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CONTINENTAL GREECE AND THE PELOPONNESUS.
Special Introductory Information.
1. Historical Sketch and actual Condition, &c. — 2. Climate, Soil, &c.— 3. Packets.—i. Money.—5. Shops, Servants, &c.—6. Inns and Accommodation for Travellers.—7. Skeleton Tours.
1. Historical Sketch And Actual Condition, &o.
Historical Sketch.—Tho historical outline has already (general IntroducTion, I) been carried down to the formal recognition by the Ottoman Porte of the independence of Greece, in the treaty of Adrianople in 1829. The emancipated state was at that time under tho government of Count John Capodistria of Corfu (see above), who had been elected for seven years president or governor of Greece (Kv$cpvi]rris rfjs 'EWiSas), at the National Congress, held at Trcezen in April, 1827. Its limits were finally, after much discussion, fixed by the three protecting Powers, England,. France, and Russia, nearly at those of what had been anciently Hellas Proper; that is, they included tho Peloponnesus, the Cyclades, some of the Sporades, the island of Euboea, and so much of Northern Greece as lies S. of a line drawn, partly along tho chain of Othrys, from the Ambracian Gulf (Gulf of Arta) to the Pagassean Gulf (Gulf of Volio): consequently tho modern Hellas, or Greece, though less extensive than the country once so called, comprises the territories of the most celebiated and interesting of the Grecian states. As Cicero has said (pro Flacco, § 27), Hicc cuncta (Jrwcia, quie fama, qua gloria, quss doctrina, quie plurimis artibus, quie etiam imperio et bellied laude floruit, parvum quemdam hcum Europss tenet, semperque tenuit.
The limits of the new state having been defined, the next subject to bo settled was the proper form of government. Count Capodistria was invested with powers essentially monarchical; and experience has shown that no other polity is adapted to the genius and taste of the modern Greek nation. Unfortunately, however, the Greeks themselves were never formally consulted in the matter, and the consequence was that they threw many obstacles in the way of an adjustment of differences. When the allies set to work to find a permanent Sovereign for Greece, several conditions tended to limit the number of candidates for this honour. It was determined that the person elected should belong to a Royal House; and in this manner Capodistria was set aside. From the mutual jealousies of England, France, and Russia, and for other reasons. Prince Paul of Wirtemberg, one of the princes of Baden, and several others, were successively rejected; at length the allies offered the new crown to Prince Leopold of Saxe Coburg (afterwards King of the Belgians), who, after some hesitation, finally declined it, alleging as his motives the unwillingness of the Greeks to receive him, and their dissatisfaction at the confined boundaries assigned to them. The truth appears to be that Count Capodistria repaid the slight which had been put upon him and the rest of the Greeks, in not consulting them in the negotiation, by exaggerating to Prince Leopold the difficulties which awaited him. At the same time the president gained his point in the prolongation of his own tenure of office for a period apparently indefinite.
By his delay in summoning a National Assembly Capodistria occasioned general discontent, and there were several insurrections against his authority. He became, moreover, peculiarly obnoxious to several of tho restless military chiefs of the late War of Independence, who found their importance diminished under the new system. A conspiracy was formed against him in the family of Pietro Mavromichiili, the well-known Bey of Maina; and he was assassinated by two members of that clan on October 9, 1831, at Nauplia, which was then the seat of government. The conspirators chose for the execution of their plot a visit of the President to tho church of St. Spiridion, the Patron-Saint of Corfu, his native island. They awaited his arrival at the gate, and as he was entering the church George Mavromichali stabbed him in the side, while Constantine shot him in the back. He expired almost immediately,* and one of the assassins was killed on the spot by the soldiers on guard. The other escaped for the moment, but being soon afterwards arrested, was shot by sentence of a court-martial. The prompt movements of the party of the President secured their power for a season, and his brother, Count Augustine Capodistria, assumed the reins of government for a short period. But he soon felt himself obliged to relinquish his authority, and retire from Greece. After much deliberation the election of the Three Powers finally fell on Prince Otho, a younger eon of the King of Bavaria, who was proclaimed on August 30, 1882, at Nauplia, where he arrived in the beginning of the following year. It was provided that King Otho should be of age on completing bis eighteenth year, that is, in June, 1835; and that three Bavarian councillors, appointed as a Kegency, should govern during his minority. It was also provided that a corps of regular Bavarian troops, armed, equipped, and paid by the Greek state, should be maintained until the organization of a national army. Moreover the Allies guaranteed to the new government of Greece a loan of 60 millions of franca (about 2,400,000/.).
On attaining his majority King Otho declined to establish a representative form of government, and continued to govern mildly but absolutely, as.*i:.ted by a Council of State appointed by himself. In 1830 he contracted a marriage with the PrincesB Amelia, a daughter of the Duke of Oldenburg. He never had any issue. The obtaining of a constitutional form of government was effected by perhaps the most peaceable and well-ordered revolution recorded in history. On September -&, 1843, the constitutional party having matured their plans, and having gained the army and the great masB of tho population to their cause, surrounded the Palace at Athens with a body of troops, and firmly but respectfully required King Otho to sign the Charter which they offered him, or to quit Greece immediately and for ever. A vessel was prepared to convey the Sovereign and Court to Germany, in case of refusal; but not a drop of blood was spilt on either side. After a parley and hesitation of several hours, the King gave way, and signed the Constitutional Charter, which, among many other provisions, established a representative government, and enforced the dismissal from the Greek service of the Bavarian officers and soldiers, and of all other foreigners, with the exception of such as had taken a share in tho War of Independence,
Since 1843 there have been several local insurrections and disturbances in various parts of Greece; the event most interesting to Englishmen lias, probably, been the blockade of the Greek Ports, in the spring of 1850, by the British fleet, in consequence of the refusal of King Otho's government to liquidate the claims advanced by several British and Ionian subjects for compensation for various losses and injuries. The blockade lasted rather more than three months, when tho Greek ministry at length conceded the points in
• Count Capodistria was interred in tho burylng-place of his family—the chapel of a small convent in one of the suburbs of the town of Corfu, where a short Greek inscription marks bis grave.
dispute. The policy of Lord Palmerston, then Foreign Secretary, on this occasion was violently assailed in England, and the debates on the question in both Houses of Parliament will repay perusal.
During the Russian War, from 1854 to 1856, the Pirrous was occupied by a combined English and French force.
On the 19th of October, 1802, a revolution at Athens overturned the Bavarian dynasty from the throne of Greece, which by the provisional government was declared vacant three days later. King Otho was forced to quit the kingdom on the 24th of October, and on the 6th of June, 1863, the throne was accepted by tho second Bon of the King of Denmark, who was born on the 24th of December, 1845, and who arrived at tho Piraeus on October 30th, 18(13. His Majesty, who reigns under the title of George I., King of the Hellenes, married on the 27th of October, 1867, Her Imperial Highness Olga, daughter of the Grand Duke Constantine of Eussia and niece of tho Czar, Alexander II. The King belongs to the Lutheran Church, the children of the marriage being brought up as members of the Church of Greece. The Ionian Islands were annexed to Greece on the acceptance of the throne by his Majesty.
The following is a sketch of the Greek Government as at present constituted :—
The Legislature is composed of the King, with his Executive Council of Ministers, and a Representative Assembly (BowA.^).
The King enjoys by the Constitution of the 17th of November, 1864, tho usual privileges of Constitutional Sovereigns. The Assembly is composed of the Deputies elected by the various towns and districts of tho kingdom.
Greece is divided into 13 Nomes (v6/ioi), answering to the Departments of France, and each of these is presided over by a Nomarch (NO|uipxi*)> an officer corresponding to a French Prtfet. They aro as follows :—
The 13 Nomes are subdivided into 59 Eparchies (Eirapx'oO? and these again into several hundred Demes (atjuoi), divisions which correspond respectively to the Cantons and Communes, as the Eparclis and Demardts are analogous to the Sous-Presets and Maires of France. There are 361 Communes.
Public Bevenue.—The public revenue of Greece is derived from the tax of one-eighth of the produco of all private lands, and from the fourth, or 25 per cent., of the produce of the national domains. Thero are also duties on mines and minerals, imports and exports, cattle, salt, &c, as also on stamps, &c. The revenue of Greece for the year 1870 was estimated at 1,218,000?. sterling; the expenditure during the seven years ending with 1870, including payment of interest on debts, was on an average about 274,000Z. yearly, in excess of tho revenue. For details, see ' Reports on Greek Finances,' by H.M.'s Secretaries of Legation at Athens.
Justice.—The civil codo of the kingdom of Greece is still in the main tho Manual of the Laws (Jlp6xfpov ra>v Nifimv), an abridgment of the Basilica, written in A.d. 1345, by the Byzantine Armenopoulos. This is also the manual by which the bishops and primates of tho Rayah Greeks, who are had recourso to by their cc-religionaries oftener than aro tho Turkish Cadis, guide their decisions; a circumstance that must prove a no less powerful Jink than identity of language, race, and creed, in connecting the Greeks of the Christian kingdom with their brethren under tho Ottoman dominion. Tho criminal, commercial, and correctional codes of Greece were drawn up by M. von Maurer, one of the Bavarian Council of Regency, and aro founded on tho Code Napoleon. The military code of Greece is likewise adopted from that of France. Besides the High Court of Appeal and Cassation at Athens, dignified with the time-honoured title of areopagus, there are Courts of Assize and primary jurisdiction in the chief towns of tho Nomes or departments, and various inferior tribunals. Trial by jury has been introduced in most cases; but tho juries are said to bo generally much too indulgent from fear of tho vengeance of friends of the accused.
The Justices of the Peace (EipijcoSi'/tai) must be men who have undergone a legal education. As is the case in almost all countries except England, tho government, and not tho injured individual, prosecutes the criminal, according to the report of the Juge d'Instruction ('AyoitpiT^s), who first examines generally the witnesses and evidence. Judicial oaths are administered with much solemnity, the whole assemblage standing up during tho ceremony. As to the question how far the Greek judges administer justice uprightly, tho sweeping charges of general corruption brought against them are false or exaggerated, though their salaries are so miserably insufficient, that tho natural inference is, that they must have other sources of profit.
Religion.—Full religious toleration is guaranteed by the Constitution of 1864. With the exception of about 25,000 Latins, or Koman Catholics, and about 6,000 Jews, the whole people of Greece belongs to tho National Greek Church. The few Latins still remaining are chiefly found in some of the .(Egean Islands, and are descended from Genoese and Venetian settlers of the Mil Idle Ages. The University and Ecclesiastical Seminary at Athens are now causing a rapid improvement; but the Greek clergy are, generally speaking, poor and illiterate; their habits, however, are said to be simple and exemplary. Monasteries are now by no means so numerous in Greece proper, as in the Ionian Islands ami the Helleno-Turkish provinces. In 1829, under the government of Capodistria, above 300 of the smaller convents were abolished and their revenues secularized; nearly 100 still remain, with a total of from 1500 to 2000 inmates.
The doctrines of the Church of the kingdom of Greece aro identical with those professed by the Holy Eastern Church (genebal Introduction, m); but since the Revolution it has been independent of the Patriarch of Constantinople, and, as is the case in Russia, is governed by a Synod of its own Bishops. The war of Freedom was also a war of Religion; and the execution of Gregory, the Patriarch of Constantinople, by the TurkB, on the outbreak of the revolt in 1821, excited tho insurgents to fury.* The succeeding Patriarch found himself in a false position. Though sympathising with tho movement, he was compelled to anathematise it; and thus the Greeks were forced to look upon their Primate as the tool of the enemies of their faith and liberty. When the independence of Greece had been achieved, a fruitless negotiation took place between Capodistria and tho Patriarchal throne; and by an official paper, dated June, 1828, the new Hellenic Government declined to treat with the Patriarch on the former terms of submission. In July, 1833, a National Synod was held at Nauplia, when the two following propositions were approved by 3(5 Greek Prelates :—
1. The Church of Greece, which spirituaUy owns no head but Jesus Christ, is dependent on no external authority, and preserves unbroken dogmatic unity with all the Eastern Orthodox Churches. With respect to the administration of the Church, she acknowledges the King of Greece as her supreme head, as is in nothing contrary to tho Holy Canons.
2. A permanent Synod shall be established, consisting entirely of Bishops selected by the King. This hi to be the highest ecclesiastical authority, after the model of the Russian Church.
The Synod of Nauplia further resolved on eventually reducing the Greek Sees from about 40 to 10, co-extensive witli the Nomet, or chief civil divisions of the kingdom. But this arrangement gave riso to great discontent, and was never carried out. The Patriarch refused to acknowledge the independence of the Greek Church; it was not thought advisable to consecrate new Bishops without his sanction; and at one period the Greek Hierarchy seemed likely to die out. However, negotiations were set on foot with the Patriarchal throne in the early part of 1850; and on June 29 (July 11) of that year, his Holiness and the Synod of Constantinople issued a Synodal Tome (SupoSiicbj Td/u>s), whereby they finally recognized the Church of Greece as independent or autocephalous (airo>ce<t>aKos). This act of unity was an unspeakable blessing for the whole Eastern Church.
The number of Bishops in the kingdom of Greece is 31, of whom 14 aro Archbishops. These Prelates are elected by the Synod, three names being presented to the King, from amongst which His Majesty selects one on occasion of each vacancy. Like tho Emperor of Russia, the King of Greece is the temporal head of tho Church; tho affairs of which are conducted by the Holy Synod of the Kingdom of Greece, which sits at Athens and is composed of five Bishops, generally taken in order of seniority in consecration ((taxi T« npiaBfta), and assisted by a Royal Commissioner and a Secretary. By a law passed in 1852, the Metropolitan of Attica is ex-officio President of the Synod.
Titles of Honour.—No hereditary titles are recognised or exist in Greece, except in the person of the King. There is ono Order of Knighthood, that of the Redeemer.
Public Instruction.—No such thing as public instruction for the Christian population can be said to have existed in Greece before the Revolution. The few schools which had been founded at Joi'mnina in Epirus, and elsewhere, were the offspring of private munificence; it is greatly to the credit of tho Greek insurgents that one of their first objects on the establishment of a regular government was the providing of such means of general education as were practicable during tho continuance of tho war of independence. Public in
* The body of the Patriarch Gregory, which had been thrown Into the Golden Horn and, when resoled from the water, conveyed to Odessa, was removed thence to Athens in April. 1871, and was carried with great pomp to the Cathedral on Sunday the Jth of May following j tho King and Queen walking in the procession.