Abbildungen der Seite
PDF

first to fly. An ineffectual attempt was made to rally at Almeida, but the panic was universal, and the greater part of the rebels, now informed of the arrival of the British troops, deserted a cause which they had never maintained from principle; and, by giving themselves up to the constitutional commander, endeavoured still to entitle themselves to the benefit of the amnesty, which, in the be

fming of November, the Princess Regent had proclaimed to all subalterns and soldiers who should return to their duty before the expiry of the year. Their generals, accompanied by about a thousand men, escaped into Spain, and furnished to the Spanish cabinet another opportunity of proving how little sincere it had been in the assurances given by it on the 18th of December, that precautions would be taken to insure the punctual execution of orders for disarming and dispersing the Portuguese refugees. A body of eight hundred men marched from Ciudad Rodrigo, ostensibly to meet and disarm the fugitives from the battle of Coruches; but instead of being disarmed, they were allowed time to supply themselves with money, and ammunition, and with Spanish arms in the place of those which had been thrown away in their precipitate flight. In a few days they re-crossed the Douro, and entered the southern part of the province of Tras os Montes without meeting with the slightest obstacle from the Spanish authorities. M. Salmon now found it more difficult than ever to satisfy the British minister; he found it necessary to suspend general Longa, who had permitted this new act of hostility, from his command; an inquiry was ordered to be instituted ,. ajTJBiioia K Iq 990800 9Wffl 9TMJ &'

into the conduct of several local governors; and the cabinet expressed diplomatically its high displeasure at their disobedience to orders which they were said to have received. But the disobedience of Longa had been particularly brought under its notice long before; and, while troops were moving from all parts of the kingdom towards Portugal, under the pretext of preventing any violation of the Spanish territory by the contending parties, all those points, at which it was known the rebels were assembling and arming themselves, and from which their inroads were to be made, were left defenceless. After the defeat at Coruches, Chaves, and the other commanders sent their baggage to Madrid, where it was granted the same piivilege with that of ambassadors, and allowed to pass without being examined.

Count Villa Flor having made himself master of Almeida/ "a| the whole province of Beira being thus cleared of the rebels, crossed the Douro into Tras os Montes, whither the fugitives, few and disheartened, had ventured to return. They offered no resistance, and retired to the frontiers. The same bad fortune attended them in the northern part of the province, where the constitutional troops under Angija and Mello, drove them back into Spain, and recovered the town of Chaves. Braganza was now almost the only point which the insurgents retained in the kingdom; their force was completely broken; their hopes were gone; their ally was overawed; and there was no prospect that they would again be able to disturb the tranquillity of Portugal, or endanger the existence of its new constitution.

[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[graphic]
[ocr errors]

Chap, xrn,

,.••-. •• .. V • '• • •'•••.• , . '

TurkeyUltimatum of Russia, regarding Wallachia and Moldavia; it is acceded to by the PorteConferences at Ackerman between Russia and Turkey Settlement of their Differences The Sultan attempts to introduce European Discipline among the JanissariesThe Janissaries RevoltThe Revolt is quelled, and the Janissaries suppressedFire in ConstantinopleExecutionsMeasures adopted to Reform the Administration.—Greece—Engagements between the Greek and Turkish FleetsSiege of MissolonghiAttacks and Repulses of IbrahimCapture by Ibrahim of Vassiladi and AnatolicoFamine in MissolonghiMiaulis endeavours to relieve it—The Garrison attempts to cut its way through the Turkish CampMissolonghi takenMilitary Operations after the taking of MissolonghiProclamation of the National AssemblyMeasures of the Commission of GovernmentEuropean Policy in regard to Greece Piracies committed under the Greek FlagFinancesExposure of the Greek LoansThe conduct of Persons connected mith those Loans.

[graphic]

THE Sublime Porte had hitherto obstinately refused to satisfy the demands of Russia, arising out of the measures which the former had thought proper to adopt for the security of Wallachia and Moldavia, in consequence of the disturbances in these principalities in 1821. The threats of Russia, though her army stood on the banks of the Pruth, prepared to overrun Moldavia upon very little warning, were disregarded; the united remonstrances and advice of other European powers were received with indifference, or treated with contempt, as an officious intrusion of counsel where it was neither wanted nor desired; Turkey, while the small and ill-disciplined bands of the Morea were scattering her troops, reducing her Grecian fortresses, emancipating

from her yoke her Grecian provinces, and driving her fleets with disgrace to the very mouth of the Dardanelles, was wilfully exposing herself at every moment to be attacked on the north by the most gigantic military power in Europe. She may have thought, that, with its possessor, the throne of Russia had changed likewise its policy, and that the new emperor might feel less powerfully than his predecessor, the almost native desire of modern Russian sovereigns to make the Danube the southern boundary of their European dominions. But, from the moment when Suwarrow gladdened Catherine with his brief despatch that Ismael was no more, that had been too constantly an object of Russian policy, to be easily lost sight of in the mere change of a mpnarch;

[graphic]
[graphic]

and to limit the authority of the Porte in its frontier provinces towards Hungary and Bessarabia, is one essential step towards its attainment. Nicholas adopted towards these provinces the principles of Alexander, and, as soon as the crown was fixed firmly on his head, he prepared to assert them with vigour. The total failure of the negotiations of the former year, although the influence of other powers had prevented them from being followed by immediate hostilities, seemed to forbid the hope of the matters in dispute being ultimately settled without an appeal to arms. The sultan pretended that he dared not consent to the conditions demanded in favour of infidel subjects, without running the risk of exciting an insurrection among the faithful. He was probably crafty enough to know, that in procrastination there was not much danger, as the jealousies and policy of Austria and England would not willingly see him pay to Russia, in the shape of a cession of territory, an additional penalty for his delay in giving her satisfaction; and he was apprehensive, lest, if he yielded easily to the demands of Russia and her allies in favour of Chris'tians beyond the Danube, it might encourage them to be equally importunate on behalf of Christians in the Morea. Russia, however, forced upon him the bare and strict question of peace or war. In the month of April, M. Min- ziacky, her ambassador at Constantinople, presented to the Porte an ultimatum, again setting forth the grounds of complaint against Turkey, the dilatory and evasive conduct by which they had been

met, and the patience and longsuffering of Russia, which her honour, as well as her interest, required should now be at an end. His imperial majesty, it was said, might have considered the negotiations as terminated, after the result of the conference of 13th October, 1825, and might have employed the readiest and most efficacious means to enforce the observance of his own rights, and of the faith of treaties. In holding out the olive branch for the last time, and the addition of another to the many opportunities which had been afforded to Turkey of satisfying his demands, he was only making a new sacrifice to his moderation of temper and love of peace; in doing so, he gave the Sultan at once the strongest proof of friendship, and the best-founded motives for confidence; he had no wish but for a sincere and durable reconciliation between the two powers, by a final determination of all the questions, which,since 1816, had rendered their reciprocal relations uncertain and difficult. He, therefore, once more repeated the preliminary demands which had already been so often made, and as often evaded or refused; viz., 1. That the state of things which had existed in Wallachia and Moldavia before the insurrection of 1821, and, in particular, the number and organization of the provincial militia, should be completely re-established. 2. That the Servian deputies, who had been confined in the seraglio, since 1821, should be set at liberty. 3. That the Porte should appoint plenipotentiaries to meet with Russian commissioners in some town on the Russian fron- tiers, there to resume the negotiations on all points which had been under consideration between 1816 and 1821, and bring them to a definitive conclusion. These were preliminary points, on the conceding of which Russia insisted as indispensable to the continuance of amicable relations between herself and the Porte. The Porte was allowed six weeks to return a categorical answer; and, if that answer should be in the negative, M. Minziacky was immediately to quit Constantinople. To add force to the demand and the argument, the army in Bessarabia was ordered to be in readiness to cross the Pruth, and to clear the principalities of the Turkish troops. The ministers of the other powers at Constantinople were informed, that the only object of the attitude which Russia was assuming was, to bring to a termination its own differences with Turkey, which the emperor's dignity could not allow to remain any longer unsettled, since the interposition of other states, and his own forbearance, during five years, had led to no satisfactory result.

With a readiness which was any thing but expected, the Porte agreed unreservedly to every one of these demands, and that, too, at a moment when the exultation of success in Greece might naturally have tended to confirm her in her obstinacy and wrongheadedness. In the beginning of May,theSultanlearnedthetriumph of Ibrahim's arms in the Morea, and the fall of Missolonghi, almost the last strong-hold of the insurgents beyond the isthmus of Corinth., An event which promised to free him from a Greek war on one side, might have been ex

pected to embolden him in resisting the demands, and what he thought the encroachments, of Russia upon the other. If there was any reality in his apprehensions that the concession of what was asked by Russia might excite revolt among the fanatic populace, he perhaps thought that the moment was favourable to take advantage of the more tranquil and accommodating temper which this signal victory over heretics and rebels might produce, as a hungry lion may be passed in safety while it is gorging on its prey. But the true secret of his change of disposition, or, at least, of conduct, seems to have been in very different considerations. He had already formed plans of internal reform, which he very soon afterwards carried into effect, and which a war with Russia would have rendered impracticable. He could not hasten into the field against such an enemy, at the moment when he was about to subject the whole system of his military force to alterations which necessarily rendered it inefficient for a time, or, as it actually turned out, first to annihilate it, and then to reproduce it. On the 13th of May, the Porte communicated to M. Minziacky its ac ceptance of the terms of the Russian ultimatum. It stated, that it considered the existence of the Beschlis Agas, officers of provincial militia, in Wallachia and Moldavia, as necessary for the maintenance of peace in those principalities; but that, nevertheless, in conformity with the wishes of the emperor of Russia, orders had been given to the governor of Silistria to withdraw the Baschbeschllsh and their men 1

from the other side of the Danube, and the Waiwodes had been directed to appoint others in their place. The Servian deputies would be immediately liberated, and Hadi-Effendi, and IbrahimEffendi, members of the Uhlemas, were named the Turkish plenipotentiaries definitively to settle with those of Russia the other matters between the empires which still remained undecided. The Turk was faithful to his word: the Servian deputies were immediately liberated; the withdrawing of the Beschlis could not but wound his pride, but it was immediately executed. To the inhabitants of the principalities it was veiled under the pretext, that, " as the number of the Beschlis in them had been increased in consequence of the civil troubles, and the restoration of tranquillity rendered the presence of so large a number of soldiers unnecessary, it had been thought fit, in order to avoid useless expense, that the Agas should retire with their troops, and that the Hospodar should appoint a Baschbeschli-Aga, commanding a number of Beschlisequal to that which existed before the insurrection." Russia, on her part, named the marquis de Ribeaupierre, and general count Woronzov, commissioners to treat with those of Turkey; and Ackermann, a town of Bessarabia, near the mouth of the Dniester, as the place where the conferences should be held.

The questions, which remained to be settled by the plenipotentiaries at Ackermann, were much more numerous than the preliminary points which had been fixed at Constantinople, and did not promise to be of more easy ad

justment. They regarded principally the restoration by Russia of certain Asiatic fortresses on the Black Sea; the free navigation of that sea by the Russian flag; the repayment to that power of losses sustained by her subjects from the Barbary corsairs, amounting, it was said, to a million sterling; the internal government of Wallachia and Moldavia; and the reestablishment of the independent rights of the Servians. These demands, excepting what concerned the fortresses, went directly to secure to Russia a preponderance fatal to Turkey; andthe perseverance, with which she resisted the only demand that Turkey made, sprung from the same policy that rendered her inflexible in imposing her own demands upon the Sultan. A^ the independence of the principalities, that is, a virtual dependence upon Russia as their protector against a Mahommedan government which they disliked, gave Russia, in any attack which she might make upon her neighbour, all the immense aid to be derived from civil commotion, so the possession of the strong-holds, and navigation of the Euxine, gave a thousand facilities to actual invasion. In the hasty peace concluded between Russia and the Porte, in 1812, the minister of the former consented to restore to Turkey, Anape, Anagri Poti which commands the entrance of the Phasis, and Soukom Kale, and Redoute Kale, two ports on the Black Sea, the one on the side of Abasia, the other on that of Mingrelia.. The court of St. Petersburgh was said to have been highly offended with the cession, and to have gent orders to her generals to defer, at least, the re

« ZurückWeiter »