History of Modern Europe 1792-1878
C. A. Fyffe

Part 10 out of 21

army of Austria, fifty thousand strong, not only possessed an immense
superiority in organisation and military spirit, but actually outnumbered
the forces of the defence. At the first encounter, which took place at
Rieti, in the Papal States, the Neapolitans were put to the rout. Their
army melted away, as it had in Murat's campaign in 1815. Nothing was heard
among officers and men but accusations of treachery; not a single strong
point was defended; and on the 24th of March the Austrians made their entry
into Naples. Ferdinand, halting at Florence, sent on before him the worst
instruments of his former despotism. It was indeed impossible for these men
to renew, under Austrian protection, the scenes of reckless bloodshed which
had followed the restoration of 1799; and a great number of compromised
persons had already been provided with the means of escape. But the hand of
vengeance was not easily stayed. Courts-martial and commissions of judges
began in all parts of the kingdom to sentence to imprisonment and death. An
attempted insurrection in Sicily and some desperate acts of rebellion in
Southern Italy cost the principal actors their lives; and when an amnesty
was at length proclaimed, an exception was made against those who were now
called the deserters, and who were lately called the Sacred Band, of Nola,
that is to say, the soldiers who had first risen for the Constitution.
Morelli, who had received the Viceroy's treacherous thanks for his conduct,
was executed, along with one of his companions; the rest were sent in
chains to labour among felons. Hundreds of persons were left lying,
condemned or uncondemned, in prison; others, in spite of the amnesty, were
driven from their native land; and that great, long-lasting stream of
fugitives now began to pour into England, which, in the early memories of
many who are not yet old, has associated the name of Italian with the image
of an exile and a sufferer.

[Insurrection in Piedmont, March 10.]

There was a moment in the campaign of Austria against Naples when the
invading army was threatened with the most serious danger. An insurrection
broke out in Piedmont, and the troops of that country attempted to unite
with the patriotic party of Lombardy in a movement which would have thrown
all Northern Italy upon the rear of the Austrians. In the first excess of
alarm, the Czar ordered a hundred thousand Russians to cross the Galician
frontier, and to march in the direction of the Adriatic. It proved
unnecessary, however, to continue this advance. The Piedmontese army was
divided against itself; part proclaimed the Spanish Constitution, and, on
the abdication of the King, called upon his cousin, the Regent, Charles
Albert of Carignano, to march against the Austrians; part adhered to the
rightful heir, the King's brother, Charles Felix, who was absent at Modena,
and who, with an honesty in strong contrast to the frauds of the Neapolitan
Court, refused to temporise with rebels, or to make any compromise with the
Constitution. The scruples of the Prince of Carignano, after he had gone
some way with the military party of action, paralysed the movement of
Northern Italy. Unsupported by Piedmontese troops, the conspirators of
Milan failed to raise any open insurrection. Austrian soldiers thronged
westwards from the Venetian fortresses, and entered Piedmont itself; the
collapse of the Neapolitan army destroyed the hopes of the bravest
patriots; and the only result of the Piedmontese movement was that the
grasp of Austria closed more tightly on its subject provinces, while the
martyrs of Italian freedom passed out of the sight of the world, out of the
range of all human communication, buried for years to come in the silent,
unvisited prison of the North. [329]

[The French Ultra Royalists urging attack on Spain.]

Thus the victory of absolutism was completed, and the law was laid down to
Europe that a people seeking its liberties elsewhere than in the grace and
spontaneous generosity of its legitimate sovereign became a fit object of
attack for the armies of the three Great Powers. It will be seen in a later
chapter how Metternich persuaded the Czar to include under the anathema
issued by the Congress of Laibach (May, 1821) [330] the outbreak of the
Greeks, which at this moment began, and how Lord Castlereagh supported the
Austrian Minister in denying to these rebels against the Sultan all right
or claim to the consideration of Europe. Spain was for the present left
unmolested; but the military operations of 1821 prepared the way for a
similar crusade against that country by occasioning the downfall of
Richelieu's Ministry, and throwing the government of France entirely into
the hands of the Ultra-Royalists. All parties in the French Chamber,
whether they condemned or approved the suppression of Neapolitan liberty,
censured a policy which had kept France in inaction, and made Austria
supreme in Italy. The Ultra-Royalists profited by the general discontent to
overthrow the Minister whom they had promised to support (Dec., 1821); and
from this time a war with Spain, conducted either by France alone or in
combination with the three Eastern Powers, became the dearest hope of the
rank and file of the dominant faction. Villèle, their nominal chief,
remained what he had been before, a statesman among fanatics, and desired
to maintain the attitude of observation as long as this should be possible.
A body of troops had been stationed on the southern frontier in 1820 to
prevent all intercourse with the Spanish districts afflicted with the
yellow fever. This epidemic had passed away, but the number of the troops
was now raised to a hundred thousand. It was, however, the hope of Villèle
that hostilities might be averted unless the Spaniards should themselves
provoke a combat, or, by resorting to extreme measures against King
Ferdinand, should compel Louis XVIII. to intervene on behalf of his
kinsman. The more violent section of the French Cabinet, represented by
Montmorency, the Foreign Minister, called for an immediate march on Madrid,
or proposed to delay operations only until France should secure the support
of the other Continental Powers.

[Spain from 1820 to 1822.]

[Ferdinand plots with the Serviles against the Constitution.]

The condition of Spain in the year 1822 gave ample encouragement to those
who longed to employ the arms of France in the royalist cause. The hopes of
peaceful reform, which for the first few months after the revolution had
been shared even by foreign politicians at Madrid, had long vanished. In
the moment of popular victory Ferdinand had brought the leaders of the
Cortes from their prisons and placed them in office. These men showed a
dignified forgetfulness of the injuries which they had suffered. Misfortune
had calmed their impetuosity, and taught them more of the real condition of
the Spanish people. They entered upon their task with seriousness and good
faith, and would have proved the best friends of constitutional monarchy if
Ferdinand had had the least intention of co-operating with them loyally.
But they found themselves encountered from the first by a double enemy. The
clergy, who had overthrown the Constitution six years before, intrigued or
openly declared against it as soon as it was revived; the more violent of
the Liberals, with Riego at their head, abandoned themselves to
extravagances like those of the club-orators of Paris in 1791, and did
their best to make any peaceable administration impossible. After combating
these anarchists, or Exaltados, with some success, the Ministry was forced
to call in their aid, when, at the instigation of the Papal Nuncio, the
King placed his veto upon a law dissolving most of the monasteries [331]
(Oct., 1820). Ferdinand now openly combined with the enemies of the
Constitution, and attempted to transfer the command of the army to one of
his own agents. The plot failed; the Ministry sent the alarm over the whole
country, and Ferdinand stood convicted before his people as a conspirator
against the Constitution which he had sworn to defend. The agitation of the
clubs, which the Ministry had hitherto suppressed, broke out anew. A storm
of accusations assailed Ferdinand himself. He was compelled at the end of
the year 1820 to banish from Madrid most of the persons who had been his
confidants; and although his dethronement was not yet proposed, he had
already become, far more than Louis XVI. of France under similar
conditions, the recognised enemy of the revolution, and the suspected
patron of every treason against the nation.

[The Ministry between the Exaltados and Serviles, 1821.]

[Attempted coup d'état, July 6, 1822.]

[Royalists revolt in the north.]

The attack of the despotic Courts on Naples in the spring of 1821
heightened the fury of parties in Spain, encouraging the Serviles, or
Absolutists, in their plots, and forcing the Ministry to yield to the cry
for more violent measures against the enemies of the Constitution. In the
south of Spain the Exaltados gained possession of the principal military
and civil commands, and openly refused obedience to the central
administration when it attempted to interfere with their action Seville,
Carthagena, and Cadiz acted as if they were independent Republics and even
spoke of separation from Spain. Defied by its own subordinates in the
provinces, and unable to look to the King for any sincere support, the
moderate governing party lost all hold upon the nation. In the Cortes
elected in 1822 the Exaltados formed the majority, and Riego was appointed
President. Ferdinand now began to concert measures of action with the
French Ultra-Royalists. The Serviles, led by priests, and supported by
French money, broke into open rebellion in the north. When the session of
the Cortes ended, the King attempted to overthrow his enemies by military
force. Three battalions of the Royal Guard, which had been withdrawn from
Madrid, received secret orders to march upon the capital (July 6, 1822),
where Ferdinand was expected to place himself at their head. They were,
however, met and defeated in the streets by other regiments, and Ferdinand,
vainly attempting to dissociate himself from the action of his partisans,
found his crown, if not his life, in peril. He wrote to Louis XVIII. that
he was a prisoner. Though the French King gave nothing more than good
counsel, the Ultra-Royalists in the French Cabinet and in the army now
strained every nerve to accelerate a war between the two countries. The
Spanish Absolutists seized the town of Seo d'Urgel, and there set up a
provisional government. Civil war spread over the northern provinces. The
Ministry, which was now formed of Riego's friends, demanded and obtained
from the Cortes dictatorial powers like those which the French Committee of
Public Safety had wielded in 1793, but with far other result. Spain found
no Danton, no Carnot, at this crisis, when the very highest powers of
intellect and will would have been necessary to arouse and to arm a people
far less disposed to fight for liberty than the French were in 1793. One
man alone, General Mina, checked and overthrew the rebel leaders of the
north with an activity superior to their own. The Government, boastful and
violent in its measures, effected scarcely anything in the organisation of
a national force, or in preparing the means of resistance against those
foreign armies with whose attack the country was now plainly threatened.

[England and the Congress of 1822.]

When the Congress of Laibach broke up in the spring of 1821. its members
determined to renew their meeting in the following year, in order to decide
whether the Austrian army might then be withdrawn from Naples, and to
discuss other questions affecting their common interests. The progress of
the Greek insurrection and a growing strife between Russia and Turkey had
since then thrown all Italian difficulties into the shade. The Eastern
question stood in the front rank of European politics; next in importance
came the affairs of Spain. It was certain that these, far more than the
occupation of Naples, would supply the real business of the Congress of
1822. England had a far greater interest in both questions than in the
Italian negotiations of the two previous years. It was felt that the system
of abstention which England had then followed could be pursued no longer,
and that the country must be represented not by some casual and wandering
diplomatist, but by its leading Minister, Lord Castlereagh. The intentions
of the other Powers in regard to Spain were matter of doubt; it was the
fixed policy of Great Britain to leave the Spanish revolution in Europe to
run its own course, and to persuade the other Powers to do the same. But
the difficulties connected with Spain did not stop at the Spanish frontier.
The South American colonies had now in great part secured their
independence. They had developed a trade with Great Britain which made it
impossible for this country to ignore their flag and the decisions of their
law courts. The British navigation-laws had already been modified by
Parliament in favour of their shipping; and although it was no business of
the English Government to grant a formal title to communities which had
made themselves free, the practical recognition of the American States by
the appointment of diplomatic agents could in several cases not be justly
delayed. Therefore, without interfering with any colonies which were still
fighting or still negotiating with Spain, the British Minister proposed to
inform the Allied cabinets of the intention of this country to accredit
agents to some of the South American Republics, and to recommend to them
the adoption of a similar policy.

[Death of Castlereagh, Aug. 12, 1822.]

Such was the tenour of the instructions which, a few weeks before his
expected departure for the Continent, Castlereagh drew up for his own
guidance, and submitted to the Cabinet and the King. [332] Had he lived to
fulfil the mission with which he was charged, the recognition of the South
American Republics, which adds so bright a ray to the fame of Canning,
would probably have been the work of the man who, more than any other, is
associated in popular belief with the traditions of a hated and outworn
system of oppression. Two more years of life, two more years of change in
the relations of England to the Continent, would have given Castlereagh a
different figure in the history both of Greece and of America. No English
statesman in modern times has been so severely judged. Circumstances, down
to the close of his career, withheld from Castlereagh the opportunities
which fell to his successor; ties from which others were free made it hard
for him to accelerate the breach with the Allies of 1814. Antagonists
showed Castlereagh no mercy, no justice. The man whom Byron disgraced
himself by ridiculing after his death possessed in a rich measure the
qualities which, in private life, attract esteem and love. His public life,
if tainted in earlier days by the low political morality of the time, rose
high above that of every Continental statesman of similar rank, with the
single exception of Stein. The best testimony to his integrity is the
irritation which it caused to Talleyrand. [333] If the consciousness of
labour unflaggingly pursued in the public cause, and animated on the whole
by a pure and earnest purpose, could have calmed the distress of a breaking
mind, the decline of Castlereagh's days might have been one of peace. His
countrymen would have recognised that, if blind to the rights of nations,
Castlereagh had set to foreign rulers the example of truth and good faith.
But the burden of his life was too heavy to bear. Mists of despondency
obscured the outlines of the real world, and struck chill into his heart.
Death, self-invoked, brought relief to the over-wrought brain, and laid
Castlereagh, with all his cares, in everlasting sleep.

[Canning Foreign Secretary. Wellington deputed to the Congress, Sept.,

[Congress of Verona, Oct., 1822.]

The vacant post was filled by Canning, by far the most gifted of the band
of statesmen who had begun their public life in the school of Pitt.
Wellington undertook to represent England at the Congress of 1822, which
was now about to open at Vienna. His departure was, however, delayed for
several weeks, and the preliminary meeting, at which it had been intended
to transact all business not relating to Italy, was almost over before his
arrival. Wellington accordingly travelled on to Verona, where Italian
affairs were to be dealt with; and the Italian Conference, which the
British Government had not intended to recognise, thus became the real
Congress of 1822. Anxious as Lord Castlereagh had been on the question of
foreign interference with Spain, he hardly understood the imminence of the
danger. In passing through Paris, Wellington learnt for the first time that
a French or European invasion of Spain would be the foremost object of
discussion among the Powers; and on reaching Verona he made the unwelcome
discovery that the Czar was bent upon sending a Russian army to take part,
as the mandatary of Europe, in overthrowing the Spanish Constitution.
Alexander's desire was to obtain a joint declaration from the Congress like
that which had been issued against Naples by the three Courts at Troppau,
but one even more formidable, since France might be expected in the present
case to give its concurrence, which had been withheld before. France indeed
occupied, according to the absolutist theory of the day, the same position
in regard to a Jacobin Spain as Austria in regard to a Jacobin Naples, and
might perhaps claim to play the leading military part in the crusade of
repression. But the work was likely to be a much more difficult one than
that of 1821. The French troops, said the Czar, were not trustworthy; and
there was a party in France which might take advantage of the war to
proclaim the second Napoleon or the Republic. King Louis XVIII. could not
therefore be allowed to grapple with Spain alone. It was necessary that the
principal force employed by the alliance should be one whose loyalty and
military qualities were above suspicion: the generals who had marched from
Moscow to Paris were not likely to fail beyond the Pyrenees: and a campaign
of the Russian army in Western Europe promised to relieve the Czar of some
of the discontent of his soldiers, who had been turned back after entering
Galicia in the previous year, and who had not been allowed to assist their
fellow-believers in Greece in their struggle against the Sultan. [334]

[No joint declaration by made by the Congress against Spain.]

Wellington had ascertained, while in Paris, that King Louis XVIII. and
Villèle were determined under no circumstances to give Russian troops a
passage through France. His knowledge of this fact enabled him to speak
with some confidence to Alexander. It was the earnest desire of the English
Government to avert war, and its first object was therefore to prevent the
Congress, as a body, from sending an ultimatum to Spain. If all the Powers
united in a declaration like that of Troppau, war was inevitable; if France
were left to settle its own disputes with its neighbour, English mediation
might possibly preserve peace. The statement of Wellington, that England
would rather sever itself from the great alliance than consent to a joint
declaration against Spain, had no doubt its effect in preventing such a
declaration being proposed; but a still weightier reason against it was the
direct contradiction between the intentions of the French Government and
those of the Czar. If the Czar was determined to be the soldier of Europe,
while on the other hand King Louis absolutely denied him a passage through
France, it was impossible that the Congress should threaten Spain with a
collective attack. No great expenditure of diplomacy was therefore
necessary to prevent the summary framing of a decree against Spain like
that which had been framed against Naples two years before. In the first
despatches which he sent back to England Wellington expressed his belief
that the deliberations of the Powers would end in a decision to leave the
Spaniards to themselves.

[Course of the negotiation against Spain.]

But the danger was only averted in appearance. The impulse to war was too
strong among the French Ultra-Royalists for the Congress to keep silence on
Spanish affairs. Villèle indeed still hoped for peace, and, unlike other
members of his Cabinet, he desired that, if war should arise, France should
maintain entire freedom of action, and enter upon the struggle as an
independent Power, not as the instrument of the European concert. This did
not prevent him, however, from desiring to ascertain what assistance would
be forthcoming, if France should be hard pressed by its enemy. Instructions
were given to the French envoys at Verona to sound the Allies on this
question. [335] It was out of the inquiry so suggested that a negotiation
sprang which virtually combined all Europe against Spain. The envoy
Montmorency, acting in the spirit of the war party, demanded of all the
Powers whether, in the event of France withdrawing its ambassador from
Madrid, they would do the same, and whether, in case of war, France would
receive their moral and material support. Wellington in his reply protested
against the framing of hypothetical cases; the other envoys answered
Montmorency's questions in the affirmative. The next step was taken by
Metternich, who urged that certain definite acts of the Spanish people or
Government ought to be specified as rendering war obligatory on France and
its allies, and also that, with a view of strengthening the Royalist party
in Spain, notes ought to be presented by all the ambassadors at Madrid,
demanding a change in the Constitution. This proposal was in its turn
submitted to Wellington and rejected by him. It was accepted by the other
plenipotentiaries, and the acts of the Spanish people were specified on
which war should necessarily follow. These were, the commission of any act
of violence against a member of the royal family, the deposition of the
King, or an attempt to change the dynasty. A secret clause was added to the
second part of the agreement, to the effect that if the Spanish Government
made no satisfactory answer to the notes requiring a change in the
Constitution, all the ambassadors should be immediately withdrawn. A draft
of the notes to be presented was sketched; and Montmorency, who thought
that he had probably gone too far in his stipulations, returned to Paris to
submit the drafts to the King before handing them over to the ambassadors
at Paris for transmission to Madrid.

[Villèle and Montmorency.]

[Speech of Louis XVIII., Jan. 27, 1823.]

It was with great dissatisfaction that Villèle saw how his colleague had
committed France to the direction of the three Eastern Powers. There was no
likelihood that the Spanish Government would make the least concession of
the kind required, and in that case France stood pledged, if the action of
Montmorency was ratified, to withdraw its ambassador from Madrid at once.
Villèle accordingly addressed himself to the ambassadors at Paris, asking
that the despatch of the notes might be postponed. No notice was taken of
his request: the notes were despatched forthwith. Roused by this slight,
Villèle appealed to the King not to submit to the dictation of foreign
Courts. Louis XVIII. declared in his favour against all the rest of the
Cabinet, and Montmorency had to retire from office. But the decision of the
King meant that he disapproved of the negotiations of Verona as shackling
the movements of France, not that he had freed himself from the influence
of the war-party. Chateaubriand, the most reckless agitator for
hostilities, was appointed Foreign Minister. The mediation of Great Britain
was rejected; [336] and in his speech at the opening of the Chambers of
1823, King Louis himself virtually published the declaration of war.

[England in 1823.]

[French invasion of Spain, April, 1823.]

The ambassadors of the three Eastern Courts had already presented their
notes at Madrid demanding a change in the Constitution; and, after
receiving a high-spirited answer from the Ministers, they had quitted the
country. Canning, while using every diplomatic effort to prevent an unjust
war, had made it clear to the Spaniards that England could not render them
armed assistance. The reasons against such an intervention were indeed
overwhelming. Russia, Austria, and Prussia would have taken the field
rather than have permitted the Spanish Constitution to triumph; and
although, if leagued with Spain in a really national defence like that of
1808, Great Britain might perhaps have protected the Peninsula against all
the Powers of Europe combined, it was far otherwise when the cause at stake
was one to which a majority of the Spanish nation had shown itself to be
indifferent, and against which the northern provinces had actually taken up
arms. The Government and the Cortes were therefore left to defend
themselves as best they could against their enemies. They displayed their
weakness by enacting laws of extreme severity against deserters, and by
retiring, along with the recalcitrant King, from Madrid to Seville. On the
7th of April the French troops, led by the Duke of Angoulême, crossed the
frontier. The priests and a great part of the peasantry welcomed them as
deliverers: the forces opposed to them fell back without striking a blow.
As the invader advanced towards the capital, gangs of royalists, often led
by monks, spread such terror and devastation over the northern provinces
that the presence of foreign troops became the only safeguard for the
peaceable inhabitants. [337] Madrid itself was threatened by the corps of a
freebooter named Bessières. The commandant sent his surrender to the French
while they were still at some distance, begging them to advance as quickly
as possible in order to save the city from pillage. The message had
scarcely been sent when Bessières and his bandits appeared in the suburbs.
The governor drove them back, and kept the royalist mob within the city at
bay for four days more. On the 23rd of May the advance-guard of the French
army entered the capital.

[Angoulême and the Regency, and the ambassadors.]

It had been the desire of King Louis XVIII. and Angoulême to save Spain
from the violence of royalist and priestly fanaticism. On reaching Madrid,
Angoulême intended to appoint a provisional, government himself; he was,
however, compelled by orders from Paris to leave the election in the hands
of the Council of Castille, and a Regency came into power whose first acts
showed in what spirit the victory of the French was to be used. Edicts were
issued declaring all the acts of the Cortes affecting the monastic orders
to be null and void, dismissing all officials appointed since March 7,
1820, and subjecting to examination those who, then being in office, had
not resigned their posts. [338] The arrival of the ambassadors of the three
Eastern Powers encouraged the Regency in their antagonism to the French
commander. It was believed that the Cabinet of Paris was unwilling to
restore King Ferdinand as an absolute monarch, and intended to obtain from
him the grant of institutions resembling those of the French Charta. Any
such limitation of absolute power was, however, an object of horror to the
three despotic Courts. Their ambassadors formed themselves into a council
with the express object of resisting the supposed policy of Angoulême. The
Regency grew bolder, and gave the signal for general retribution upon the
Liberals by publishing an order depriving all persons who had served in the
voluntary militia since March, 1820, of their offices, pensions, and
titles. The work inaugurated in the capital was carried much further in the
provinces. The friends of the Constitution, and even soldiers who were
protected by their capitulation with the French, were thrown into prison by
the new local authorities. The violence of the reaction reached such a
height that Angoulême, now on the march to Cadiz, was compelled to publish
an ordinance forbidding arrests to be made without the consent of a French
commanding officer, and ordering his generals to release the persons who
had been arbitrarily imprisoned. The council of ambassadors, blind in their
jealousy of France to the danger of an uncontrolled restoration, drew up a
protest against his ordinance, and desired that the officers of the Regency
should be left to work their will.

[The Cortes at Cadiz.]

[Ferdinand liberated, Oct. 1.]

After spending some weeks in idle debates at Seville, the Cortes had been
compelled by the appearance of the French on the Sierra Morena to retire to
Cadiz. As King Ferdinand refused to accompany them, he was declared
temporarily insane, and forced to make the journey (June 12). Angoulême,
following the French vanguard after a considerable interval, appeared
before Cadiz in August, and sent a note to King Ferdinand, recommending him
to publish an amnesty, and to promise the restoration of the mediæval
Cortes. It was hoped that the terms suggested in this note might be
accepted by the Government in Cadiz as a basis of peace, and so render an
attack upon the city unnecessary. The Ministry, however, returned a defiant
answer in the King's name. The siege of Cadiz accordingly began in earnest.
On the 30th of August the fort of the Trocadero was stormed; three weeks
later the city was bombarded. In reply to all proposals for negotiation
Angoulême stated that he could only treat when King Ferdinand was within
his own lines. There was not the least hope of prolonging the defence of
Cadiz with success, for the combat was dying out even in those few
districts of Spain where the constitutional troops had fought with energy.
Ferdinand himself pretended that he bore no grudge against his Ministers,
and that the Liberals had nothing to fear from his release. On the 30th of
September he signed, as if with great satisfaction, an absolute and
universal amnesty. [339] On the following day he was conveyed with his
family across the bay to Angoulême's head-quarters.

[Violence of the Restoration.]

The war was over: the real results of the French invasion now came into
sight. Ferdinand had not been twelve hours in the French camp when,
surrounded by monks and royalist desperadoes, he published a proclamation
invalidating every act of the constitutional Government of the last three
years, on the ground that his sanction had been given under constraint. The
same proclamation ratified the acts of the Regency of Madrid. As the
Regency of Madrid had declared all persons concerned in the removal of the
King to Cadiz to be liable to the penalties of high treason, Ferdinand had
in fact ratified a sentence of death against several of the men from whom
he had just parted in friendship. [340] Many of these victims of the King's
perfidy were sent into safety by the French. But Angoulême was powerless to
influence Ferdinand's policy and conduct. Don Saez, the King's confessor,
was made First Secretary of State. On the 4th of October an edict was
issued banishing for ever from Madrid, and from the country fifty miles
round it, every person who during the last three years had sat in the
Cortes, or who had been a Minister, counsellor of State, judge, commander,
official in any public office, magistrate, or officer in the so-called
voluntary militia. It was ordered that throughout Spain a solemn service
should be celebrated in expiation of the insults offered to the Holy
Sacrament; that missions should be sent over the land to combat the
pernicious and heretical doctrines associated with the late outbreak, and
that the bishops should relegate to monasteries of the strictest observance
the priests who had acted as the agents of an impious faction. [341] Thus
the war of revenge was openly declared against the defeated party. It was
in vain that Angoulême indignantly reproached the King, and that the
ambassadors of the three Eastern Courts pressed him to draw up at least
some kind of amnesty. Ferdinand travelled slowly towards Madrid, saying
that he could take no such step until he reached the capital. On the 7th of
November, Riego was hanged. Thousands of persons were thrown into prison,
or compelled to fly from the country. Except where order was preserved by
the French, life and property were at the mercy of royalist mobs and the
priests who led them; and although the influence of the Russian statesman
Pozzo di Borgo at length brought a respectable Ministry into office, this
only roused the fury of the clerical party, and led to a cry for the
deposition of the King, and for the elevation of his more fanatical
brother, Don Carlos, to the throne. Military commissions were instituted at
the beginning of 1824 for the trial of accused persons, and a pretended
amnesty, published six months later, included in its fifteen classes of
exception the participators in almost every act of the revolution.
Ordinance followed upon ordinance, multiplying the acts punishable with
death, and exterminating the literature which was believed to be the source
of all religious and social heterodoxy. Every movement of life was watched
by the police; every expression of political opinion was made high treason.
Young men were shot for being freemasons; women were sent to prison for ten
years for possessing a portrait of Riego. The relation of the restored
Government to its subjects was in fact that which belonged to a state of
civil war. Insurrections arose among the fanatics who were now taking the
name of the Carlist or Apostolic party, as well as among a despairing
remnant of the Constitutionalists. After a feeble outbreak of the latter at
Tarifa, a hundred and twelve persons were put to death by the military
commissions within eighteen days. [342] It was not until the summer of 1825
that the jurisdiction of these tribunals and the Reign of Terror ended.

[England prohibits the conquest of Spanish colonies by France or its

[England recognises the independence of the colonies. 1824-5.]

France had won a cheap and inglorious victory. The three Eastern Courts had
seen their principle of absolutism triumph at the cost of everything that
makes government morally better than anarchy. One consolation remained for
those who felt that there was little hope for freedom on the Continent of
Europe. The crusade against Spanish liberty had put an end for ever to the
possibility of a joint conquest of Spanish America in the interest of
despotism. The attitude of England was no longer what it had been in 1818.
When the Czar had proposed at the Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle that the
allied monarchs should suppress the republican principle beyond the seas,
Castlereagh had only stated that England could bear no part in such an
enterprise; he had not said that England would effectually prevent others
from attempting it. This was the resolution by which Canning, isolated and
baffled by the conspiracy of Verona, proved that England could still do
something to protect its own interest and the interests of mankind against
a league of autocrats. There is indeed little doubt that the independence
of the Spanish colonies would have been recognised by Great Britain soon
after the war of 1823, whoever might have been our Minister for Foreign
Affairs, but this recognition was a different matter in the hands of
Canning from what it would have been in the hands of his predecessor. The
contrast between the two men was one of spirit rather than of avowed rules
of action. Where Castlereagh offered apologies to the Continental
sovereigns, Canning uttered defiance [343] The treaties of 1815, which
connected England so closely with the foreign courts, were no work of his;
though he sought not to repudiate them, he delighted to show that in spite
of them England has still its own policy, its own sympathies, its own
traditions. In face of the council of kings and its assumption of universal
jurisdiction, he publicly described himself as an enthusiast for the
independence of nations. If others saw little evidence that France intended
to recompense itself for its services to Ferdinand by appropriating some of
his rebellious colonies, Canning was quick to lay hold of every suspicious
circumstance. At the beginning of the war of 1823 he gave a formal warning
to the ambassador of Louis XVIII. that France would not be permitted to
bring any of these provinces under its dominion, whether by conquest or
cession. [344] When the war was over, he rejected the invitation of
Ferdinand's Government to take part in a conference at Paris, where the
affairs of South America were to be laid before the Allied Powers. [345]
What these Powers might or might not think on the subject of America was
now a matter of indifference, for the policy of England was fixed, and it
was useless to debate upon a conclusion that could not be altered. British
consular agents were appointed in most of the colonies before the close of
the year 1823; and after some interval the independence of Buenos Ayres,
Colombia, and Mexico were formally recognised by the conclusion of
commercial treaties. "I called the New World into existence," cried
Canning, when reproached with permitting the French occupation of Spain,
"in order to redress the balance of the Old." The boast, famous in our
Parliamentary history, has left an erroneous impression of the part really
played by Canning at this crisis. He did not call the New World into
existence; he did not even assist it in winning independence, as France had
assisted the United States fifty years before; but when this independence
had been won, he threw over it the aegis of Great Britain, declaring that
no other European Power should reimpose the yoke which Spain had not been
able to maintain.

[Affairs in Portugal.]

[Constitution granted by Petro, May, 1826.]

The overthrow of the Spanish Constitution by foreign arms led to a series
of events in Portugal which forced England to a more direct intervention in
the Peninsula than had yet been necessary, and heightened the conflict that
had sprung up between its policy and that of Continental absolutism. The
same parties and the same passions, political and religious, existed in
Portugal as in Spain, and the enemies of the Constitution found the same
support at foreign Courts. The King of Portugal, John VI., was a weak but
not ill-meaning man; his wife, who was a sister of Ferdinand of Spain, and
his son Don Miguel were the chiefs of the conspiracy against the Cortes. In
June, 1823, a military revolt, arranged by Miguel, brought the existing
form of government to an end: the King promised, however, when dissolving
the Cortes, that a Constitution should be bestowed by himself upon
Portugal; and he seems to have intended to keep his word. The ambassadors
of France and Austria were, however, busy in throwing hindrances in the
way, and Don Miguel prepared to use violence to prevent his father from
making any concession to the Liberals. King John, in fear for his life,
applied to England for troops; Canning declined to land soldiers at Lisbon,
but sent a squadron, with orders to give the King protection. The winter of
1823 was passed in intrigues; in May, 1824, Miguel arrested the Ministers
and surrounded the King's palace with troops. After several days of
confusion King John made his escape to the British ships, and Miguel, who
was alternately cowardly and audacious, then made his submission, and was
ordered to leave the country. King John died in the spring of 1826 without
having granted a Constitution. Pedro, his eldest son, had already been made
Emperor of Brazil; and, as it was impossible that Portugal and Brazil could
again be united, it was arranged that Pedro's daughter, when of sufficient
age, should marry her uncle Miguel, and so save Portugal from the danger of
a contested succession. Before renouncing the crown of Portugal, Pedro
granted a Constitution to that country. A Regency had already been
appointed by King John, in which neither the Queen-dowager nor Miguel was

[Desertion of Portuguese soldiery, 1826.]

[Spain permits the deserters to attack Portugal.]

[Canning sends troops to Lisbon, Dec., 1826.]

Miguel had gone to Vienna. Although a sort of Caliban in character and
understanding, this Prince met with the welcome due to a kinsman of the
Imperial house, and to a representative of the good cause of absolutism. He
was received by Metternich with great interest, and his fortunes were taken
under the protection of the Austrian Court. In due time, it was hoped this
savage and ignorant churl would do yeoman's service to Austrian principles
in the Peninsula. But the Regency and the new Constitution of Portugal had
not to wait for the tardy operation of Metternich's covert hostility. The
soldiery who had risen at Miguel's bidding in 1823 now proclaimed him King,
and deserted to Spanish soil. Within the Spanish frontier they were
received by Ferdinand's representatives with open arms. The demands made by
the Portuguese ambassador at Madrid for their dispersion and for the
surrender of their weapons were evaded. The cause of these armed bands on
the frontier became the cause of the Clerical and Ultra-Royalist party over
all Europe. Money was sent to them from France and Austria. They were
joined by troops of Spanish Carlists or Apostolicals; they were fed,
clothed, and organised, if not by the Spanish Government itself, at least
by those over whose action the Spanish Government exercised control. [346]
Thus raised to considerable military strength, they made incursions into
Portugal, and at last attempted a regular invasion. The Regency of Lisbon,
justly treating these outrages as the act of the Spanish Government, and
appealing to the treaties which bound Great Britain to defend Portugal
against foreign attack, demanded the assistance of this country. More was
involved in the action taken by Canning than a possible contest with Spain;
the seriousness of the danger lay in the fact that Spain was still occupied
by French armies, and that a war with Spain might, and probably would,
involve a war with France, if not with other Continental Powers. But the
English Ministry waited only for the confirmation of the alleged facts by
their own ambassador. The treaty-rights of Portugal were undoubted; the
temper of the English Parliament and nation, strained to the utmost by the
events of the last three years, was such that a war against Ferdinand and
against the destroyers of Spanish liberty would have caused more rejoicing
than alarm. Nine days after the formal demand of the Portuguese arrived,
four days after their complaint was substantiated by the report of our
ambassador, Canning announced to the House of Commons that British troops
were actually on the way to Lisbon. In words that alarmed many of his own
party, and roused the bitter indignation of every Continental Court,
Canning warned those whose acts threatened to force England into war, that
the war, if war arose, would be a war of opinion, and that England, however
earnestly she might endeavour to avoid it, could not avoid seeing ranked
under her banner all the restless and discontented of any nation with which
she might come into conflict. As for the Portuguese Constitution which
formed the real object of the Spanish attack, it had not, Canning said,
been given at the instance of Great Britain, but he prayed that Heaven
might prosper it. It was impossible to doubt that a Minister who spoke
thus, and who, even under expressions of regret, hinted at any alliance
with the revolutionary elements in France and Spain, was formidably in
earnest. The words and the action of Canning produced the effect which he
desired. The Government of Ferdinand discovered the means of checking the
activity of the Apostolicals: the presence of the British troops at Lisbon
enabled the Portuguese Regency to throw all its forces upon the invaders
and to drive them from the country. They were disbanded when they
re-crossed the Spanish frontier; the French Court loudly condemned their
immoral enterprise; and the Constitution of Portugal seemed, at least for
the moment, to have triumphed over its open and its secret enemies.

[The policy of Canning.]

The tone of the English Government had indeed changed since the time when
Metternich could express a public hope that the three Eastern Powers would
have the approval of this country in their attack upon the Constitution of
Naples. In 1820 such a profession might perhaps have passed for a mistake;
in 1826 it would have been a palpable absurdity. Both in England and on the
Continent it was felt that the difference between the earlier and the later
spirit of our policy was summed up in the contrast between Canning and
Castlereagh. It has become an article of historical faith that
Castlereagh's melancholy death brought one period of our foreign policy to
a close and inaugurated another: it has been said that Canning liberated
England from its Continental connexions; it has even been claimed for him
that he performed for Europe no less a task than the dissolution of the
Holy Alliance. [347] The figure of Canning is indeed one that will for ever
fill a great space in European history; and the more that is known of the
opposition which he encountered both from his sovereign and from his great
rival Wellington, the greater must be our admiration for his clear, strong
mind, and for the conquering force of his character. But the legend which
represents English policy as taking an absolutely new departure in 1822
does not correspond to the truth of history. Canning was a member of the
Cabinet from 1816 to 1820; it is a poor compliment to him to suppose that
he either exercised no influence upon his colleagues or acquiesced in a
policy of which he disapproved; and the history of the Congress of
Aix-la-Chapelle proves that his counsels had even at that time gained the
ascendant. The admission made by Castlereagh in 1820, after Canning had
left the Cabinet, that Austria, as a neighbouring and endangered State, had
a right to suppress the revolutionary constitution of Naples, would
probably not have gained Canning's assent; in all other points, the action
of our Government at Troppau and Laibach might have been his own. Canning
loved to speak of his system as one of neutrality, and of non-interference
in that struggle between the principles of despotism and of democracy which
seemed to be spreading over Europe. He avowed his sympathy for Spain as the
object of an unjust and unprovoked war, but he most solemnly warned the
Spaniards not to expect English assistance. He prayed that the Constitution
of Portugal might prosper, but he expressly disclaimed all connection with
its origin, and defended Portugal not because it was a Constitutional
State, but because England was bound by treaties to defend it against
foreign invasion. The arguments against intervention on behalf of Spain
which Canning addressed to the English sympathisers with that country might
have been uttered by Castlereagh; the denial of the right of foreign Powers
to attack the Spanish Constitution, with which Castlereagh headed his own
instructions for Verona, might have been written by Canning.

[Canning and the European concert.]

The statements that Canning withdrew England from the Continental system,
and that he dissolved the Holy Alliance, cannot be accepted without large
correction. The general relations existing between the Great Powers were
based, not on the ridiculous and obsolete treaty of Holy Alliance, but on
the Acts which were signed at the Conference of Aix-la-Chapelle. The first
of these was the secret Quadruple Treaty which bound England and the three
Eastern Powers to attack France in case a revolution in that country should
endanger the peace of Europe; the second was the general declaration of all
the five Powers that they would act in amity and take counsel with one
another. From the first of these alliances Canning certainly did not
withdraw England. He would perhaps have done so in 1823 if the Quadruple
Treaty had bound England to maintain the House of Bourbon on the French
throne; but it had been expressly stated that the deposition of the
Bourbons would not necessarily and in itself be considered by England as
endangering the peace of Europe. This treaty remained in full force up to
Canning's death; and if a revolutionary army had marched from Paris upon
Antwerp, he would certainly have claimed the assistance of the three
Eastern Powers. With respect to the general concert of Europe, established
or confirmed by the declaration of Aix-la-Chapelle, this had always been
one of varying extent and solidity. Both France and England had held
themselves aloof at Troppau. The federative action was strongest and most
mischievous not before but after the death of Castlereagh, and in the
period that followed the Congress of Verona; for though the war against
Spain was conducted by France alone, the three Eastern Powers had virtually
made themselves responsible for the success of the enterprise, and it was
the influence of their ambassadors at Paris and Madrid which prevented any
restrictions from being imposed upon Ferdinand's restored sovereignty.

Canning is invested with a spurious glory when it is said that his action
in Spain and in Portugal broke up the league of the Continental Courts.
Canning indeed shaped the policy of our own country with equal independence
and wisdom, but the political centre of Europe was at this time not London
but Vienna. The keystone of the European fabric was the union of Austria
and Russia, and this union was endangered, not by anything that could take
place in the Spanish Peninsula, but by the conflicting interests of these
two great States in regard to the Ottoman Empire. From the moment when the
Treaty of Paris was signed, every Austrian politician fixed his gaze upon
the roads leading to the Lower Danube, and anxiously noted the signs of
coming war, or of continued peace, between Russia and the Porte. [348] It
was the triumph of Metternich to have diverted the Czar's thoughts during
the succeeding years from his grievances against Turkey, and to have
baffled the Russian diplomatists and generals who, like Capodistrias,
sought to spur on their master to enterprises of Eastern conquest. At the
Congress of Verona the shifting and incoherent manoeuvres of Austrian
statecraft can indeed only be understood on the supposition that Metternich
was thinking all the time less of Spain than of Turkey, and struggling at
whatever cost to maintain that personal influence over Alexander which had
hitherto prevented the outbreak of war in the East. But the antagonism so
long suppressed broke out at last. The progress of the Greek insurrection
brought Austria and Russia not indeed into war, but into the most
embittered hostility with one another. It was on this rock that the
ungainly craft which men called the Holy Alliance at length struck and went
to pieces. Canning played his part well in the question of the East, but he
did not create this question. There were forces at work which, without his
intervention, would probably have made an end of the despotic amities of
1815. It is not necessary to the title of a great statesman that he should
have called into being the elements which make a new political order
possible; it is sufficient praise that he should have known how to turn
them to account.


Condition of Greece: its Races and Institutions--The Greek Church--Communal
System--The Ægæan Islands--The Phanariots--Greek Intellectual Revival;
Koraes--Beginning of Greek National Movement; Contact of Greece with the
French Revolution and Napoleon--The Hetæria Philike--Hypsilanti's Attempt
in the Danubian Provinces; its Failure--Revolt of the Morea: Massacres:
Execution of Gregorius, and Terrorism at Constantinople--Attitude of
Russia, Austria, and England--Extension of the Revolt: Affairs at
Hydra--The Greek Leaders--Fall of Tripolitza--The Massacre of Chios--
Failure of the Turks in the Campaign of 1822--Dissensions of the
Greeks--Mahmud calls upon Mehemet Ali for Aid--Ibrahim conquers Crete and
invades the Morea--Siege of Missolonghi--Philhellenism in Europe--Russian
Proposal for Intervention--Conspiracies in Russia: Death of Alexander:
Accession of Nicholas--Military Insurrection at St. Petersburg--
Anglo-Russian Protocol--Treaty between England, Russia, and France--Death
of Canning--Navarino--War between Russia and Turkey--Campaigns of 1828 and
1829--Treaty of Adrianople--Capodistrias President of Greece--Leopold
accepts and then declines the Greek Crown--Murder of Capodistrias--Otho,
King of Greece.

[Greece in the Napoleonic age.]

Of the Christian races which at the beginning of the third decade of this
century peopled the European provinces of the Ottoman Empire, the Greek was
that which had been least visibly affected by the political and military
events of the Napoleonic age. Servia, after a long struggle, had in the
year 1817 gained local autonomy under its own princes, although Turkish
troops still garrisoned its fortresses, and the sovereignty of the Sultan
was acknowledged by the payment of tribute. The Romanic districts,
Wallachia and Moldavia, which, in the famous interview of Tilsit, Napoleon
had bidden the Czar to make his own, were restored by Russia to the Porte
in the Treaty of Bucharest in 1812, but under conditions which virtually
established a Russian protectorate. Greece, with the exception of the
Ionian Islands, had neither been the scene of any military operations, nor
formed the subject of any treaty. Yet the age of the French Revolution and
of the Napoleonic wars had silently wrought in the Greek nation the last of
a great series of changes which fitted it to take its place among the free
peoples of Europe. The signs were there from which those who could read the
future might have gathered that the political resurrection of Greece was
near at hand. There were some who, with equal insight and patriotism,
sought during this period to lay the intellectual foundation for that
national independence which they foresaw that their children would win with
the sword.

[Greece in the eighteenth century.]

The forward movement of the Greek nation may be said, in general terms, to
have become visible during the first half of the eighteenth century.
Serfage had then disappeared; the peasant was either a free-holder, or a
farmer paying a rent in kind for his land. In the gradual and unobserved
emancipation of the labouring class the first condition of national revival
had already been fulfilled. The peasantry had been formed which, when the
conflict with the Turk broke out, bore the brunt of the long struggle. In
comparison with the Prussian serf, the Greek cultivator at the beginning of
the eighteenth century was an independent man: in comparison with the
English labourer, he was well fed and well housed. The evils to which the
Greek population was exposed, wherever Greeks and Turks lived together,
were those which brutalised or degraded the Christian races in every
Ottoman province. There was no redress for injury inflicted by a Mohammedan
official or neighbour. If a wealthy Turk murdered a Greek in the fields,
burnt down his house, and outraged his family, there was no court where the
offender could be brought to justice. The term by which the Turk described
his Christian neighbour was "our rayah," that is, "our subject." A
Mohammedan landowner might terrorise the entire population around him,
carry off the women, flog and imprison the men, and yet feel that he had
committed no offence against the law; for no law existed but the Koran, and
no Turkish court of justice but that of the Kadi, where the complaint of
the Christian passed for nothing.

This was the monstrous relation that existed between the dominant and the
subject nationalities, not in Greece only, but in every part of the Ottoman
Empire where Mohammedans and Christians inhabited the same districts. The
second great and general evil was the extortion practised by the
tax-gatherers, and this fell upon the poorer Mohammedans equally with the
Christians, except in regard to the poll-tax, or haratsch, the badge of
servitude, which was levied on Christians alone. All land paid tithe to the
State; and until the tax-gatherer had paid his visit it was not permitted
to the peasant to cut the ripe crop. This rule enabled the tax-gatherer,
whether a Mohammedan or a Christian, to inflict ruin upon those who did not
bribe himself or his masters; for by merely postponing his visit he could
destroy the value of the harvest. Round this central institution of tyranny
and waste, there gathered, except in the districts protected by municipal
privileges, every form of corruption natural to a society where the State
heard no appeals, and made no inquiry into the processes employed by those
to whom it sold the taxes. What was possible in the way of extortion was
best seen in the phenomenon of well-built villages being left tenantless,
and the population of rich districts dying out in a time of peace, without
pestilence, without insurrection, without any greater wrong on the part of
the Sultan's government than that normal indifference which permitted the
existence of a community to depend upon the moderation or the caprice of
the individual possessors of force.

[Origin of modern Greece Byzantine, not classic.]

[Slavonic and Albanian elements.]

Such was the framework, or, as it may be said, the common-law of the mixed
Turkish and Christian society of the Ottoman Empire. On this background we
have now to trace the social and political features which stood out in
Greek life, which preserved the race from losing its separate nationality,
and which made the ultimate recovery of its independence possible. In the
first outburst of sympathy and delight with which every generous heart in
western Europe hailed the standard of Hellenic freedom upraised in 1821,
the twenty centuries which separated the Greece of literature from the
Greece of to-day were strangely forgotten. The imagination went straight
back to Socrates and Leonidas, and pictured in the islander or the hillsman
who rose against Mahmud II. the counterpart of those glorious beings who
gave to Europe the ideals of intellectual energy, of plastic beauty, and of
poetic truth. The illusion was a happy one, if it excited on behalf of a
brave people an interest which Servia or Montenegro might have failed to
gain; but it led to a reaction when disappointments came; it gave
inordinate importance to the question of the physical descent of the
Greeks; and it produced a false impression of the causes which had led up
to the war of independence, and of the qualities, the habits, the bonds of
union, which exercised the greatest power over the nation. These were, to a
great extent, unlike anything existing in the ancient world; they had
originated in Byzantine, not in classic Greece; and where the scenes of old
Hellenic history appeared to be repeating themselves, it was due more to
the continuing influence of the same seas and the same mountains than to
the survival of any political fragments of the past. The Greek population
had received a strong Slavonic infusion many centuries before. More
recently, Albanian settlers had expelled the inhabitants from certain
districts both in the mainland and in the Morea. Attica, Boeotia, Corinth,
and Argolis were at the outbreak of the war of independence peopled in the
main by a race of Albanian descent, who still used, along with some Greek,
the Albanian language. [349] The sense of a separate nationality was,
however, weak among these settlers, who, unlike some small Albanian
communities in the west of the Morea, were Christians, not Mohammedans.
Neighbourhood, commerce, identity of religion and similarity of local
institutions were turning these Albanians into Greeks; and no community of
pure Hellenic descent played a greater part in the national war, or
exhibited more of the maritime energy and daring which we associate
peculiarly with the Hellenic name, than the islanders of Hydra and Spetza,
who had crossed from the Albanian parts of the Morea and taken possession
of these desert rocks not a hundred years before. The same phenomenon of an
assimilation of Greeks and Albanians was seen in southern Epirus, the
border-ground between the two races. The Suliotes, Albanian mountaineers,
whose military exploits form one of the most extraordinary chapters in
history, showed signs of Greek influences before the Greek war of
independence began, and in this war they made no distinction between the
Greek cause and their own. Even the rule of the ferocious Ali Pasha at
Janina had been favourable to the extension of Greek civilisation in
Epirus. Under this Mohammedan tyrant Janina contained more schools than
Athens. The Greek population of the district increased; and in the sense of
a common religious antagonism to the Mohammedan, the Greek and the Albanian
Christians in Epirus forgot their difference of race.

[The Greek Church.]

[Lower clergy.]

[The Patriarch an imperial functionary.]

[The Bishops civil magistrates.]

The central element in modern Greek life was the religious profession of
the Orthodox Eastern Church. Where, as in parts of Crete, the Greek adopted
Mohammedanism, all the other elements of his nationality together did not
prevent him from amalgamating with the Turk. The sound and popular forces
of the Church belonged to the lower clergy, who, unlike the priests of the
Roman Church, were married and shared the life of the people. If ignorant
and bigoted, they were nevertheless the real guardians of national spirit;
and if their creed was a superstition rather than a religion, it at least
kept the Greeks in a wholesome antagonism to the superstition of their
masters. The higher clergy stood in many respects in a different position.
The Patriarch of Constantinople was a great officer of the Porte. His
dignities and his civil jurisdiction had been restored and even enlarged by
the Mohammedan conquerors of the Greek Empire, with the express object of
employing the Church as a means of securing obedience to themselves: and it
was quite in keeping with the history of this great office that, when the
Greek national insurrection at last broke out, the Patriarch Gregorius IV.
should have consented, though unwillingly, to launch the curse of the
Church against it. The Patriarch gained his office by purchase, or through
intrigues at the Divan; he paid an enormous annual backsheesh for it; and
he was liable to be murdered or deposed as soon as his Mussulman patrons
lost favour with the Sultan, or a higher bid was made for his office by a
rival ecclesiastic. To satisfy the claims of the Palace the Patriarch was
compelled to be an extortioner himself. The bishoprics in their turn were
sold in his ante-chambers, and the Bishops made up the purchase-money by
fleecing their clergy. But in spite of a deserved reputation for venality,
the Bishops in Greece exercised very great influence, both as ecclesiastics
and as civil magistrates. Whether their jurisdiction in lawsuits between
Christians arose from the custom of referring disputes to their arbitration
or was expressly granted to them by the Sultan, they virtually displaced in
all Greek communities the court of the Kadi, and afforded the merchant or
the farmer a tribunal where his own law was administered in his own
language. Even a Mohammedan in dispute with a Christian would sometimes
consent to bring the matter before the Bishops' Court rather than enforce
his right to obtain the dilatory and capricious decision of an Ottoman

[Communal organisation.]

[The Morea.]

The condition of the Greeks living in the country that now forms the
Hellenic Kingdom and in the Ægæan Islands exhibited strong local contrasts.
It was, however, common to all that, while the Turk held the powers of
State in his hand, the details of local administration in each district
were left to the inhabitants, the Turk caring nothing about these matters
so long as the due amount of taxes was paid and the due supply of sailors
provided. The apportionment of taxes among households and villages seems to
have been the germ of self-government from which several types of municipal
organisation, some of them of great importance in the history of the Greek
nation, developed. In the Paschalik of the Morea the taxes were usually
farmed by the Voivodes, or Beys, the Turkish governors of the twenty-three
provinces into which the Morea was divided. But in each village or township
the inhabitants elected officers called Proestoi, who, besides collecting
the taxes and managing the affairs of their own communities, met in a
district-assembly, and there determined what share of the district-taxation
each community should bear. One Greek officer, called Primate, and one
Mohammedan, called Ayan, were elected to represent the district, and to
take part in the council of the Pasha of the Morea, who resided at
Tripolitza. [350] The Primates exercised considerable power. Created
originally by the Porte to expedite the collection of the revenue, they
became a Greek aristocracy. They were indeed an aristocracy of no very
noble kind. Agents of a tyrannical master, they shared the vices of the
tyrant and of the slave. Often farmers of the taxes themselves, obsequious
and intriguing in the palace of the Pasha at Tripolitza, grasping and
despotic in their native districts, they were described as a species of
Christian Turk. But whatever their vices, they saved the Greeks from being
left without leaders. They formed a class accustomed to act in common,
conversant with details of administration, and especially with the
machinery for collecting and distributing supplies. It was this financial
experience of the Primates of the Morea which gave to the rebellion of the
Greeks what little unity of organisation it exhibited in its earliest

[Northern Greece. The Armatoli and the Klephts.]

On the north of the Gulf of Corinth the features of the communal system
were less distinct than in the Morea. There was, however, in the
mountain-country of Ætolia and Pindus a rough military organisation which
had done great service to Greece in keeping alive the national spirit and
habits of personal independence. The Turks had found a local militia
established in this wild region at the time of their conquest, and had not
interfered with it for some centuries. The Armatoli, or native soldiery,
recruited from peasants, shepherds, and muleteers, kept Mohammedan
influences at a distance, until, in the eighteenth century, the Sultans
made it a fixed rule of policy to diminish their numbers and to reduce the
power of their captains. Before 1820 the Armatoli had become comparatively
few and weak; but as they declined, bands of Klephts, or brigands, grew in
importance; and the mountaineer who was no longer allowed to practise arms
as a guardian of order, enlisted himself among the robbers. Like the
freebooters of our own northern border, these brigands became the heroes of
song. Though they plundered the Greek as well as the Mohammedan, the
national spirit approved their exploits. It was, no doubt, something, that
the physical energy of the marauder and the habit of encountering danger
should not be wholly on the side of the Turk and the Albanian. But the
influence of the Klephts in sustaining Greek nationality has been
overrated. They had but recently become numerous, and the earlier
organisation of the northern Armatoli was that to which the sound and
vigorous character of the Greek peasantry in these regions, the finest part
of the Greek race on the mainland, was really due. [351]

[The Ægæan Islands.]


In the islands of the Ægæan the condition of the Greeks was on the whole
happy and prosperous. Some of these islands had no Turkish population; in
others the caprice of a Sultana, the goodwill of the Capitan Pasha who
governed the Archipelago, or the judicious offer of a sum of money when
money was wanted by the Porte, had so lightened the burden of Ottoman
sovereignty, that the Greek island-community possessed more liberty than
was to be found in any part of Europe, except Switzerland. The taxes
payable to the central government, including the haratsch or poll-tax
levied on all Christians, had often been commuted for a fixed sum, which
was raised without the interposition of the Turkish tax-gatherer. In Hydra,
Spetza, and Psara, the so-called nautical islands, the supremacy of the
Turk was felt only in the obligation to furnish sailors to the Ottoman
navy, and in the payment of a tribute of about £100 per annum. The
government of these three islands was entirely in the hands of the
inhabitants. In Chios, though a considerable Mussulman population existed
by the side of the Greek, there was every sign of peace and prosperity.
Each island bore its own peculiar social character, and had its municipal
institutions of more or less value. The Hydriote was quarrelsome,
turbulent, quick to use the knife, but outspoken, honest in dealing, and an
excellent sailor. The picture of Chian life, as drawn even by those who
have judged the Greeks most severely, is one of singular beauty and
interest; the picture of a self-governing society in which the family
trained the citizen in its own bosom, and in which, while commerce enriched
all, the industry of the poor within their homes and in their gardens was
refined by the practice of an art. The skill which gave its value to the
embroidery and to the dyes of Chios was exercised by those who also worked
the hand-loom and cultivated the mastic and the rose. The taste and the
labour of man requited nature's gifts of sky, soil, and sea; and in the
pursuit of occupations which stimulated, not deadened, the faculties of the
worker, idleness and intemperance were alike unknown. [352] How bright a
scene of industry, when compared with the grime and squalor of the English
factory-town, where the human and the inanimate machine grind out their
yearly mountains of iron-ware and calico, in order that the employer may
vie with his neighbours in soulless ostentation, and the workman consume
his millions upon millions in drink.

[The Greeks have ecclesiastical power in other Turkish provinces.]

The territory where the Greeks formed the great majority of the population
included, beyond the boundaries of the present Hellenic Kingdom, the
islands adjacent to the coast of Asia Minor, Crete, and the Chalcidic
peninsula in Macedonia. But the activity of the race was not confined
within these limits. If the Greek was a subject in his own country, he was
master in the lands of some of his neighbours. A Greek might exercise power
over other Christian subjects of the Porte either as an ecclesiastic, or as
the delegate of the Sultan in certain fixed branches of the administration.
The authority of the Patriarch of Constantinople was recognised over the
whole of the European provinces of Turkey, except Servia. The Bishops in
all these provinces were Greeks; the services of the Church were conducted
in the Greek tongue; the revenues of the greater part of the Church-lands,
and the fees of all the ecclesiastical courts, went into Greek pockets. In
things religious, and in that wide range of civil affairs which in
communities belonging to the Eastern Church appertains to the higher
religious office, the Greeks had in fact regained the ascendancy which they
had possessed under the Byzantine Empire. The dream of the Churchman was
not the creation of an independent kingdom of Greece, but the restoration
of the Eastern Empire under Greek supremacy. When it was seen that the Slav
and the Rouman came to the Greek for law, for commercial training, for
religious teaching, and looked to the Patriarch of Constantinople as the
ultimate judge of all disputes, it was natural that the belief should arise
that, when the Turk passed away, the Greek would step into his place. But
the influence of the Greeks, great as it appeared to be, did not in reality
reach below the surface, except in Epirus. The bishops were felt to be
foreigners and extortioners. There was no real process of assimilation at
work, either in Bulgaria or in the Danubian Provinces. The slow and
plodding Bulgarian peasant, too stupid for the Greek to think of him as a
rival, preserved his own unchanging tastes and nationality, sang to his
children the songs which he had learnt from his parents, and forgot the
Greek which he had heard in the Church when he re-entered his home. [353]
In Roumania, the only feeling towards the Greek intruder was one of intense

[The Phanariot officials of the Porte.]

[Greek Hospodars.]

Four great offices of the Ottoman Empire were always held by Greeks. These
were the offices of Dragoman, [354] or Secretary, of the Porte, Dragoman of
the Fleet, and the governorships, called Hospodariates, of Wallachia and
Moldavia. The varied business of the Patriarchate of Constantinople, the
administration of its revenues, the conduct of its law-courts, had drawn a
multitude of pushing and well-educated Greeks to the quarter of
Constantinople called the Phanar, in which the palace of the Patriarch is
situated. Merchants and professional men inhabited the same district. These
Greeks of the capital, the so-called Phanariots, gradually made their way
into the Ottoman administration as Turkish energy declined, and the
conquering race found that it could no longer dispense with the weapons of
calculation and diplomacy. The Treaty of Carlowitz, made in 1699, after the
unsuccessful war in which the Turks laid siege to Vienna, was negotiated on
behalf of the Porte by Alexander Maurokordatos, a Chian by birth, who had
become physician to the Sultan and was virtually the Foreign Minister of
Turkey. His sons, Nicholas and Constantine, were made Hospodars of
Wallachia and Moldavia early in the eighteenth century; and from this time
forward, until the outbreak of the Greek insurrection, the governorships of
the Roumanian provinces were entrusted to Phanariot families. The result
was that a troop of Greek adventurers passed to the north of the Danube,
and seized upon every office of profit in these unfortunate lands. There
were indeed individuals among the Hospodars, especially among the
Maurokordati, who rendered good service to their Roumanian subjects; but on
the whole the Phanariot rule was grasping, dishonest, and cruel. [355] Its
importance in relation to Greece was not that it Hellenised the Danubian
countries, for that it signally failed to do; but that it raised the
standard of Greek education, and enlarged the range of Greek thought, by
opening a political and administrative career to ambitious men. The
connection of the Phanariots with education was indeed an exceedingly close
one. Alexander Maurokordatos was the ardent and generous founder of schools
for the instruction of his countrymen in Constantinople as well as in other
cities, and for the improvement of the existing language of Greece. His
example was freely followed throughout the eighteenth century. It is,
indeed, one of the best features in the Greek character that the owner of
wealth has so often been, and still so often is, the promoter of the
culture of his race. As in Germany in the last century, and in Hungary and
Bohemia at a more recent date, the national revival of Greece was preceded
by a striking revival of interest in the national language.

[Greek intellectual movement in the eighteenth century.]

The knowledge of ancient Greek was never wholly lost among the priesthood,
but it had become useless. Nothing was read but the ecclesiastic
commonplace of a pedantic age; and in the schools kept by the clergy before
the eighteenth century the ancient language was taught only as a means of
imparting divinity. The educational movement promoted by men like
Maurokordatos had a double end; it revived the knowledge of the great age
of Greece through its literature, and it taught the Greek to regard the
speech which he actually used not as a mere barbarous patois which each
district had made for itself, but as a language different indeed from that
of the ancient world, yet governed by its own laws, and capable of
performing the same functions as any other modern tongue. It was now that
the Greek learnt to call himself Hellen, the name of his forefathers,
instead of Romaios, a Roman. As the new schools grew up and the old ones
were renovated or transformed, education ceased to be merely literary. In
the second half of the eighteenth century science returned in a humble form
to the land that had given it birth, and the range of instruction was
widened by men who had studied law, physics, and moral philosophy at
foreign Universities. Something of the liberal spirit of the inquirers of
Western Europe arose among the best Greek teachers. Though no attack was
made upon the doctrines of the Church, and no direct attack was made upon
the authority of the Sultan, the duty of religious toleration was
proclaimed in a land where bigotry had hitherto reigned supreme, and the
political freedom of ancient Greece was held up as a glorious ideal to a
less happy age. Some of the higher clergy and of the Phanariot instruments
of Turkish rule took fright at the independent spirit of the new learning,
and for a while it seemed as if the intellectual as well as the political
progress of Greece might be endangered by ecclesiastical ill-will. But the
attachment of the Greek people to the Church was so strong and so universal
that, although satire might be directed against the Bishops, a breach with
the Church formed no part of the design of any patriot. The antagonism
between episcopal and national feeling, strongest about the end of the
eighteenth century, declined during succeeding years, and had almost
disappeared before the outbreak of the war of liberation.

[Koraes, 1748-1833.]

[The language of Modern Greece.]

The greatest scholar of modern Greece was also one of its greatest
patriots. Koraes, known as the legislator of the Greek language, was born
in 1748, of Chian parents settled at Smyrna. The love of learning, combined
with an extreme independence of character, made residence insupportable to
him in a land where the Turk was always within sight, and where few
opportunities existed for gaining wide knowledge. His parents permitted him
to spend some years at Amsterdam, where a branch of their business was
established. Recalled to Smyrna at the age of thirty, Koraes almost
abandoned human society. The hand of a beautiful heiress could not tempt
him from the austere and solitary life of the scholar; and quitting his
home, he passed through the medical school of Montpellier, and settled at
Paris. He was here when the French Revolution began. The inspiration of
that time gave to his vast learning and inborn energy a directly patriotic
aim. For forty years Koraes pursued the work of serving Greece by the means
open to the scholar. The political writings in which he addressed the
Greeks themselves or appealed to foreigners in favour of Greece, admirable
as they are, do not form the basis of his fame. The peculiar task of Koraes
was to give to the reviving Greek nation the national literature and the
form of expression which every civilised people reckons among its most
cherished bonds of unity. Master, down to the minutest details, of the
entire range of Greek writings, and of the history of the Greek language
from classical times down to our own century, Koraes was able to select the
Hellenic authors, Christian as well as Pagan, whose works were best suited
for his countrymen in their actual condition, and to illustrate them as no
one could who had not himself been born and bred among Greeks. This was one
side of Koraes' literary task. The other was to direct the language of the
future Hellenic kingdom into its true course. Classical writing was still
understood by the educated in Greece, but the spoken language of the people
was something widely different. Turkish and Albanian influences had
barbarised the vocabulary; centuries of ignorance had given play to every
natural irregularity of local dialect. When the restoration of Greek
independence came within view, there were some who proposed to revive
artificially each form used in the ancient language, and thus, without any
real blending, to add the old to the new: others, seeing this to be
impossible, desired that the common idiom, corrupt as it was, should be
accepted as a literary language. Koraes chose the middle and the rational
path. Taking the best written Greek of the day as his material, he
recommended that the forms of classical Greek, where they were not wholly
obsolete, should be fixed in the grammar of the language. While ridiculing
the attempt to restore modes of expression which, even in the written
language, had wholly passed out of use, he proposed to expunge all words
that were in fact not Greek at all, but foreign, and to replace them by
terms formed according to the natural laws of the language. The Greek,
therefore, which Koraes desired to see his countrymen recognise as their
language, and which he himself used in his writings, was the written Greek
of the most cultivated persons of his time, purged of its foreign elements,
and methodised by a constant reference to a classical model, which,
however, it was not to imitate pedantically. The correctness of this theory
has been proved by its complete success. The patois which, if it had been
recognised as the language of the Greek kingdom, would now have made
Herodotus and Plato foreign authors in Athens, is indeed still preserved in
familiar conversation, but it is little used in writing and not taught in
schools. A language year by year more closely approximating in its forms to
that of classical Greece unites the Greeks both with their past and among
themselves, and serves as the instrument of a widening Hellenic
civilization in the Eastern Mediterranean. The political object of Koraes
has been completely attained. No people in Europe is now prouder of its
native tongue, or turns it to better account in education, than his
countrymen. In literature, the renovated language has still its work before
it. The lyric poetry that has been written in Greece since the time of
Koraes is not wanting, if a foreigner may express an opinion, in tenderness
and grace The writer who shall ennoble Greek prose with the energy and
directness of the ancient style has yet to arise [356]

[Development of Greek commerce, 1750-1820.]

[The Treaty of Kainardji, 1774.]

The intellectual advance of the Greeks in the eighteenth century was
closely connected with the development of their commerce, and this in its
turn was connected with events in the greater cycle of European history. A
period of comparative peace and order in the Levantine waters, following
the final expulsion of the Venetians from the Morea in 1718, gave play to
the natural aptitude of the Greek islanders for coasting-trade. Then ships,
still small and unfit to venture on long voyages, plied between the
harbours in the Ægæan and in the Black Sea, and brought profit to their
owners in spite of the imposition of burdens from which not only many of
the Mussulman subjects of the Sultan, but foreign nations protected by
commercial treaties, were free. It was at this epoch, after Venice had lost
its commercial supremacy in the Eastern Mediterranean, that Russia began to
exercise a direct influence upon the fortunes of Greece. The Empress
Catherine had formed the design of conquering Constantinople, and intended,
under the title of Protectress of the Christian Church, to use the Greeks
as her allies. In the war which broke out between Russia and Turkey in
1768, a Russian expeditionary force landed in the Morea, and the Greeks
were persuaded to take up arms. The Moreotes themselves paid dearly for the
trust which they had placed in the orthodox Empress. They were virtually
abandoned to the vengeance of their oppressors; but to Greece at large the
conditions on which peace was made proved of immense benefit. The Treaty of
Kainardji, signed in 1774, gave Russia the express right to make
representations at Constantinople on behalf of the Christian inhabitants of
the Danubian provinces; it also bound the Sultan to observe certain
conditions in his treatment of the Greek islanders. Out of these clauses,
Russian diplomacy constructed a general right of interference on behalf of
any Christian subjects of the Porte. The Treaty also opened the Black Sea
to Russian ships of commerce, and conferred upon Russia the commercial
privileges of the most favoured nation. [357] The result of this compact
was a very remarkable one. The Russian Government permitted hundreds of
Greek shipowners to hoist its own flag, and so changed the footing of Greek
merchantmen in every port of the Ottoman Empire. The burdens which had
placed the Greek trader at a disadvantage, when compared with the
Mohammedan, vanished. A host of Russian consular agents, often Greeks
themselves, was scattered over the Levant. Eager for opportunities of
attaching the Greeks to their Russian patrons, quick to make their
newly-won power felt by the Turks, these men extracted a definite meaning
from the clauses of the Treaty of Kainardji, by which the Porte had bound
itself to observe the rights of its Christian subjects. The sense of
security in the course of their business, no less than the emancipation
from commercial fetters, gave an immense impulse to Greek traders. Their
ships were enlarged; voyages, hitherto limited to the Levant, were extended
to England and even to America; and a considerable armament of cannon was
placed on board each ship for defence against the attack of Algerian

[Foundation of Odessa, 1792.]

[Death of Rhegas, 1798.]

[Influence of the French Revolution on Greece.]

Before the end of the eighteenth century another war between Turkey and
Russia, resulting in the cession of the district of Oczakoff on the
northern shore of the Black Sea, made the Greeks both carriers and vendors
of the corn-export of Southern Russia. The city of Odessa was founded on
the ceded territory. The merchants who raised it to its sudden prosperity
were not Russians but Greeks; and in the course of a single generation many
a Greek trading-house, which had hitherto deemed the sum of £3,000 to be a
large capital, rose to an opulence little behind that of the great London
firms. Profiting by the neutrality of Turkey or its alliance with England
during a great part of the revolutionary war, the Greeks succeeded to much
of the Mediterranean trade that was lost by France and its dependencies.
The increasing intelligence of the people was shown in the fact that
foreigners were no longer employed by Greek merchants as their travelling
agents in distant countries; there were countrymen enough of their own who
could negotiate with an Englishman or a Dane in his own language. The
richest Greeks were no doubt those of Odessa and Salonica, not of Hellas
proper; but even the little islands of Hydra and Spetza, the refuge of the
Moreotes whom Catherine had forsaken in 1770, now became communities of no
small wealth and spirit. Psara, which was purely Greek, formed with these
Albanian colonies the nucleus of an Ægæan naval Power. The Ottoman
Government, cowed by its recent defeats, and perhaps glad to see the means
of increasing its resources, made no attempt to check the growth of the
Hellenic armed marine. Under the very eyes of the Sultan, the Hydriote and
Psarian captains, men as venturesome as the sea-kings of ancient Greece,
accumulated the artillery which was hereafter to hold its own against many
an Ottoman man-of-war, and to sweep the Turkish merchantmen from the
Ægæan. Eighteen years before the Greek insurrection broke out, Koraes,
calling the attention of Western Europe to the progress made by his
country, wrote the following significant words:--"If the Ottoman Government
could have foreseen that the Greeks would create a merchant-navy, composed
of several hundred vessels, most of them regularly armed, it would have
crushed the movement at its commencement. It is impossible to calculate the
effects which may result from the creation of this marine, or the influence
which it may exert both upon the destiny of the oppressed nation and upon
that of its oppressors." [358] Like its classic sisterland in the
Mediterranean, Greece was stirred by the far-sounding voices of the French
Revolution. The Declaration of the Rights of Man, the revival of a supposed
antique Republicanism, the victories of Hoche and Bonaparte, successively
kindled the enthusiasm of a race already restless under the Turkish yoke.
France drew to itself some of the hopes that had hitherto been fixed
entirely upon Russia. Images and ideas of classic freedom invaded the
domain where the Church had hitherto been all in all; the very sailors
began to call their boats by the names of Spartan and Athenian heroes, as
well as by those of saints and martyrs. In 1797 Venice fell, and Bonaparte
seized its Greek possessions, the Ionian Islands. There was something of
the forms of liberation in the establishment of French rule; the
inhabitants of Zante were at least permitted to make a bonfire of the
stately wigs worn by their Venetian masters. Great changes seemed to be
near at hand. It was not yet understood that France fought for empire, not
for justice; and the man who, above all others, represented the early
spirit of the revolution among the Greeks, the poet Rhegas, looked to
Bonaparte to give the signal for the rising of the whole of the Christian
populations subject to Mohammedan rule. Rhegas, if he was not a wise
politician, was a thoroughly brave man, and he was able to serve his
country as a martyr. While engaged in Austria in conspiracies against the
Sultan's Government, and probably in intrigues with Bernadotte, French
ambassador at Vienna, he was arrested by the agents of Thugut, and handed
over to the Turks. He was put to death at Belgrade, with five of his
companions, in May, 1798. The songs of Rhegas soon passed through every
household in Greece. They were a precious treasure to his countrymen, and
they have immortalised his name as a patriot. But the work which he had
begun languished for a time after his death. The series of events which
followed Bonaparte's invasion of Egypt extinguished the hope of the
liberation of Greece by the French Republic. Among the higher Greek clergy
the alliance with the godless followers of Voltaire was seen with no
favourable eye. The Porte was even able to find a Christian Patriarch to
set his name to a pastoral, warning the faithful against the sin of
rebellion, and reminding them that, while Satan was creating the Lutherans
and Calvinists, the infinite mercy of God had raised up the Ottoman Power
in order that the Orthodox Church might be preserved pure from the heresies
of the West. [359]

[The Ionian Islands. 1798-1815.]

[Ali Pasha, 1798-1821.]

From the year 1798 down to the Peace of Paris, Greece was more affected by
the vicissitudes of the Ionian Islands and by the growth of dominion of Ali
Pasha in Albania than by the earlier revolutionary ideas. France was
deprived of its spoils by the combined Turkish and Russian fleets in the
coalition of 1799, and the Ionian Islands were made into a Republic under
the protection of the Czar and the Sultan. It was in the native
administration of Corfu that the career of Capodistrias began. At the peace
of Tilsit the Czar gave these islands back to Napoleon, and Capodistrias,
whose ability had gained general attention, accepted an invitation to enter
the Russian service. The islands were then successively beleaguered and
conquered by the English, with the exception of Corfu; and after the fall
of Napoleon they became a British dependency. Thus the three greatest
Powers of Europe were during the first years of this century in constant
rivalry on the east of the Adriatic, and a host of Greeks, some fugitives,
some adventurers, found employment among their armed forces. The most
famous chieftain in the war of liberation, Theodore Kolokotrones, a Klepht
of the Morea, was for some years major of a Greek regiment in the pay of
England. In the meantime Ali Pasha, on the neighbouring mainland, neither
rested himself nor allowed any of his neighbours to rest. The Suliotes,
vanquished after years of heroic defence, migrated in a body to the Ionian
Islands in 1804. Every Klepht and Armatole of the Epirote border had fought
at some time either for Ali or against him; for in the extension of his
violent and crafty rule Ali was a friend to-day and an enemy to-morrow
alike to Greek, Turk, and Albanian. When his power was at its height, Ali's
court at Janina was as much Greek as it was Mohammedan: soldiers,
merchants, professors, all, as it was said, with a longer or a shorter rope
round their necks, played their part in the society of the Epirote capital.
[360] Among the officers of Ali's army there were some who were soon to be
the military rivals of Kolokotrones in the Greek insurrection: Ali's
physician, Dr. Kolettes, was gaining an experience and an influence among
these men which afterwards placed him at the head of the Government. For
good or for evil, it was felt that the establishment of a virtually
independent kingdom of Albania must deeply affect the fate of Greece; and
when at length Ali openly defied the Sultan, and Turkish armies closed
round his castle at Janina, the conflict between the Porte and its most
powerful vassal gave the Greeks the signal to strike for their own

[The Hetæria Philike.]

The secret society, which under the name of Hetæria Philike, or association
of friends, inaugurated the rebellion of Greece, was founded in 1814, after
it had become clear that the Congress of Vienna would take no steps on
behalf of the Christian subjects of the Porte. The founders of this society
were traders of Odessa, and its earliest members seem to have been drawn
more from the Greeks in Russia and in the Danubian provinces than from
those of Greece Proper. The object of the conspiracy was the expulsion of
the Turk from Europe, and the re-establishment of a Greek Eastern Empire.
It was pretended by the council of directors that the Emperor Alexander had
secretly joined them; and the ingenious fiction was circulated that a
society for the preservation of Greek antiquities, for which Capodistrias
had gained the patronage of the Czar and other eminent men at the Congress
of Vienna, was in fact this political association in disguise. The real
chiefs of the conspiracy always spoke of themselves as acting under the
instructions of a nameless superior power. They were as little troubled by
scruple in thus deceiving their followers as they were in planning a
general massacre of the Turks, and in murdering their own agents when they
wished to have them out of the way. The ultimate design of the Hetæria was
an unsound one, and its operations were based upon an imposture; but in
exciting the Greeks against Turkish rule, and in inspiring confidence in
its own resources and authority, it was completely successful. In the
course of six years every Greek of note, both in Greece itself and in the
adjacent countries, had joined the association. The Turkish Government had
received warnings of the danger which threatened it, but disregarded them
until revolt was on the point of breaking out. The very improvement in the
condition of the Christians, the absence of any crying oppression or
outrage in Greece during late years, probably lulled the anxieties of
Sultan Mahmud, who, terrible as he afterwards proved himself, had not
hitherto been without sympathy for the Rayah. But the history of France, no
less than the history of Greece, shows that it is not the excess, but the
sense, of wrong that produces revolution. A people may be so crushed by
oppression as to suffer all conceivable misery with patience. It is when
the pulse has again begun to beat strong, when the eye is fixed no longer
on the ground, and the knowledge of good and evil again burns in the heart,
that the right and the duty of resistance is felt.

[Capodistrias and Hypsilanti.]

Early in 1820 the ferment in Greece had become so general that the chiefs
of the Hetæria were compelled to seek at St. Petersburg for the Russian
leader who had as yet existed only in their imagination. There was no
dispute as to the person to whom the task of restoring the Eastern Empire
rightfully belonged. Capodistrias, at once a Greek and Foreign Minister of
Russia, stood in the front rank of European statesmen; he was known to love
the Greek cause; he was believed to possess the strong personal affection
of the Emperor Alexander. The deputies of the Hetæria besought him to place
himself at its head. Capodistrias, however, knew better than any other man
the force of those influences which would dissuade the Czar from assisting
Greece. He had himself published a pamphlet in the preceding year
recommending his countrymen to take no rash step; and, apart from all
personal considerations, he probably believed that he could serve Greece
better as Minister of Russia than by connecting himself with any dangerous
enterprise. He rejected the offers of the Hetærists, who then turned to a
soldier of some distinction in the Russian army, Prince Alexander
Hypsilanti, a Greek exile, whose grandfather, after governing Wallachia as
Hospodar, had been put to death by the Turks for complicity with the
designs of Rhegas. It is said that Capodistrias encouraged Hypsilanti to
attempt the task which he had himself declined, and that he allowed him to
believe that if Greece once rose in arms the assistance of Russia could not
long be withheld. [361] Hypsilanti, sacrificing his hopes of the recovery
of a great private fortune through the intercession of the Czar at
Constantinople, placed himself at the head of the Hetæria, and entered upon
a career, for which, with the exception of personal courage proved in the
campaigns against Napoleon, he seems to have possessed no single

[The Herærist plan.]

In October, 1820, the leading Hetærists met in council at Ismail to decide
whether the insurrection against the Turk should begin in Greece itself or
in the Danubian provinces. Most of the Greek officers in the service of
Sutsos, the Hospodar of Moldavia, were ready to join the revolt. With the
exception of a few companies serving as police, there were no Turkish
soldiers north of the Danube, the Sultan having bound himself by the Treaty
of Bucharest to send no troops into the Principalities without the Czar's
consent. It does not appear that the Hetærists had yet formed any
calculation as to the probable action of the Roumanian people: they had
certainly no reason to believe that this race bore good-will to the Greeks,
or that it would make any effort to place a Greek upon the Sultan's throne.
The conspirators at Ismail were so far on the right track that they decided
that the outbreak should begin, not on the Danube, but in Peloponnesus.
Hypsilanti, however, full of the belief that Russia would support him,
reversed this conclusion, and determined to raise his standard in Moldavia.
[362] And now for the first time some account was taken of the Roumanian
population. It was known that the mass of the people groaned under the
feudal oppression of the Boyards, or landowners, and that the Boyards
themselves detested the government of the Greek Hospodars. A plan found
favour among Hypsilanti's advisers that the Wallachian peasantry should
first be called to arms by a native leader for the redress of their own
grievances, and that the Greeks should then step in and take control of the
insurrectionary movement. Theodor Wladimiresco, a Roumanian who had served
in the Russian army, was ready to raise the standard of revolt among his
countrymen. It did not occur to the Hetærists that Wladimiresco might have
a purpose of his own, or that the Roumanian population might prefer to see
the Greek adventure fail. No sovereign by divine right had a firmer belief
in his prerogative within his own dominions than Hypsilanti in his power to
command or outwit Roumanians, Slavs, and all other Christian subjects of
the Sultan.

[Hypsilanti in Roumania March, 1821.]

The feint of a native rising was planned and executed. In February, 1821,
while Hypsilanti waited on the Russian frontier, Wladimiresco proclaimed
the abolition of feudal services, and marched with a horde of peasants upon
Bucharest. On the 16th of March the Hetærists began their own insurrection
by a deed of blood that disgraced the Christian cause. Karavias, a
conspirator commanding the Greek troops of the Hospodar at Galatz, let
loose his soldiers and murdered every Turk who could be hunted down.
Hypsilanti crossed the Pruth next day, and appeared at Jassy with a few
hundred followers. A proclamation was published in which the Prince called
upon all Christian subjects of the Porte to rise, and declared that a great
European Power, meaning Russia, supported him in his enterprise. Sutsos,
the Hospodar, at once handed over all the apparatus of government, and
supplied the insurgents with a large sum of money. Two thousand armed men,
some of them regular troops, gathered round Hypsilanti at Jassy. The roads
to the Danube lay open before him; the resources of Moldavia were at his
disposal; and had he at once thrown a force into Galatz and Ibraila, he
might perhaps have made it difficult for Turkish troops to gain a footing
on the north of the Danube.

[The Czar disavows the movement.]

But the incapacity of the leader became evident from the moment when he
began his enterprise. He loitered for a week at Jassy, holding court and
conferring titles, and then, setting out for Bucharest, wasted three weeks
more upon the road. In the meantime the news of the insurrection, and of
the fraudulent use that had been made of his own name, reached the Czar,
who was now engaged at the Congress of Laibach. Alexander was at this
moment abandoning himself heart and soul to Metternich's reactionary
influence, and ordering his generals to make ready a hundred thousand men
to put down the revolution in Piedmont. He received with dismay a letter
from Hypsilanti invoking his aid in a rising which was first described in
the phrases of the Holy Alliance as the result of a divine inspiration, and
then exhibited as a master-work of secret societies and widespread
conspiracy. A stern answer was sent back. Hypsilanti was dismissed from the
Russian service; he was ordered to lay down his arms, and a manifesto was
published by the Russian Consul at Jassy declaring that the Czar repudiated
and condemned the enterprise with which his name had been connected. The
Patriarch of Constantinople, helpless in the presence of Sultan Mahmud, now
issued a ban of excommunication against the leader and all his followers.
Some weeks later the Congress of Laibach officially branded the Greek
revolt as a work of the same anarchical spirit which had produced the
revolutions of Italy and Spain. [363]

[The enterprise fails.]

The disavowal of the Hetærist enterprise by the Czar was fatal to its
success. Hypsilanti, indeed, put on a bold countenance and pretended that
the public utterances of the Russian Court were a mere blind, and in
contradiction to the private instructions given him by the Czar; but no one
believed him. The Roumanians, when they knew that aid was not coming from
Russia, held aloof, or treated insurgents as enemies. Turkish troops
crossed the Danube, and Hypsilanti fell back from Bucharest towards the
Austrian frontier. Wladimiresco followed him, not however to assist him in
his struggle, but to cut off his retreat and to betray him to the enemy. It
was in vain that the bravest of Hypsilanti's followers, Georgakis, a Greek
from Olympus, sought the Wallachian at his own headquarters, exposed his
treason to the Hetærist officers who surrounded him, and carried him, a
doomed man, to the Greek camp. Wladimiresco's death was soon avenged. The
Turks advanced. Hypsilanti was defeated in a series of encounters, and fled
ignobly from his followers, to seek a refuge, and to find a prison, in
Austria. Bands of his soldiers, forsaken by their leader, sold their lives
dearly in a hopeless struggle. At Skuleni, on the Pruth, a troop of four
hundred men refused to cross to Russian soil until they had given battle to
the enemy. Standing at bay, they met the onslaught of ten times their
number of pursuers. Georgakis, who had sworn that he would never fall alive
into the enemy's hands, kept his word. Surrounded by Turkish troops in the
tower of a monastery, he threw open the doors for those of his comrades who
could to escape, and then setting fire to a chest of powder, perished in
the explosion, together with his assailants.

[Revolt of Morea, April 2, 1891.]

The Hetærist invasion of the Principalities had ended in total failure, and
with it there passed away for ever the dream of re-establishing the Eastern
Empire under Greek ascendancy. But while this enterprise, planned in vain
reliance upon foreign aid and in blind assumption of leadership over an
alien race, collapsed through the indifference of a people to whom the
Greeks were known only as oppressors, that genuine uprising of the Greek
nation, which, in spite of the nullity of its leaders, in spite of the
crimes, the disunion, the perversity of a race awaking from centuries of
servitude, was to add one more to the free peoples of Europe, broke out in
the real home of the Hellenes, in the Morea and the islands of the Ægæan.
Soon after Hypsilanti's appearance in Moldavia the Turkish governor of the
Morea, anticipating a general rebellion of the Greeks, had summoned the
Primates of his province to Tripolitza, with the view of seizing them as
hostages. The Primates of the northern district set out, but halted on
their way, debating whether they should raise the standard of insurrection
or wait for events. While they lingered irresolutely at Kalavryta the
decision passed out of their hands, and the people rose throughout the
Morea. The revolt of the Moreot Greeks against their oppressors was from
the first, and with set purpose, a war of extermination. "The Turk," they
sang in their war-songs, "shall live no longer, neither in Morea nor in the
whole earth." This terrible resolution was, during the first weeks of the
revolt, carried into literal effect. The Turks who did not fly from their
country-houses to the towns where there were garrisons or citadels to
defend them, were attacked and murdered with their entire families, men,
women and children. This was the first act of the revolution; and within a
few weeks after the 2nd of April, on which the first outbreaks occurred,
the open country was swept clear of its Ottoman population, which had
numbered about 25,000, and the residue of the lately dominant race was
collected within the walls of Patras, Tripolitza, and other towns, which
the Greeks forthwith began to beleaguer. [364]

[Terrorism at Constantinople.]

[Execution of the Patriarch, April 22.]

The news of the revolt of the Morea and of the massacre of Mohammedans
reached Constantinople, striking terror into the politicians of the Turkish
capital, and rousing the Sultan Mahmud to a vengeance tiger-like in its
ferocity, but deliberate and calculated like every bloody deed of this
resolute and able sovereign. Reprisals had already been made upon the
Greeks at Constantinople for the acts of Hypsilanti, and a number of
innocent persons had been put to death by the executioner, but no general
attack upon the Christians had been suggested, nor had the work of
punishment passed out of the hands of the government itself. Now, however,
the fury of the Mohammedan populace was let loose upon the infidel. The
Sultan called upon his subjects to arm themselves in defence of their
faith. Executions were redoubled; soldiers and mobs devastated Greek
settlements on the Bosphorus; and on the most sacred day of the Greek
Church a blow was struck which sent a thrill over Eastern Europe. The
Patriarch of Constantinople had celebrated the service which ushers in the
dawn of Easter Sunday, when he was summoned by the Dragoman of the Porte to
appear before a Synod hastily assembled. There an order of the Sultan was
read declaring Gregorius IV. a traitor, and degrading him from his office.
The Synod was commanded to elect his successor. It did so. While the new
Archbishop was receiving his investiture, Gregorius was led out, and was
hanged, still wearing his sacred robes, at the gate of his palace. His body
remained during Easter Sunday and the two following days at the place of
execution. It was then given to the Jews to be insulted, dragged through
the streets, and cast into the sea. The Archbishops of Adrianople,
Salonica, and Tirnovo suffered death on the same Easter Sunday. The body of
Gregorius, floating in the waves, was picked up by a Greek ship and carried
to Odessa. Brought, as it was believed, by a miracle to Christian soil, the
relics of the Patriarch received at the hands of the Russian government the
funeral honours of a martyr. Gregorius had no doubt had dealings with the
Hetærists; but he was put to death untried; and whatever may have been the
real extent of his offence, he was executed not for this but in order to
strike terror into the Sultan's Christian subjects.

[Massacre of Christians, April-October.]

[Effect on Russia.]

[Russian ambassador leaves Constantinople, July 27.]

During the succeeding months, in Asia Minor as well as in Macedonia and at
Constantinople itself, there were wholesale massacres of the Christians,
and the churches of the Greeks were pillaged or destroyed by their enemies,
both Jews and Turks. Smyrna, Adrianople, and Salonica, in so far as these
towns were Greek, were put to the sack; thousands of the inhabitants were
slain by the armed mobs who held command, or were sold into slavery. It was
only the fear of a war with Russia which at length forced Sultan Mahmud to
stop these deeds of outrage and to restore some of the conditions of
civilised life in the part of his dominions which was not in revolt. The
Russian army and nation would have avenged the execution of the Patriarch
by immediate war if popular instincts had governed its ruler. Strogonoff,
the ambassador at Constantinople, at once proposed to the envoys of the
other Powers to unite in calling up war-ships for the protection of the
Christians. Joint action was, however, declined by Lord Strangford, the
representative of England, and the Porte was encouraged by the attitude of
this politician to treat the threats of Strogonoff with indifference. There
was an interval during which the destiny of a great part of Eastern Europe
depended upon the fluctuations of a single infirm will. The Czar had
thoroughly identified himself while at Laibach with the principles and the
policy of European conservatism, and had assented to the declaration in
which Metternich placed the Greek rebellion, together with the Spanish and
Italian insurrections, under the ban of Europe. Returning to St.
Petersburg, Alexander, in spite of the veil that intercepts from every
sovereign the real thoughts and utterances of his people, found himself
within the range of widely different influences. Russian passions were not
roused by what might pass in Italy or Spain. The Russian priest, the
soldier, the peasant understood nothing of theories of federal
intervention, and of the connection between Neapolitan despotism and the
treaties of 1815: but his blood boiled when he heard that the chief priest
of his Church had been murdered by the Sultan, and that a handful of his
brethren were fighting for their faith unhelped. Alexander felt to some
extent the throb of national spirit. There had been a time in his life when
a single hour of strong emotion or of overpowering persuasion had made him
renounce every obligation and unite with Napoleon against his own allies;
and there were those who in 1821 believed that the Czar would as suddenly
break loose from his engagements with Metternich and throw himself, with a
fanatical army and nation, into a crusade against the Turk. Sultan Mahmud
had himself given to the Russian party of action a ground for denouncing
him in the name of Russian honour and interests independently of all that
related to Greece. In order to prevent the escape of suspected persons, the
Porte had ordered Russian vessels to be searched at Constantinople, and it
had forced all corn-ships coming from the Euxine to discharge their cargoes
at the Bosphorus, under the apprehension that the corn-supplies of the
capital would be cut off by Greek vessels in command of the Ægæan.
Further, Russia had by treaty the right to insist that the Danubian
Principalities should be governed by their civil authorities, the
Hospodars, and not by Turkish Pashas, insurrection in Wallachia had been
put down, but the rule of Hospodars had not been restored; Turkish
generals, at the head of their forces, still administered their provinces
under military law. On all these points Russia had at least the semblance
of grievances of its own. The outrages which shocked all Europe were not
the only wrong which Russian pride called upon the Czar to redress. The
influence of Capodistrias revived at St. Petersburg. A despatch was sent to
Constantinople declaring that the Porte had begun a war for life or death
with the Christian religion, and that its continued existence among the
Powers of Europe must depend upon its undertaking to restore the churches
which had been destroyed, to guarantee the inviolability of Christian
worship in the future, and to discriminate in its punishments between the
innocent and the guilty. Presenting ultimatum from his master, Strogonoff,
in accordance with his instructions, demanded a written answer within eight
days. No such answer came. On the 27th of July the ambassador quitted
Constantinople. War seemed to be on the point of breaking out.

[Eastern policy of Austria.]

The capital where these events were watched with the greatest apprehension
was Vienna. The fortunes of the Ottoman Empire have always been most
intimately connected with those of Austria; and although the long struggle
of the House of Hapsburg with Napoleon and its wars in recent times with
Prussia and with Italy have made the western aspect of Austrian policy more
prominent and more familiar than its eastern one, the eastern interests of
the monarchy have always been at least as important in the eyes of its
actual rulers. Before the year 1720 Austria, not Russia, was the great
enemy of Turkey and the aggressive Power of the east of Europe. After 1780
the Emperor Joseph had united with Catherine of Russia in a plan for
dividing the Sultan's dominions in Europe, and actually waged a war for
this purpose. In 1795 the alliance, with the same object, had been
prospectively revived by Thugut; in 1809, after the Treaty of Tilsit,
Metternich had determined in the last resort to combine with Napoleon and
Alexander in dismembering Turkey, if all diplomatic means should fail to
prevent a joint attack on the Porte by France and Russia. But this
resolution had been adopted by Metternich only as a matter of necessity,
and in view of a combination which threatened to reduce Austria to the
position of a vassal State. Metternich's own definite and consistent policy
after 1814 was the maintenance of the Ottoman Empire. His statesmanship
was, as a rule, governed by fear; and his fear of Alexander was second only
to his old fear of Napoleon. Times were changed since Joseph and Thugut
could hope to enter upon a game of aggression with Russia upon equal terms.
The Austrian army had been beaten in every battle that it had fought during
nearly twenty years. Province after province had been severed from it,
without, except in the Tyrol, raising a hand in its support; and when in
1821 the Minister compared Austria's actual Empire and position in Europe,
won and maintained in great part by his own diplomacy, with the ruin to
which a series of wars had brought it ten years before, he might well thank
Heaven that international Congresses were still so much in favour with the
Courts, and tremble at the clash of arms which from the remote Morea
threatened to call Napoleon's northern conquerors once more into the field

[Eastern policy of England.]

England was not, like Austria, exposed to actual danger by the advance of
Russia towards the Ægæan; but the growth of Russian power had been viewed
with alarm by English politicians since 1788, when Pitt had formed a triple
alliance with Prussia and Holland for the purpose of defending the Porte
against the attacks of Catherine and Joseph. The interest of Great Britain
in the maintenance of the Ottoman Empire had not been laid down as a
principle before that date, nor was it then acknowledged by the Whig party.
It was asserted by Pitt from considerations relating to the European
balance of power, not, as in our own times, with a direct reference to
England's position in India. The course of events from 1792 to 1807 made
England and Russia for awhile natural allies; but this friendship was
turned into hostility by the Treaty of Tilsit; and although after a few
years Alexander was again fighting for the same cause as Great Britain, and
the public opinion of this country enthusiastically hailed the issue of the
Moscow campaign, English statesmen never forgot the interview upon the
Niemen, and never, in the brightest moments of victory, regarded Alexander
without some secret misgivings. During the campaign of 1814 in France,
Castlereagh's willingness to negotiate with Bonaparte was due in great part
to the fear that Alexander's high-wrought resolutions would collapse before
Napoleon could be thoroughly crushed, and that reaction would carry him
into a worse peace than that which he then disdained. [366] The
negotiations at the Congress of Vienna brought Great Britain and Russia, as
it has been seen, into an antagonism which threatened to end in the resort
to arms; and the tension which then and for some time afterwards existed
between the two governments led English Ministers to speak, certainly in
exaggerated and misleading language, of the mutual hostility of the English
and the Russian nations. From 1815 to 1821 the Czar had been jealously
watched. It had been rumoured over and over again that he was preparing to
invade the Ottoman Empire; and when the rebellion of the Greeks broke out,
the one thought of Castlereagh and his colleagues was that Russia must be
prevented from throwing itself into the fray, and that the interests of
Great Britain required that the authority of the Sultan should as soon as
possible be restored throughout his dominions.

[Fears of new period of warfare.]

[Metternich and the Greeks.]

Both at London therefore and at Vienna the rebellion of Greece was viewed
by governments only as an unfortunate disturbance which was likely to
excite war between Russia and its neighbours, and to imperil the peace of
Europe at large. It may seem strange that the spectacle of a nation rising
to assert its independence should not even have aroused the question
whether its claims deserved to be considered. But to do justice at least to
the English Ministers of 1821, it must be remembered how terrible, how
overpowering, were the memories left by the twenty years of European war
that had closed in 1815, and at how vast a cost to mankind the regeneration
of Greece would have been effected, if, as then seemed probable, it had
ranged the Great Powers again in arms against one another, and re-kindled
the spirit of military aggression which for a whole generation had made
Europe the prey of rival coalitions. It is impossible to read the letter in
which Castlereagh pleaded with the Czar to sacrifice his own glory and
popularity to the preservation of European peace, without perceiving in
what profound earnestness the English statesman sought to avert the renewal
of an epoch of conflict, and how much the apprehension of coming calamity
predominated in his own mind over the mere jealousy of an extension of
Russian power. [367] If Castlereagh had no thought for Greece itself, it
was because the larger interests of Europe wholly absorbed him, and because
he lacked the imagination and the insight to conceive of a better
adjustment of European affairs under the widening recognition of national
rights. The Minister of Austria, to whom at this crisis Castlereagh looked
as his natural ally, had no doubt the same dread of a renewed convulsion of
Europe, but in his case it was mingled with considerations of a much
narrower kind. It is not correct to say that Metternich was indifferent to
the Greek cause; he actually hated it, because it gave a stimulus to the
liberal movement of Germany. In his empty and pedantic philosophy of human
action, Metternich linked together every form of national aspiration and
unrest as something presumptuous and wanton. He understood nothing of the
debt that mankind owes to the spirit of freedom. He was just as ready to
dogmatise upon the wickedness of the English Reform Bill as he was to trace
the hand of Capodistrias in every tumult in Servia or the Morea: and even
if there had been no fear of Russian aggression in the background, he would
instinctively have condemned the Greek revolt when he saw that the
light-headed professors in the German Universities were beginning to
agitate in its favour, and that the recalcitrant minor Courts regarded it
with some degree of sympathy.

[Alexander adheres to policy of peace.]

[Capdostrias retires, Aug 1822.]

The policy of Metternich in the Eastern Question had for its object the
maintenance of the existing order of things; and as it was certain that
some satisfaction or other must be given to Russian pride, Metternich's
counsel was that the grievances of the Czar which were specifically Russian
should be clearly distinguished from questions relating to the independence
of Greece; and that on the former the Porte should be recommended to agree
with its adversary quickly, the good offices of Europe being employed
within given limits on the Czar's behalf; so that, the Russian causes of
complaint being removed, Alexander might without loss of honour leave the
Greeks to be subdued, and resume the diplomatic relations with
Constantinople which had been so perilously severed by Strogonoff's
departure. It remained for the Czar to decide whether, as head of Russia
and protector of the Christians of the East, he would solve the Eastern
Question by his own sword, or whether, constant to the principle and ideal
of international action to which he had devoted himself since 1815, he
would commit his cause to the joint mediation of Europe, and accept such
solution of the problem as his allies might attain. In the latter case it
was clear that no blow would be struck on behalf of Greece. For a year or
more the balance wavered; at length the note of triumph sounded in the
Austrian Cabinet. Capodistrias, the representative of the Greek cause at
St. Petersburg, rightly measured the force of the opposing impulses in the
Czar's mind. He saw that Alexander, interested as he was in Italy and
Spain, would never break with that federation of the Courts which he had
himself created, nor shake off the influences of legitimism which had
dominated him since the Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle. Submitting when
contention had become hopeless, and anticipating his inevitable fall by a
voluntary retirement from public affairs, Capodistrias, still high in
credit and reputation, quitted St. Petersburg under the form leave of
absence, and withdrew to Geneva, there to await events, and to enjoy the
distinction of a patriot whom love for Greece had constrained to abandon
one of the most splendid positions in Europe. Grave, melancholy, and
austere, as one who suffered with his country, Capodistrias remained in
private life till the vanquished cause had become the victorious one, and
the liberated Greek nation called him to place himself at its head.

[Extension of the Greek revolt.]

[Central Greece.]

[Fall of Ali Pasha, Feb., 1822.]


An international diplomatic campaign of vast activity and duration began in
the year 1821, but the contest of arms was left, as Metternich desired, to
the Greeks and the Turks alone. The first act of the war was the
insurrection of the Morea: the second was the extension of this
insurrection over parts of Continental Greece and the Archipelago, and its
summary extinction by the Turk in certain districts, which in consequence
remained for the future outside the area of hostilities, and so were not
ultimately included in the Hellenic Kingdom. Central Greece, that is, the
country lying immediately north of the Corinthian Gulf, broke into revolt a
few weeks later than the Morea. The rising against the Mohammedans was
distinguished by the same merciless spirit: the men were generally
massacred; the women, if not killed, were for the most part sold into
slavery; and when, after an interval of three years, Lord Byron came to
Missolonghi, he found that a miserable band of twenty-three captive women
formed the sole remnant of the Turkish population of that town. Thessaly,
with some exceptions, remained passive, and its inaction was of the utmost
service to the Turkish cause; for Ali Pasha in Epirus was now being
besieged by the Sultan's armies, and if Thessaly had risen in the rear of
these troops, they could scarcely have escaped destruction. Khurshid, the
Ottoman commander conducting the siege of Janina, held firmly to his task,
in spite of the danger which threatened his communications, and in spite of
the circumstance that his whole household had fallen into the hands of the
Moreot insurgents. His tenacity saved the border-provinces for the Ottoman
Empire. No combination was effected between Ali and the Greeks, and at the
beginning of 1822 the Albanian chieftain lost both his stronghold and his
life. In the remoter district of Chalcidice, on the Macedonian coast, where
the promontory of Athos and the two parallel peninsulas run out into the
Ægæan, and a Greek population, clearly severed from the Slavic inhabitants
of the mainland, maintained its own communal and religious organisation,
the national revolt broke out under Hetærist leaders. The monks of Mount
Athos, like their neighbours, took up arms. But there was little sympathy
between the privileged chiefs of these abbeys and the desperate men who had
come to head the revolt. The struggle was soon abandoned; and, partly by
force of arms, partly by negotiation, the authority of the Sultan was
restored without much difficulty throughout this region.

[The Ægæan Islands.]

The settlements of the Ægæan which first raised the flag of Greek
independence were the so-called Nautical Islands, Hydra, Spetza, and Psara,
where the absence of a Turkish population and the enjoyment of a century of
self-government had allowed the bold qualities of an energetic maritime
race to grow to their full vigour. Hydra and Spetza were close to the Greek
coast, Psara was on the farther side of the archipelago, almost within view
of Asia Minor; so that in joining the insurrection its inhabitants showed
great heroism, for they were exposed to the first attack of any Turkish
force that could maintain itself for a few hours at sea, and the whole
adjacent mainland was the recruiting-ground of the Sultan. At Hydra the
revolt against the Ottoman was connected with the internal struggles of the
little community, and these in their turn were connected with the great
economical changes of Europe which, at the opposite end of the continent,
and in a widely different society, led to the enactment of the English Corn
Laws, and to the strife of classes which resulted from them. During
Napoleon's wars the carrying-trade of most nations had become extinct;
little corn reached England, and few besides Greek ships navigated the
Euxine and Mediterranean. When peace opened the markets and the ports of
all nations, just as the renewed importation of foreign corn threatened to
lower the profits of English farmers and the rents of English landlords, so
the reviving freedom of navigation made an end of the monopoly of the
Hydriote and Psarian merchantmen. The shipowners formed an oligarchy in
Hydra; the captains and crews of their ships, though they shared the
profits of each voyage, were excluded from any share in the government of
the island. Failure of trade, want and inactivity, hence led to a political
opposition. The shipowners, wealthy and privileged men, had no inclination
to break with the Turk; the captains and sailors, who had now nothing to
lose, declared for Greek independence. There was a struggle in which for
awhile nothing but the commonest impulses of need and rapacity came into
play; but the greater cause proved its power: Hydra threw in its lot with
Greece; and although private greed and ill-faith, as well as great cruelty,
too often disgraced both the Hydriote crews and those of the other islands,
the nucleus of a naval force was now formed which made the achievement of
Greek independence possible. The three islands which led the way were soon
followed by the wealthier and more populous Samos and by the greater part
of the Archipelago. Crete, inhabited by a mixed Greek and Turkish
population, also took up arms, and was for years to come the scene of a
bloody and destructive warfare.

[The Greek leaders.]

Within the Morea the first shock of the revolt had made the Greeks masters
of everything outside the fortified towns. The reduction of these places
was at once undertaken by the insurgents. Tripolitza, lately the seat of
the Turkish government, was the centre of operations, and in the
neighbourhood of this town the first provisional government of the Greeks,
called the Senate of Kaltesti, was established. Demetrius Hypsilanti, a
brother of the Hetærist leader, whose failure in Roumania was not yet
known, landed in the Morea and claimed supreme power. He was tumultuously
welcomed by the peasant-soldiers, though the Primates, who had hitherto
held undisputed sway, bore him no good will. Two other men became prominent
at this time as leaders in the Greek war of liberation. These were
Maurokordatos, a descendant of the Hospodars of Wallachia--a politician
superior to all his rivals in knowledge and breadth of view, but wanting in


Back to Full Books