V. The Frigate Affair: On Values and Interest
B. A Review of the Pamphlets Published Relating to the Frigate Affair.
North American Review, July 1827
THE subject of the series of pamphlets just named is too important to be wholly pretermitted in this journal. We took an early opportunity to endeavor to awaken an interest in the cause of Greece, among our fellow citizens, and have never ceased to watch, with solicitude, the progress of the great struggle, of which that singular and interesting land is the theatre. Before bringing to a close the remarks, which we intend at this time to offer to our readers, we shall state some circumstances which justify and prompt a continued sympathy with the Greeks, in this their anxious struggle for freedom. But we deem it a preliminary duty to make a few observations on the subject of the pamphlets before us.
It is not our purpose to enter into an analysis of the contents of these pamphlets, nor to relate the history of the controversy of which they are the vehicle. An extensive circulation has brought them, no doubt, directly to the knowledge of many of our readers, and an able digest and examination of their contents, has already been submitted to the public, in the pages of a contemporary journal of the highest respectability, the American Quarterly Review. Inasmuch, however, as the transactions connected with the Greek frigates, are of a nature to produce an effect on the American character abroad, and have already attracted the attention and become the subject of the comments of the foreign press, it is proper that the American press, in its various departments, should not pass them with out notice. If we, as Americans, condemn the transactions which form the subject of these pamphlets, it is proper we should say so, and put it out of the power of foreign detractors to allege that such things occurred among us unnoted and uncondemned.
And yet it is not without embarrassment and pain, that we give utterance to our feelings and impressions on this subject. In the construction of the Greek frigates, two mercantile houses of the first respectability, in New York, were employed. To either of them, we should, if called upon, have implicitly confided the management of much more extensive transactions; and to any impeachment of the good faith and liberality of either of them, we should have turned an incredulous ear. The transactions, moreover, were various and complicated; and the agency of the two houses not in all respects the same. To one of them may be justly ascribed the lead and governing spirit of these transactions; as from that house also has emanated a peremptory defence [sic] of them, even in those particulars, at which the public sentiment of the country has most revolted. It is scarcely possible, in speaking of the matter, to avoid confounding the two houses, although we apprehend the public feeling has justly make a decided discrimination between them, as to the share of censure, which belongs to each. At the same time, events, to which we are not justified in making more particular allusion, have occurred, since the termination of this affair, of a nature to disarm much of its severity the temper, in which we should otherwise pass sentence on its character.
We have never, for a moment, listened to an imputation of fraud. A looseness and irregularity in some important transactions, as the insurance item from Georgetown, we have indeed noticed. It also seems difficult to resist the conclusion, that various persons employed by the houses to work or furnish supplies, were allowed by the houses an enormous pay and compensation, the commission on which, charged by the houses in their own favor, is certainly not reconcilable with the rules of a delicate morality. Farther than this, however, we are not willing to go. We apprehend that nothing fraudulent, in the common acceptation of that term, was practiced or intended; and that the whole transaction was designed to be brought within the bounds of ordinary commercial honesty, where every party is expected to take care of itself.
The great charge against the houses is, that after having in substance solicited the employment (considering Messrs Bayards as representing the two houses), after having held out to the Greek deputies the promise of economy, after having furnished them with estimates (which, if not designed to regulate the expectations formed of the necessary expense, were worse than use less, were a positive imposition), after having abandoned a plan of building by contract, and adopted, as cheaper that of day's work (a mode of building, which we believe to be without a precedent in our ship yards), the houses should, nevertheless have run up the expense of each of these white oak frigates, fifty per cent above that of a live oak ship of the line of the first order; should have charged an excessive commission on these their monstrous disbursements; should have pursued a harsh and unfriendly course to compel the payment of demands, afterwards pronounced, by the arbitrators, unfounded; should have thrown obstacles in the way of the Greek agent, sent out to extricate the affair from the difficulties into which it plunged; and wound up with the atrocious libels on all those who had acted against them, as the opposite parties in the transaction, and passionate appeals to the public for sympathy, as wronged and suffering men.
The only reply attempted to any part of this charge, is, that no fraud has been committed, — no monies have been charged as paid which were not paid; and that the work has been will and faithfully done. We will admit all this to be the case, notwithstanding the very large sum of money which was needed to send the Hellas to sea, after she came from the hands of the houses, and notwithstanding the certificate of Captain Gregory, as to the state in which he found the vessel. The charge is, that, after soliciting this employment from motives of sympathy in the cause of the Greeks, and parading an expression of feeling towards this people, the transaction should have been made the occasion of the very highest rate of commercial profit, and that charges to the amount of over a hundred thousand dollars should have been made, of such a character as to be disallowed by arbitrators, who certainly will not be accused of abandoning the interest of the houses. By one of the houses, that agency was invited; it was accepted with warm protestations of zeal for the Greek cause. And yet we find charges of ten per cent commissions on disbursements made of cash already in bank to meet them; we read of enormous damages on protested bills, not authorized to be drawn, not sold in this country, and not required to meet any expenditure which had taken place; and worse than all, we meet with a talk of commission on the sale to the government of the Untied States of one of these frigates; a sale, which the party, who talked of charging the commission, had done nothing to effect, and much to obstruct. If, in all this, it be said there is no fraud, we answer, be it so; but we must add, at the same time, there is no liberality, no love for struggling liberty, none of the fine sentiment which had been professed.
We should however, have been less concerned, if our censures could have been confined to the houses. But we are obliged to add, that we deem the conduct of the counsel for the houses, in some respects, and that of the arbitrators, throughout, equally open to exception. As the great error of the houses was, after making professions of sentiment, to come down and turn the whole affair into an ordinary business of money making, so we conceive it the error of the highly respectable counsel for the houses, that they could not emancipate themselves, on this occasion, from the influence of mere professional maxims of conduct, as commonly understood and practiced. Messrs Ogden and Emmett received each a fee of fifteen hundred dollars, as counsel for the two houses before the arbitrators, as we are informed by the arbitrators themselves. We believe that professional duty, as commonly understood, obliges counsel to engage in any cause, in which their assistance is asked. Counsel, it is said, must not undertake to prejudge a cause. Once engaged, we believe it is the duty of the counsel to say, not what they think, feel, or know, as individual men; but anything, and everything, which can be urged, with plausibility, on the side for which they are retained. All this may be very well. In most cases litigated, the great cause of humanity, liberality, and of conscience, in which all lawyers, and all good men, ought to consider themselves as retained, may remain unaffected, in the conflict of opposite counsel plausibly arguing the pro and con of the issue. But we conceive that this cannot be said of the course pursued by at least one of the eminent counsel employed by the houses. If that gentleman is not misreported (and he cannot blame us, if we take for admitted the correctness of an uncontradicted report made by responsible gentlemen), he urged on the arbitrators to award in favor of the houses, on the ground, that Greece was not interested in the award; that it was the affair of peculating agents; that Greece was already sacrificed; and that the clamor raised by her pretended friends, was that of foul birds, screaming for their portion of the carcass. Was this liberal? Was it merciful? Was it true?
Mr Emmett, may tell us, indeed, it was a forensic flourish; that he meant merely to produce an effect on the minds of the arbitrators, which it was the duty of the course for the Greek deputies to counteract; that he left it to the latter gentlemen to state the fact that Greece was most deeply interested in the award; that an award in favor of the houses would deprive that country of almost its last hope; and that the parties which now appeared in behalf of Greece were not (as unjustly represented by the gentleman with the fee of fifteen hundred dollars in his pocket) mercenary harpies, clamoring for a portion of the plunder of their country, but patriotic and honorable citizens, contending in a foreign land, against fearful odds and most high handed injustice. We say, all this does not satisfy us; and we do not admit that it was right or becoming for the counsel of the houses, to indulge in insinuations against the honesty of the opposite party. They had reason to be content with acting on the defensive there. Still less, in our humble judgment, did it become the senior counsel for the houses, in a portion of the joint address of himself and his colleague, which he published on his individual responsibility, to wage war on the unprotected stranger entrusted with the affairs of Greece in this country, with all usions to worn out proverbs and idle traditionary calumnies. It seems that when ancient Greece had been overrun and subjugated by the Romans, and its inhabitants reduced, from the condition of an independent to that of a tributary people, groaning under tyranny at home and slavery in the land of their new masters, the Romans, with equal liberality and knowledge of human nature, thought fit to propagate the maxim, that there was “no faith in a Greek.” With the Romans, this ingenious device of damning the conquered Greeks, in an adage, had not even the merit of novelty, for they had already found out, under the same circumstances, that Punic faith was also suspicious. They were in both cases the plagiarists of honest Æsop, whose fable placed the lion wounded and abject, at the hunter's feet. In the pages of Juvenal these sarcasms are in place. He did not treat Greeks worse than he did Romans, or the human race in general. But what shall we say of sober jurists, after a lapse of two thousand years, long enough, one would think, for the prejudices of nations to die away, reviving these stale Roman proverbs, as grave topics of argument in a practical question, at the present day; casting suspicions on Mr Contostavlos's veracity, because he is a Greek, and because the Romans could not trust the Greek slaves, whom they had dragged from their homes in Attica, and chained to their door posts and work benches? What shall we say of this when done, not merely in the course of argument at bar, in which, as already observed, counsel are not understood to speak in their individual capacity; but in an address to the public, through the columns of a newspaper, with the sanctions of a name; against a foreigner, partially acquainted with our language, and friendless, except so far as his cause has gained him friends; when done, in fine, by an individual, himself a foreigner, him, self in exile from a wronged, oppressed, insulted, country; himself obnoxious to the stale national sneers and the proverbial sarcasms, of all who can find it in their hearts to indulge in this species of warfare?
With regard to the arbitration, we have no wish to revive the recollection of that burst of feeling, which pervaded the continent, on the subject, especially when it was heard, that although the award was against the houses to an enormous extent, the arbitrators has assigned themselves out of the Greek fund alone, and for a few days' service, a hand, some year's salary. On the supposition, that the arbitrators were all men of very high respectability in the community, we can point to men as respectable, all over the United States, whose annual salary, in offices of trust, honor, and responsibility, does not exceed what these gentlemen awarded to each of themselves, for about twenty days' service on this arbitration. We well remember when the tidings of this award reached our humble metropolis of the north, with what feelings it was heard. Not a man believed it; the report was universally treated as a libel; the friends of Greece were cautioned again st taking up slanders, which would react on themselves. Such, however, was the charge; fifteen hundred dollars to each of the arbitrators, as such, for so they express themselves. Risk they ran none; they could not, from the nature of things; and were fortified against any, by a written release from the opposite party.
But we conceive that this is far from being the most unpleasant feature of the arbitration. In the course of the proceedings before the arbitrators, one of those gentlemen fell into an alter cation with one of the counsel of the deputies, and the offensive remarks made by the former were retorted by the latter. This proved the signal for the son of the arbitrator (who with other spectators was present) to attempt to strike Mr Sedgwick, which he was prevented from doing, solely by the interference of the gentleman near. After ineffectually repeating his attempt, he was checked by his parent, the senior arbitrator, with the intimation that "he had done enough.” Enough for what? Enough, in the opinion of the young gentleman, to made it necessary for Mr Sedgwick to send him a challenge; which Mr Sedgwick having the firmness not to do, drew upon himself a fresh visitation of insult in the newspapers, in which it was apparently hinted that any other mode of proceeding, than that by wilful [sic] murder, would be deemed out of taste in New York, on such an occasion. Whether the young man was thought by his father, to have done enough in this way also, does not appear. These are occurrences to which we allude with pain. But they are of more dangerous tendency, than any other connected with the whole transaction. Notoriety and the public press will afford a remedy for the original evil of the case; but if respectable citizens, husbands, fathers, and Christians, ably and honorably discharging a professional duty to a helpless stranger, are to be first assaulted, and then involved in the necessity of murdering or being murdered, the press itself will be intimidated; men of peace struck dumb, and injustice and oppression left without check. Of the persons who conduct we now censure, we privately know nothing and say nothing. Of their deportment before the public we take leave to speak in the language due to truth and justice. We deem it not the less due to truth and justice, to bear witness to zeal, fidelity, and success, with which a most arduous duty was dis, charged by Messrs Sedgwicks and their associates, Messrs Duer and Robinson. They have deserved will of the cause of humanity, to an extent, which it is rarely in the power of the most benevolent and active to go, in their efforts to do good.
But we forbear to dwell on theses painful transactions. It has been our duty to unite our voice to that of the American press in general, in pronouncing a sentence of unqualified reprobation of them. We repeat, however, what we have already hinted, that we are disposed to make great favorable discriminations between the conduct of the two houses; on one of which, perhaps, no other blame rests, than that of partial acquiescence; a blame mitigated by a commendable deference to public opinion, as substantially expressed.
A far more important, though closely connected topic, is, the probable fortune of the country and the cause, for the deference of which this ill starred enterprise was under, taken. With what prospects are the Greeks pursuing their present struggle? and what is the duty of the uncivilized world toward them?
If we argued on the prospects of he Greeks merely a priori, we should pronounce it impossible, that so small and feeble a portion of the Turkish empire could succeed, in a conflict with the government. But this reasoning is not out of season, in reference to the present contest. It might have been expected that the Greeks would have been crushed in the first, second, or third campaign. A longer period than this, it could scarcely require, to bring the whole power of the government into its most concentrated and efficient action against them. Three campaigns, however, passed, and the insurrection was no nearer being crushed than at its commencement. It was the case, however, that in these campaigns the Porte had not brought its whole power to bear on the Greeks. The peculiar nature of the Turkish government, substantially that of viceroys almost independent of the nominal head, makes it difficult to put at once into motion the entire amount of the reputed force of the empire. It was not until the forth campaign, that the Porte was able to bring into the field the most powerful of its subject princes, the bey of Egypt. This skilful [sic] ruler, it would seem, took time to deliberate, before he permitted his son to embark with the strength of his principality, in the doubtful enterprise of invading Greece. But when, at length, the first Egyptian expedition was fairly landed in the Morea, it must be conceded that the Porte had made as great and effort, as it could possibly make, to crush the revolt. The Egyptian troops were composed of veterans, trained in the recent wars against the Wechabites and the chiefs of the Upper Nile. They were led, in part at least, by European officers; and every thing that could be effected by a preponderating military strength, ought to have been, and in fact was effected by Ibrahim Pacha, in his first campaign. But at the close of this and two succeeding campaigns, and after five successive reinforcements from Egypt, the war is no nearer a prob, able termination, than on the first day the hostilities commenced. The Egyptians are able to march at pleasure, through open country; but, except in the single case of Missolonghi, have effected nothing without the bounds of the Morea, and within it, they have not found themselves in strength to attempt the reduction of Napoli.
Meantime, what has been the effect of this protracted conflict upon the Egyptian forces? Not a man surely has returned to Egypt, and after five reinforcements, it does not appear, that Ibrahim is in greater force than when he landed. The support of his army must be a dead weight, principally, on his father's treasury. The system of the Porte does not know of such a thing, as the payment of troops from the Sultan's coffers. The Pacha, who leads them to the field, must provide for them as he can. The soil of Greece herself can, in the present state of the country, yield scarcely anything, toward the force of an invading army. Egypt is not in a condition to export provisions to any extent; and no resource remains to the Egyptian army, but to direct purchase from the neutral powers, principally the Austrians. What means can the bey of Egypt have of supporting, for any considerable number of years, this war of dollars, for such it has now become, as fat as the Turks are concerned: Their invading armies have made no effectual impression; their fleets are unable to hold the brave little squadrons of the Greeks in check; the partisans and guerillas of the patriots hang upon the flanks and rear of the Egyptian army, wherever it moves; the old men, the women, and the children have been transported to the islands or to the fastnesses of the mountains, where, with the sustenance derived from their sheep and goats, they have as yet to bid defiance, not merely to the barbarian enemy, but to the still more pressing approach of famine; and no way, in fact, remains, by which the country can be subdued, by the unaided powers of the Turkish government, but starvation; and this weapon, thank Heaven, they will not be permitted to employ.
It was a propitious circumstance, connected with the revolution in Greece, that the year before it commence d, an attack was made by the Porte, on its most powerful vassal, the Pacha of Yanina. Had events precipitated the commencement of the revolution in Greece, so that it should have burst forth, before the rupture of Ali Pacha with the Porte, there is scarce a doubt, that this powerful prince would have been wielded as an instrument, for the effectual suppression of the insurrection. His interest and policy would have enlisted him in the cause. That of the Sultan would not less strongly have dictated the employment, in this difficult and exhausting service, of a chieftain, woo [sic] powerful for quiet submission; and though the event might have been, in the first instance, the severance of Greece from the jurisdiction of the Porte, and the erection of a new monarchy, under Ali Pacha, yet the revolt could not probably but have been promptly crushed and terribly punished. The Morea, in 1775, was all but desolated, by letting loose upon it twenty-five thousand Albanians, after its desertion by the Russians; and a like catastrophe would have been of most probable occurrence, had the turn of affairs permitted the Porte to employ Ali against the rebellious Greeks. The patriots, however, who led on the hazardous movement of the revolution, watched their time with greater sagacity, than they have generally had credit for. They had for more than five years mediated the project of emancipation. A secret fraternity had spread its branches through Greece. Its remotest provinces were in concert; what was maturing in Moldavia and Wallachia, was known in Constantinople, in the Morea, and in Albania; and with all the multitudes that must have participated in these dangerous counsels, the explosion, though in reality at last accidental and unconcerted, did not take place till a propitious crisis had arrived, and Ali Pacha, instead of being at the disposal of the Porte, to take the field against the insurgents, occasioned himself the most embarrassing diversion of the Ottoman forces. To this cause, no doubt are to be traced the languor and inefficiency of the military operations of the three first campaigns.
Bereaved of the aid of their great vassal of the west, at a moment when it was most needed, and convinced by trial, of the impossibility of crushing the insurrection by the employment of ordinary pachas, the Porte, as a last resort, called in the bey of Egypt; doubtless on the calculation, that if it did not regain a revolted province, it would embarrass and exhaust a dangerous subject. It appears to us, that the inefficacy of the Egyptian invasion has by this time been shown; that Ibrahim cannot put an end to the war, merely by continuing the military occupation of a small part of the soil; and that the expense of this occupation must shortly exhaust his finances, and compel him to return.
We do not, therefore, for ourselves, see what can be done by the Turkish government, which has not already been done to no purpose, to effect the subjugation of the Greeks. There are no other powerful pachas, whose military skill and for ce can be brought into action. An experiment, indeed, has been made, and is now in progress, conceived in a bolder spirit, than usually animates the counsels of the Porte, which, could it be crowned with success, might threaten worse consequences to the Greeks, than anything they have as yet had to fear. We refer, of course, to the disbanding of the Janissaries, and the organization of a regular army on the European system. Could this be effected; could all the population of the Turkish empire; of armsbearing [sic] age, be enlisted in an army, organizes, disciplined, and led like the armies of France and of England, it would indeed make the Porte formidable, not merely to the Greeks, but to the leading powers in Europe, who are now able to look, with stoical calmness, at the feeble and ineffectual blows aimed by Turkey at a people who stand on the frontier of Christendom. We have, however, no faith whatever, in the success of this experiment, and this for reasons, with all which we will not trouble our readers. It will be sufficient to remind them, that precisely the same experiment, attempted by the most accomplished and able of all Sultans, who, for a century and a half, have succeeded to the throne, cost him his life, not more than twenty years ago. We see no reason, why a change of policy which brought Selim to the bowstring, should succeed in the hands of the present Sultan, a man of unpopular manners and moderate capacity. In the next place, the institution of the Janissaries is not a mere arbitrary thing , which can be taken up and laid down at pleasure; but it is a part if he social existence of the people; an organization which has existed for two centuries, ever since, in fact, the firm establishment of the Turkish power in Europe. It approaches, in it s nature, the organization of our militia; and the attempt to disband the Janissaries and introduce a regular force, is very nearly the same as an attempt would be in Europe, to establish a regular army by conscription, in a country where both army and conscription were wholly unknown before. Could a regular army be organized in Turkey, there is great doubt if it could be maintained in the field. Hitherto the civil and the military service under the Turkish government has been ordered, substantially, on the feudal principle, which, in the main, is the principle of the oriental world, as far back as our accounts run. The empire is divided into provinces, which are committed, almost in full sovereignty, to the government of the pachas. These pachas pay an annual sum to the Sultan; and indemnify themselves from the inhabitants of the provinces, in which they defray the expenses of their own government. When called to take the field with their contingents, the pachas must defray the expenses of their troops, which are made as light as possible by a system of free quarters alike on friend and foe. Now in a government where the military has long been on this footing, a government, moreover, confessedly in its decrepitude, to attempt to disband the great feudal militia of the country, and enlist a standing army, seems to us a very doubtful experiment.
Nor does it appear that any success, at all deserving the name, has attended this experiment, during the three years that it is understood to have been going on. The most the Porte has been able to do, is to quell the revolt of the Janissaries at Constantinople, nor has this been done without immense bloodshed. It does not appear, that a single regiment of the new army has reached Greece; and as far as our information, at this distance, extends, the only effect of the experiment, hitherto, has been to paralyze the old military organization, and excite a general discontent at its suppression, without substituting any other in its place.
If, indeed, (which we grant to be not impossible, though in a high degree unlikely to happen) the Porte succeed, by dint of spasmodic and fanatical effort, on the one hand, guided by observation of the systems of western Europe, on the other, in organizing an efficient army on the European system; should she be able so to improve her financial system, as to pay and support this army, and with it conquer Greece and return as she would from that conquest, a regenerated military power of the first rank, essentially hostile, and as formidable as hostile, to the political system of Europe, it would present a curious commentary on the course which has been pursued by the leading European powers, by Russia, England, and France, in reference to the present struggle. All general principles of politics dictated to these powers, to take advantage of the present convenient opportunity, to drive from Europe a government, necessarily at war with the civilization of Christendom, and never established within its limits, by any better title, than military occupation. To justify themselves for disregarding these dictates of sound general policy, the leading powers have urged the inconvenience and danger at the present moment, of allowing the peace of Europe to be disturbed, of building up a new power of very uncertain relations toward the rest, or of aggrandizing, in doubtful proportions, by a partition of European Turkey, the older powers, which might take part in a general war against the Turks. Now avoid these dangers and inconveniences, what are the leading powers of Europe doing? They are sitting quietly by, while the Porte is making the experiment (and, as the government party in almost every portion of Europe anticipates, the successful experiment) of organizing in Turkey an efficient military establishment on the European footing, and thus converting that power of the first order intrenched in Europe in a position chosen by the eye of Constantine, and wisely chosen, as commanding Europe and Asia. In exchange for the risk of building up a feeble republic in Greece, the leading powers think it wise to recall into being, that power which once threw its legions within the walls of Otranto and knocked at the gates of Vienna. The cabinets which dread the disproportionate aggrandizement of Russia, contemplate without alarm the regeneration of a power, whose principles must ever be at war with those of Europe, whose position is far more dangerous, whose means of annoyance more to be dreaded. One needs but to consider the injuries, which the petty regencies of the Barbary coast have inflicted on the states of Christendom, to be able to estimate the effect on the peace and intercourse of Europe, of the restoration of Turkey to a state of vigorous political and military activity. To effect and to countenance this rest oration has been the policy of the cabinets of Europe, since the commencement of the Grecian revolution. And this is called preserving the tranquility of Europe! But for ourselves, we apprehend no such danger. We have no faith in the successful accomplish ment of the great transformation, which is attempted in the Turkish system, and we are unable to perceive, after the most diligent scrutiny, under the best lights at our command, where the Porte is to find, or how it is to make, the means of bringing to bear upon the Greeks, a greater military pressure, than it has hitherto effected; and with out a much greater pressure, we see no possibility of crushing the revolt.
It is necessary then to contemplate the position of the Greeks, as they are likely to be affected by the continuance of the present state of things; on the supposition, that the Porte, although unable to make an effort sufficient to bring the war to a close, may yet, for a number of years, preserve in the present or a similar system of hostilities. Have the Greeks anything to hope form the interference of the powers of Europe?
If the designs of the cabinets could be judged of, by the declaration of those designs, we should unhesitatingly pronounce, that, in the way of direct, friendly interference, the Greeks have nothing to hope from the powers of western Europe. Russia is by religion the natural ally of Greece. No jealousy, but a strong friendly feeling subsists between the Greeks and the Russians. Extensive commercial and family connexions [sic] exist between them. Greeks who succeeding in amassing wealth retired habitually to Moscow. Individuals, who became obnoxious to the Turkish government, fled to Russia. Many of the young men, particularly those of the ancient families, entered the Russian army; not a few rose to honorable posts in the Russian civil service. In a word, no national association in Europe is older or more intimate than that of the Greeks and Russians. It dates from the very dawn of civilization in Russia in the middle ages, and is cemented by all the ties, which can bind nations together, except that of language. Such was the feeling of Russia toward Greece, as between the people on both sides. The late emperor Alexander had every reason to share this feeling, both as a Russian and a ruler of Rus-sians. The heredity policy of his family looked to extension of the Russian influence, if not of the Russian empire, on the side of Greece; and all the lessons of his renowned grandmother dictated a watchful policy in that direction. Unfortunately for the Greeks, at least in the first instance, Alexander's feelings and policy, as a Russian prince, were controlled by his position in the general system of Europe. The occurrences in Naples, Piedmont, and Spain presented a dangerous coincidence with the revolution in Greece. Alexander was not able, or was not permitted, to draw a line of distinction between the two cases, and the Porte was permitted to enjoy the advantage of the decree, which went out against all movements of the people against their rulers. But for this untoward coincidence, there is scarce room for a doubt, that the differences between Russia and Turkey, founded on long established hatred between the countries, aggravated by the breach of the last treaty between them, in reference to the protection to be enjoyed by Moldavia and Wallachia, and exasperated by the personal insults offered to the Russian minister at Constantinople, and by the massacre of the patriarch, would have ended the war. In fact, the Russian armies were on the Pruth, and the slightest additional provocation, not to say the merest accident, would have carried them over it. But the turn of events in the south of Europe disheartened Alexander; difficulties since arising with the Persians have occasioned a diversion of the Russian power, on the eastern flank of the empire; and an accommodation has been made with the Porte. This accommodation, although securing substantially the privileges of the Christian population of Moldavia and Wallachia, has been made at the sacrifice of the privileges of the Greek families, which Russia for more than a century has guarantied, and which, it is reasonably to be expected, will, at some future period, and in a change of circumstances, again be matter of contention between Russia and the Porte.
But the policy of England is perhaps still more important, in its bearing on the struggle in Greece, not merely on account of the actual ability of England to promote or prevent a successful issue of the struggle, but on account of her supposed interest as the rival and antagonist of Russia. This rivalship [sic], as we have on former occasions been led to state, has, in more than one instance, been an effectual shield to the feebleness of the Ottoman empire. To all appearance, it will for some time so continue; and perhaps it is the tendency of the present state of things, rather to confirm than to weaken the policy of the English cabinet, in maintaining the Sultan against the Czar. England is now vulnerable in two characters; characters, in principle, diametrically opposite to each other; but in which she stands, in consequence of a coincidence of circumstances, of which it is in vain to seek a parallel in the history of the world. She is a mistress of a mighty empire in the east; in population second only to that of China; in the despotic frame of its government on the same footing as China, Turkey, and Russia. Of the four great despotisms of the modern dispensation, England, in her Indian empire, is one. She fills a link in the chain of absolute rule, which binds the earth in subjection, from the east of Asia to the west of Europe.
Now it so happens, that Turkey, another of these great despotisms, intervenes between the British empire, which is extensively exposed, and the Russian, which is essentially militant, and which is notoriously growing up into some great development of power, of which no one undertakes to foretell the character or direction, but of which we all feel a foreboding dread. Turkey herself is passive; her power depends on quiescence; her antiquated machinery of government can sustain no competition with the political double-speeders of this revolutionary age. She has a few ships built by French engineers in her ship yards, but no seamen, except her revolted Greeks. An effective, disposable military power she has not, and for the reasons we have already ventured to state, cannot have. She is therefore to England a perfectly safe neighbor, in reference to the British possessions in the east. But, on the other hand, she presents, on the side of Russia, a barrier not easy to pass. In any state of things, in which British India should be threatened from Russia, England would find and would employ the means of entangling Russia with the Porte; to say nothing of the natural effect of the geographical position of the two powers. These relations are perfectly understood by all the parties concerned, and by none better than by Turkey and England. The Porte well knows, that it is in the interest of Great Britain to preserve the integrity of the Ottoman empire, against the advances of Russia; and Great Britain feels that any essential change in the present position toward each other of Turkey and Russia, might be a very hazardous experiment, in reference to her eastern dominions. She has not forgotten that thirty years have not elapsed, since the Turkish empire, on occasion of the French invasion of Egypt, afforded England the most seasonable aid in warding off a blow, which was ultimately aimed at India, and which was, in the chapter of political accidents, much less likely to be struck, than any to be feared from Russia. If Turkey, in time of need, has so lately proved an useful ally to England against France, it is not to be supposed, that the importance of her position, as a barrier on the side of Russia, will ever be lost sight of.
Such is the state of things, which must govern the policy of England in this contest, considered as one of the great despotisms now subsisting. In the other capacity in which she presents herself to the world, we again behold her in opposition to Russia, but it is in her quality as champion of liberal principles and representative governments in Europe, against the system of the continental alliance, with Russia at its head. In this view, many things are adverse to an interference of either of these powers, of a nature friendly to Greece. England could not acquiesce in any measures, which would aggrandize Russia, or powerfully extend her influence, on the side of Turkey. The expulsion of the Turks from Europe would inevitably add to Russia Moldavia and Wallachia (consequently the mouth of the Danube), and probably Bulgaria and ancient Thrace, and with them Constantinople, and the entire communication of the Black sea with the Mediterranean. Is this an event, the remotest approach to which would be endured by England, at the time when the fear of Russia ascendancy is becoming a panic fear in the south and west of Europe? Certainly not. On the other hand, as we have already said, Russia herself cannot, from political reasons, now favor the movement in Greece, being deeply pledged to the antirevolutionary policy, in all its forms.
No important influence, on the affairs of Greece, distinct from the influence of Russia and of England, can be exercised by any of the other great powers of Europe. It is true, Austria has an important and extensive frontier on Turkey, which she is obliged to watch by a very large and expensive border garrison, which has an organization and establishment of its own, distinct from that of the rest of the Austrian army. One or two Turkish provinces would round out the Austrian dominions very handsomely, on the Danube and on the Adriatic. We are not sure, in fact, that Austria does not, as successor to the doge of Venice, claim to be the legitimate sovereign of the kingdoms of Morea, of Candia, and Cyprus. The three flagstaffs on which the banners of these kingdoms waved, still stand in place of St Mark's. But Austria, like Turkey, is a quiescent power. She moves only when impelled; and owes her own safety to the undisturbed maintenance of what has been and what is. France, by national character and manners, byintimate [sic] association with the Greeks, since the commencement of the French revolution, and by the military passion of the present generation, possesses the means of interfering to great effect in the contest. France is, however, entirely controlled by her own political situation, and can exercise no independent influence, either in reference to the revolution in Greece, or any other question of international politics. Had Napoleon continued to live and reign, some radical changes would unquestionably have taken place, in the southeastern corner of Europe. He informs us, that he often conferred with Russia on the subject of the partition of European Turkey, but that they never could agree about Constantinople. Napoleon, however, had his way of settling these points with other powers, in cases of disagreement.
If the foregoing speculations are correct, it follows, that no powerful interference is to be expected, on the part of any one of the leading powers, in favor of the Greeks. Is it equally unlikely, that these powers may, by union of counsels, effect a termination of the contest on favorable terms? Rumors to this effect, have circulated too long and too extensively, to be set down as wholly groundless. The groundwork for such a concert between at least three great powers, Russia, Austria, and England, already exists. They are all frontier powers as respects Greece, all concerned in giving a direction favorable to their own interests, to the events of which Greece is the theatre. Should the Turkish government be removed from Europe, it would still remain in sufficient force in Asia, to satisfy all the demands of the British policy, in reference to her Indian empire. The partition, which we have above suggested in reference to Austria and Russia is obvious, and might be compensated to the queen of islands, by as many of the gems of the Levant, as she might choose to set in the coronet of her ocean empire; while the central portion of Greece, the real seat of the revolution, presents every advantage for the establishment of an independent government, under the guaranty of the great powers. Such an arrangement between the leading powers of Europe, would certainly be in no degree novel, in an age, which has witnessed the transactions of the Congress of Vienna, to say nothing of the events connected with the French revolution, and with the erection of the Spanish American provinces into independent states. Nature is evidently struggling for relief, from the oppression of the Turkish despotism in Europe. The presence, in a Christian region, of a Mahometan power; the rule of a barbarous government, over a race of men belonging to the family of European civilization, is an anomaly, at once too afflicting and too monstrous to become permanent.
It is indeed to be deplored, that reasons of state have, on this occasion, sealed up the tongue and palsied the hand of him, who of all living men could the easiest apply the remedy to this grievous disease. There is an individual, who sits on no throne, in whose veins no aristocratic blood runs, who derives no infuence [sic] from amassed or inherited wealth, but who, by the simple supremacy of mind, exercises, at this moment, a political sway, as mighty as that of Napoleon at the zenith of his power. Indebted for his own brilliant position to the liberality of the age, which is shaking off the fetters of ancient prejudices, this literal ruler by the grace of god, can feel no real deference for most of the maxims, by which the neutrality of England, in the wars of Grecian liberty, is justified. How devoutly is it to be wished, that the pure and undying glory of restoring another civilized region to the family of Christendom, could present itself in vision to the mind of this fortunate statesmen; that, turning from his fond but magnificent boast, that he had called into existence a new world in the Indies, he would appropriate to himself the immortal fame, which could not be gainsaid, of having recalled to life the fairest region of Europe. He has but to speak the word, within the narrow wall of St Stephen's, and the Sultan trembles on his throne. He has but to speak the word, and all the poor scruples and hypocritical sophistries of the continental cabinets vanish into air. Let him then abandon the palery [sic] chase of a few ragamuffin Portuguese malecontents [sic], and follow a game, which is worthy of himself and the people whose organ he is. Let him pronounce the sentence of expulsion from Europe of the cruel and barbarous despotism, which has so long oppressed it. The whole civilized world will applaud and sanction the decree; out a sum of human good, which the revolutions of ages scarcely put it within the reach of men or governments, to avert or effect. He will encircle his plebian temples with a wreath of fame, compared with which the diadem of the monarch whom he serves is worthless dross.
But we suppose it must not be; the Greeks must be left to work out their own emancipation, by their own resources, aided by a single, ad that we trust an all sufficient ally, to which, before closing these remarks, we shall more particularly allude. Unless some concerted action in her favor, on the part of the leading powers takes place, present appearances authorize the expectation, that the war, as at present carried on, will continue for years. Neither party is in force to it to a decisive close. It has abundantly appeared, from six years' experience, that the Turkish government cannot command the means of crushing the insurrection. It is not less plain, that the Greeks do not possess the means of expelling the hostile forces now in the country and preventing further invasion. Nothing therefore remains, supposing foreign powers to continue to stand aloof, but that the contest should continue, till the one side or the other is fairly exhausted or disabled. Is this likely to be the Turks or the Greeks? Obviously the former, from the nature of the case, and manifold causes growing out of the relative position of the two parties. The Turks are invaders. The stationary Turkish population, resident in those parts of Greece, which are the scene of the revolution, did not exceed at the opening of the war, one twentieth of the whole population. On the breaking out of hostilities, these Turks fled for safety to the garrisons, or joined the armies, and their hold upon the country was entirely cut off. Difference of language, religion, and political position, prevent-ed the formation of a party in favor of the government, which usually exists is civil wars. It is impossible, then, that that the Turkish force should be kept up, either as to numbers or supplies, but by continual effort from without. The country furnishes nothing to it. Men and provisions must be constantly poured in, at vast expense, if further operations are to be carried on; or even if things are to be kept as they now stand. The Turkish government has no credit. We suppose that even the Jews of the stock exchange, who lend all, would not lend to the Turk. Where the resources have been found, to carry on the war thus far, is a financial problem, which we confess ourselves unable to solve; and which the accounts that continually reach us from Constantinople, of Armenian bankers bowstringed, the coin debased, and the ornaments of the mosques transferred to the mint, do but partly explain.
The Greeks, on the other hand, act upon the defensive. They have no regular armies to raise, transport, and subsist in foreign lands. It is true, they need money to keep their militia in the field, and the war languishes and is protracted from this very cause. But the population of the country is just able to subsist, in the present state of things. The Egyptian army does not follow them into their mountain retreats, where their flocks, and such rude agriculture as they can pursue, afford them a pinched subsistence; while their countrymen in the seaports and nearer the coast have been prevented from starving, by the benevolence of the friends of humanity in foreign climes. We do not say that all this is prosperous, is comfortable, is desirable. God forbid; but we say it can be borne; and will be borne, rather than come again under the accursed yoke of the Turks, or encounter the fate, which has been repeatedly denounced, and which, if not denounced, would most surely befall them,-indiscriminate extermination, by military execution or sale into slavery. At any rate, it seems plain to us, that the Greeks can no longer subsist on the defensive, in their present situation, than the Turks can find the means of meeting the enormous pecuniary burden of their establishments.
A considerable part of the Greek population is scattered among the islands and islets of the Archipelago, and subsists by the plunder of the enemy; and we are sorry to add, by indiscriminate piracy on the navigation of the Levant. This evil indeed will go on increasing, as the war is protracted. Starved out at home, they will take to the sea; and will prey upon the nations whose policy preys on them. Every way to be regretted, this consequence of the state of things existing in Greece, is particularly unfortunate, from its effect, in creating a prejudice against the Greeks. The American merchant, who is invited to contribute for the relief of the Greeks, excuses himself, on the ground, that his last letters from Smyrna inform him, that he has had a valuable ship plundered, and the crew beaten, by Greek pirates. It ought, however, in charity to be remembered, first, that this state of things unavoidably takes place, where a war is carried on by a feeble government. The Grecian government has not the physical means to coerce the unprincipled part of its subjects, into an observance of the law of nations. In the next place it should be allowed, that some of the Christian powers have afforded the Greeks the most irritating provocation, in lending their flag to the Turks. What Greek, that saw the Austrian transports standing into Missolonghi, could be expected to be very scrupulous, as to the law of nations, at least as far as Austrians are concerned: Nor should it finally be forgotten, in reference to the present piracies in the Grecian seas, that they are the acts, not of Greeks merely, but of a colluvies [sic] of all tongues and nations, the outcasts of every country. To adventurers of this description, the Grecian islands have, in every age, from the time of Julius Caesar, furnished a covert; and we have no doubt that every mistic's crew of pirates, whose nefarious deeds are set down to the account of Greece, contains a full representation from every Christian people bordering on the Mediterranean. If it does not, the population of the Archipelago is improving, which we certainly did not suppose to be the case.
If we can but bring ourselves to a well grounded belief, that the Greeks will be able to ride out, for a considerable time to come, as they have for six years already past, the terrible storm which is beating upon them, we can trace some beneficial consequences from this prolongation of their fiery trial. Starting up from abject political subjection, not to say personal slavery; rallying together without any previous association in the community; composed of individuals from the most remote extremes of society (for what can be more remote than the manners and character of the mountaineers of Suli, the merchants of Hydra, and the gentry of the Fanar); and all bringing with them the social vices, which a tyrannical government engenders in every class of society, the phalanx of the Grecian patriots has certainly not yet exhibited all the necessary qualifications for self government. They have most wanted that, which, indeed, wherever it is enjoyed, is rightfully acknowledged to be, not so much a signal advantage of the ordinary kind, as an undoubted gift of heaven. Strike out the name and agency of Washington from the American revolution, and you have the elements of a very different result of labors and sacrifices. The Greek revolution has exhibited no defect so prominently, as the want of a brave, skilful [sic], patriotic leader, equal to the momentous crisis of his country's fortunes.
As the influence of such a leader is in nothing more conspicuous than in repressing and compromising the feuds, and conciliating the tempers of the men of weight and activity below him, it may safely be ascribed to the want of such a leader, that faction has been permitted to proceed to such alarming lengths, in the conduct of the revolution. Could all parties, from the first, have been cordially united, in an intelligent co-operation against the common enemy, it is probable though by no means certain, that the war might already have been brought to a close. Time, however, has been wasted, opportunities lost, and money thrown away, from the clashing of rival chieftains, and the war of interests, partly personal, partly geographical, partly of political principle. While these factions last, however much to be deplored, they prove they prove that the cause is not in extremis. If they show the indiscretion of the Greeks, they show the inability of the Turks to apply the sovereign remedy for domestic feuds, an overwhelming foreign force. It does not appear, moreover, that there is any ground for permanent and fatal dissension among the different classes of the population. There is no even such dissimilarity as exists, on many important points, between various members of our federal union. In short, we perceive no obstacle, to prevent the hearty union of all Greece under the guidance of any leader, suited for the vocation, who shall arise among them.
Till such an individual shall appear, paradoxical as the remark may seem, the cause of the revolution, in spite of all the horrors and suffering of war, stands safer now, than it would in the event of a premature pacification. Every one, who reflects on our own his-tory, will feel, that, blessed though we were with statesmen and leaders of unbounded influence, the cause of American liberty was in greater peril from 1783 to 1789, than during the continuance of the war. In the exigencies of the war, a leader is more likely to be formed. If the Greeks should succeed in making peace with the Turks, on the basis of independence, before the appearance of any individual of paramount influence, and before their political organization is matured, they would stand in a more critical position than at present. Whether we look, therefore, to the probability that the character so much wanted will arise among them, under the strong urgency of the times, or that the common peril will gradually draw their counsels into harmony, and effect a mature organization, the continuance of the contest, notwithstanding the misery incident to it, must be regarded as a part of the necessary education of the people, in the school of lib-erty.
At all events, there they are, a gallant race, struggling single handed for independence; an extraordinary spectacle to the world! With scarcely a government of their own, and without the assistance of any established power, they have waged, for six years, a fearfully contested war against one of the great empires of the earth. When Mr Canning lately held out the menace of war, against those continental nations, who should violently interfere with the English system, he sought to render the menace more alarming, by calling it “a war of opinions,” in which the discontented of every other country would rally against their own government, under the banner of Great Britain. On this menace, which, considering the quarter from whence it proceeds, comes with somewhat of a revolutionary and disorganizing tone, we have now no comment to make. The war now raging in Greece, is, in a much higher and better sense, a war of opinion, which has actually begun; and in which the unarrayed [sic], the unofficial, and we had almost said the individual efforts and charities of the friends of liberty, throughout Christendom, are combating, and thus far successfully, the barbarous hosts of the Turk. Deserted as they have been by the governments to whom they naturally looked for aid; by Russia, who tamely sees the head of the Russian church hung up at the door of his own cathedral; by England, the champion of liberal principles in Europe, and the protectress of the Ionian isles; by the holy alliance, that takes no umbrage at the debarkation of army after army of swarthy infidels, on the shores of a christian country, the Greeks have still been cheered and sustained by the sympathy of the civilized world. Gallant volunteers have crowded tot heir assistance, and some of the best blood of Europe has been shed in their defence [sic]. Liberal contributions of money have been sent to them across the globe; and, while we write the sentences, supplies are dispatched to them from various parts of our own country, sufficient to avert the horrors of famine for another season. The direct effect of these contributions, great as it is (and it is this, which has enabled the Greeks to hold out thus far), is not its best operation. We live in an age of moral influences. Greece, in these various acts, feels herself incorporated into the family of civilized nations; raised out of the prison house of a cruel and besotted despotism, in to the community of enlightened states. Let an individual fall in with and be assailed by a superior force, in the lonely desert, on the solitary ocean, or beneath the cover of darkness, and his heart sinks within him, as he receives blow after blow, and feels his strength wasting, in the unwitnessed and uncheered struggle. But let the sound of human voices swell upon his ear, or a friendly sail draw nigh, and life and hope revive within his bosom. Nor is human nature different in its operation, in the large masses of men. Can anyone doubt, that if the Greeks, instead of being placed where they are, on a renowned arena, in sight if the civilized world, -visited, aided, applauded, as they have been, from one extreme of Christendom to the other, had been surrounded by barbarism, secluded in the interior of the Turkish empire, without a medium of communication with the world, they would have been swept away in a single campaign? They would have been crushed; they would have been trampled into the dust; and the Tartars, that returned from the massacre, would have brought the first tidings of their struggle. This is our encouragement to persevere in calling the attention of the public to this subject. It is a warfare, in which we all are or ought to be enlisted. It is a war of opinion, of feeling, of humanity. It is a great war of public sentiment; not conflicting (as it is commonly called to do) merely with powerful, barbarous, and despotic government. The strength and efficacy of the public sentiment of the civilized world are now therefore to be put to the test on a large scale, and upon a most momentous issue. It is now to be seen, whether mankind, that is, its civilized portion,—whether enlightened Europe and enlightened America will stand by, and behold a civilized, Christian people massacred en masse; whether a people that cultivate the arts which we cultivate,—that enter into friendly intercourse with us,—that send their children to our schools,—that translate and read our historians, philosophers, and moralists, that live by the same rules of faith, and die in the hope of the same Savior, shall be allowed to be hewn down to the earth in our sight, by a savage horde of Ethiopians and Turks. For ourselves, we do not believe it. An inward assurance tells us, that it cannot be. Such an atrocity never has happened in human affairs, and will not now be permitted. As the horrid catastrophe draws near, if draw near it must, the Christian government will awaken from their apathy. If governments remain enchained by reasons of state, the common feeling of humanity among men will burst out, in some effectual interference. And if this fail, why should not Providence graciously interpose, to prevent the extinction of the only people, in whose churches the New Testament is used in the original tongue? It is not a pertinent subject of inquiry with those, who administer the religious charities of this and other Christian countries, whether Greece and her islands shall be Christian or Mahometan, a more important question, than any other, in the decision of which we have the remotest agency? Might not a well devised and active concert among Christian charitable societies in Europe and America, for the sake of rescuing this christian people, present the most auspicious prospect of success, and form an organization adequate to the importance and sacredness of the object? And can any man, who has humanity, liberty, or Christianity at heart, fell justified in forbearing to give his voice, his aid, his sympathy to this cause, in any way, in which it is practicable to advance it.
Small as are the numbers of the Greeks, and limited as is their country, it may be safely said, that there has not, since the last Turkish invasion if Europe, been waged a war, of which the results, in the worst event, could have been so calamitous, as it must be allowed by every reflecting mind, that the subjugation and consequent extirpation of the Greeks would be. The wars, that are waged between the states of Christendom, generally grow out of the disputed titles of princes, or state quarrels between the governments. Serious changes no doubt take place, as these wars may be decided one way or the other. Nations, formerly well governed, may come under an arbitrary sway; or a despotic be exchanged for a milder government. But, inasmuch as victor and vanquished belong to the same civilized family; and the social condition, the standard of morality, and the received code of public law are substantially the same, in all the nations of Europe; no irreparable disaster to the cause of humanity itself can ensue from any war, in which they may be engaged with each other. Had Napoleon, for instance, succeeded in invading and conquering England (and this is probably the strongest case that could be put), after the first calamities of invasion and conquest were past, which must in all cases be much the same, no worse evils would probably have resulted to the cause of humanity, than the restoration of the Catholic religion, as the religion of the state, the introduction of the civil in place of the common law, and the general exclusion of the English nobility and gentry from offices of power and profit; an exclusion, which the English government itself, since the year 1688, has enforced toward the Catholic families, among which are some of the oldest and richest in the kingdom. Whereas, should the Turks prevail in the present contest, an amalgamation of victor and vanquished would be as impracticable now, as when Greece was first conquered by the Ottoman power. The possession of the country has been promised to the bey of Egypt, as the reward of his ser- vices in effecting its conquest. The men at arms have already been doomed to military execution of the most cruel kind, and the women and children would be sold into Asiatic and African bondage.
We are not left to collect this merely from the known maxims of Turkish warfare, nor the menaces which have repeatedly been made by the Porte, but we see it exemplified in the island of Scio. On the soil of Greece, thus swept of its present population, will be settled the Egyptian and Turkish troops, by whom it shall have been subdued. Thus it will have been cut off, obliterated from the map of Europe, and annihilated by the operation of whatever is most barbarous and terrific in the military practice of the Turkish government, and entire people; one those distinct social families, into which Providence collects the sons of men. In them will perish the descendants of ancestors, toward whom we all profess a reverence; who carry in the language they speak, the proof of their national identity. In them will be exterminated a people, apt and predisposed for all the improvements of civilized life; a people, connected with the rest of Europe, by every moral and intellectual association; and capable of being reared up into a prosperous and cultivated state. Finally, in them will perish one whole Christian people; and that the first, that embraced Christianity; churches, actually founded by the apostles in person, churches, for whose direct instruction a considerable part of the New Testament was composed, after abiding all the storms of eighteen centuries, and surviving so many vicissitudes, are now at length to be razed; and in the place of all this, the uncivilized Mahometan horde is to be established upon the ruins. We say it is a most momentous alternative. Interest humani generis. The character of the age is concerned. The impending evil is tremendous. To preserve the faith of certain old treaties, concluded we forget when, the parliament of England decides by acclamation to send an army into Portugal and Spain, because Spain has patronized the disaffection of the Portuguese ultra royal-ists. To prevent a change in the governments of Piedmont, Naples, and Spain, Austria and France invade those countries with large armies. Can these great powers look tamely on, and see the ruin of their Christian brethren consummated in Greece? Is there a faded parchment, in the diplomatic archives of London or Lisbon, that binds the English government more imperiously, than the great original obligation to rescue an entire Christian people from the scimitar [sic]? Can statesmen, who profess to be, who are, influenced by the rules of a chaste and lofty public morality, justify their sanguinary wars with Ashantees and Burmans, and finds reasons of duty for shaking the petty thrones of the interior of Africa; and allow an African satrap to strew the plains of Attica with bloody ashes?
If they can, and if they will then let the friends of liberty, humanity, and religion take up this cause, as one that concerns them all, and each, in his capacity as a Christian and a man. Let them remember, what ere now has been done, by the perseverance and resolution of small societies, and even individual men. Let them remember how small a company of adventurers, unpatronized, scarcely tolerated by their government, succeeded in laying the foundations of this our happy country, beyond a mighty ocean. Let them recollect, that it was one fixed impression, cherished and pursued in the heart of an humble and friendless mariner, through long years of fruitless solicitation and fainting hope, to which it is owing, that these vast American continents are made part of the heritage of civilized man. Let them recollect that, in the same generation, one poor monk dismembered the great ecclesiastical empire of Europe. Let them bear in mind, that it was a hermit, who roused the nations of Europe in mass, to engage in an expedition, wild, indeed, and unjustifiable, according to our better lights, but lawful and meritorious in those who embarked in it. Let them, in a word, never forget, that when, on those lovely islands and once happy shores, over which a dark cloud of destruction now hangs, the foundations of the Christian church were first laid, it was by the hands of private, obscure, and persecuted individuals. It was the people, the humblest of the people, that took up the gospel, in defiance of all the patronage, the power, and the laws of the government. Why should not Christianity be sustained, in the same country and by the same means, by which it was originally established: If, as we believe, it is the strong and decided sentiment of the civilized world, that the cause of the Greeks is a good cause, and that they ought not to be allowed to perish, it cannot be, that this sentiment will remain inoperative. It will make itself felt, by a thousand manifestations. It will be heard in our senates, and our pulpits; it will be echoed from our firesides. Does any one doubt that the cause of America was mightily strengthened and animated by the voices of the friends of liberty in the British parliament? Were not the speeches of Chatham and Burke worth a triumphant battle to our fathers? And can any one doubt that the Grecian patriots will hold out, so long as the Christian world will cheer them with its sanction?
Let then the public mind be disabused of the prejudices, which mislead it on this question. Let it not be operated upon by tales of piracies at sea, and factions on land; evils, which belong not to Greeks, but to human nature. Let the means of propagating authentic intelligence of the progress of the revolution be multiplied. Let its well wishers and its well hopers declare themselves in the cause. Let the tide of pious and Christian charity be turned into this broad and thirsty channel. Let every ardent and high spirited young man, who has an independent subsistence of two or three hundred dollars a year, embark personally in the cause, and aspire to that crown of glory, never yet worn by him, who so lately triumphed I the hearts of the entire millions of Americans. Let this be done, and Greece is safe.
Source: Constantine G. Hatzidimitriou, Founded on Freedom and Virtue: Documents Illustrating the Impact in the United States of the Greek War of Independence, 1821-1829 (New Rochelle, New York: Aristide D. Caratzas, 2002).