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the cause, they are no more. Of these true patriots I shall hereafter have occasion to speak with the veneration they deserve.
But to return from this digression. In our daily walks, my comrades and I used to stop at the amphitheatre and drink milk. One day, after having given us our accustomed draught, the old herdsman asked us whether Békir Agá had quitted the citadel; we replied that we did not kuow, and expressed some desire to know what interest he could have in the asfair; “he is a monster," exclaimed he, “and I wish to rid the world of him." He then proceeded to tell us, that the agá having stopped there one day to ask his son for some milk, the lad had the misfortune to incur his displeasure; upon which the agá immediately drew his ataghan and stabbed him to the heart. “At that moment,” added he, “I came up; you may judge of my feelings on finding my beautiful boy weltering in his blood, and breathing out his last sigh. I burned to revenge myself on his murderer ; but what could I do? I should only have shared his fate. I threw myself on the body, and the aga passed on. I buried him in this spot, that I might be daily reminded of his death and of my revenge ; hitherto I have shed only useless tears on his grave I was weak, and the assassin powerful. Now at length I may avenge my son, and die content amid my flock.” This poor old man's story moved us at once to compassion, and to indignation against the Turks; though even such acts as these could not make us approve the breach of all faith and honour with them.
While many of the chieftains, and Colocotroni among the rest, were adding to their wealth by the plunder of Corinth, and the people ate and drank merrily out of the profits of the trade they carried on in Turkish property, the Frankish battalion and the European officers alone were entirely overlooked and neglected.
We passed many days without receiving so much as a ration. At length, driven to desperation, we were obliged to go out into the fields, and take an ox wherever we could find one. The Greeks, to whom the cattle belonged, came to complain ; upon which the primates sent for us, and reprimanded us for our conduct; we replied, we came to Greece to fight and not to starve; give us food, and we will not touch what does not belong to us—you reduce us to such a situation that we must rob to live."
There were at this time a few upright men at Epidaurus who were trying to form a provisional government, to organize troops, and to send them into the provinces in which the danger of invasion was the most imminent. Mavrocordato, the president of the council, used, his utmost efforts to carry these plans into effect, but there were some who opposed any thing systematic or settled, as fatal to their schemes of license and independence. In spite, however, of much opposition, it was at length formed. The power was vested in two assemblies; the one legislative, composed of deputies from all the provinces; the other executive, consisting of four members and a president. The highest powers were given to the executive, and nothing could be done without its consent. My readers may not think it an unwelcome interruption of my parrative, if I present them with a copy of the Act of Independence published by the Assembly at Epidaurus. drawn up by Mavrocordato.
« The Greek nation takes heaven and earth to witness, that in spite of the tyranny under which it has so long groaned, a tyranny which has threatened its annihilation, it has still a national existence. Its ferocious tyrants, violating all treaties and all principles of justice, by cruel and iniquitous acts, which had no other object than the total destruction of the subjected people, have forced them to take up arms for their own preservation. Having repulsed the violence of their enemies by their own unassisted courage, they now, by the mouth of their assembled representatives, declare their political independence before God and men. Descendants of a nation famed for knowledge and polished civilization, living at a period when this civilization has shed its benefits abundantly over all the nations of Europe, and looking back upon the greatness to which their progenitors rose under the protecting agis of the laws, the Grecks have resolved to remain no longer in this ignominious state, deprived of the rights which God has given to all. Such are the imperious motives which have awakened the nation from its long lethargy, and aroused it to shake off its present infamy and to assert its rights. Such are the causes of the war which we have been goaded to undertake against the Turks. Far from being merely an act of rebellion, far from being caused by any private interests or animosities, this war is purely national and sacred. It has no other object than the re-establishment of the nation, and the recovery of the rights of property, honour, and life.
“ Some arguments not very worthy of men born free in the bosom of Christian and civilized Europe, have been directed against our
But why? Are the Greeks alone, of all the people of Europe, to be excluded from a participation in those rights which God has made common
to all mankind ? Are they condemned to an eternal slavery ? Are they doomed to be eternally the victims of spoliation, violence, and murder? Is the brutal force of any barbarian, who comes unprovoked, bearing barbarism and destruction in his train, to fix himself amongst us, to be established in his usurpation by the national law of Europe? The Greeks have never acknowledged the sovereignty of their conquerors, but have always repulsed it whenever an opportunity offered.
“ With these principles, and with this assurance of the justice of our cause, we desire, we claim our restoration to that place in European society, to which our religion, our manners, and our geographical position call us ; we claim our re-union to the great family of Christians, and our restoration to that rank among nations, of which a usurping force has robbed us.
“ With intentions thus pure and sincere, we have undertaken this war; or rather we have concentrated those partial wars which Mussulman tyranny had provoked in some of the provinces and in the islands : and we now make common cause for the liberty of the whole, with the firm determination to obtain it, or to bury ourselves with our misfortune, under some ruin worthy of our origin ; but which, in our present state, does but add to our humiliation.
“ But few months have elapsed since the moment when we first declared this national war. The Supreme Being has hitherto favoured us. Unprepared as we were for this unequal conflict, our efforts have been
crowned with success, although almost every where met by a vigorous resistance. Occupied without a moment's intermission in overcoming the obstacles which were opposed to us, we have been compelled to defer the time of that political organization which was to establish our national independence; till we had secured our physical existence, we could not, and ought not, to undertake the establishment of a political state.
“ This has been the cause of our involuntary delay, and has stood in the way of the prevention of some acts of disorder and outrage.
“ Those difficulties being at length in a great degree surmounted, we have applied ourselves with enthusiasm to the completion of our political system. Circumstances have compelled us to establish in the first place local governments; as those of Etolia, Livadia, of the Peloponnesus, and of the islands. As the functions of these governments extended only to the internal administration of the respective places in which they were fixed, the provinces and the islands have deputed representatives, charged with the formation of a provisional but supreme government, to whose sovereignty that of the local assemblies was to be subject. These deputies united in a national congress, after long and careful deliberation, do hereby establish this government, and proclaim it the sole legitimate government of Greece, both because it is in conformity with the principles of justice and the laws of God, and because it is founded on the will and choice of the nation.
“ The government is composed of an executive council and a legislative body. The judicial authority is independent.
“ In conclusion, the deputies declare to the Greek nation, that' their office being fulfilled, the Congress dissolves itself this day. The duty of the people is to obey the laws, and to respect those in whose hands the execution of them is placed.
“ Greeks! you have determined to shake off the yoke which oppressed you, and your tyrants daily disappear before you; but concord and obedience to the government can alone consolidate your independence. May God enlighten with his wisdom the governors and the governed, that they may know their true interest, and co-operate with one accord in the deliverance of their country.
“ Given in Epidaurus, the 15th (27th) of January, 1812.–First year of independence. (Signed) “ ALEXANDER MAVROCORDATO,
“ President of the Council.” (Countersigned by sixty-seven members of congress.) Mavrocordato’s sentiments were truly patriotic, as this Act of Independence sufficiently shows; but what could he do, unaided, and without power to compel the obedience of others. The chiefs, who ought to have set the nation an example of disinterestedness and devotion to the common cause, were the most implacable enemies of the government; and though they now thought proper to yield in appearance, made use of every intrigue to thwart its progress and measures. Although Mavrocordato well knew the character and views of Colocotroni, and many other chiefs and primates, he had not courage or resolution to rid Greece of the monsters who have been, are, and will be, the cause of the destruction of the liberty of their country. Mavrocordato would have been an excellent secretary of state, but was totally unfit to be at the head of a revolution, particularly in a half-civilized country, where fair words and arguments do nothing. In such a situation, the qualities most wanted in a leader are—strength of mind and purpose, utter inditference to his own life and safety, and indeed to every thing but the salvation of his country from the hands, not only of its external enemies, but of its treacherous and rapacious sons.
Before Mavrocordato came to Corinth, he wished to go to Hydra, to fit out the Greek fleet and make it put to sea. The Hydriotes, Spezziotes, and Ipsariotes, were perfectly right in not choosing to put to sea without money for their equipments. “ We," said they,“ contribute our ships, but we have not money sufficient to maintain sixty men. Why should we risk our ships, our money, and our lives, while you land-captains pocket all the wealth you have taken? We are willing to risk any thing for our country, provided we saw that all were of the same mind; but while we see, that on the main-land every man thinks only of himself, why should we, who have families to maintain as well as they, bear all the burdens? We will put to sea as soon as we receive any pay. The Greek fleet might on several occasions have acted much more efficiently if it had been out sooner, but the provinces of the main-land would not give us a single penny ; the captains took and kept every thing they could lay hands on. When, however, the Turks were at hand, and the danger pressing, money enough was always forthcoming to bring out the fleet."
It is an act of strict truth and justice to say, that the Greek fleet has invariably displayed the most heroic courage and devotion ; and I feel perfectly certain, that if Miaulis, Canaris, and the other chiefs of the islands, had seen that the chiefs of the main-land acted with honour and loyalty, they would have made great progress in the work of independence.
Every thing in Corinth was in confusion; nothing was thought of but buying and selling the property of the Turks. We Franks were every minute accosted by Greeks, inquiring whether we wanted to buy any handsome Turkish women cheap. We told them we could not buy without money. We managed to get food that is to say, we helped ourselves, stealing bullocks by night, wherever we could find them. The Turkish lady I had bought, began to be reconciled to her lot, and to treat me with more confidence and familiarity, as she saw I had bought her for the purpose of saving her life.
The government being established in the form I have already described, Corinth, which seems to overlook both seas, and to guard the whole of Greece, was chosen as its seat. Although Colocotroni and the other chiefs had appropriated a great portion of the spoil of Corinth, some persons, appointed by government, were sent thither by Mavrocordato and Ypsilanti, to watch over what remained, and to preserve it as much as possible for the service of the country. Means were thus obtained for fitting out the fleet, organizing two Frankish corps, and despatching some Greek officers to various parts, as will be seen hereafter. The Greek captains, with their troops, would not take the field, and did not care that the enemy threatened several parts of Greece, while they continued their traffic. The Turkish effects were
sold almost for nothing; and if there had been any speculators at Corinth, they might have made their fortunes.
Prince Ypsilanti was extremely indignant at being nominated head of the legislative, and not of the executive department, to which he thought he had claims. How often then did he regret that time when he was absolute master, and when he might have been so eminently useful to his country! But this was irrevocably past, and, as he could not recall it, he hastened his departure for Zeitouni, with the intention of resigning his office. As the motives of his conduct were evident enough, and his opposition to the government was caused by mere personal pique, his departure was witnessed with pleasure by all. In his transactions with the executive he never chose to subscribe himself as president, affecting the character of a mere private patriot, sent by his brother Alexander. If pride and jealousy are so injurious to the popular cause even in civilized countries, it is easy to imagine what they must be among the ignorant and undisciplined.
Mavrocordato, knowing that every thing was in a state of utter confusion in Corinth, and that no warlike preparations were making, with some difficulty arranged matters with the islands, and succeeded in sending out sixty ships to watch the Turkish fleet. He immediately repaired to Corinth, where his presence was most necessary, to put an end to the daily dissensions which prevailed there. In a few days his presence introduced some regularity and method into affairs, which would have been still more obvious had his orders been attended to. To satisfy the general ambition, every man who pleased might declare himself a captain, by planting a banner on his house to signify that he engaged soldiers in his pay; it did not signify that one had five men and another an hundred ; they were all captains, and not one of them knew the duties or functions attached to his rank. They went where they pleased, and paid not the slightest attention to any orders: which were unpalatable to them. If the enemy appeared to be at hand, the captains met in haste and discussed the probable mode of attack; and if by great good luck they agreed, they concerted some plan of defence; but if jealousy of command, or fear that one might get a larger portion of the plunder than another, crept in, all public measures and considerations were abandoned, and they did not care whether the enemy overran the country or not. If the Turks had known how to take advantage of the dissensions of the Greek captains, the question of Greek independence would have been settled long and long ago. Another still greater abuse was, that when a captain guarded any important post, where he was liable to be attacked at any instant, if he gave the least disgust to his soldiers, either by his manners, or by want of pay or provisions, they all deserted him, and left him to follow their example, or stay to be massacred by the enemy. The governmeut had neither energy nor means to pass from a state of total disorganization to the discipline of regular troops.
We found that the ill-treatment all European officers experienced from the Greek captains, arose from their fear, that if those already in Greece were encouraged, numbers would flock thither from Europe, and would so strengthen the hands of the government, that they would be compelled to obey it, and to abandon that system of brigandage which they wished to perpctuate. Mavrocordato perfectly un