Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

to our faith, slaves to evnuchs and other vile ministers of a seraglio, who commit open outrages and insults upon the very Ambassadors of European States, and consign their prisoners of war to the most inhuman treatment as criminals and slaves.

To say that the Turks may not now be driven out of Europe, which they have so long defiled by their presence, is as much as to declare that the combinations of Potentates ecclesiastical as well as civil to oppose their irruptions were improper and unjust: to say that the

present is not a fit time for interference, is the same as giving a temporary licence to barbarians for murder and violence of every kind and degree: to make a boast of the pacific and conciliatory measures which some Christian Ambassadors may have recommended to the Porte, is to insult the common sense of all nations in Europe, which know the character of these barbarians, and how graciously such overtures would be received by an ignorant proud people which yields nothing but to menaces and fear: indeed the daily massacres which have taken place throughout the Empire, and the massacre of Scio in particular, demonstrate very satisfactorily the utility of such measures. But the most atrocious part of all attempted to be played, is the endeavour of some persons to assimilate the Greek character in point of systematic cruelty, as they call it, with that of the Turks themselves; and for this purpose they continually report the old story of the barbarities practised at the capture of Tripolizza. Now to compare the acts of vengeance committed by a conquering army at the capture of a city which had made an obstinate resistance, and in which they found all their hostages lying murdered in the streets, with the horrid slaughter and evils ten times worse than, slaughter inflicted upon thousands of innocent victims wherever the Grecian arms have been crowned with success, is really too much : moreover, if we speak of systematic cruelties we must not regard so much the horrors of war, terrible though they be, as those which for four successive centuries have been practised by one party only against their unoffending subjects. Read the account of any traveller in Turkey, and there see what are systematic cruelties. In addition to this, I have the best seasons for asserting that the cruelties of the Greeks at Tripolizza have been greatly exaggerated-at any rate they were committed before even a provisional government was established in Greece: since that establishment has taken place the humane conduct of the Greeks towards their enemies is well known, and is acknowleged by all except the dealers in fabricated reports and Austrian Gazettes, and this conduct is the more praiseworthy when we recollect the ages of suffering they have to revenge, and the horrible examples which are daily set them by their implacable foes.

If the facts which have been stated, or the arguments which have been adduced, are not sufficient to excite Englishmen, them, selves the first-born sons of modern liberty, to patronize the cause • of Greece, I should almost despair of moving them by the frequent and appalling massacres in Smyrna, Salonica, Constantinople, and other great Cities of the Empire; massacres, which affix almost as deep disgrace upon the Christian States which have permitted them, as upon the barbarians by whom they have been perpetrated. Still there is one transaction capable of moving every heart which the scorching breath of modern policy has not dried up and withered—I allude to the treatment of unhappy Scio. That beauteous Isle, the favorite residence of the blind immortal bard, has been made almost one general sepulchre of its unfortunate inhabitants, a common slaughter-house, where the blood of every age, and rank, and sex, has flowed in one united stream. Yet why apply the epithet unfortunate to those who fell beneath the Turkish scimitar, whose fate it was to close their eyes at once upon their native hills and upon their own calamities? The lot of horror is to others; to the young, the beautiful, the innocent daughters of this once happy Island, dragged from the paternal roof, from the tender care of beloved friends and relatives, from social happiness, from all the refinements of civilized life, and subjected to the pollution of vile barbarians, whose hands were dyed with the blood of all their dearest connexions. The heart sickens at the recital, but it must be made.

Reader, to this happy Isle, adorned by the lavish hand of nature, blessed with peculiar privileges, free from the very presence of Ottoman barbarians, and subject to the mild government of its own elders, the richest and best educated Greek merchants or other proprietors used to retire, that, after having enjoyed in peace the fruits of patient industry, they might sink to rest in the coun. try of their forefathers, and in the bosom of their families. The manners of the Sciot females were considered as elegant, and their souls as soft, as their features were lovely and expressive; the beauty of a Helen and the majesty of an Andromache, might have been observed among them at those festivals, when they were accustomed to realize the enchanting scenes described by ancient poets, when the aged folks lay reclined upon the enamelled turf, or under the shade of the overspreading plane-tree, to see their children, decked in garlands, lead the graceful dance and chase the retreating waves upon the shore, or welcome with their joyful songs the return of spring or the gathering of the purple vintage. Where are ye now, ye fairest Aowers of Homer's rocky Isle ? plucked up and withered! gone into slayery worse than death, if death could be ten times repeated ! sold, after the most horrible pollution, at a price less than cattle in a market to Asiatic barbarians and to African Moors. Gracious God! a tenth part of these atrocities in an unenlightened age,

would have aroused all the gallant spirits of Christendom to avenge their wrongs ! and shall we not only sit by tamely, whilst they are perpetrated, but suffer them to be extended, as far as in us lies, to future generations and the most distant ages ?

be a brother, a husband, or a father, I call upon you by those sacred ties of nature, I call upon you in the name of woman, of her who exalts our joys and soothes our sorrows, of her whose weakness is her greatest power, of her who is the protectress of our infancy, the inspirer of our youth, the companion of our manhood, and the consoler of our age; if you desire your own Island still to remain, as it hitherto has been, a sacred temple, on whose altar Virtue herself offers up the pure incense of congenial souls, I call on you to discard your apathy, to exert your efforts in the sacred cause of liberty and religion, and preserve your fellow-creatures from worse evils than the exterminating sword of ruthless savages.

And you, the advocates of philanthropy in our 'senate, who have so oft proclaimed the sorrows and vindicated the rights of suffering humanity, who have extended the arm of power to the relief of the captive African, why are ye now silent.? I would be the last person to suppress generous feelings for human misery under any shape ; but what are the pains of hunger, of captivity, or of death itself, what are the sufferings of the Indian slave, or Irish peasant, compared with those horrors which overwhelm the wretched daughters of unfortunate Greece ? Speak out therefore in this cause, or boast no more your philanthropic sentiments! By those virtues that distinguished our brave ancestors-by the blessings of civil and religious liberty, which we ourselves enjoy —by that sacred ensign, the Cross of cur Redeemer, which is degraded and despised—by Him who died upon that Cross, and taught us in our prayers to address his Father as our Father-and by that paternal God, who may possibly permit these evils to exist, for this, amongst other inscrutable reasons, that they may excite in us a spirit worthy of our high calling, speak out, that our national honor be not further compromised, and the stain of everlasting disgrace stamped upon our annals. Ye must know the cause which is now at stake-ye know that the struggle is between oppression, tyranny, and injustice, arrayed against humanity, civilization, and Christianity. If the former succeed, the Grecian name will, in all probability, be' blotted out from the list of nations, for the implacable infidels have sworn its extirpation: and if Christian Kings and Potentates should résolve that the Greeks ought still to be kept under the iron yoke of their Ottoman lords, I should only follow the Christian precept, of doing for others as I would they should do for me, if I prayed for their extirpation!

APPENDIX.

The following heart-rending account of the massacre at Scio, appeared in the STAR, of the sixth instant, just in time for me to give it that circulation, which this pamphlet may afford :

Copy of a Letter from Leghorn, written by a Gentleman in a

Greek House, to a Friend in London.

Leghorn, June 18, 1822. MY DEAR FRIEND. In my last, of the fifteenth instant, I informed you of the arrival here, on that day, of our countrymen, Mr. M. Rodocanache and Mr. J. Zizinia, from Scio. They had obtained their passage on board an Austrian ship of war, and had performed their voyage in thirty-seven days from Scio and thirty days from Smyrna. I know the anxiety you must feel respecting the deplorable situation of our unfortunate İsland ; of that we are able to judge by the keenness of our feelings on the subject ; and as these two friends came direct from Scio, and had been witnesses of part of the horrors committed there, I hardly left them for two days, during which time they gave me the following vivid picture of the misery of our

dear country.

It was on the eleventh of April that the Capitan Pasha landed several thousand men; but the Turkish fleet had scarcely hove sin sight when the commander in the castle began bombarding the

town, and from that time till the day of our departure it was one continued scene of murder, conflagration, and plunder, both in country and town; nor were they even satisfied with the ravages the fire made

2 the houses--its progress was too slow for their fury, and the hands of men aided and assisted the raging eleements. They took to the castle about eight hundred of the gardeners of the principal and most respectable families, whom, by dint of threats of instant death, and promises of liberty, they forced to con.fess, as far as they knew, where any property had been hid. In alemost every garden, at six or eight yards distance, were seen pits dug, for the purpose of grasping the supposed concealed treasure. All

upon:

the women were sent into slavery; the men and male children above twelve years

of age were massacred ; the children of the tenderest age, and the most beautiful from among

the

young women, they sent on board the ships with great pomp and solemnity, under a salute of guns ; they performed an operation on the male children in token of conversion to the Mahometan faith, and then sent off the children of both sexes by land to Constantinople, by way of Smyrna, under an escort of a body of Turkish soldiery. Two regiments of Turks had assembled and shut up in a place in the country about seven hundred persons, chiefly peasants, whom they meant to divide among themselves as slaves; but not being able to agree in the partition, began disputing: an Iman or priest, more humane than the rest, expostulated with them upon their dissentions, and exhorted them to concord, when one of those savage brutes exclaimed, “ that the only way to avoid dissention was, to.put them all to the sword," -and to the lasting shame of the human race, in less than half an hour all those innocent men were put to death. Others of these butchers had in their possession four families of distinction; the women and children they sent to the city, and the men they bled to death as sheep, in a slaughter-house, near which they were passing at the time. One of these unfortunate beings, to whom they had not given a mortal stab, was left to linger out his existence, in excruciating agony and pain, for two days. But what will you say of those innocent and young children who have fallen victims to the most horrible death, caused by the brutal conduct of the monsters in whose possession they fell ! By all we have been able to gather, it appears that from the very moment the Turkish fleet was destined for Scio, the total destruction of the Island, and annihilation of its inhabitants were resolved upon, without

any

examination of their culpability or innocence. On the 8th of May, the Pasha ordered thirty-five respectable men that he had on board to be hung up to the masts, which served as a signal to the governor of the castle to do the same with eighty-five hostages, ordering at the same time the eight hundred gardeners who were still in custody to be strangled. From the 10th of May, on which day we left Scio, there has been no cessation to murders, conflagration, and enslaving, with all their accompanying ferocity. Do not be surprised if you hear that there have been nearly sixty thousand Turks on the Island; the report of the numerous and rich spoils of those who first went over, the sight of gold, silver, jewels, shipped off by the captors to places of safety, enticed over a horde of these barbarians thirsting for Christian blood and plunder. The number of the slain amounted on the 10th to twenty-five thousand-of captives to thirty thousand. Those who have saved

« AnteriorContinuar »