Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Books, poems, drama…

Memorials and Other Papers V1 by Thomas de Quincey

Part 5 out of 5

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.6 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

there was one political argument against that course, which Mr. Gordon
justly considers unanswerable. It is this: Turkey in Europe has been
long tottering on its basis. Now, were the attempt delayed until Russia
had displaced her and occupied her seat, Greece would then have
received her liberty as a boon from the conqueror; and the construction
would have been that she held it by sufferance, and under a Russian
warrant. This argument is conclusive. But others there were who fancied
that 1825 was the year at which all the preparations for a successful
revolt could have been matured. Probably some gain in such a case would
have been balanced against some loss. But it is not necessary to
discuss that question. Accident, it was clear, might bring on the first
hostile movement at any hour, when the _minds_ of all men were
prepared, let the means in other respects be as deficient as they
might. Already, in 1820, circumstances made it evident that the
outbreak of the insurrection could not long be delayed. And,
accordingly, in the following year all Greece was in flames.

This affair of 1820 has a separate interest of its own, connected with
the character of the very celebrated person to whom it chiefly relates;
but we notice it chiefly as the real occasion, the momentary spark,
which, alighting upon the combustibles, by this time accumulated
everywhere in Greece, caused a general explosion of the long-hoarded
insurrectionary fury. Ali Pacha, the far-famed vizier of Yannina, had
long been hated profoundly by the Sultan, who in the same proportion
loved and admired his treasures. However, he was persuaded to wait for
his death, which could not (as it seemed) be far distant, rather than
risk anything upon the chances of war. And in this prudent resolution
he would have persevered, but for an affront which he could not
overlook. An Albanian, named Ismael Pasho Bey, once a member of Ali's
household, had incurred his master's deadly hatred; and, flying from
his wrath to various places under various disguises, had at length
taken refuge in Constantinople, and there sharpened the malice of Ali
by attaching himself to his enemies. Ali was still further provoked by
finding that Ismael had won the Sultan's favor, and obtained an
appointment in the palace. Mastered by his fury, Ali hired assassins to
shoot his enemy in the very midst of Constantinople, and under the very
eyes of imperial protection. The assassins failed, having only wounded
him; they were arrested, and disclosed the name of their employer.

Here was an insult which could not be forgiven: Ali Pacha was declared
a rebel and a traitor; and solemnly excommunicated by the head of the
Mussulman law. The Pachas of Europe received orders to march against
him; and a squadron was fitted out to attack him by sea.

In March, 1820, Ali became acquainted with these strong measures; which
at first he endeavored to parry by artifice and bribery. But, finding
_that_ mode of proceeding absolutely without hope, he took the
bold resolution of throwing himself, in utter defiance, upon the native
energies of his own ferocious heart. Having, however, but small
reliance on his Mahometan troops in a crisis of this magnitude, he
applied for Christian succors, and set himself to _court_ the
Christians generally. As a first step, he restored the Armatoles--that
very body whose suppression had been so favorite a measure of his
policy, and pursued so long, so earnestly, and so injuriously to his
credit amongst the Christian part of the population. It happened, at
the first opening of the campaign, that the Christians were equally
courted by the Sultan's generalissimo, Solyman, the Pacha of Thessaly.
For this, however, that Pacha was removed and decapitated; and a new
leader was now appointed in the person of that very enemy, Ismael
Pasho, whose attempted murder had brought the present storm upon Ali.
Ismael was raised to the rank of Serasker (or generalissimo), and was
also made Pacha of Yannina and Del vino. Three other armies, besides a
fleet under the Captain Bey, advanced upon Ali's territories
simultaneously from different quarters. But at that time, in defiance
of these formidable and overwhelming preparations, bets were strongly
in Ali's favor amongst all who were acquainted with his resources: for
he had vast treasures, fortresses of great strength, inexhaustible
supplies of artillery and ammunition, a country almost inaccessible,
and fifteen thousand light troops, whom Mr. Gordon, upon personal
knowledge, pronounces "excellent."

Scarcely had the war commenced, when Ali was abandoned by almost the
whole of his partisans, in mere hatred of his execrable cruelty and
tyrannical government. To Ali, however, this defection brought no
despondency; and with unabated courage he prepared to defend himself to
the last, in three castles, with a garrison of three thousand men. That
he might do so with entire effect, he began by destroying his own
capital of Yannina, lest it should afford shelter to the enemy. Still
his situation would have been most critical, but for the state of
affairs in the enemy's camp. The Serasker was attended by more than
twenty other Pashas. But they were all at enmity with each other. One
of them, and the bravest, was even poisoned by the Serasker. Provisions
were running short, in consequence of their own dissensions. Winter was
fast approaching; the cannonading had produced no conspicuous effect;
and the soldiers were disbanding. In this situation, the Sultan's
lieutenants again saw the necessity of courting aid from the Christian
population of the country. Ali, on his part, never scrupled to bid
against them at any price; and at length, irritated by the ill-usage of
the Turks on their first entrance, and disgusted with the obvious
insincerity of their reluctant and momentary kindness, some of the
bravest Christian tribes (especially the celebrated Suliotes) consented
to take Ali's bribes, forgot his past outrages and unnumbered
perfidies, and, reading his sincerity in the extremity of his peril,
these bravest of the brave ranged themselves amongst the Sultan's
enemies. During the winter they gained some splendid successes; other
alienated friends came back to Ali; and even some Mahometan Beys were
persuaded to take up arms in his behalf. Upon the whole, the Turkish
Divan was very seriously alarmed; and so much so, that it superseded
the Serasker Ismael, replacing him with the famous Kourshid Pacha, at
that time viceroy of the Morea. And so ended the year 1820.

This state of affairs could not escape the attention of the vigilant
Hetria. Here was Ali Pacha, hitherto regarded as an insurmountable
obstacle in their path, absolutely compelled by circumstances to be
their warmest friend. The Turks again, whom no circumstances could
entirely disarm, were yet crippled for the time, and their whole
attention preoccupied by another enemy, most alarming to their policy,
and most tempting to their cupidity. Such an opportunity it seemed
unpardonable to neglect. Accordingly, it was resolved to begin the
insurrection. At its head was placed Prince Alexander Ypsilanti, a son
of that Hospodar of Wallachia whose deposition by the Porte had
produced the Russian war of 1806. This prince's qualifications
consisted in his high birth, in his connection with Russia (for he had
risen to the rank of major-general in that service), and, finally (if
such things can deserve a mention), in an agreeable person and manners.
For all other and higher qualifications he was wholly below the
situation and the urgency of the crisis. His first error was in the
choice of his ground. For some reasons, which are not sufficiently
explained,--possibly on account of his family connection with those
provinces,--he chose to open the war in Moldavia and Wallachia. This
resolution he took in spite of every warning, and the most intelligent
expositions of the absolute necessity that, to be at all effectual, the
first stand should be made in Greece. He thought otherwise; and,
managing the campaign after his own ideas, he speedily involved himself
in quarrels, and his army, through the perfidy of a considerable
officer, in ruinous embarrassments. This unhappy campaign is
circumstantially narrated by Mr. Gordon in his first book; but, as it
never crossed the Danube, and had no connection with Greece except by
its purposes, we shall simply rehearse the great outline of its course.
The signal for insurrection was given in January, 1821; and Prince
Ypsilanti took the field, by crossing the Pruth in March. Early in
April he received a communication from the Emperor of Russia, which at
once prostrated his hopes before an enemy was seen. He was formally
disavowed by that prince, erased from his army-list, and severely
reproached for his "_folly and ingratitude_," in letters from two
members of the Russian cabinet; and on the 9th of April this fact was
publicly notified in Yassy, the capital of Moldavia, by the Russian
consul-general. His army at this time consisted of three thousand men,
which, however, was afterwards reinforced, but with no gunpowder except
what was casually intercepted, and no lead except some that had been
stripped from the roof of an ancient cathedral. On the 12th of May the
Pacha of Ibrail opened the campaign. A few days after, the Turkish
troops began to appear in considerable force; and on the 8th of June an
alarm was suddenly given "that the white turbans were upon them." In
the engagement which followed, the insurgent army gave way; and, though
their loss was much smaller than that of the Turks, yet, from the many
blunders committed, the consequences were disastrous; and, had the
Turks pursued, there would on that day have been an end of the
insurrection. But far worse and more decisive was the subsequent
disaster of the 17th. Ypsilanti had been again reinforced; and his
advanced guard had surprised a Turkish detachment of cavalry in such a
situation that their escape seemed impossible. Yet all was ruined by
one officer of rank, who got drunk, and advanced with an air of
bravado--followed, on a principle of honor, by a sacred battalion
[_hieros lochos_], composed of five hundred Greek volunteers, of
birth and education, the very _lite_ of the insurgent infantry.
The Turks gave themselves up for lost; but, happening to observe that
this drunkard seemed unsupported by other parts of the army, they
suddenly mounted, came down upon the noble young volunteers before they
could even form in square; and nearly the whole, disdaining to fly,
were cut to pieces on the ground. An officer of rank, and a brave man,
appalled by this hideous disaster, the affair of a few moments, rode up
to the spot, and did all he could to repair it. But the cowardly
drunkard had fled at the first onset, with all his Arnauts; panic
spread rapidly; and the whole force of five thousand men fled before
eight hundred Turks, leaving four hundred men dead on the field, of
whom three hundred and fifty belonged to the sacred battalion.

The Turks, occupied with gathering a trophy of heads, neglected to
pursue. But the work was done. The defeated advance fell back upon the
main body; and that same night the whole army, panic-struck, ashamed,
and bewildered, commenced a precipitate retreat. From this moment
Prince Ypsilanti thought only of saving himself. This purpose he
effected in a few days, by retreating into Austria, from which
territory he issued his final order of the day, taxing his army, in
violent and unmeasured terms, with cowardice and disobedience. This was
in a limited sense true; many distinctions, however, were called for in
mere justice; and the capital defects, after all, were in himself. His
plan was originally bad; and, had it been better, he was quite unequal
to the execution of it. The results were unfortunate to all concerned
in it. Ypsilanti himself was arrested by Austria, and thrown into the
unwholesome prison of Mongatz, where, after languishing for six years,
he perished miserably. Some of the subordinate officers prolonged the
struggle in a guerilla style for some little time; but all were finally
suppressed. Many were put to death; many escaped into neutral ground;
and it is gratifying to add, that of two traitors amongst the higher
officers, one was detected and despatched in a summary way of vengeance
by his own associates; the other, for some unexplained reason, was
beheaded by his Turkish friends at the very moment when he had put
himself into their power, in fearless obedience to their own summons to
_come and receive his well-merited reward_, and under an express
assurance from the Pacha of Silistria that he was impatiently waiting
to invest him with a pelisse of honor. Such faith is kept with
traitors; such faith be ever kept with the betrayers of nations and
their holiest hopes! Though in this instance the particular motives of
the Porte are still buried in mystery.

Thus terminated the first rash enterprise, which resulted from the too
tempting invitation held out in the rebellion then agitating Epirus,
locking up, as it did, and neutralizing, so large a part of the
disposable Turkish forces. To this we return. Kourshid Pacha quitted
the Morea with a large body of troops, in the first days of January,
1821, and took the command of the army already before Yannina. But,
with all his great numerical superiority to the enemy with whom he
contended, and now enjoying undisturbed union in his own camp, he found
it impossible to make his advances rapidly. Though in hostility to the
Porte, and though now connected with Christian allies, Ali Pacha was
yet nominally a Mahometan. Hence it had been found impossible as yet to
give any color of an anti-Christian character to the war; and the
native Mahometan chieftains had therefore no scruple in coalescing with
the Christians of Epirus, and making joint cause with Ali. Gradually,
from the inevitable vexations incident to the march and residence of a
large army, the whole population became hostile to Kourshid; and their
remembrance of Ali's former oppressions, if not effaced, was yet
suspended in the presence of a nuisance so immediate and so generally
diffused; and most of the Epirots turned their arms against the Porte.
The same feelings which governed _them_ soon spread to the provinces
of Etolia and Acarnania; or rather, perhaps, being previously ripe
for revolt, these provinces resolved to avail themselves of the
same occasion. Missolonghi now became the centre of rebellion; and
Kourshid's difficulties were daily augmenting. In July of this year
(1821) these various insurgents, actively cooperating, defeated the
Serasker in several actions, and compelled a Pacha to lay down his arms
on the road between Yannina and Souli. It was even proposed by the
gallant partisan, Mark Bozzaris, that all should unite to hem in the
Serasker; but a wound, received in a skirmish, defeated this plan. In
September following, however, the same Mark intercepted and routed
Hassan Pacha in a defile on his march to Yannina; and in general the
Turks were defeated everywhere except at the headquarters of the
Serasker, and with losses in men enormously disproportioned to the
occasions. This arose partly from the necessity under which they lay of
attacking expert musketeers under cover of breastworks, and partly from
their own precipitance and determination to carry everything by summary
force; "whereas," says Mr. Gordon, "a little patience would surely have
caused them to succeed, and at least saved them much dishonor, and
thousands of lives thrown away in mere wantonness." But, in spite of
all blunders, and every sort of failure elsewhere, the Serasker was
still advancing slowly towards his main objects--the reduction of Ali
Pacha. And by the end of October, on getting possession of an important
part of Ali's works, he announced to the Sultan that he should soon be
able to send him the traitor's head, for that he was already reduced to
six hundred men. A little before this, however, the celebrated
Maurocordato, with other persons of influence, had arrived at
Missolonghi with the view of cementing a general union of Christian and
Mahometan forces against the Turks. In this he was so far successful,
that in November a combined attack was made upon Ismael, the old enemy
of Ali, and three other Pachas, shut up in the town of Arta. This
attack succeeded partially; but it was attempted at a moment
dramatically critical, and with an effect ruinous to the whole
campaign, as well as that particular attack. The assailing party, about
thirty-four hundred men, were composed in the proportion of two
Christians to one Mahometan. They had captured one half of the town;
and, Mark Bozzaris having set this on fire to prevent plundering, the
four Pachas were on the point of retreating under cover of the smoke.
At that moment arrived a Mahometan of note, instigated by Kourshid, who
was able to persuade those of his own faith that the Christians were
not fighting with any sincere views of advantage to Ali, but with
ulterior purposes hostile to Mahometanism itself. On this, the
Christian division of the army found themselves obliged to retire
without noise, in order to escape their own allies, now suddenly united
with the four Pachas. Nor, perhaps, would even this have been effected,
but for the precaution of Mark Bozzaris in taking hostages from two
leading Mahometans. Thus failed the last diversion in favor of Ali
Pacha, who was henceforward left to his own immediate resources. All
the Mahometan tribes now ranged themselves on the side of Kourshid; and
the winter of 1821-2 passed away without further disturbance in Epirus.

Meantime, during the absence of Kourshid Pacha from the Morea, the
opportunity had not been lost for raising the insurrection in that
important part of Greece. Kourshid had marched early in January, 1821;
and already in February symptoms of the coming troubles appeared at
Patrass, "the most flourishing and populous city of the Peloponnesus,
the emporium of its trade, and residence of the foreign consuls and
merchants." Its population was about eighteen thousand, of which number
two thirds were Christian. In March, when rumors had arrived of the
insurrection beyond the Danube, under Alexander Ypsilanti, the
fermentation became universal; and the Turks of Patrass hastily
prepared for defence. By the twenty-fifth, the Greeks had purchased all
the powder and lead which could be had; and about the second of April
they raised the standard of the Cross. Two days after this, fighting
began at Patrass. The town having been set on fire, "the Turkish castle
threw shot and shells at random; the two parties fought amongst the
ruins, and massacred each other without mercy; the only prisoners that
were spared owed their lives to fanaticism; some Christian youths being
circumcised by the Mollahs, and some Turkish boys baptized by the

"While the commencement of the war," says Mr. Gordon, "was thus
signalized by the ruin of a flourishing city, the insurrection gained
ground with wonderful rapidity; and from mountain to mountain, and
village to village, propagated itself to the furthest corner of the
Peloponnesus. Everywhere the peasants flew to arms; and those Turks who
resided in the open country or unfortified towns were either cut to
pieces, or forced to fly into strongholds." On the second of April, the
flag of independence was hoisted in Achaia. On the ninth, a Grecian
senate met at Calamata, in Messenia, having for its president
Mavromichalis, Prince or Bey of Maina, a rugged territory in the
ancient Sparta, famous for its hardy race of robbers and pirates.
[Footnote: These Mainates have been supposed to be of Sclavonian
origin; but Mr. Gordon, upon the authority of the Emperor Constantine
Porphyrogenitos, asserts that they are of pure Laconian blood, and
became Christians in the reign of that emperor's grandfather, Basil the
Macedonian. They are, and over have been, robbers by profession;
robbers by land, pirates by sea; for which last branch of their mixed
occupation they enjoy singular advantages in their position at the
point of junction between the Ionian and Egean seas. To illustrate
their condition of perpetual warfare, Mr. Gordon mentions that there
were very lately individuals who had lived for twenty years in towers,
not daring to stir out lest their neighbors should shoot them. They
were supplied with bread and cartridges by their wives; for the persons
of women are sacred in Maina. Two other good features in their
character are their hospitality and their indisposition to bloodshed.
They are in fact _gentle thieves_--the Robin Hoods of Greece.]

On the sixth of April, the insurrection had spread to the narrow
territory of Megaris, situated to the north of the isthmus. The
Albanian population of this country, amounting to about ten thousand,
and employed by the Porte to guard the defiles of the entrance into
Peloponnesus, raised the standard of revolt, and marched to invest the
Acrocorinthus. In the Messenian territory, the Bishop of Modon, having
made his guard of Janissaries drunk, cut the whole of them to pieces;
and then encamping on the heights of Navarin, his lordship blockaded
that fortress. The abruptness of these movements, and their almost
simultaneous origin at distances so considerable, sufficiently prove
how ripe the Greeks were for this revolt as respected temper; and in
other modes of preparation they never _could_ have been ripe
whilst overlooked by Turkish masters. That haughty race now retreated
from all parts of the Morea, within the ramparts of Tripolizza.

In the first action which occurred, the Arcadian Greeks did not behave
well; they fled at the very sound of the Moslem tread. Colocotroni
commanded; and he rallied them again; but again they deserted him at
the sight of their oppressors; "and I," said Colocotroni afterwards,
when relating the circumstances of this early affair, "having with me
only ten companions including my horse, sat down in a bush and wept."

Meantime, affairs went ill at Patrass. Yussuf Pacha, having been
detached from Epirus to Euba by the Scrasker, heard on his route of
the insurrection in Peloponnesus. Upon which, altering his course, he
sailed to Patrass, and reached it on the fifteenth of April. This was
Palm Sunday, and it dawned upon the Greeks with evil omens. First came
a smart shock of earthquake; next a cannonade announcing the approach
of the Pacha; and, lastly, an Ottoman brig of war, which saluted the
fort and cast anchor before the town.

The immediate consequences were disastrous. The Greeks retreated; and
the Pacha detached Kihaya-Bey, a Tartar officer of distinguished
energy, with near three thousand men, to the most important points of
the revolt. On the fifth of May, the Tartar reached Corinth, but found
the siege already raised. Thence he marched to Argos, sending before
him a requisition for bread. He was answered by the men of Argos that
they had no bread, but only powder and ball at his service. This
threat, however, proved a gasconade; the Kihaya advanced in three
columns; cavalry on each wing, and infantry in the centre; on which,
after a single discharge, the Argives fled. [Footnote: It has a sublime
effect in the record of this action to hear that the Argives were drawn
up behind a wall originally raised as a defence _against the deluge
of Inachus_.] Their general, fighting bravely, was killed, together
with seven hundred others, and fifteen hundred women captured. The
Turks, having sacked and burned Argos, then laid siege to a monastery,
which surrendered upon terms; and it is honorable to the memory of this
Tartar general, that, according to the testimony of Mr. Gordon, at a
time when the war was managed with merciless fury and continual
perfidies on both sides, he observed the terms with rigorous fidelity,
treated all his captives with the utmost humanity, and even liberated
the women.

Thus far the tide had turned against the Greeks; but now came a
decisive reaction in their favor; and, as if forever to proclaim the
folly of despair, just at the very crisis when it was least to have
been expected, the Kihaya was at this point joined by the Turks of
Tripolizza, and was now reputed to be fourteen thousand strong. This
proved to be an exaggeration; but the subsequent battle is the more
honorable to those who believed it. At a council of war, in the Greek
camp, the prevailing opinion was that an action could not prudently be
risked. One man thought otherwise; this was Anagnostoras; he, by urging
the desolations which would follow a retreat, brought over the rest to
his opinion; and it was resolved to take up a position at Valtezza, a
village three hours' march from Tripolizza. Thither, on the twenty-
seventh of May, the Kihaya arrived with five thousand men, in three
columns, having left Tripolizza at dawn; and immediately raised
redoubts opposite to those of the Greeks, and placed three heavy pieces
of cannon in battery. He hoped to storm the position; but, if he should
fail, he had a reason for still anticipating a victory, and _that_
was the situation of the fountains, which must soon have drawn the
Greeks out of their position, as they had water only for twenty-four
hours' consumption.

The battle commenced: and the first failure of the Kihaya was in the
cannonade; for his balls, passing over the Greeks, fell amongst a corps
of his own troops. These now made three assaults; but were repulsed in
all. Both sides kept up a fire till night; and each expected that his
enemy would retire in the darkness. The twenty-eighth, however, found
the two armies still in the same positions. The battle was renewed for
five hours; and then the Kihaya, finding his troops fatigued, and that
his retreat was likely to be intercepted by Nikitas (a brave partisan
officer bred to arms in the service of England), who was coming up by
forced marches from Argos with eight hundred men, gave the signal for
retreat. This soon became a total rout; the Kihaya lost his horse; and
the Greeks, besides taking two pieces of cannon, raised a trophy of
four hundred Moslem heads.

Such was the battle of Yaltezza, the inaugural performance of the
insurrection; and we have told it thus circumstantially, because Mr.
Gordon characterizes it as "remarkable for the moral effect it
produced;" and he does not scruple to add, that it "certainly decided
the campaign in Peloponnesus, _and perhaps even the fate of the

Three days after, that is, on the last day of May, 1821, followed the
victory of Doliana, in which the Kihaya, anxious to recover his lost
ground, was encountered by Nikitas. The circumstances were peculiarly
brilliant. For the Turkish general had between two and three thousand
men, besides artillery; whereas Nikitas at first sustained the attack
in thirteen barricaded houses, with no more than ninety-six soldiers,
and thirty armed peasants. After a resistance of eleven hours, he was
supported by seven hundred men; and in the end he defeated the Kihaya
with a very considerable loss.

These actions raised the enthusiasm of the Morea to a high point; and
in the mean time other parts of Greece had joined in the revolt. In the
first week of April an insurrection burst out in the eastern provinces
of Greece, Attica, Boeotia, and Phocis. The insurgents first appeared
near Livadia, one of the best cities in northern Greece. On the
thirteenth, they occupied Thebes without opposition. Immediately after,
Odysseus propagated the revolt in Phocis, where he had formerly
commanded as a lieutenant of Ali Pacha's. Next arose the Albanian
peasantry of Attica, gathering in armed bodies to the west of Athens.
Towards the end of April, the Turks, who composed one fifth of the
Athenian population (then rated at ten thousand), became greatly
agitated; and twice proposed a massacre of the Christians. This was
resisted by the humane Khadi; and the Turks, contenting themselves with
pillaging absent proprietors, began to lay up stores in the Acropolis.
With ultra Turkish stupidity, however, out of pure laziness, at this
critical moment, they confided the night duty on the ramparts of the
city to Greeks. The consequence may be supposed. On the eighth of May,
the Ottoman standard had been raised and blessed by an Tman. On the
following night, a rapid discharge of musketry, and the shouts of
_Christ has risen! Liberty! Liberty!_ proclaimed the capture of
Athens. Nearly two thousand peasants, generally armed with clubs, had
scaled the walls and forced the gates. The prisoners taken were treated
with humanity. But, unfortunately, this current of Christian sentiment
was immediately arrested by the conduct of the Turks in the Acropolis,
in killing nine hostages, and throwing over the walls some naked and
headless bodies.

The insurrection next spread to Thessaly; and at last even to
Macedonia, from the premature and atrocious violence of the Pacha of
Salonika. Apprehending a revolt, he himself drew it on, by cutting off
the heads of the Christian merchants and clergy (simply as a measure of
precaution), and enforcing his measures on the peasantry by military
execution. Unfortunately, from its extensive plains, this country is
peculiarly favorable to the evolutions of the Turkish cavalry; the
insurgents were, therefore, defeated in several actions; and ultimately
took refuge in great numbers amongst the convents on Mount Athos, which
also were driven into revolt by the severity of the Pacha. Here the
fugitives were safe from the sabres of their merciless pursuers; but,
unless succored by sea, ran a great risk of perishing by famine. But a
more important accession to the cause of independence, within one month
from its first outbreak in the Morea, occurred in the Islands of the
Archipelago. The three principal of these in modern times, are Hydra,
Spezzia, and Psarra. [Footnote: Their insignificance in ancient times
is proclaimed by the obscurity of their ancient names--Aperopia,
Tiparenus, and Psyra.] They had been colonized in the preceding
century, by some poor families from Peloponnesus and Ionia. At that
time they had gained a scanty subsistence as fishermen. Gradually they
became merchants and seamen. Being the best sailors in the Sultan's
dominions, they had obtained some valuable privileges, amongst which
was that of exemption from Turkish magistrates; so that, if they could
not boast of _autonomy_, they had at least the advantage of
executing the bad laws of Turkish imposition by chiefs of their own
blood. And they had the further advantage of paying but a moderate
tribute to the Sultan. So favored, their commerce had flourished beyond
all precedent. And latterly, when the vast extension of European
warfare had created first-rate markets for grain, selecting, of course,
those which were highest at the moment, they sometimes doubled their
capitals in two voyages; and seven or eight such trips in a year were
not an unusual instance of good fortune. What had been the result, may
be collected from the following description, which Mr. Gordon gives us,
of Hydra: "Built on a sterile rock, which does not offer, at any
season, the least trace of vegetation, it is one of the best cities in
the Levant, and _infinitely superior to any other in Greece_; the
houses are all constructed of white stone; and those of the
aristocracy--erected at an immense expense, floored with costly
marbles, and splendidly furnished--_might pass for palaces even in
the capitals of Italy_. Before the revolution, poverty was unknown;
all classes being comfortably lodged, clothed, and fed. Its inhabitants
at this epoch exceeded twenty thousand, of whom four thousand were
able-bodied seamen."

The other islands were, with few exceptions, arid rocks; and most of
them had the inestimable advantage of being unplagued with a Turkish
population. Enjoying that precious immunity, it may be wondered why
they should have entered into the revolt. But for this there were two
great reasons: they were ardent Christians in the first place, and
disinterested haters of Mahometanism on its own merits; secondly, as
the most powerful [Footnote: Mr. Gordon says that "they could, without
difficulty, fit out a hundred sail of ships, brigs, and schooners,
armed with from twelve to twenty-four guns each, and manned by seven
thousand stout and able sailors." Pouqueville ascribes to them, in
1813, a force considerably greater. But the peace of Paris (one year
after Pouqueville's estimates) naturally reduced their power, as their
extraordinary gains were altogether dependent on war and naval
blockades.] nautical confederacy in the Levant, they anticipated a
large booty from captures at sea. In that expectation, at first, they
were not disappointed. But it was a source of wealth soon exhausted;
for, naturally, as soon as their ravages became known, the Mussulmans
ceased to navigate. Spezzia was the first to hoist the independent
flag; this was on the ninth of April, 1821. Psarra immediately followed
her example. Hydra hesitated, and at first even declined to do so; but,
at last, on the 28th of April, this island also issued a manifesto of
adherence to the patriotic cause. On the third of May, a squadron of
eleven Hydriot and seven Spezzia vessels sailed from Hydra, having on
the mainmast "an address to the people of the Egean sea, inviting them
to rally round the national standard: an address that was received with
enthusiasm in every quarter of the Archipelago where the Turks were not
numerous enough to restrain popular feeling."

"The success of the Greek marine in this first expedition," says Mr.
Gordon, "was not confined to merely spreading the insurrection
throughout the Archipelago: a swarm of swift armed ships swept the sea
from the Hellespont to the waters of Crete and Cyprus; captured every
Ottoman trader they met with, and put to the sword, or flung overboard,
the Mahometan crews and passengers; for the contest already assumed a
character of terrible ferocity. It would be vain to deny that they were
guilty of shocking barbarities; at the little island of Castel Rosso,
on the Karamanian shore, they butchered, in cold blood, several
beautiful Turkish females; and a great number of defenceless pilgrims
(mostly old men), who, returning from Mecca, fell into their power, off
Cyprus, were slain without mercy, because they would not renounce their
faith." Many such cases of hideous barbarity had already occurred, and
did afterwards occur, on the mainland. But this is the eternal law and
providential retribution of oppression. The tyrant teaches to his slave
the crimes and the cruelties which he inflicts; blood will have blood;
and the ferocious oppressor is involved in the natural reaction of his
own wickedness, by the frenzied retaliation of the oppressed. Now was
indeed beheld the realization of the sublime imprecation in Shakspeare:
"one spirit of the first-born Cain" did indeed reign in the hearts of
men; and now, if ever upon this earth, it seemed likely, from the
dreadful _acharnement_ which marked the war on both sides,--the
_acharnement_ of long-hoarded vengeance and maddening remembrances
in the Grecian, of towering disdain in the alarmed oppressor,--that, in
very simplicity of truth, "_Darkness would be the burier of the

Such was the opening scene in the astonishing drama of the Greek
insurrection, which, through all its stages, was destined to move by
fire and blood, and beyond any war in human annals to command the
interest of mankind through their sterner affections. We have said that
it was eminently a romantic war; but not in the meaning with which we
apply that epithet to the semi-fabulous wars of Charlemagne and his
Paladins, or even to the Crusaders. Here are no memorable contests of
generosity; no triumphs glorified by mercy; no sacrifices of interest
the most basely selfish to martial honor; no ear on either side for the
pleadings of desolate affliction; no voice in any quarter of commanding
justice; no acknowledgment of a common nature between the belligerents;
nor sense of a participation in the same human infirmities, dangers, or
necessities. To the fugitive from the field of battle there was
scarcely a retreat; to the prisoner there was absolutely no hope. Stern
retribution, and the very rapture of vengeance, were the passions which
presided on the one side; on the other, fanaticism and the cruelty of
fear and hatred, maddened by old hereditary scorn. Wherever the war
raged there followed upon the face of the land one blank Aceldama. A
desert tracked the steps of the armies, and a desert in which was no
oasis; and the very atmosphere in which men lived and breathed was a
chaos of murderous passions. Still it is true that the war was a great
romance. For it was filled with change, and with elastic rebound from
what seemed final extinction; with the spirit of adventure carried to
the utmost limits of heroism; with self-devotion on the sublimest
scale, and the very frenzy of patriotic martyrdom; with resurrection of
everlasting hope upon ground seven times blasted by the blighting
presence of the enemy; and with flowers radiant in promise springing
forever from under the very tread of the accursed Moslem.

NOTE.--We have thought that we should do an acceptable service to the
reader by presenting him with a sketch of the Suliotes, and the most
memorable points in their history. We have derived it (as to the facts)
from a little work originally composed by an Albanian in modern Greek,
and printed at Venice in 1815. This work was immediately translated
into Italian, by Gherardini, an Italian officer of Milan; and, ten
years ago, with some few omissions, it was reproduced in an English
version; but in this country it seems never to have attracted public
notice, and is probably now forgotten.

With respect to the name of Suli, the Suliotes themselves trace it to
an accident:--"Some old men," says the Albanian author, reciting his
own personal investigations amongst the oldest of the Suliotes,
"replied that they did not remember having any information from their
ancestors concerning the first inhabitants of Suli, except this only:
that some goat and swine herds used to lead their flocks to graze on
the mountains where Suli and Ghiafa now stand; that these mountains
were not only steep and almost inaccessible, but clothed with thickets
of wood, and infested by wild boars; that these herdsmen, being
oppressed by the tyranny of the Turks of a village called to this day
Gardichi, took the resolution of flying for a distance of six hours'
journey to this sylvan and inaccessible position, of sharing in common
the few animals which they had, and of suffering voluntarily every
physical privation, rather than submit to the slightest wrong from
their foreign tyrants. This resolution, they added, must be presumed to
have been executed with success; because we find that, in the lapse of
five or six years, these original occupants of the fastness were joined
by thirty other families. Somewhere about that time it was that they
began to awaken the jealousy of the Turks; and a certain Turk, named
Suli, went in high scorn and defiance, with many other associates, to
expel them from this strong position; but our stout forefathers met
them with arms in their hands. Suli, the leader and inciter of the
Turks, was killed outright upon the ground; and, on the very spot where
he fell, at this day stands the centre of our modern Suli, which took
its name, therefore, from that same slaughtered Turk, who was the first
insolent and malicious enemy with whom our country in its days of
infancy had to contend for its existence."

Such is the most plausible account which can now be obtained of the
_incunabula_ of this most indomitable little community, and of the
circumstances under which it acquired its since illustrious name. It
was, perhaps, natural that a little town, in the centre of insolent and
bitter enemies, should assume a name which would long convey to their
whole neighborhood a stinging lesson of mortification, and of
prudential warning against similar molestations. As to the
_chronology_ of this little state, the Albanian author assures us,
upon the testimony of the same old Suliotes, that "seventy years
before" there were barely one hundred men fit for the active duties of
war, which, in ordinary states of society, would imply a total
population of four hundred souls. That may be taken, therefore, as the
extreme limit of the Suliote population at a period of seventy years
antecedently to the date of tke conversation on which he founds his
information. But, as he has unfortunately omitted to fix the exact era
of these conversations, the whole value of his accuracy is neutralized
by his own carelessness. However, it is probable, from the internal
evidence of his book, which brings down affairs below the year 1812,
that his information was collected somewhere about 1810. We must carry
back the epoch, therefore, at which Suli had risen to a population of
four hundred, pretty nearly to the year 1740; and since, by the same
traditionary evidence, Suli had then accomplished an independent
existence through a space of eighty years, we have reason to conclude
that the very first gatherings of poor Christian herdsmen to this
sylvan sanctuary, when stung to madness by Turkish insolence and
persecution, would take place about the era of the Restoration (of our
Charles II.), that is, in 1660.

In more modern times, the Suliotes had expanded into four separate
little towns, peopled by five hundred and sixty families, from which
they were able to draw one thousand first-rate soldiers. But, by a very
politic arrangement, they had colonized with sixty-six other families
seven neighboring towns, over which, from situation, they had long been
able to exercise a military preponderance. The benefits were
incalculable which they obtained by this connection. At the first alarm
of war the fighting men retreated with no incumbrances but their arms,
ammunition, and a few days' provision, into the four towns of Suli
proper, which all lay within that ring fence of impregnable position
from which no armies could ever dislodge them; meantime, they secretly
drew supplies from the seven associate towns, which were better
situated than themselves for agriculture, and which (apparently taking
no part in the war) pursued their ordinary labors unmolested. Their
tactics were simple, but judicious; if they saw a body of five or six
thousand advancing against their position, knowing that it was idle for
them to meet such a force in the open field, they contented themselves
with detaching one hundred and fifty or two hundred men to skirmish on
their flanks, and to harass them according to the advantages of the
ground; but if they saw no more than five hundred or one thousand in
the hostile column, they then issued in equal or superior numbers, in
the certainty of beating them, striking an effectual panic into their
hearts, and also of profiting largely by plunder and by ransom.

In so small and select a community, where so much must continually
depend upon individual qualities and personal heroism, it may readily
be supposed that the women would play an important part; in fact, "the
women carry arms and fight bravely. When the men go to war, the women
bring them food and provisions; when they see their strength declining
in combat, they run to their assistance, and fight along with them;
but, if by any chance their husbands behave with cowardice, they snatch
their arms from them, and abuse them, calling them mean, and unworthy
of having a wife." Upon these feelings there has even been built a law
in Suli, which must deeply interest the pride of women in the martial
honor of their husbands; agreeably to this law, any woman whose husband
has distinguished himself in battle, upon going to a fountain to draw
water, has the liberty to drive away another woman whose husband is
tainted with the reproach of cowardice; and all who succeed her, "from
dawn to dewy eve," unless under the ban of the same withering stigma,
have the same privilege of taunting her with her husband's baseness,
and of stepping between her or her cattle until their own wants are
fully supplied.

This social consideration of the female sex, in right of their
husbands' military honors, is made available for no trifling purposes;
on one occasion it proved the absolute salvation of the tribe. In one
of the most desperate assaults made by Ali Pacha upon Suli, when that
tyrant was himself present at the head of eight thousand picked men,
animated with the promise of five hundred piastres a man, to as many as
should enter Suli, after ten hours' fighting under an enfeebling sun,
and many of the Suliote muskets being rendered useless by continual
discharges, a large body of the enemy had actually succeeded in
occupying the sacred interior of Suli itself. At that critical moment,
when Ali was in the very paroxysms of frantic exultation, the Suliote
women, seeing that the general fate hinged upon the next five minutes,
turned upon the Turks _en masse_, and with such a rapture of
sudden fury, that the conquering army was instantly broken--thrown into
panic, pursued; and, in that state of ruinous disorder, was met and
flanked by the men, who were now recovering from their defeat. The
consequences, from the nature of the ground, were fatal to the Turkish
army and enterprise; the whole camp equipage was captured; none saved
their lives but by throwing away their arms; one third of the Turks
(one half by some accounts) perished on the retreat; the rest returned
at intervals as an unarmed mob; and the bloody, perfidious Pacha
himself saved his life only by killing two horses in his haste. So
total was the rout, and so bitter the mortification of Ali, who had
seen a small band of heroic women snatch the long-sought prize out of
his very grasp, that for some weeks he shut himself up in his palace at
Yannina, would receive no visits, and issued a proclamation imposing
instant death upon any man detected in looking out at a window or other
aperture--as being _presumably_ engaged in noticing the various
expressions of his defeat which were continually returning to Yannina.

The wars, in which the adventurous courage of the Suliotes (together
with their menacing position) could not fail to involve them, were in
all eleven. The first eight of these occurred in times before the
French Revolution, and with Pachas who have left no memorials behind
them of the terrific energy or hellish perfidy which marked the
character of Ali Pacha. These Pachas, who brought armies at the lowest
of five thousand, and at the most of twelve thousand men, were
uniformly beaten; and apparently were content to be beaten. Sometimes a
Pacha was even made prisoner; but, as the simple [Footnote: On the same
occasion the Pacha's son, and sixty officers of the rank of _Aga_,
were also made prisoners by a truly rustic mode of assault. The Turks
had shut themselves up in a church; into this, by night, the Suliotes
threw a number of hives, full of bees, whose insufferable stings soon
brought the haughty Moslems into the proper surrendering mood. The
whole body were afterwards ransomed for so trifling a sum as one
thousand sequins.] Suliotes little understood the art of improving
advantages, the ransom was sure to be proportioned to the value of the
said Pacha's sword-arm in battle, rather than to his rank and ability
to pay; so that the terms of liberation were made ludicrously easy to
the Turkish chiefs.

These eight wars naturally had no other ultimate effect than to extend
the military power, experience, and renown, of the Suliotes. But their
ninth war placed them in collision with a new and far more perilous
enemy than any they had yet tried; above all, he was so obstinate and
unrelenting an enemy, that, excepting the all-conquering mace of death,
it was certain that no obstacles born of man ever availed to turn him
aside from an object once resolved on. The reader will understand, of
course, that this enemy was Ali Pacha. Their ninth war was with him;
and he, like all before him, was beaten; but _not_ like all before
him did Ali sit down in resignation under his defeat. His hatred was
now become fiendish; no other prosperity or success had any grace in
his eyes, so long as Suli stood, by which he had been overthrown,
trampled on, and signally humbled. Life itself was odious to him, if he
must continue to witness the triumphant existence of the abhorred
little mountain village which had wrung laughter at his expense from
every nook of Epirus. _Delenda est Carthago! Suli must be
exterminated!_ became, therefore, from this time, the master
watchword of his secret policy. And on the 1st of June, in the year
1792, he commenced his second war against the Suliotes, at the head of
twenty-two thousand men. This was the second war of Suli with Ali
Pacha; but it was the tenth war on their annals; and, as far as their
own exertions were concerned, it had the same result as all the rest.
But, about the sixth year of the war, in an indirect way, Ali made one
step towards his final purpose, which first manifested its disastrous
tendency in the new circumstances which succeeding years brought
forward. In 1797 the French made a lodgment in Corfu; and, agreeably to
their general spirit of intrigue, they had made advances to Ali Pacha,
and to all other independent powers in or about Epirus. Amongst other
states, in an evil hour for that ill-fated city, they wormed themselves
into an alliance with Prevesa; and in the following year their own
quarrel with Ali Pacha gave that crafty robber a pretence, which he had
long courted in vain, for attacking the place with his overwhelming
cavalry, before they could agree upon the mode of defence, and long
before _any_ mode could have been tolerably matured. The result
was one universal massacre, which raged for three days, and involved
every living Prevesan, excepting some few who had wisely made their
escape in time, and excepting those who were reserved to be tortured
for Ali's special gratification, or to be sold for slaves in the
shambles. This dreadful catastrophe, which in a few hours rooted from
the earth an old and flourishing community, was due in about equal
degrees to the fatal intriguing of the interloping French, and to the
rankest treachery in a quarter where it could least have been held
possible; namely, in a Suliote, and a very distinguished Suliote,
Captain George Botzari; but the miserable man yielded up his honor and
his patriotism to Ali's bribe of one hundred purses (perhaps at that
time equal to twenty-five hundred pounds sterling). The way in which
this catastrophe operated upon Ali's final views was obvious to
everybody in that neighborhood. Parga, on the sea-coast, was an
indispensable ally to Suli; now, Prevesa stood in the same relation to
Parga, as an almost indispensable ally, that Parga occupied towards

This shocking tragedy had been perpetrated in the October of 1798; and,
in less than two years from that date, namely, on the 2d of June, 1800,
commenced the eleventh war of the Suliotes; being their third with Ali,
and the last which, from their own guileless simplicity, meeting with
the craft of the most perfidious amongst princes, they were ever
destined to wage. For two years, that is, until the middle of 1802, the
war, as managed by the Suliotes, rather resembles a romance, or some
legend of the acts of Paladins, than any grave chapter in modern
history. Amongst the earliest victims it is satisfactory to mention the
traitor, George Botzari, who, being in the power of the Pacha, was
absolutely compelled to march with about two hundred of his kinsmen,
whom he had seduced from Suli, against his own countrymen, under whose
avenging swords the majority of them fell, whilst the arch-traitor
himself soon died of grief and mortification. After this, Ali himself
led a great and well-appointed army in various lines of assault against
Suli. But so furious was the reception given to the Turks, so deadly
and so uniform their defeat, that panic seized on the whole army, who
declared unanimously to Ali that they would no more attempt to contend
with the Suliotes--"Who," said they, "neither sit nor sleep, but are
born only for the destruction of men." Ali was actually obliged to
submit to this strange resolution of his army; but, by way of
compromise, he built a chain of forts pretty nearly encircling Suli;
and simply exacted of his troops that, being forever released from the
dangers of the open field, they should henceforward shut themselves up
in these forts, and constitute themselves a permanent blockading force
for the purpose of bridling the marauding excursions of the Suliotes.
It was hoped that, from the close succession of these forts, the
Suliotes would find it impossible to slip between the cross fires of
the Turkish musketry; and that, being thus absolutely cut off from
their common resources of plunder, they must at length be reduced by
mere starvation. That termination of the contest was in fact repeatedly
within a trifle of being accomplished; the poor Suliotes were reduced
to a diet of acorns; and even of this food had so slender a quantity
that many died, and the rest wore the appearance of blackened
skeletons. All this misery, however, had no effect to abate one jot of
their zeal and their undying hatred to the perfidious enemy who was
bending every sinew to their destruction. It is melancholy to record
that such perfect heroes, from whom force the most disproportioned, nor
misery the most absolute, had ever wrung the slightest concession or
advantage, were at length entrapped by the craft of their enemy; and by
their own foolish confidence in the oaths of one who had never been
known to keep any engagement which he had a momentary interest in
breaking. Ali contrived first of all to trepan the matchless leader of
the Suliotes, Captain Foto Giavella, who was a hero after the most
exquisite model of ancient Greece, Epaminondas, or Timoleon, and whose
counsels were uniformly wise and honest. After that loss, all harmony
of plan went to wreck amongst the Suliotes; and at length, about the
middle of December, 1803, this immortal little independent state of
Suli solemnly renounced by treaty to Ali Pacha its sacred territory,
its thrice famous little towns, and those unconquerable positions among
the crests of wooded inaccessible mountains which had baffled all the
armies of the crescent, led by the most eminent of the Ottoman Pachas,
and not seldom amounting to twenty, twenty-five, and in one instance
even to more than thirty thousand men. The articles of a treaty, which
on one side there never was an intention of executing, are scarcely
worth repeating; the amount was--that the Suliotes had perfect liberty
to go whither they chose, retaining the whole of their arms and
property, and with a title to payment in cash for every sort of warlike
store which could not be carried off. In excuse for the poor Suliotes
in trusting to treaties of any kind with an enemy whom no oaths could
bind for an hour, it is but fair to mention that they were now
absolutely without supplies either of ammunition or provisions; and
that, for seven days, they had suffered under a total deprivation of
water, the sources of which were now in the hands of the enemy, and
turned into new channels. The winding up of the memorable tale is soon
told:--the main body of the fighting Suliotes, agreeably to the
treaty, immediately took the route to Parga, where they were sure of a
hospitable reception, that city having all along made common cause with
Suli against their common enemy, Ali. The son of Ali, who had concluded
the treaty, and who inherited all his father's treachery, as fast as
possible despatched four thousand Turks in pursuit, with orders to
massacre the whole. But in this instance, through the gallant
assistance of the Parghiotes, and the energetic haste of the Suliotes,
the accursed wretch was disappointed of his prey. As to all the other
detachments of the Suliotes, who were scattered at different points,
and were necessarily thrown everywhere upon their own resources without
warning or preparation of any kind,--they, by the terms of the treaty,
had liberty to go away or to reside peaceably in any part of Ali's
dominions. But as these were mere windy words, it being well understood
that Ali's fixed intention was to cut every throat among the Suliotes,
whether of man, woman, or child,--nay, as he thought himself dismally
ill-used by every hour's delay which interfered with the execution of
that purpose,--what rational plan awaited the choice of the poor
Suliotes, finding themselves in the centre of a whole hostile nation,
and their own slender divisions cut off from communication with each
other? What could people so circumstanced propose to themselves as a
suitable resolution for their situation? Hope there was none; sublime
despair was all that their case allowed; and, considering the
unrivalled splendors of their past history for more than one hundred
and sixty years, perhaps most readers would reply, in the famous words
of Corneille--_Qu'ils mourussent_. That was their own reply to the
question now so imperatively forced upon them; and die they all did. It
is an argument of some great original nobility in the minds of these
poor people, that none disgraced themselves by useless submissions, and
that all alike, women as well as men, devoted themselves in the "high
Roman fashion" to the now expiring cause of their country. The first
case which occurred exhibits the very perfection of _nonchalance_
in circumstances the most appalling. Samuel, a Suliote monk, of
somewhat mixed and capricious character, and at times even liable to
much suspicion amongst his countrymen, but of great name, and of
unquestionable merit in his military character, was in the act of
delivering over to authorized Turkish agents a small outpost, which had
greatly annoyed the forces of Ali, together with such military stores
as it still contained. By the treaty, Samuel was perfectly free, and
under the solemn protection of Ali; but the Turks, with the utter
shamelessness to which they had been brought by daily familiarity with
treachery the most barefaced, were openly descanting to Samuel upon the
unheard-of tortures which must be looked for at the hands of Ali, by a
soldier who had given so much trouble to that Pacha as himself. Samuel
listened coolly; he was then seated on a chest of gunpowder, and powder
was scattered about in all directions. He watched in a careless way
until he observed that all the Turks, exulting in their own damnable
perfidies, were assembled under the roof of the building. He then
coolly took the burning snuff of a candle, and threw it into a heap of
combustibles, still keeping his seat upon the chest of powder. It is
unnecessary to add that the little fort, and all whom it contained,
were blown to atoms. And with respect to Samuel in particular, no
fragment of his skeleton could ever be discovered. [Footnote: The
deposition of two Suliote sentinels at the door, and of a third person
who escaped with a dreadful scorching, sufficiently established the
facts; otherwise the whole would have been ascribed to the treachery of
Ali or his son.] After this followed as many separate tragedies as
there were separate parties of Suliotes; when all hope and all retreat
were clearly cut off, then the women led the great scene of self-
immolation, by throwing their children headlong from the summit of
precipices; which done, they and their husbands, their fathers and
their sons, hand in hand, ran up to the brink of the declivity, and
followed those whom they had sent before. In other situations, where
there was a possibility of fighting with effect, they made a long and
bloody resistance, until the Turkish cavalry, finding an opening for
their operations, made all further union impossible; upon which they
all plunged into the nearest river, without distinction of age or sex,
and were swallowed up by the merciful waters. Thus, in a few days, from
the signing of that treaty, which nominally secured to them peaceable
possession of their property, and paternal treatment from the
perfidious Pacha, none remained to claim his promises or to experience
his abominable cruelties. In their native mountains of Epirus, the name
of Suliote was now blotted from the books of life, and was heard no
more in those wild sylvan haunts, where once it had filled every echo
with the breath of panic to the quailing hearts of the Moslems. In the
most "palmy" days of Suli, she never had counted more than twenty-five
hundred fighting men; and of these no considerable body escaped,
excepting the corps who hastily fought their way to Parga. From that
city they gradually transported themselves to Corfu, then occupied by
the Russians. Into the service of the Russian Czar, as the sole means
left to a perishing corps of soldiers for earning daily bread, they
naturally entered; and when Corfu afterwards passed from Russian to
English masters, it was equally inevitable that for the same urgent
purposes they should enter the military service of England. In that
service they received the usual honorable treatment, and such attention
as circumstances would allow to their national habits and prejudices.
They were placed also, we believe, under the popular command of Sir R.
Church, who, though unfortunate as a supreme leader, made himself
beloved in a lower station by all the foreigners under his authority.
These Suliotes have since then returned to Epirus and to Greece, the
peace of 1815 having, perhaps, dissolved their connection with England,
and they were even persuaded to enter the service of their arch-enemy,
Ali Pacha. Since his death, their diminished numbers, and the altered
circumstances of their situation, should naturally have led to the
extinction of their political importance. Yet we find them in 1832
still attracting (or rather concentrating) the wrath of the Turkish
Sultan, made the object of a separate war, and valued (as in all former
cases) on the footing of a distinct and independent nation. On the
winding up of this war, we find part of them at least an object of
indulgent solicitude to the British government, and under their
protection transferred to Cephalonia. Yet again, others of their scanty
clan meet us at different points of the war in Greece; especially at
the first decisive action with Ibrahim, when, in the rescue of Costa
Botzaris, every Suliote of his blood perished on the spot; and again,
in the fatal battle of Athens (May 6, 1827), Mr. Gordon assures us that
"almost all the Suliotes were exterminated." We understand him to speak
not generally of the Suliotes, as of the total clan who bear that name,
but of those only who happened to be present at that dire catastrophe.
Still, even with this limitation, such a long succession of heavy
losses descending upon a people who never numbered above twenty-five
hundred fighting men, and who had passed through the furnace, seven
times heated, of Ali Pacha's wrath, and suffered those many and dismal
tragedies which we have just recorded, cannot but have brought them
latterly to the brink of utter extinction.

Book of the day: