صور الصفحة

and a half by two of these singular mountaineers, whose mother tongue is Illyric, and I never heard them or their country men (whom I have seen, not only at home, but to the amount of twenty thousand in the army of Vely Pacha) praised for their Greek, but osten laughed at for their provincial barbarisms.

I have in my possession about twenty-five letters, amongst which some from the Bey of Corinth, written to me by Notaras, the Cogia Bachi, and others by the dragoman of the Caimacam of the Morea (wbich last governs in Vely Pacha's absence) are said to be favourable specimens of their epistolary style. I also received some at Constantinople from private persons, written in a most hy. perbolical style, but in the true antique character.

The Reviewer proceeds, after some remarks on the tongue in its past and present state, to a paradox (page 59) on the great mischief the knowledge of his own language has done to Coray, who, it seems, is less likely to understand the ancient Greek, because he is perfect master of the modern! This observation follows a paragraph, re. commending, in explicit terms, the study of the Romaic, as “ a powerful auxiliary," not only to the traveller and foreign merchant, but also to the classical scholar; in short, to every body except the only person who can be thoroughly acquainted with its uses : and by a parity of reasoning, our old language is conjectured to be probably more attainable by “ foreigners," than by ourselves! Now I am inclined to think, that a Dutch Tyro in our tongue (albeit himself of Saxon blood) would be sadly perplexed with “Sir Tristrem," or any other given “ Aucbinlech MS." with or without a grammar or glossary; and to most apprehensions it seems evident, that none but a native can acquire a competent, far less complete, knowledge of our obsolete idioms. We may give the critic credit for his in. genuity, but no more believe him than we do Smollet's Lismahago, who maintains that the purest English is spoken in Edinburgh. That Coray may err is very possible; but if he does, the fault is in the man rather than in his mother tongue, which is, as it ought to be, of the greatest aid to the native student.-Here the Reviewer proceeds to business on Strabo's translators, and bere I close my remarks.

Sir W. Drummond, Mr. Hamilton, Lord Aberdeen, Dr Clarke, Captain Leake, Mr. Gell, Mr Walpole, and many others now in England, have all the requisites to furnish details of this fallen people. The few observations I have offered I should have left where I made them, had not the article in question, and above all the spot where I read it, induced me to advert to those pages wbich the ad.


vantage of my present situation enabled me to clear, or at least to make the attempt.

I have endeavoured to waive the personal feelings, which rise in despite of me in touching upon any part of the Edinburgh Review; got from a wish to conciliate the favour of its writers, or to cancel the remembrance of a syllable I have formerly published, but simply from a sense of the impropriety of mixing up private resentments with a disquisition of the present kind, and more particularly at this distance of time and place.


The difficulties of travelling in Turkey have been much exag. gerated, or rather have considerably diminished of late years. The Mussulmans have been beaten into a kind of sullen civility, very comfortable to voyagers.

It is bazardous to say much on the subject of Turks and Turkey; since it is possible to live amongst them twenty years without acquiring information, at least from themselves. As far as my own slight experience carried me I have no complaint to make; but am indebted for many civilities (I might almost say for friendship,) and much hospitality, to Ali Pacba, his son Veli Pacha of the Morea, and several others of high rank in the provinces. Suleyman Aga, late Governor of Athens, and now of Thebes, was a bon vivant, and as social a being as ever sat cross-legged at a tray or a table. During the carnival, when our English party were masquerading, both bimself and his successor were more happy to " receive masks', than any dowager in Grosvenor-square.

On one occasion of his supping at the convent, his friend and visitor, the Cadi of Thebes, was carried from table perfectly qualified for any club in Christendom; while the wortby Waywode himself triumphed in his fall.

In all money transactions with the Moslems, I ever found the strictest honour, the highest disinterestedness. In transacting business with them, there are done of those dirty peculations, under the name of interest, difference of exchange, commission, &c. &c. uniformly found in applying to a Greek consul to cash bills, even OD L -st houses in Pera.,

With regard to presents, an established custom in the East, you will rarely find yourself a loser; as one worth acceptance is genèrally returned by another of similar value-a horse, or a shawl.

In the capital and at court the citizens and courtiers are formed in the same school with those of Christianity ; but there does not exist a more honourable, friendly, and high-spirited character than the true Turkish provincial Aga, or Moslem country gentleman. It is not meant here to designate the governors of towns, but those Agas who, by a kind of feudal tenure, possess lands and houses, of more or less extent, in Greece and Asia Minor.

The lower orders are in as tolerable discipline as the rabble in countries with greater pretensions to civilization. A Moslem, in walking the streets of our country towns, would be more incommoded in England than a Frank in a similar situation in Turkey. Regimentals are the best travelling dress.

The best accounts of the religion, and different sects of Islamism, may be found in D’Olisson's French; of their manners, &c. perhaps in Thornton's English. The Ottomans, with all their defects, aro not a people to be despised. Equal, at least, to the Spaniards, they are superior to the Portuguese. If it be difficult to pronounce what they are, we can at least say wbat they are not: they are not treacherous, they are not cowardly, they do not burn heretics, they are not assassins, nor has an enemy advanced to their capital. They are faithful to their sultan till he becomes unfit to govern, and devout to their God without an inquisition. Were they drived from St. Sophia to-morrow, and the French or Russians enthroned in their stead, it would become a question, whether Europe would gain by the exchange? England would certainly be the loser.

With regard to that ignorance of which they are so generally, and sometimes justly, accused, it may be doubted, always excepting France and England, in what useful points of kæowledge they are excelled by other nations. Is it in the common arts of life? In their manufactures? Is a Turkish sabre inferior to a Toledo? or is a Turk worse clothed or lodged, or fed and taught, than a Spanjard ? Are their Pachas worse educated than a Grandee? or an Effendi than a Knight of St. Jago! I think not.

I remember Mahmout, the grandson of Ali Pacha, asking whether my fellow-traveller and myself were in the upper or lower House of Parliament. Now this question from a boy of ten years old proved that his education had not been neglected. It may be doubted if an English boy at that age knows the difference of the Divan from a Dollege of Dervises ; but I am very sure a Spaniard does not. How

little Mahmout, surrounded, as he had been, entirely by his Turkish tutors, bad learned that there was such a thing as a Parliament, it were useless to conjecture, unless we suppose that his instructors did not confine bis studies to the Koran.

In all the mosques there are scbooks established, which are very regularly attended; and the poor are taught without the church of Turkey being put into peril. I believe the system is not yet printed (though there is such a thing as a Turkish press, and books printed on the late military institution of the Nizam Gedidd); nor have I heard whether the Mufti and the Mollas have subscribed, or the Caimacam and the Tefterdar taken the alarm, for fear tbe ingenuous youth of the turban should be taught not to “pray to God their way." The Greeks also a kind of Eastern Irish papists-bave a college of their own at Maynooth---DO, at Haivali; where the heterodox receive much the same kind of countenance from the Ottoman as the Catholic college from the English legislature. Who shall then affirm, that the Turks are ignorant bigots, when they thus evince the exact proportion of Christian charity which is tolerated in the most prosperous and orthodox of all possible kingdoms! But, though they allow all this, they will not suffer the Greeks to participate in their privileges : no, let them fight their battles, and pay their haratch (taxes), be drubbed in this world, and damned in the next. And shall we then emancipate our Irisb Helots? Mahomet forbid! We should then be bad Mussulmans, and worse Christians; at present we unite the best of both---jesuiti cal faith, and something not much inferior to Turkish toleration.


AMONGST an enslaved people, obliged to have recourse to foreign presses even for their books of religion, it is less to be wondered at that we find so few publications on general subjects than that we find any at all. The whole number of the Greeks, scattered up and down tbe Turkish empire and elsewhere, may amount, at most, to three millions; and yet, for so scanty, a number, it is impossible to discover any nation with so great a proportion of books and their aus thors, as the Greeks of the present century. “Ay," but say the generous advocates of oppression, who, while they assert the ignorance of the Greeks, wish to prevent them from dispelling it, “ay, but these are mostly, if not all, ecclesiastical tracts, and consequentJy good for nothing." Well! and pray what else can they write about! It is pleasant enough to hear a Frank, particularly an Englishman, who may abuse the government of his own country; or a Frenchman, who may abuse every government except his own, and who may range at will over every philosophical, religious, scientific, skeptical, or moral subject, sneering at the Greek legends. A Greek must not write on politics, and cannot touch on science for want of instruction; if he doubts, he is excommunicated and damned; therefore his countrymen are not poisoned with modern philosophy; and as to morals, thanks to the Turks ! there are no such things. What then is left him, if he has a turn for scribbling? Religion and holy biography : and it is natural enough that those who have so little in this life should look to the next. It is no great wonder then that in a catalogue now before me of fifty-five Greek wri. ters, many of whom were lately living, not above fifteen should bave touched on any thing but religion. The catalogue alluded to is contained in the twenty-sixth chapter of the fourth volume of Meletius' Ecclesiastical History. From this I subjoin an extract of those who have written on general subjects; which will be fofu lowed by some specimens of the Romaic.

« السابقةمتابعة »