صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

"Fierce are Albania's children, yet they lack

Not virtues, were those virtues more mature.

Where is the foe that ever saw their back?

Who can so well the toils of war eniiurc?

Their native fastnesses not more secure

Than they in doubtful time of truublous need:

Their wrath how deadly! but their friendship snre,

When Gratitude or Valour bids them bleed.
Unshaken rushing on where'er their chief may lead."

Nationality, a passion at all times stronger in mountaineers than in inhabitants of the plains, is their strongest characteristic. No foreign country or new scenes can take from them the remembrance and the love of their mountains, their friends, and their villages. They are perpetually making invidious comparisons between their native place and everything about them in other countries. They consider all men, whether Moslems or Christians, as cowards, if opposed to their own countrymen; and justly pride themselves on their established fame as tho best soldiers in the Ottoman Empire. All of them are warriors, and equally capable of using the sword and the long gun; and as they all carry arms, it is not easy to distinguish the soldier from the peasant. Their arms are not worn for parade, every district having been for years engaged in defensive war against bands of robbers, or in alliance with them in rebellion against the l'orte. The recesses of Metzovo, and of the hills of Agrapha, which command the passes from ^Etolia and Thossaly into Epirus, were the favourite haunts of theso formidable bands of banditti, who had spies throughout the country to give notice of the approach of any one they could plunder. They lived in caves or in the open air during tho summer, returning to the towns in winter. Treachery is a vice rarely found among the Albanians. Thoso who have once "eaten your bread," and even those who are hired into your service, arc capable of the most devoted attachment. Lord Uyron says, "No nation is so detested or dreaded by their neighbours as tho Albanese; the Greeks hardly regard them as Christians, or the Turks as Moslems; in fact they are a mixture of both, and sometimes neither. Their habits are predatory; all are armed; and the red-shawled Arnaouts the Montenegrins, Chimariots, and Guegues, are treacherous; the others differ somewhat in garb, and essentially in character. As far as my own experience goes, I can speak favourably. I was attended by two, an infidel and a Mussulman, to Constantinople and every other part of Turkey which camo within my observation; and more fuithful in peril or indefatigable in service are rarely to be found. The Inlidel was named ltasilius, the Moslem, Dervish Tihiri; the former a man of middle age, and the latter about my own. Iiasilius was strictly charged by Ali Pasha in person to attend us; and Dervish was one of fifty who accompanied us through the forest of Acarnania to the banks of Achelous, and onward to Mesoloughi iu ..Etolia. There I took him into my own service, and never had occasion to repent it till the moment of my departure.

"When, in 1810, after the departure of my friend Mr. Hobhouse for England, I was seized with a severe fever in tho Morea, these men saved my life by frightening away my physician, whose throat they threatened to cut if I was not cured within a given time. To this consolatory assurance of posthumous retribution, and a resolute refusal of Dr. Romanell's prescriptions, I attrihuted my recovery. I had left my last remaining English servant at Athens; my dragoman was as ill ns mysolf, anil; my poor Amaouts nursed mo with an attention which would have done honour to civilization. They had a variety of adventures; for the Moslem Dervish, being a remarkably handsome man, was alwuys squabbling with the husbands of Athens, insomuch that four of the principal Turks paid mo a risit of remonstrance at the convent, on the subject of his having taken a woman from the bath—whom he had lawfully bought, however—a thing quite contrary to etiquette. Basilius also was extremely gallant amongst his own persuasion, and had the greatest veneration for the Church, mixed with the highest contempt of churchmen, whom he cuffed upon occasion in a most heterodox manner. Yet he never passed a church without crossing himself; and I remember the risk he run in entering St. Sophia, in Stamboul, because it had once been a place of his worship. On remonstrating with him on his inconsistent proceedings, he invariably answered, 'Our church is holy, our priests are thieves;' and then he crossed himself as usual, and boxed the ears of the first' papas' who refused to assist in any required operation, as was always found to be necessary where a priest had any influence with the Khodja Bashi of his village. Indeed a more abandoned race of miscreants cannot exist than in the lower orders of the Greek clergy. (?)

"When preparations were made for my return, my Albanians were summoned to receive their pay. Basilius took his with an awkward show nf regret at my intended departure, and marched away to his quarters with his bag of piastres. I sent for Dervish, but for some time he was not to be found; at last he entered, just as Signor Logotheti, father to the ci-devant Anglo-consul of Athens, and some other of my Greek acquaintances, paid me a visit. Dervish took the money, but on a sudden dashed it to the ground; and clasping his hands, which he raised to his forehead, rushed out of the room, weeping bitterly. From that moment to the hour of my embarkation he continued his lamentations, and all our efforts to console him only produced this answer, 'M' hiplvti,' 'He leaves me.' Signor Logotheti, who never wept before for anything less than the loss of a para (about the fourth of a farthing), melted; the padro of the convent, my attendants, my visitors wept also—and I verily believe that even Sterne's 'foolish fat scullion' would have left her ' fish-kettle,' to sympathize with the unaffected and unexpected sorrow of this barbarian."

3. The WdUache (BAc£x<", Romount).

Amidst the innumerable emigrations of different races which characterize the history of Kastern Europe, from the decline of the Roman Empire until the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks, the Wallachs formed to themselves a national existence and a peculiar dialect in the country which they still occupy on the northern bank of the Danube. They grew out of the Roman colonics, which spread the language and civilization of Italy in those regions by amalgamating themselves with a portion of the ancient Dacian population. As early as the twelfth century a portion of the Wallachian race had settled in Thessaly, which, from their occupancy, is often styled in Byzantino history Great Wallaehia. The remains of this Wallachian colony still exist in that part of the chain if Pindua which separates Epirus from Thessaly, where they now inhabit the towns of Metzovo and Kalarytes, and somo largo villages. Their whole number, however, in this district is stated by Mr. Finlay not to exceed 50,000 souls. (For the description of Wallaehia and Moldavia see Hajtdbook For Turkey.) Like their countrymen north of the Danube, the Wallachs of Pindus belong to the Greek Church, and havo preserved their own language, a debased Latin strongly resembling Italian, but spotted with foreign terms and idioms, and still call themselves Romotmi, liomans (in German Rvmaner'). In Slavonic, Wallach, or Vlah, signifies

[Greece.] i>

a Koman or Italian, being akin to the epithet of Welsh or Velsh, given by the Anglo-Saxons to the Italianized provincials of Britain, and by the Germans to the Italians.

Besides keeping flocks and cattle in their native mountains, the Wallachs are to be found in nomade encampments throughout Northern Greece, whence their name is often applied bytho Greeks, indiscriminately of race, to denote any wandering shepherds. They perform, moreover, a great part of the carrying trade between Thessaly and Albania, for which occupation Mctzovo, situated near the Zygos pass, is a convenient )«)sition. The Wallachs have more peaceable habits and moro industry than the Albanians; and if they are endowed with less native acuteness and desire for information than the Greeks, they possess at least equal steadiness and perseverance.



Special Intboductoby Infoehatton.

1. Ilistorical STxtch and actual Condition, etc.—2. Climate, Soil, &c— 3. I'ackeU.—i. Money.—5. Sltops, Servants, &o.—6. Inns and Accommodation for Travellers.

1. Historical Sketch And Actual Condition, &c.

The Ionian Islands lie along the coast of EpiniH, Acaruania, and the Peloponnesus, between the parallels of 36° and 40° N. lat, and 19° and 23° E. l<mg. Tho principal islands, with their area and population, aro as follows:—

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

Besides the above seven islands, there aro a number of others of minor importance, Fano, Merlera, Salmatraki, Antipaxo, Muganisi, Calanios, Petalk, Cerigotto, Ac, dependent on thom, and together with them constituting the Ionian Islands. Under the Venetian regime, Uutrinto, Parga, l'revesa, Vonitza, and one or two otlicr stations on the coast of the mninlanil, were annexed to the Ionian Islands, and, equally with them, wero governed by a Proconsul, styled Provvediiore Generate.

An outline of the history of each of tho islands will be given under its separate head, for in former times they wero connected by no common bond of union, but formed separate states, often distinct in race and polity. Like the rest of Greece, they passed under the Roman sway, and in the decline of the Empire were partitioned out among various Latin princes, and desolated by the ravages of corsairs, Christian as well as Mahommedan. After many vicissitudes, the inhabitants of Corcyra, or Corfu, placed themselves in A.d. 1386 under the sovereignity of Venice; and the othor islands of the Ionian Sea successively fell during the next two centuries under tho dominion of that modern Carthago. The Greek possessions of the Republic were systematically governed by corruption and tyranny. In each island, the executive was composed entirely of natives of Venice, presided over by needy and rapacious Provveditori, Bent out to enrich themselves, after tho

old Roman fashion, on tho spoils of the provinces. These officials rarely swerved from the maxims laid down for their guidance by the famous Venetian Councillor of State, Fra Puolo Sarpi, and which are epitomized by Daru (' H istoire dc Venise,' xxxix. 17) as follows :—" Dans les colonics se souvenir qu'il n'y a rien de moins sfir quo la foi des Grecs. Ktre persuade qu'ils passeraient sans peine sous le joug des Turcs, a l'exemple du reste de leur nation. Les traiter comme des animaux fe'roces; leur rogner les dents et les grifles, les humilier souvent; surtout leur oter les occasions de s'aguerrir. l)u pain et le baton, voilii ce qu'il leur faut; gardons l'humanite' pour une meilleure occasion."

In conformity with these amiable precepts, the Ionians were heavily taxed for the support of tho Venetian garrisons and fortresses; the administration of justice was utterly corrupt; bribery was all-powerful in every department of government; the greater portion of the revenue was embezzled by the collectors; and open war was waged against a nationality which had endured throughout the vicissitudes of two thousand years. The young Ionians of the higher orders were sent to the Italian Univerities, where, to quote tho French General de Vaudoncourt (' Momoires sur les lies Ioniennes.' cap. ii.), "an act of the most perfidious Maohiavelism, decorated with the poni])ou8 title of privilege," enabled them to purchase degrees without passing the reguhir examinations required of other students. At home, all education whatsoever was discouraged, and the Greek language was banish(>d from all official documents and from the society of the upper classes, though the peasants in the country districts still clung fondly to their national dialect along with their national creed. The Eoman Catholic was declared tho dominant Church, though it numbered among its votaries few beyond the Venetian settlers and their descendants. Again, some of the insular oligarchies, by a more ample Ubo of corruption, were empowered to oppress and overawe their own countrymen: hence factions arose in all the islands, which, though the laws were faithfully and rigidly executed under the British Protectorate,arc not yet totally extinct; and from time to time—as in Cephalouia in 1848 and 1819—have broken out into cruel and bloody excesses.

On the fall of Venice in 1797, the treaty of Campo Forruio transferred the Ionian Islands to the French Republic, and they were occupied by a Bmall French garrison, which was ere long expelled by a combined Russian and Turkish expedition. According to the provisions of a treaty between the Czar and the Sultan (March 21, 1800), the Ionian Islands were now erected into a separate state, under the vassalage of the Porte, and dignified with the title of the Septinsular Republic. But within the short space of two years, all the Seven Islands had been guilty of treason and rebellion against their general government, while each separate island had also risen repeatedly against its local authorities. Horrors resembling those of the Coroyrumn factions described by Thucydides were of daily occurrence; in Zante alone assassinations have been so numerous as one for each day in the year—an unusual average for a population of less than 40,000. Terrified by this condition of their affairs, the principal Ionians sent, in 1802, an envoy named Naranzi to the Russian Emperor, to implore his immediate interference, as the only means of putting an end to sxich anarchy. Naranzi was instructed to state that the Ionians were disposed to receive with blind resignation whatever new constitution might be granted to thorn; that they wished it to bo the work of the "adorable hand " of the Autocrat himself, or, at all events, of "a single legislator;" and that it should be supported by '• an imposing force of Russian soldiers." In consequence of this address, the Czar empowered his plenipotentiary, Count Mocenigo, a native of Zante, to remodel the form of government established iu 1800; and under his

« السابقةمتابعة »