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our country.” Relying on the aid of the Greeks, in his war with the Porte, he changed the white flag to red, and displayed on it the words, “ In the name of God, and for christianity.” The unfortunate issue of this war is well known. Though Anne and Elizabeth, the successors of: Peter, did not possess his active character, they kept up a constant communication with Greece, and held out hopes of restoring the Greek empire. Catharine II., as is well known, excited a general revolt in 1769. A Russian fleet appeared in the Mediterranean, and a Russian army was landed in the Morea. The Greeks, in the end, were disgusted by being required to take an oath of allegiance to Russia, and the empress was disgusted because they refused to take it. In 1774, peace was signed between Russia and the Porte, and the Greeks of the Morea were left to their fate. By this treaty, the Porte acknowledged the independence of the khan of the Crimea; a preliminary step to the acquisition of that country by Russia. It is not unworthy of remark, as a circumstance which distinguished this from most other diplomatic transactions, that it conceded the right to the cabinet of St. Pe tersburg of intervention in the interior affairs of Turkey, in regard to whatever concerned the religion of the Greeks. The cruelties and massacres that happened to the Greeks after the peace between Russia and the Porte, notwithstanding the general pardon which had been stipulated for them, need not now be recited. Instead of retracing the deplorable picture, it is enough to say that, in this respect, the past is justly reflected in the present. The empress soon after invaded and conquered the Crimea, and on one of the gates of Kerson, its capital, caused to be inscribed, “ The road to Byzantium.” The present emperor, on his accession to the throne, manifested an intention to adopt the policy of Catharine II. as his own, and the world has not been right in all its suspicions, if a project for the partition of Turkey did not form a part of the negotiations of Napoleon and Alexander at Tilsit.
All this course of policy seems suddenly to be changed. Turkey is no longer regarded, it would appear, as an object of partition or acquisition, and Greek revolts have all at once become, according to the declaration of Laybach, “criminal combinations.” The recent congress at Verona exceeded its predecessor at Laybach, in its denunciations of the Greek struggle. In the circular of the 14th of December, 1822, it declared the Grecian resistance to the Turkish power to be rash and culpable, and lamented that “the firebrand of rebellion had been thrown into the Ottoman empire.” This rebuke and crimination we know to have proceeeded on those settled principles of conduct which the continental powers had prescribed for themselves. The sovereigns saw, as well as others, the real condition of the Greeks; they knew, as well as others, that it was most natural and most justifiable that they should endeavor, at whatever hazard, to change that condition. They knew that that they themselves, or at least one of them, had more than once urged the Greeks to similar efforts; that they themselves had thrown the same firebrand into the midst of the Ottoman empire. And yet, so much does it seem to be their fixed object to discountenance whatsoever threatens to disturb the actual government of any country, that, christians as they were, and allied, as they professed to be, for purposes most important to human happiness, and religion, they have not hesitated to declare to the world that they have wholly forborne to exercise any compassion to the Greeks, simply because they thought that they saw, in the struggles of the Morea, the sign of revolution. This, then, is coming to a plain, practical result. The Grecian revolution has been discouraged, discountenanced, and denounced, for no reason but because it is a revolution. Independent of all inquiry into the reasonableness of its causes, or the cnormity of the oppression which produced it; regardless of the peculiar claims which Greece possesses upon the civilized world; and regardless of what has been their own conduct toward her for a century ; regardless of the interest of the chris tian religion,--the sovereigns at Verona seized upon the case of the Greek revolution as one above all others calculated to illustrate the fixed principles of their policy. The abominable rule of the Porte on one side, the valor and the sufferings of the christian Greeks on the other, furnished a case likely to convince even an incredulous world of the sincerity of the professions of the Allied Powers. They embraced the occasion with apparent ardor; and the world, I trust, is satisfied.
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 wholly hostile to their success. Now it is upon
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 no thing 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 declaration of the Allied Powers, 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 own 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, rep
resented 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, instead of acting upon the case supposed by Baron Strogonoff, and which one would think had been then fülly made out; instead of be ing 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 firebrand 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 encourago ment of Grecian literature. It was connected with a similar institution at Athens, and another in Thessaly, called the “ Gym nasium 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 have, no doubt, had their effect 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 well-known pacha of Albania. Differences existed, also, with Persia and with Russia. In this state of things, at the beginning of 1821, an insurrection appeared to have broken out in Moldavia, under the direction of Alexander Ypsilanti, a welleducated soldier, who had been major-general in the Russian service. From his character, and the number of those who seemed disposed 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 Porte, it would seem, however, alarmed at these occurrences in the northern provinces, caused search to be made of all vesssels 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.