« ForrigeFortsæt »
it a thing endurable to the descendants of the Grecians, that they should be deprived any longer of those imprescriptible rights which belong to the inheritance of their birth-rights which a barbarian of a foreign soil, an anti-christian tyrant, issuing from the depths of Asia, seized upon with a robber's hand, and, lawlessly trampling under foot, administered up to this time the affairs of Greece, after his own lust and will. Needs it was that we, sooner or later, shattering this iron and heavy sceptre, should recover, at the price of life itself (if that were found necessary), our patrimonial heritage, that thus our people might again be gathered to the family of free and self-legislating states. Moving, then, under such impulses, the people of Greece advanced with one heart, and perfect unanimity of council, against an oppressive despotism, putting their hands to an enterprise beset with difficulties, and hard indeed to be achieved, yet, in our present circumstances, if any one thing in this life, most indispensable. This, then, is the second year which we are passing since we have begun to move in this glorious contest, once again struggling, to all appearance, upon unequal terms, but grasping our enterprise with the right hand and the left, and with all our might stretching forward to the objects before us.
"It was the hope of Greece that, in these seasons of emergency, she would not fail of help and earnest resort of friends from the Christian nations throughout Europe. For it was agreeable neither to humanity nor to piety, that the rights of nations, liable to no grudges of malice or scruples of jealousy, should be surreptitiously and wickedly filched away, or
mocked with outrage and insult; but that they should be settled firmly on those foundations which Nature herself has furnished in abundance to the condition of man in society. However, so it was, that Greece, cherishing these most reasonable expectations, met with most unmerited disappointments.
"But you, noble and generous Englishman, no sooner heard the trumpet of popular rights echoing melodiously from the summits of Taygetus, of Ida, of Pindus, and of Olympus, than, turning with listening ears to the sound, and immediately renouncing the delights of country, of family ties, and (what is above all) of domestic luxury and ease, and the happiness of your own fireside, you hurried to our assistance. But suddenly, and in contradiction to the universal hope of Greece, by leaving us, you have thrown us all into great perplexity and amazement, and that at a crisis when some were applying their minds to military pursuits, some to the establishment of a civil administration, others to other objects, but all alike were hurrying and exerting themselves wherever circumstances seemed to invite them.
"Meantime, the government of Greece having heard many idle rumors and unauthorized tales disseminated, but such as seemed neither in correspondence with their opinion of your own native nobility from rank and family, nor with what was due to the newly-instituted administration, have slighted and turned a deaf ear to them all, coming to this resolution - that, in absenting yourself from Greece, you are doubtless obeying some strong necessity; for that it is not possible nor credible of a man such as you displayed yourself to be whilst living amongst
us, that he should mean to insult the wretchedleast of all, to insult the unhappy and much-suffering people of Greece. Under these circumstances, both the deliberative and the executive bodies of the Grecian government, assembling separately, have come to a resolution, without one dissentient voice, to invite you back to Greece, in order that you may again take a share in the Grecian contest- a contest in itself glorious, and not alien from your character and pursuits. For the liberty of any one nation cannot be a matter altogether indifferent to the rest, but naturally it is a common and diffusive interest; and nothing can be more reasonable than that the Englishman and the Grecian, in such a cause, should make themselves yoke-fellows, and should participate as brothers in so holy a struggle. Therefore, the Grecian government hastens, by this present distinguished expression of its regard, to invite you to the soil of Greece, a soil united by such tender memorials with yourself; confident that you, preferring glorious poverty and the hard living of Greece to the luxury and indolence of an obscure seclusion, will hasten your return to Greece, agreeably to your native character, restoring to us our valued English connection. Farewell!
"The Vice-President of the Executive,
"The Chief-Secretary, Minister of
Since then, having in 1817 connected himself in marriage with a beautiful young lady of Armenian Greek extraction, and having purchased land and
built a house in Argos, Mr. Gordon may be considered in some sense as a Grecian citizen. Services in the field having now for some years been no longer called for, he has exchanged his patriotic sword for a patriotic pen-judging rightly that in no way so effectually can Greece be served at this time with Western Europe, as by recording faithfully the course of her revolution, tracing the difficulties which lay or which arose in her path, the heroism with which she surmounted them, and the multiplied errors by which she raised up others to herself. Mr. Gordon, of forty authors who have partially treated this theme, is the first who can be considered either impartial or comprehensive; and upon his authority, not seldom using his words, we shall now present to our readers the first continuous abstract of this most interesting and romantic war:
GREECE, in the largest extent of that term, having once belonged to the Byzantine empire, is included, by the misconception of hasty readers, in the great wreck of 1453. They take it for granted that, concurrently with Constantinople, and the districts adjacent, these provinces passed at that disastrous era into the hands of the Turkish conqueror; but this is an error. Parts of Greece, previously to that era, had been dismembered from the Eastern empire; - other parts did not, until long after it, share a common fate with the metropolis. Venice had a deep interest in the Morea; in that, and for that, she fought with various success for generations; and it was not until the year 1717, nearly three centuries from the establishment of the crescent in Europe, that "the banner of St. Mark, driven finally
from the Morea and the Archipelago," was henceforth exiled (as respected Greece) to the Ionian Islands.
In these contests, though Greece was the prize at issue, the children of Greece had no natural interest, whether the cross prevailed or the crescent; the same, for all substantial results, was the fate which awaited themselves. The Moslem might be the more intolerant by his maxims, and he might be harsher in his professions; but a slave is not the less a slave, though his master should happen to hold the same creed with himself; and towards a member of the Greek church one who looked westward to Rome for his religion was likely to be little less of a bigot than one who looked to Mecca. So that we are not surprised to find a Venetian rule of policy recommending, for the daily allowance of these Grecian slaves, a little bread, and a liberal application of the cudgel"! Whichever yoke were established was sure to be hated; and, therefore, it was fortunate for the honor of the Christian name, that from the year 1717 the fears and the enmity of the Greeks were to be henceforward pointed exclusively towards Mahometan tyrants.
To be hated, however, sufficiently for resistance, a yoke must have been long and continuously felt. Fifty years might be necessary to season the Greeks with a knowledge of Turkish oppression; and less than two generations could hardly be supposed to have manured the whole teritory with an adequate sense of the wrongs they were enduring, and the withering effects of such wrongs on the sources of public prosperity. Hatred, besides, without hope, is no root out of which an effectual resistance can be