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British flag replaced the tricolor on the battlements of their citadel Wee diplomacy was bazy in remodelling the map of Europe at the Congress of Vienna, the little seaport on the coast of Albania seems to bare escaped the memory of the British statesmen; and when Turkey, invoking the silence of treaties with regard to Parga, claimed its restitution as forming part of the mainland possessions which were to be restored to her, King George's Government could find no answer but compliance; and the Governor of the Ionian Islands received orders to withdraw the garrison, and hand over the ill-fated town to its most inveterate foe, Ali Pasha, the tyrant of Yanina and the destroyer of Suli. No words of mine can render more vividly than Sir A. Alison's account, the pathetic circumstances which accompanied its surrender.
“When it was rumoured, after the Treaty of 1815, that Parga was to be ceded to the Turks, the inhabitants testified the utmost alarm, and, justly apprehensive of the consequences of being ceded to the Sultan's dreaded satrap, they made an urgent application to the British officer in
command of the garrison, who, by order of Sir Thomas Maitland, then Governor of the Ionian Islands, returned an answer in which he pledged himself that the place should not be yielded until the property of those who might choose to emigrate should be paid for, and they themselves be transported to the Ionian Islands. An estimate was then made out of the property of the inhabitants, which was found to amount in value to nearly £500,000, and the inhabitants were individually brought up before the Governor and interrogated whether they would remain or emigrate; but they unanimously returned for answer that “they were resolved to abandon their country rather than stay in it with dishonour, and that they would disinter and carry with them the bones of their forefathers.' Commissioners had been appointed to fix the amount of the compensation which was to be awarded by the Turkish Government to such of the inhabitants of Parga as chose to emigrate; but they, as might have been expected, differed widely as to its amount, and in the end not more than a third of the real value was awarded. Meanwhile, Ali Pasha, little accustomed to have his demands thwarted, and impatient of delay, repeatedly threatened to assault the town and reunite it to his pashalic without paying one farthing of the stipulated indemnity. At length, in June 1819, the compensation was fixed at £142,425, and Sir Frederic Adam gave notice to the inhabitants that he was ready to provide for their embarkation. The scene which ensued was of the most heartrending description, and forcibly recalled the corresponding events in ancient times, of which the genius of antiquity. bas left such moving pictures. As soon as the notice was given, every family marched solemnly out of its dwelling without tears or lamentation; and the men, preceded by their priests and followed by their sons, proceeded to the sepulchres of their fathers, and silently unearthed and collected their remains, which they put upon a huge pile of wood which they had previously collected in front of one of their churches. They then took their arms in their hands, and, setting fire to the pile, stood motionless and silent around it till the whole was consumed. During this melancholy ceremony, some of Ali's troops, impatient for possession, approached the
gates of the town, upon which a deputation of the citizens was sent to inform the English governor that if a single infidel was admitted before the remains of their ancestors were secured from profanation, and themselves with their families safely embarked, they would instantly put to death their wives and children, and die with their arms in their hands, after having taken a bloody revenge on those who had bought and sold their country. The remonstrance was successful; the march of the Mussulmans was arrested, the pile burnt out, and the people embarked in silence with their wives and children." 1
For many years after these tragical events, Parga was a wilderness — even its conquerors were afraid to settle in its desolate houses, haunted by the ghosts of the past. But when the war of independence drove many of the Mussulman inhabitants out of the Morea, the Turkish Government gave the refugees grants of land about Parga, and gradually the new colonists were joined by people from the interior who were attracted by the fertility of the soil, and some even of the families who had emigrated to the Ionian Islands were at last induced to return to their former homes. Nowadays there are scarcely any traces left of that romantic episode in the history of Parga, save the English broad-arrow on some of the guns of the citadel. The population, which is composed in almost equal parts of Mussulmans and Christians, lives in good-tempered amity. Trade is prosperous; and though nature has denied Parga the one thing which would have made it entirely blessed—viz., a harbour-small Greek and Italian craft run into its sheltered bay, and convey the fragrant fruits of its lemon and orange groves, and its plenteous cargoes of olives, to Paxos, whence the Austrian steamers carry them to Trieste and Brindisi, and the markets of central and southern Europe. Among the produce of Parga there is one speciality which is held in high estimation by the Polish Jews : it is a species of sweet lemon which is prepared and candied in a peculiar way for their markets; and so great is the demand for it at the time of the Passover feasts, that, when the crop is deficient, it commands the most
1 Alison's History of Europe, 1815-1852.