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We see here, Mr. Chairman, the direct and actual application of that system which I have attempted to describe. We see it in the very case of Greece. We learn, authentically and indisputably, that the Allied Powers, holding that all changes in legislation and administration ought to proceed from kings alone, were wholly inexorable to the sufferings of the Greeks, and entirely hostile to their success. Now it is upon this practical result of the principle of the Continental powers that I wish this House to intimate its opinion. The great question is a question of principle. Greece is only the signal instance of the application of that principle. If the principle be right, if we esteem it conformable to the law of nations, if we have nothing to say against it, or if we deem ourselves unfit to express an opinion on the subject, then, of course, no resolution ought to pass. If, on the other hand, we see in the declarations of the Allied Pow. ers principles not only utterly hostile to our own free institutions, but hostile also to the independence of all nations, and altogether opposed to the improvement of the condition of human nature; if, in the instance before us, we see a most striking exposition and application of those principles, and if we deem our opinions to be entitled to any weight in the estimation of mankind, — then I think it is our duty to adopt some such measure as the proposed resolution.
It is worthy of observation, Sir, that as early as July, 1821, Baron Strogonoff
, the Russian minister at Constantinople, represented to the Porte, that, if the undistinguished massacres of the Greeks, both of such as were in open resistance and of those who remained patient in their submission were continued, and should become a settled habit, they would give just cause of war against the Porte to all Christian states. This was in 1821. It was followed, early in the next year, by that indescribable enormity, that appalling monument of barbarian cruelty, the destruction of Scio; a scene I shall not attempt to describe; a scene from which human nature shrinks shuddering away; a scene having hardly a parallel in the history of fallen man. This scene, too, was quickly followed by the massacres in Cyprus; and all these things were perfectly known to the Christian powers assembled at Verona. Yet these powers, in
* Annual Register for 1821, p. 251.
stead of acting upon the case supposed by Baron Strogonoff, and which one would think had been then fully made out, instead of being moved by any compassion for the sufferings of the Greeks, — these powers, these Christian powers, rebuke their gallantry and insult their sufferings by accusing them of “ throwing a fireband into the Ottoman empire.” Such, Sir, appear to me to be the principles on which the Continental powers of Europe have agreed hereafter to act; and this, an eminent instance of the application of those principles.
I shall not detain the committee, Mr. Chairman, by any attempt to recite the events of the Greek struggle up to the present time. Its origin may be found, doubtless, in that improved state of knowledge which, for some years, has been gradually taking place in that country. The emancipation of the Greeks has been a subject frequently discussed in modern times. They themselves are represented as having a vivid remembrance of the distinction of their ancestors, not unmixed with an indignant feeling that civilized and Christian Europe should not ere now have aided them in breaking their intolerable fetters.
In 1816 a society was founded in Vienna for the encouragement of Grecian literature. It was connected with a similar institution at Athens, and another in Thessaly, called the “ Gymnasium of Mount Pelion.” The treasury and general office of the institution were established at Munich. No political object was avowed by these institutions, probably none contemplated. Still, however, they had their effect, no doubt, in hastening that condition of things in which the Greeks felt competent to the establishment of their independence. Many young men have been for years annually sent to the universities in the western states of Europe for their education; and, after the general pacification of Europe, many military men, discharged from other employment, were ready to enter even into so unpromising a service as that of the revolutionary Greeks.
In 1820, war commenced between the Porte and Ali, the wellknown Pacha of Albania. Differences existed also with Persia and with Russia. In this state of things, at the beginning of 1821, an insurrection broke out in Moldavia, under the direction of Alexander Ypsilanti, a well-educated soldier, who had been major-general in the Russian service. From his character, and the number of those who seemed inclined to join him, he was
supposed to be countenanced by the court of St. Petersburg. This, however, was a great mistake, which the Emperor, then at Laybach, took an early opportunity to rectify. The Turkish government was alarmed at these occurrences in the northern provinces of European Turkey, and caused search to be made of all vessels entering the Black Sea, lest arms or other military means should be sent in that manner to the insurgents. This proved inconvenient to the commerce of Russia, and caused some unsatisfactory correspondence between the two powers. It may be worthy of remark, as an exhibition of national character, that, agitated by these appearances of intestine commotion, the Sultan issued a proclamation, calling on all true Mussulmans to renounce the pleasures of social life, to prepare arms and horses, and to return to the manner of their ancestors, the life of the plains. The Turk seems to have thought that he had, at last, caught something of the dangerous contagion of European civilization, and that it was necessary to reform his habits, by recurring to the original manners of military roving barbarians.
It was about this time, that is to say, at the commencement of 1821, that the revolution burst out in various parts of Greece and the isles. Circumstances, certainly, were not unfavorable to the movement, as one portion of the Turkish army was employed in the war against Ali Pacha in Albania, and another part in the provinces north of the Danube. The Greeks soon possessed themselves of the open country of the Morea, and drove their enemy into the fortresses. Of these, that of Tripolitza, with the city, fell into their hands, in the course of the summer. Having after these first movements obtained time to breathe, it became, of course, an early object to establish a government. For this purpose delegates of the people assembled, under that name which describes the assembly in which we ourselves sit, that name which "freed the Atlantic," a Congress. A writer, who undertakes to render to the civilized world that service which was once performed by Edmund Burke, I mean the compiler of the English Annual Register, asks, by what authority this assembly could call itself a Congress. Simply, Sir, by the same authority by which the people of the United States have given the same name to their own legislature. We, at least, should be naturally inclined to think, not only as far as names, but things also, are concerned, that the Greeks could hardly have begun their revolution under better auspices; since they have endeavored to render applicable to themselves the general principles of our form of government, as well as its name. This constitution went into operation at the commencement of the next year.
In the mean time, the war with Ali Pacha was ended, he having surrendered, and being afterwards assassinated, by an instance of treachery and perfidy, which, if it had happened elsewhere than under the government of the Turks, would have deserved notice. The negotiation with Russia, too, took a turn unfavorable to the Greeks. The great point upon which Russia insisted, beside the abandonment of the measure of searching vessels bound to the Black Sea, was, that the Porte should withdraw its armies from the neighborhood of the Russian frontiers; and the immediate consequence of this, when effected, was to add so much more to the disposable force ready to be employed against the Greeks. These events seemed to have left the whole force of the Ottoman empire, at the commencement of 1822, in a condition to be employed against the Greek rebellion ; and, accordingly, very many anticipated the immediate destruction of the cause. The event, however, was ordered otherwise. Where the greatest effort was made, it was met and defeated. Entering the Morea with an army which seemed capable of bearing down all resistance, the Turks were nevertheless defeated and driven back, and pursued beyond the isthmus, within which, as far as it appears, from that time to the present, they have not been able to set their foot.
It was in April of this year that the destruction of Scio took place. That island, a sort of appanage of the Sultana mother, enjoyed many privileges peculiar to itself. In a population of 130,000 or 140,000, it had no more than 2,000 or 3,000 Turks; indeed, by some accounts, not near as many. The absence of these ruffian masters had in some degree allowed opportunity for the promotion of knowledge, the accumulation of wealth, and the general cultivation of society. Here was the seat of modern Greek literature; here were libraries, printing-presses, and other establishments, which indicate some advancement in refinement and knowledge. Certain of the inhabitants of Samos, it would seem, envious of this comparative happiness of Scio, landed upon the island in an irregular multitude, for the purpose of compelling its inhabitants to make common cause with their countrymen against their oppressors. These, being joined by the peasantry, marched to the city and drove the Turks into the castle. The Turkish fleet, lately reinforced from Egypt, happened to be in the neighboring seas, and, learning these events, landed a force on the island of fifteen thousand men. There was nothing to resist such an army. These troops immediately entered the city and began an indiscriminate massacre. The city was fired; and in four days the fire and sword of the Turk rendered the beautiful Scio a clotted mass of blood and ashes. The details are too shocking to be recited. Forty thousand women and children, unhappily saved from the general destruction, were afterwards sold in the market of Smyrna, and sent off into distant and hopeless servitude. Even on the wharves of our own cities, it has been said, have been sold the utensils of those hearths which now exist no longer. Of the whole population which I have mentioned, not above nine hundred persons were left living upon the island. I will only repeat, Sir, that these tragical scenes were as fully known at the Congress of Verona, as they are now known to us; and it is not too much to call on the powers that constituted that congress, in the name of conscience and in the name of humanity, to tell us if there be nothing even in these unparalleled excesses of Turkish barbarity to excite a sentiment of compassion; nothing which they regard as so objectionable as even the very idea of popular resistance to power.
The events of the year which has just passed by, as far as they have become known to us, have been even more favorable to the Greeks than those of the year preceding. I omit all details, as being as well known to others as to myself. Suffice it to say, that with no other enemy to contend with, and no diversion of his force to other objects, the Porte has not been able to carry the war into the Morea; and that, by the last accounts, its armies were acting defensively in Thessaly. I pass over, also, the naval engagements of the Greeks, although that is a mode of warfare in which they are calculated to excel, and in which they have already performed actions of such distinguished skill and bravery, as would draw applause upon the best mariners in the world. The present state of the war would seem to be, that the Greeks possess the whole of the Morea, with the exception