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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 commenment of 1821, that the revolution burst out in various parts of Greece and the isles. Circumstances, certainly, were not unfavorable, as one portion of the Turkish army was employed in the war against Ali Pacha, in Albania, and another part in the provin ces 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 the hands of the Greeks 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 afterward 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 Rus. sian 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 Turkish 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 their 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 not 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 ad. vancement 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 mas
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 afterward 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 of the three fortresses of Patras, Coron, and Modon ; all Candia, but one fortress; and most of the other islands. They possess the citadel of Athens, Missolonghi, and several other places in Livadia. They have been able to act on the offensive, and to carry the war beyond the isthmus. There is no reason to believe their marine is weakened; probably, on the other hand, it is strengthened. But, what is most of all important, they have obtained time and experience. They have awakened a sympathy throughout Europe and throughout America; and they have formed a government which seems suited to the emergency of their condition.
Sir, they have done much. It would be great injustice to compare their achievements with our own.
We began our revolution, already possessed of government, and, comparatively, of civil liberty. Our ancestors had for centuries been accustomed in a great measure to govern themselves. They were well acquainted with popular elections and legislative assemblies, and the general principles and practice of free gove ernments. They had little else to do than to throw off the paramount authority of the parent state. Enough was still left, both of law and of organization, to conduct society in its accustomed course, and to unite men together for a common object. The Greeks, of course, could act with little concert at the beginning; they were unaccustomed to the exercise of power, without experience, with limited knowledge, without aid, and surrounded by nations which, whatever claims the Greeks might seem to have upon them, have afforded them nothing but discouragement and reproach. They have held out, howerer, for three campaigns; and that, at least, is something. Constantinople and the northern provinces have sent forth thousands of troops; they have been defeated. Tripoli, and Al
giers, and Egypt, have contributed their marine contingents; they have not kept the ocean. Hordes of Tartars have crossed the Bosphorus; they have died where the Persians died. The powerful monarchies in the neighborhood have denounced their cause, and admonished them to abandon it and submit to their fate. They have answered them, that, although two hundred thousand of their countrymen have offered up their lives, there yet remain lives to offer; and that it is the determination of all, “yes, of all,” to persevere until they shall have established their liberty, or until the power of their oppressors shall have relieved them from the burden of existence. • It may now be asked, perhaps, whether the expression of our own sympathy, and that of the country, may do them good ? I hope it may. It may give them courage and spirit, it may assure them of public regard, teach them that they are not wholly forgotten by the civilized world, and inspire them with constancy in the pursuit of their great end. At any rate, sir, it appears to me that the measure which I have proposed is due to our own character, and called for by our own duty. When we shall have discharged that duty, we may leave the rest to the disposition of Providence.
I do not see how it can be doubted that this measure is entirely pacific. I profess my inability to perceive that it has any possible tendency to involve our neutral relations. If the resolution pass, it is not necessary to be immediately acted on. It will not be acted on at all, unless, in the opinion of the president, a proper and safe occasion for acting upon it shall arise. If we adopt the resolution to-day, our relations with every foreign state will be to
morrow precisely what they now are. The resolution will be sufficient to express our sentiments or the subjects to which I have adverted. Useful to that purpose, it can be mischievous to no purpose. If the topic were properly introduced into the message, it cannot be improperly in. troduced into discussion in this house. If it were proper, which