the Sultan's yoke, either by its own or by foreign efforts, may be directed in the path from which the kingdom of Greece has deviated.
The free Greeks, however, are confident that they will soon be in possession of Thessaly. That rich province is the object of their restless ambition; and they neglect their more immediate interests to indulge in
this bright vision, which has become a monomania. Secret societies have been formed for the purpose of organising insurrections on their northern frontier; the king has been openly invited to lead them to the conquest of the Turkish provinces, by pamphlets and incendiary publications ; and the consciousness of the unsatisfactory state of their internal affairs is drowned in the wildest and most engrossing aspirations for more exte dominions.
They contend that their boundary line towards the north is not a good one; and in this they are not so much mistaken.
As soon as the fact of the alienation of the kingdom of Greece from the Turkish empire was established, the question which occupied the attention of those interested in the two states, was that of the boundary line between them. The Greeks entertained unlimited hopes ; they considered themselves as the sudden revivers of the ancient Byzantine empire ; and they talked of a frontier line, not between Greece and Turkey, but between the former and the provinces to the north of the latter. Even one of their late ministers (Coletti), when, on one occasion, he was called upon by the council for his opinion on the subject of choosing a fitting position for the capital of the new kingdom of Greece, gravely answered, “ Constantinople." Expectations were frantic ; and various lines of separation were proposed, according as their projectors were more or less reasonable.
Many of those who had risked their lives and fortunes for the freedom of Greece being natives of Epirus, Thessaly, and Macedonia, these provinces were regarded as certain to be comprised within the new kingdom; and accordingly the first limit talked of included the whole of Mount Olympus, and followed the course of the River Haliacmon, up to the Pindus range of mountains. It crossed the summit, called Smolika, near the village of Samarina, and thence descending to the Ionian Sea, on the north of the Island of Corfu, terminated at Cape Anchysmus. The points of access to Greece would thus have been the strong passes of the vales of Tempe, Petra, Servia, and those of the ranges of Olympus and Pindus. This boundary possessed many defensive advantages, and comprehended all the physical elements required to form a good natural frontier.
Another plan included only Thessaly, a supposed line being drawn from the vale of Tempe along the ridges of mounts Olympus, Kralichiovo, and Pindus, and descending to the Amphilochian defile, which the modern Greeks call the Macrynoros, or long hill, thus excluding the whole of Epirus; but the vision of possessing even Thessaly was soon dissipated, and the river Sperchius was then talked of as a frontier, a line being continued from its source to the Ambracic Gulf. The strength of this latter boundary consisted in the Amphilochian pass and that of Thermopylæ being at its two extremities, with the mounts Callidromus and Oeta to fill up its length. Thermopylæ is not, however, so strong a position now as it was in the days of Leonidas, because the river has deposited so much earth in successive ages as to enable an army to turn it to the eastward. But the other defile is naturally defensible to an eminent degree ; and according to General Gordon, the historian of the Greek Revolution, “ a handful of men might there stop an army."
There was yet another idea which reduced the free territory in Continental Greece to Attica and Megaris, making Mount Parnes and Citheron bound it, from the Channel of Euboea to the Isthmus of
Corinth ; while a still more confined view of the extent of the kingdom restricted it to the Morea, with the Isthmus as the sole land frontier.
Such were the different boundary-lines proposed for Greece, varying as to the provinces included, but each and all of them combining the military defences of the country. They were much and anxiously canvassed by the Greeks at the time, and were well understood, for practical experience had enabled them to appreciate their respective merits as naturally strong lines, and their exclusive fitness for the purpose. What, then, must have been their astonishment, when they learnt that none of these had been adopted; and that a new frontier was traced, altogether without defences on one side, and on the other depriving a mountainous district of the plains attached to it, on the produce of which its population depended for their sustenance! The country of Lamia was annexed, without the range of hills which protect it on the north ; and instead of the Amphilochian pass which defends Acarrania, a weak boundary separated the plain from the kingdom of Greece.
Macedonia, Epirus, and even Thessaly, were thus peremptorily excluded from the free state: the independence, for the acquisition of which they had laboured with so much patience and perseverance, was denied them; and, moreover, they were tantalised by seeing it granted to a portion of their comrades in the seven years' struggle. Some places, indeed, which now obtained their enfranchisement from the Turks had tamely submitted to them, and had laid down their arms as soon as they were called upon to do so. One instance of this exists close to Athens, in the case of the large village of Menidi, which, for the dastardly conduct of its inhabitants, was branded with the name of “the traitor village." Servitude became again the lot of the Turkish provinces ; and it may be well believed that the yoke would not be the less galling on account of their previous refractory patriotism.
By this unlooked-for decision the kingdom was confined to less than one-half of its expected size, and the boundary appointed to it was so weak as to leave it utterly helpless in any occurrence of critical circumstances which might hereafter arise : while an expensive frontier-guard was entailed upon it; for, comparatively without resources, and deprived as they thus were of the plains of Thessaly and Macedonia, the free Greeks felt the difficulty of raising recruits for the defence of their frontier, without the warlike population of Epirus.
The first impression of all parties to account for so preposterous a decision was, that incorrect maps and utter ignorance of the localities must have occasioned the mistake ; but time and events have now shown that, whether intended or not, the consequence of so cramping the territory of free Greece is most fortunate for the other provinces. The Macedonians, Thessalians, and Epirotes, who then complained of their homes having been left under Turkish sway after they had fought and bled to liberate Greece, and who thus supposed that their efforts had only benefited others, who now disclaim their fraternity, may still rejoice that they are not implicated in the disappointment felt on the subject of the Greek kingdom. They have reason to congratulate themselves on the fact of their future career not being identified with that of the free Greeks; and they may now hope that their native provinces will enjoy similar or even greater advantages, and may profit more by them.
There is little doubt, in the event of any such favourable change in the provinces of European Turkey, that emigration from Greece would