Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

judicious and cautious measure of relief were once to give the Greeks equal liberty with the Turks, time and their own character would do the rest. Were education to enlighten them, and if religious tolerance were established, their complete regeneration would become a necessary consequence; but the fruits of knowledge can only be brought to maturity by the lapse of years. Like the oak, their growth is slow; but when full blown, their size and strength are gigantic. In the mean time, all that is wanted for the Greek, is the abolition of the pernicious rayah system, which sinks him to the dust, and the liberty to profess what faith he pleases ; indeed, it would be better for him, that the full enjoyment of pre-eminence over his present master should be at first withheld, and that he should not at once be constituted the sole lord of his soil. The kingdom of Greece has proved this; for reform is dangerous when it is not progressive, and when its path is not brightly lighted by the constant sun of experience, as well as by the fickle lamp of human reason. But if its seeds are once sown by a friendly hand, time will enable the now unfortunate Greek of European Turkey to reap its fruits, unaided; for it is proved beyond the possibility of contradiction, that the modern Greeks are susceptible of being raised by education to the highest intellectual eminence, by the fact that, with very few exceptions, all those who have had the opportunity and the means of instruction, have distinguished themselves.

As soldiers, the merits of the Greeks are not denied by their greatest detractors. Their style of warfare is peculiar, and adapted only to the kind of country which they inbabit, but as skirmishers and irregular light infantry they are incomparable. Their liking to the guerilla life has grown out of the ancient organisation of the Byzantine militia, or band of Armatoli

. These were principally recruited by Albanians, but Greeks were also enrolled ; and when turbulent spirits could not easily brook the insults to be met with in humble private life, they invariably had recourse to this military career. It often terminated, however, in the still more genial occupations of the Klepht. The terms Armatoli and Klepht have been often confounded, but there is a wide difference between them. The Armatoli are a species of road-police, commanded by a hereditary capitano; while the Klephti, literally robbers, are the followers of any roving adventurer who may

“ take to the hill,” as it is expressed by themselves. In point of respectability, there is little difference between the road-guard and the highwayman-they are both regarded as soldiers; and the latter being generally superior in that respect, while no stigma is attached to the name of robber, public opinion is, therefore, in his favour. The Klephti are, on the contrary, respected; and several men of the greatest celebrity in the country, such as Colocotroni, Ali Pasha, and others, took pleasure in boasting of their having once exercised that calling. These marauders have generally acted as Armatoli; but the loose discipline even of so irregular a service is often burdensome to the free and ungovernable temper of the “ palicari," and the commission of misdemeanours drives them to the less compromising career of the Klephti. They are hardy in the extreme, are able to bear great fatigue, and frequently go several days without food. They endure pain with fortitude, and-when wounded, if it is not very severely, like Spartans they conceal the fact; and many have thus lost their lives by the mortification of a neglected sabre-cut or gun-shot. They have been known to fight for three successive days without eating, and watch all night in the fear

of a surprise. Their enemy in the aggregate is the Osmanli, and in detail they are ready to plunder any traveller, be he Greek, Turk, Frank, or Jew. If no resistance is made, they rarely maltreat their prisoners, whom they keep until a ransom is paid; but if they have any reason to suppose that their intended prey will show fight, and if they see that he is well armed, they generally shoot him from behind a tree or rock. They carry a rope round their waists, for the purpose of binding their captives; and they have the singular merit of rarely insulting or illtreating females on such occasions. Indeed, a breach of this mountain code of honour is always punished by the ignominious dismissal of the offender from the band. A late incident corroborates this redeeming trait in the cruelty of the Klepht laws. A young lady, the daughter or one of Ali Pasha's secretaries, who was only called by his title of Beyzade, being the son of the Fanariote Prince Hangeri, having eloped from Constantinople with his first cousin, with whom the Greek church prohibited his marriage, was taken by the Klephts. She was going to Constantinople under the charge of an elderly priest, in order to claim her father's inheritance after his death, when she was carried to the hills, and a ransom demanded for her. Many months elapsed before the sum could be realised and paid, but during the whole time she was treated with the greatest attention and respect. Their amusements, when they are not engaged in any of their more genial pursuits, are those of firing at a mark, in which they are very expert, and in general all athletic games. Running is of course their most valuable accomplishment; and some of them have risen to high rank from their excellence in this exercise, as Odysseus did, who was thence surnamed “Lightfoot.” Such a school must necessarily produce first-rate soldiers.

The aptitude of the Greeks for trade is proved by their success in most of the commercial seaports of the Mediterranean.

When the revolution drove the Greek merchants from their peaceful occupations at home, many of them repaired to Malta, Leghorn, Marseilles, Trieste, and even as far as Vienna, Odessa, and London. Possessed of little capital, but endowed with frugality, prudence, perseverance, and a rare degree of sagacity in business, they have risen in many cases to mercantile eminence, while a failure is almost unprecedented among them. The houses of Sina at Vienna, and Ralli in London, are instances of this. At Athens, however, those who had incurred the risks of traffic have been less fortunate, bat the fault was not their own.

In short, the Greek nation is gifted with all the requisites for the formation of a powerful, rich, and happy people ; and if the vices which have been generated by their past vicissitudes are slowly and carefully combated, they will eventually be eradicated. The faults with which the ancient Greeks are reproached, certainly exist to some extent in the modern Romaics; but the total difference of the moral and political state of mankind now, from what it was twenty centuries ago, will, it is to be hoped, overcome their baneful influence. The Greeks have their apologists, as they have their detractors; and in these times, when somehow people are not in the habit of judging for themselves, even when all the necessary data are provided, opinions on this subject are dictated by these reporters of excessive good or evil. Thus, some consider them to be the finest race of mankind, while others, in the most summary manner, pronounce them to be everything that is base and despieable : she truth,

however, will be found between these two extremes, not in the usual way of striking a medium, but by admitting that the Greeks are nothing that is very good for the present, although they possess every faculty for becoming so in future.

The aspersions cast on them by hasty travellers can neither be conscientiously denied nor successfully refuted ; but they are elicited by the unhappy position of the people, and their causes will disappear under better circumstances. Those who know the Greeks more intimately admit the present evil, but expect the future good. Their failings are the unavoidable consequence of their history, which is without a parallel in the annals of the world; because vanquished nations have usually become incorporated with their invaders, whereas the Greeks have remained distinct from their masters, in manners, character, and language, having been stigmatised by the almost indelible stain of abject slavery :their regeneration is possible, because the analysis of the moral state of the people brings to light the existence of bases whereon to found it. It only remains, therefore, to effect it by a gradual and cautious process.

In these speculations the inhabitants of free Greece are not taken under consideration, on account of their number being only a diminutive portion of the Greek nation ; and the preceding remarks are applicable only to the Greek and Albanian population of European Turkey. Civil and religious equality with the Turks is what is wanted ; that is, the abolition of the system of rayahs, and the establishment of religious tolerance. Many Mahommedan Albanians will then become Christians ; and the energy of character which they possess, together with the Greeks, will soon place them on a level at least, if not on a higher footing than the Turkish population. But England has endeavoured latterly to influence the Turkish policy in a different sense, and has founded her own theory on a mistaken basis, which is the belief in social improvement without conversion. No effort has therefore been made to encourage a real and virtual liberty of religious faith ; and the reaction of Mahommedanism on the civil and material interests of the population is still in operation. Its consequences are a total incongruity of the moral and political conditions of the different races which are thus thrown together; and in the present state of excitement which pervades every country in Europe, the discontent of the Greeks in Turkey displays itself in a manner foreboding an impending crisis.

THE GALLEY ISABELLE.

A MERRIE, merrie morninge,

Was Thursdaye first of Maye,
When sailed ye galley Isabelle

All for Gibraltar baye.
Farewell, farewell, my bonnie barque,

Farewell, my merrie men;
Light hearts and heavye purses bringe

When you return from Spayne.
Then spake ye sturdie skipper,

“Belay that! my merrie men; “In Studland Baye we'll lye this daye,

"And sayle to-nighte at ten."

Nay," quoth an aged saylor,

Nay, captayne, staye not here,
“But lett us bee nine leagues at sea

“Ere Friday's dawn appear.”
“Now who is hee thus answers mee,

“ Or dares my will gainsay?
“A curse on you and Friday too;

“I will lye here to-daye.”
In Studland Baye that daye they laye,

Full slowlie passed ye time;
And hour by hour, from Brownsea

tower,
They heard the sollemne chime.

They heard the chime of midnighte, Oh, merrie breaks the morninge
And speedilye they spy'd

O'er ye billows bounding brighte; Their sturdie skipper's shallopp

And merrilie the moonbeams Come plashing down the tyde.

Dance o'er the waves by nighte. “ Make sayle, make sayle, my merrie And merrilie and cheerilie, men,

Like a village queene in Maye, “ And heave her short a-peak!

The gallant galley Isabelle “But who stands here, and quakes for

Went dancing on her waye. fear? 'Speak, man! what ayles thee? speak!"

On board a statelie Bristol shipp “ Nay, chide not, gallant captayne, In stormie Biscaye Baye, “I shudder not for frighte;

One night we heard strange musique “But none of mee will sayle with thee As all becalmed we laye. “On this ill-omen'd night.”

We heard strange songes and laughter, “Now curses on thy hoarie pate;

And ghostlie sounds of glee. “ No mutineers for mee

Our captayne crossed himself and sayd, “Come aft, come aft, my merrie men, ** There's mischief on the sea." “And heave him in the sea."

Uprose ye midnight moonbeam, They watched ye old man swimminge

And close beneath our lee A cabel's lengthe or twayne,

There lay the galley Isabelle They saw his white hair streaminge,

Slow rolinge on ye sea. And they saw him ne'er agayne.

We hailed her twice, we hailed her thrice, The old man stretched out boldlie,

We hailed both cleare and stronge; And the old man's arm was stronge; But little heard or heeded they, But ye tide was ebbinge swiftlie,

So loud their laugh and songe. And the way was wearie longe.

“Now shipp ahoy! Now shipp ahoy!! Just then a soft northwest wind

How long bee ye from porte?” Came tripping o'er ye sea,

Then sudden ceased their laughter, We saw them fill and bear awaye,

And hushed was all their sporte. That sad shippe's compagnie.

We heard ye tiller creakingc,
We saw them slowlie steeringe

So silent now were they;
For gloomie Finisterre:
We watched that strange, strange gallie we heard them softlie speaking

Of that ill-omened day.
With many a wistful prayer.

At length outspake their captayne, We saw her sink her topsayles,

“We sayled on Friday week.” And our hearts misgave us sore,

No more sayd hee, nor asked wee, That mortal eye would ne'er descry

So saddlie he did speake. That ghostlie gallie more.

And wearilie, oh, wearilie, Then gloomilye and slowlye,

For a twelvemonth and a daye, Like some unluckie sprite,

That captayne's bonnie sweetheart Out steered the galley Isabelle

Did nightlye watch and pray. On that ill-omen'd nighte.

And oft by daye in Studland Baye They saw the moonbeam glancing

Her woe-worn form was seen; On Darleston's rockie shore;

And oft by nighte on Darlston Heighte They heard on dark Sanct Alban's Her white robe's glist’ning sheen. The sullen billows roar.

And oft with fear, what time we hear They saw on craggie Portland

Saint Alban's billows roar, The beacons flashinge twayne; We praye for her whose grave lies They saw the merrie morninge,

there, And their hearts grew light agayne. On Darleston's rockie shore.

SUPERNATURAL STORIES,

The Impossible is often only an unknown point in the future. That which we deem an impossibility in the present day may become even in a short time a familiar fact. We know that the discovery of the New World, and the travelling to it by steam, were each in their turn declared impossibilities, and yet are now familiar things. As it is with the physical, so it is in the moral world. A material philosophy keeps physiological discoveries in co-relation with mental phenomena; yet but a short time ago, all inquiry into the relations between mind and matter were deemed impossible and hopeless. Consciousness, it is now admitted, implies a brain, and nervous system; that nervous system being divided into parts -centres of function and threads of communication, such also imply diversity of influence. Nerves of voluntary, nerves of organic life were gradually disentangled from those which connect us with an external life; and nerves of involuntary motion were distinguished from nerves of sensation. The nerves belonging to special senses were detected ; and the sense of taste was discovered to be in the same category as those of smell, sight, and hearing. The law, that size and amount of nervous tissue constitutes a direct element of functional power, became at the same time generally recognised. The brain, or encephalon, was recognised in man, not only to be the greatest nervous centre, but also the organ of the mental faculties. Whether the functions of the brain are performed as a whole or by separate parts, is not of much importance to the object we have in view. The distinctness of the external senses, and separateness of their organs—the comparative independence of the sentient, voluntary, and excito-motory system, would tend to show that action in this great centre is complex, not simple. This is the basis of the phrenological system; and the supporters of that system argue with much plausibility, that mental differences being innate, no general agreement could ever be arrived at as to what constitute fundamental or primitive faculties of the mind, so long as mental phenomena were studied apart from organisation. From that moment, psychology and physiology, marching hand in hand, left metaphysics at a remote distance. It was the light of modern civilisation succeeding to the darkness of the middle ages.

Power and energy being associated with the existence of a considerable quantity of cerebral structure in particular regions, the question presents itself

, which has not yet been sufficiently inquired into, as to how far that power is like the function itself, independent and inherent. The intimate relations of assimilation with circulation, of nutrition and of functional power, and the harmony and mutual dependence in the higher animals of the different parts of the nervous system, forbid us to expect perfect independence or functional power inherent in any one centre independent of the other ordinary phenomena of life; but still this is subject to a certain modification, more marked in the lower animals, less so in a higher grade. The vitality of parts of a worm or eel is well known. Fowls, both cocks and ducks, have, when decapitated, been known to preserve so much excito-motive power as to run a distance. But in man the separation of one part from another entails almost instant death; that is to say, loss of sentient and motory power. But even this has

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »