Imágenes de páginas

ultimate moral design they are intended to answer; but to uphold, collectively, a high moral standard, and to diffuse, collectively, a powerful moral influence? This is the true theory of a Christian church. Men might agree to worship in the same place, and to hear the same minister, and to partake of the sacrament together, without any such compact or institution as is implied in the idea of such a society. But we are apt to talk much of the benefit to be derived to ourselves from entering such a body. Would to God that the benefit were never problematical! There is a benefit to ourselves attaching, we readily admit, to every act of religious obedience; and the duty of publicly confessing the name of Christ, and observing all the ordinances of religion, is binding upon all. But we think that persons quite mistake the matter, in looking upon this as the final object of the establishment of such societies; for in nothing can his own benefit be a legitimate final object to a real Christian. It appears to us, that St. Paul hints at their real design, when he requires of the church at Philippi, that its members should be blameless as well as “ harmless, and without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and

perverse nation,” among whom they were collectively to “ shine as lights in the world, holding forth the word of life.”

This being admitted, it would seem that such institutions present, when efficiently constructed, the very means of beginning the desired reform in the moral habits of a district, A certain portion of the population, and, we would hope, in general the best or most improvable portion, is brought directly in contact with Christian benevolence. Upon these persons-we speak both of members and hearers-the experiment must first be made. It must not be concealed, that among those who attend our places of Worship, there are the ignorant, the dirty, the indolent, the wasteful, some who are neither harmless nor blameless, and many who shine very darkly, even among the class who may be called 'good people' Now the clause which makes “ whatsoever is lovely and of good report" a part of the Christian character, warrants our position, that with such persons our economic reform must begin. We cannot, it may be, establish a town library: Is there a restry library? We cannot visit all the sick and the afflicted : Is there a benevolent society connected with the place of worship, that provides at least for the necessities of its own poor? Are such members of the church as have tenants of their own, anxious to preserve them from being a burden to the parish; and does the poor man find in them a ready friend? Are the poor who attend our chapels, bettered in their condition, more cleanly, more economical, better informed, through the pains taken by hose in a superior station, to instruct or assist them?

• Pure

Or is it thought doing enough, to preach to them? We pity
the Christian minister who is not better seconded.
religion and undefiled before God, even the Father, is this, to
visit the widows and the fatherless in their affliction, and to
keep ourselves unspotted from the world.” To realize this pu-
rity of separation on the one hand, and this active benevolence
on the other, is the design of Christian churches; and when
they fail of this, their utility becomes very questionable. But
were Christians but animated with the spirit of the institution,
such societies present an engine of mighty efficiency, like
every thing of Divine origin or authority, for regenerating
the world.


Art. XI. Greece in 1923 and 1824 ; being a Series of Letters and other Decuments, on the Greek Revolution. Written during a

. Visit to that Country. By the Honourable Colonel Leicester Stanhope. Illustrated with several curious Fac-similes.

To which is added, the Life of Mustapha Ali. 8vo. Pp. 368. Price 13s. London. 1824. EVERAL work of considerable interest relating to the ori

gin and progress of the Greek Revolution are lying on our table, to which we ought to have paid earlier attention. The time is not come, however, for writing the history even of what is past, as every day tends to throw further light on the true character of the struggle. The present volume contains the testimony of an intelligent, brave, and noble-minded individual, founded on his own observation, and will be read with the interest it claims. It bears all the marks of authenticity and impartiality, and while it is laudably free from the flummery and affectation which have been vented on the subject of the Greeks, it is adapted to create an increased interest in their cause,

and to excite the most ardent wishes for their success.

Colonel Stanhope offered his services to the Greek Committee in the character of their agent, in September, 1823, as a substitute for Captain Blaquiere, whose affairs did not allow of his proceeding to Greece as had been arranged. He reached Missolonghi in December. In May last, he was served with an order from the Adjutant General's office, directing his immediate return to England. The present volume consists of the Colonel's correspondence, chiefly with Mr. Bowring for the information of the Greek Committee, during his absence, interspersed with some letters addressed to the Greek authorities, together with an apppendix of documents. In a letter to Jere






Greece in 1823 and 1824. my Bentham, Esq. dated Salona, May 4th, the following account is given of the state of parties.

· The state of Greece is not easily conveyed to the mind of a foreigner. The society is formed, 1st, of the Primates, who lean to oligarchy, or Turkish principles of government; 2dly, of the captains, who profess democratical notions, but who are, in reality, for power and plunder ; and lastly, of the people, who are irreproachable in character, and of course desire to have a proper weight in the constitution. The people of the Peloponnesus are much under the influence of the civil and military oligarchies. Those of Eastern and Western Greece are chiefly under the captains. Of these Odysseus is the most influential. His father never bowed to the Turkish yoke; he was a freeman and a robber. Odysseus himself was brought up by the famous tyrant Ali Pacha. He is shrewd and ambitious, and has played the tyrant, but is now persuaded that the road to fame and wealth is by pursuing good government. He, therefore, follows this course, and supports the people and the republic. Negris, who once signed his sentence of death, is now his minister. Of the islands, Hydra and Spezia are under the influence of some rich oligarchs, supported by the rabble, and Ipsara is purely democratic.

The parties may be said to be three, Ist. There is Mavrocordato, the oligarchs of the islands, and some of those of the Peloponnesus, and the legislative body. These are for order and a mild despotism, either under a foreign king, or otherwise. This faction stood high, but must now change its principles or lose its power. 2dly, There is Colocotroni, and some of the captains, and some of the oligarchs of the Morea, who are for power and plunder. This party is going down hill at a gallop. And, 3dly, there is Ipsilanti, Odysseus, Negris, and the mass who are now beginning to embrace republican potions, finding that they cannot otherwise maintain their power.

• Now, the question is, which of these parties should an honest man embrace ? All have stuinbled by endeavouring to hug the best of these factions. I have pursued another course, cautiously avoiding them all

I have loudly rated all for their vices, and as loudly praised them for their good acts. This for one who has no genius for political intrigue, tactics, or what is called diplomacy, is the safest course. It places a man of a plain mind on å level with and even above a high-flying politician of the Gentz or Metternich school.

Greece and all the islands are tranquil, with the exception of two towns, namely Napoli, which is blockaded by the government, and Missolonghi, which is disturbed by a body of Suliots, who play the pretorians.

• Civilization and good government are gaining ground, chiefly through the means of publicity: There is a great fund of virtue in Greece, but it is monopolized by the peasantry. What is most wanted is a good representative body, some good prefects, good juriges, and public writers. Two or three active and strong-minded

Englishmen might do incalculable good in Greece, for the people are anxious to improve.' pp. 197-199.

The public departments in Greece are described in the Report, in the following terms.

« The Executive Body has hitherto been composed of men of various characters. At one time influenced by Mavrocordato, when the Primates, the Fanariots, and the foreign interests, predominated. The leading features of the government were then order, and some say intrigue. At another time Colocotroni obtained, by his martial fame, his riches, and his extensive family connections, an ascendancy; then prevailed the military power, united at first with the democratic, but afterwards with oligarchical, interests; and, lastly, a sort of league was formed to put down the plunderers. Conduriotti was placed at the head of this administration, and the islands assumed their due weight. The Executive Body has hitherto exercised a degree of power that is inconsistent with republican government. The principles of a wild liberty have all along prevailed in Greece, but those of civil liberty are only beginning to be duly appreciated and followed. The depredations of the military chiefs and oligarchs have brought home to the bosoms of the peasantry the blessings of order, and of security for person and property. They begin with arms in their hands to defend their lands and purses; and they look to their representatives for the proper appropriation of their revenues, and the general direction of their armies and fleets.

• The Legislative Body is composed of persons selected by the civil and military oligarchs and the people. "They naturally lean to the interests of their electors. They are respectable in character, but, like most other public functionaries in Greece, are deficient in intellectual aptitude, and have but little knowledge of business. They are friends to order, and enemies to all extortion, and they are careful of the people's money. Nothing could exceed the firmness and dignity of their conduct when attacked by the emissaries of Colocotroni. To raise the character of this body is an object of primary importance. This is to be effected by making the people take a strong interest in the elections; by pointing out to them able men for their representatives ; by selecting some important person for their president; and by giving publicity to their proceedings. My exertions have been directed to these ends.'

• Prefects. This is a government of Prefects. Under newly-formed states, it is absolutely necessary that strong power should be vested in certain persons, in every district, and that they should be made responsible for the constitutional exercise of it. Unless these local authorities are established, whatever the vigour of the central control, the distant provinces fall a prey to some despot, or to anarchy. In Greece, the Prefects are ill selected. Instead of having a lead. ing influence in their districts, they are generally the tools of the principal Primates or Captains.

· The Primates—are addicted to Turkish habits and principles of government. In the Morea they have great influence." In Eastern and Western Greece, that of the Captains predominates. Hydra is ruled by the Primates, who are under the dominion of the maritime mob. The government of Spetzia is somewhat similar, but Ipsara is influenced by constitutional maxims. The other islands are under mild administrators.

• State of the Greek Church.—The ceremonies of the Greek church are tawdry and irrational. The priests, though they possess considerable influence, do not appear to have the same preponderating sway over their flocks 'that is exercised in some catholic countries. This may be attributed to their poverty and to the counteraction of the Mahommedan religion. Where toleration and a variety of religions prevail, there the power of the priests must be subdued, except within the pale of the established state creed. The Greek priests were greatly instrumental in bringing about the glorious rerolution. They traversed the country, and enlisted their votaries in the honourable plot; they fought in the ranks of the noble insurgents, and many of them are permanently engaged as soldiers, and some as captains. During the period of their military service, they are suspended from the exercise of their ecclesiastical functions. This rule does not extend to peaceful employments. The vice-president of the legislative body and the minister of the interior are of the clerical order. The priests are industrious. Most of them are engaged in agriculture and other useful labours. The dress of the pastors, when not on duty, in the country, is like that of the peasantry, and they are only distinguished from them by their beards. I every where found both the people and the clergy most anxious to receive the Scriptures in their native tongue.'

The Greek navy, Col. Stanhope represents to be of the same character as the Greek army; not equal to cope with the combined Turkish fleet, but it has gained a mastery over it by its superior seamen and tactics. It is composed chiefly of merchant brigs from Hydra, Spetzia, and Ipsara, about eighty sail. The greatest alarm prevailed, when it was heard that the Egyptian fleet had sailed; but it had the good effect of producing a greater degree of union. Mavromichaeli and

• • Niketas,' writes Colonel S., • håye joined the government.

Colocotroni held out till the people of Caritena, his own dis• trict, obliged him to follow the example.'

Colonel S. anticipates, in his letter of May 22, that the Turkish and Egyptian forces would effect their landings, and succeed in their first efforts. • But with the winter comes the • ebb: then is the time for the Greeks to commence their block*ades and sieges, and to march. The sequel is known, The Egyptians did not effect their landing, and Greece has obtained another respite from the invader. May her rulers wisely improve the interval, in the consolidation of what she wants still more than money-a national government!


« AnteriorContinuar »