صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

cipal engineer, Caretto, an Italian, was seduced from him at this juncture ; in consequence of which, and the weakness of his garrison, one of his castles, that of Litharitza, was on the 13th of November carried by storm. Ali however had constructed mines beneath it, and soon after its occupation, caused it to be blown up. As the site of this castle commands that of the Lake, to which Ali was now reduced, his position was all but desperate. Still, however, he possessed some means of protracted resistance, and a great success on the part of the Greeks might yet have saved him.

Such an event seemed to be in train. The combined Grecian armies, which had long formed the siege of Arta, in which Ismael Pacha, somewhat in disgrace, held the command, succeeded in the capture of the place on the 24th of November, and Ismael fell into the hands of the Suliotes. They were solicited to deliver him up to the vengeance of Ali, but there was no mode of conveying him to his castle, and he found the means of effecting his escape from the Suliotes. On returning, however, to his countrymen, he was seized and sent to Constantinople, and his head soon figured on the impartial Seraglio gates.

Though Ali lived to see the downfall and destruction of Ismael, who, as Pacho Bey, had had the chief agency in stirring up the storm against him, his exultation was brief. Possessed of the site of the castle of Litharitza, Churschid constructed a battery that commanded the castle of the Lake, and thus brought the siege toward a close. The garrison of Ali had been reduced to a few hundreds, and was daily weakened by desertions, to which they were invited by Churschid. The accounts of the final catastrophe of Ali are given with such contradiction, that we are reduced to the necessity of selecting that, which appears most probable, though it is liable to the objection of proceeding from a hostile source. According to the accounts, which were circulated by the Porte in Constantinople of the circumstances of his fall, Ali had been reduced to shut himself up in a tower of his castle, with only thirty adherents. This tower consisted of three stories, the upper story was occupied by the vizier, the second story was filled with his treasures, and the lower with gunpowder, in the design of blowing up the tower, if reduced to that extremity. It could not be expected of the attendants of New Series, No. 17.

18

Ali, that they should be all willing to expose themselves to such a fate, and they were constantly tempted to surrender their master, by the offers of Churschid. In these offers Churschid proposed the most favorable conditions, not only for them, but for their master also; and by the most solemn oaths of honor and religion, guaranteed to Ali his life and treasures. In some of the accounts, it is related that the young wife of Ali, Basilica, beguiled into a belief of the sincerity of these offers, joined her solicitations with those of his servants, and induced him to surrender himself to Churschid. By the official account, which on this point at least is highly suspicious, Ali attempted, on capitulating, to obtain a guaranty of his life, but was told that this depended on the pleasure of the Sultan alone, whose will should be ascertained by a special messenger. After many conferences and much hesitation, Ali trusted to the oaths and adjurations of Churschid, and, with thirty followers, gave himself up, and was conducted to an island in the lake, till the pleasure of the Sultan should be known. While in confinement, he was treated with the honors due to his rank, and was visited respectfully by Churschid, and his high officers.

It is said that he did not despair till the last of making terms for his life. On the day of his death, he called for wine, saying, that, though forbidden by the Koran, he needed a little in the exhausted state of his health. On the 5th of February, 1822, the will of the Porte being learned, the death of Ali was decreed; and the execution of the sentence entrusted to the Kiaja of Churschid, Mehmed Pacha. He entered the presence of Ali, and engaged in a conversation with him, of which the object was doubtless to provoke the old vizier to some passionate expression, that might furnish a pretence for an assault. Unbroken by his disasters, Ali refrained from the use of language to which he was thus insidiously provoked. Exasperated by his prudence, the cowardly assassin seized the old chief by his long white beard, spit in his face, and loaded him with the names of traitor and infidel. Unarmed, weakened by his long confinement, and eighty two years of age, he still grappled with the murderer, but received, says the official account, a mortal wound in his left breast, of which he fell dead. Guards then entered the room and severed his head from his body. The few remaining followers of Ali were massacred on the spot. The head of Ali was sent to Constantinople, and on the 24th of February, was nailed to the Seraglio gates.

Such is the history of this remarkable man. In his mode of life, he was austere and simple. He rose early, and took his coffee and pipe. He then received the reports of his agents on public affairs, and the petitions of those who sought his interference, pronounced in all important cases, and directed in the affairs of his army or navy, till noon. His dinner was spare, and he made but little use of wine. After dinner, he was accustomed to sleep an hour or two, and then with his pipe, to resume, till seven or eight o'clock in the evening, the same attention to affairs, in which he had passed the morning. He made frequent journeys throughout his states, and took his meals and passed his nights in the houses of the inhabitants. No one ever knew in the morning, in what place he was that day to give audience, or occupy himself in the cares of government. Many summer residences and villas near Yanina were alternately occupied by him for a day, and sometimes several in the course of the day. This was not from fear, but activity, or restlessness of mind. That it was not from fear of his life, was evident from his manner of traversing the streets and roads unattended but with a couple of servants. In point of religion, Ali was far from being a devotee. He went but once a year to the mosque, which was at the period of the Ramazan, in full procession ; his sword borne by his Selictar Aga, his banner by the Bairactar Aga; with four armed officers by the sides of his horse, and twenty Chiauses, with staffs and silver apples on them, in front, while two domestics scattered perfumes over him. His harem, like that of every Turkish nobleman and prince, was filled with women, but after the death of Emineh, he was much influenced by a young wife Basilica, of christian parentage, but educated from infancy in the seraglio. He was formally married to her in 1816, and permitted her to have the christian service celebrated in the interior of the palace. She was equally conspicuous for beauty and goodness, and often successfully interposed her good offices in favor of those, who had incurred the displeasure of Ali. In conversation Ali was remarkably gracious and intelligent; and his treatment of strangers was in the extreme of hospitality. His person was not in perfect proportion, his limbs being somewhat too short for his body; a defect, however, which did not make its appearance when he was mounted. In the decline of age, he became corpulent and inactive, but, as the foregoing history has shown, lost not his energy and fertility of resource, but with his life.

His final resistance to the Ottoman Porte, as much as any single event, occasioned the first movements of the Grecian Revolution. His long protracted defence was highly favorable to the cause of independence in that country, and his fall was providentially delayed, till the armies of freedom and christianity had made such progress, as to bid, we trust and pray, an eternal defiance to the proud, the cruel, the barbarian despotism, which has so long afflicted the fairest corner of the earth.

ART. VII.--History of a Voyage to the China Sea. By

John WHITE, Lieutenant in the United States Navy. Boston. Wells & Lilly. 1823. pp. 372. This may safely be pronounced the most complete and authentic account which has been published, at least in our language, of the kingdom of Cochin China. That country, sometimes called Onam, was first discovered by Ptolemy, by whom it is barely noticed under the name of Sinæ, and is placed by D'Anville at the eastern extremity of the ancient habitable world. It is a narrow strip of land, resembling a crescent in its form, and projecting into the China Sea, immediately south of China Proper. According to our author, it extends in its present limits from latitude 8 deg. 40 m. to 17 deg. north, and from Cape Avarella in longitude 109 deg. 24 m. east, one hundred and fifty miles westward. Its average breadth, however, is about one hundred miles.

It is bounded on the northeast by the Gulf of Tun Quin, on the southwest by the Gulf of Siam, and on the west by the Birman Empire. Little or nothing was known of this country till the middle of the last century, when it was visited by M. Le-Poivre in a diplomatic character, who described it in a work which we have not been able to procure, but which has been liberally quoted by subsequent geographers. This is said to be a lively and interesting narrative, but whether it be entitled to the praise of strict accuracy, may be judged from the following remarks on the character of the Cochin Chinese, extracted from it by the editors of the Encyclopedia Britannica. M. Le Poivre,' say they, represents the Cochin Chinese as gentle, frugal, hospitable, and industrious. There is not a beggar in the country, and robbery and murder are absolutely unknown. A stranger may wander through the kingdom from one end to the other, the capital excepted, without meeting the slightest insult. He will be received everywhere with the most eager curiosity, but at the same time, with the greatest benevolence. A Cochin Chinese traveller, who has not money to defray his expenses at an inn, enters the first house of the town or village he arrives at, and waiting the hour of dinner, takes part with the family, and goes away when he thinks proper, without speaking a word, or any person putting to him a single question.' It argues, we trust, no great want of charity to receive a description like this, with a little distrust, as bearing a much greater resemblance to the highly colored pictures of the purity and innocence of barbarous nations, so prevalent at this time, than to the sober sketches of an impartial historian. Indeed, the civilized communities of the world, if we may judge from some of their writers, seem disposed to compensate for their encroachments on the territory and comforts of their savage brethren, by extravagant eulogies on their virtues, thus illustrating a remark made in a sermon of Dr South, that when men ask for bread, we give them a compliment, a thing not quite so hard as a stone, but altogether as dry.'

In 1793, Cochin China was visited by Lord Macartney and his suite, but the English squadron merely touched at Turon, one of its northern ports, and Mr Jackson, the sailing master of the Lion, on penetrating a little way into this hospitable country, was seized by the officers of government, and very roughly handled both by them and by the populace. The account given of this visit by Sir George Stanton therefore, however impartial, is extremely scanty.

For the purpose of opening a trade with this unknown region, the brig Franklin was fitted out at Salem, in the year

« السابقةمتابعة »