« AnteriorContinuar »
PEOPLE OF ENGLAND
CAUSE OF THE GREEKS,
THE LATE INHUMAN MASSACRES
ISLE OF SCIO, &c.
BY THE REV. T. S. HUGHES,
AUTHOR OF TRAVELS IN SICILY, GREECE, AND ALBANIA.
SECOND EDITION WITH ADDITIONS.
The Reader is requested to extend his favorable indulgence to any errors of style, or improprieties of expression, which he may discover in the following Address, inasmuch as it was written on the spur of the moment, under the influence of strong feelings upon the subject, and put to press after the short space of three days, interrupted by various engagements. Its principal object is to promote a subscription among the generous inhabitants of Great Britain, for the succor of the unfortunate Greeks, and if any profits should arise from its sale, they shall be religiously applied to that sacred cause. Great Yarmouth, Norfolk,
July 9, 1822.
PEOPLE OF ENGLAND.
In the Courier Newspaper of the twenty-ninth ult. I read with feelings that I shall not attempt to describe, the following extract from the Parliamentary Debates :
EXECUTION OF THE SCIO HOSTAGES. « MR. W. Smith wished to put a question to the Noble Marquis opposite, on a subject which was of the greatest interest, not only to the British nation, but also to the whole European community. There had that day appeared in the public prints accounts of certain transactions at Constantinople, which could not fail to excite the strongest sensations of horror in the mind of every man who read them (Hear, hear.) He knew some individuals that took a deeper interest than could possibly be entertained by any British heart. (Hear, hear.) He therefore wished to ask the Noble Marquis, whether he had received any official accounts from our minister at Constantinople, or our diplomatic agents elsewhere, which enabled him to judge of the correctness of the accounts in question.
The Marquis of LONDONDERRY gave an answer, of which the first part was quite inaudible in the gallery. We afterwards understood him to say, that Government was in possession of the fact, that ten or twelve of the hostages for the people of Scio had been executed at Constantinople, but not of any details regarding it. A calamity had occurred and he could not describe the transaction alluded to by any other name-a calamity had occurred, which had arisen out of the peculiar acts of barbarity which had been-perpetrated on both sides, during the war in the island of Scio. Acts of barbarity, he repeated it, had been committed on both sides.--(Hear.) The Greeks had themselves committed certain cruelties, which, though they did not justify, led to the transactions complained of. (Hear.)".
« MR. W. SMITH said, that he was rather inclined to think that, instead of twelve or fifteen, eighty-five persons had suffered death by the hands of the executioner. He had asked the ques. tion, in order to obtain some precise information upon it. Though the public would scarcely believe the fact, he had been told by a person who was in the town at the time of the execution, though he could not bring himself to witness it, that six persons had been impaled alive, who had committed no other crime than that of becoming hostages for their fellow-countrymen at Scio. (Hear.)
« Sir J. MACKINTOSH would put a question to the Noble Lord, which would bring the matter home at once to the honor and the feeling of the British nation. He asked him, whether any dispatches had been received from our ambassador at the Ottoman Porté, from which it could be ascertained whether any of those persons who had been murdered by the barbarous tyrants at Con. stantinople had been under the protection of the British minister, Lord Strangford, or had surrendered themselves to the Turks under any pledge, promise, or assurance of safety from that nobleman ? (Hear.) He would also take the opportunity of asking the Noble Marquis, whether it was mentioned in any of the recent dispatches he had received, that the markets of Smyrna and Constantinople were filled with amiable Greek ladies and children, offered to the caprices of barbarous Mahomedan voluptuaries? He asked whether ministers could afford the nation any account of the new slave trade, recently established in the east, for amiable and accomplished Christian females, by a government which was encouraged and supported by the administration of this free and enlightened country. (Hear.)
“ The Marquis of LONDONDERRY in reply, stated, that the question of the honorable and learned gentlemen involved an argument as well as a question, and that if he wanted an answer to his ar. gument, he must bring it forward upon another occasion. He believed that eighty or ninety individuals had recently been executed at Constantinople, but several of them were inhabitants of the Morea ; and, as he was informed, not more than ten or twelve of them hostages from Scio. Those persons could not be considered in any degree under the protection of the British Government, or in such a situation as to require our interference upon the principle of protection. Upon the principle of good offices, Lord Strangford, much to his own honor, and that of the government he represented, had frequently interposed. That interposition had in general been favorably received ; and there had once been reason to hope, that the hostages from Scio were in perfect security. How far the determination of the Turkish government upon that point had been altered by subsequent infor. mation, he could not tell ; for, as to the hostages from Scio, he had not at present sufficient information.”
After the perusal of this dialogue, I was unable to proceed further; every other subject lost its relish, in the absorbing interest of the momentous concerns of a suffering nation-of a classic nation, whose associations twine themselves around the very soul -of a Christian nation, in which I had experienced the rights of hospitality, and whose misfortunes, as well as its antiquities, I had already endeavoured to make familiar to my countrymen. I felt therefore, that, as a traveller and an author, as a man and a Christian, above all, as the minister of a religion which teaches us that we are not born for ourselves alone, silence would in me be criminal. The public has a right, on all topics in which it is interested, to demand the sentiments and opinions of those members of the community, who, from personal observation and exa perience, are able to afford any information. I have learned that the character of England, which once stood so pre-eminent among all nations for generous sympathy towards the unfortunate and oppressed, has become an object of disgust and detestation to a suffering people, who, in the commencement of their struggle, looked up to us as the natural averters of misery, and patrons of humanity. From public documents, and private information, I plainly perceive the inclination of continental confederates, tending to the support of what is called, “ the balance of power," and
“ the peace of Europe;" or, in other words, to the protection of an infidel exterminating government, to an alliance with deliberate murderers, barbarians habitually stained with the most abominable vices, and declared enemies of the Christian faith. The re. ports, and indeed the confident assertions made in almost every letter which arrives from Greece, that stores and ammunition are sent out in English ships to provision Turkish fortresses; that English officers are serving in the Turkish navy and artillery ; that confiscations of property and imprisonment of persons are denounced and executed, by our authorities in the Ionian islands, against the friends and relatives of those whom we are pleased to call Grecian rebels; that the rights of hospitality, in the same quarter, have in niany instances been refused to the miserable fugitives from Turkish vengeance , all these considerations render an appeal to the English people still more necessary. Under such reflections, I felt that, in remaining silent any longer, I should be a traitor to myself, a traitor to my country, a traitor to humanity, and a traitor to my God.
I appeal not to governments, statesmen, and politicians. I am aware that they are surrounded with difficulties and perplexing considerations; that they are frequently obliged to pursue what appear to be temporary interests, in preference to those which are more remote, and to adopt a line of policy which their consciences cannot help condemning : but, whilst I endeavour to show that the policy of supporting such an empire as that of Turkey, is weak and vain, unless it were possible to effect an entire change in the moral habits and religious principles of its constituents, I would excite that ardor and enthusiasm in the breasts of my countrymen, which may lead them to express openly their sentiments in the cause of humanity. The vox populi has been sometimes rather impiously denominated the vox dei : in this instance, however, it might deserve the appellation ; and if it should fail to influence our rulers in adopting more liberal and generous resolutions, and redeeming the character of Government abroad, upon which the best interests of a nation always depend, let us at least demonstrate by our acts, as individuals, that we are not indifferent to the fate of a Christian nation, struggling for existence, with infidels and barbarians. It is not by steel only that the sinews of war are supplied, or its events decided. The expression of a great and generous people's approbation, the very influence of their encouragement, and, above all, the communication of their resources, might at this time operate most powerfully in restoring a miserable nation to its rights; in vindicating the cause of Christianity through the triumph of the Greeks; and in delivering Europe from the disgraceful presence of a tribe, who, to the vices of the most ef