« ZurückWeiter »
and in such disorder as to abandon their cannon. The fame accounts fay, that upon their retreat, the Russians were met by the Bostangi fiaschi of Adrianople, who was marching to the relief of Varna, a/id who again routed them with a great slaughter.
The Grand Vizir, upon finding the danger that threatened Varna, quitted his camp at Chiumla, to march to its relief; but returned thither, as soon as he was informed of the event. He still invariably pursued the wife system which he bad adopted at the beginning.of the campaign, of avoiding a geneial engagement, carrying on the war by detachments, and wasting the enemy by a continued repetition of small actions, while he cautiously superintended the whole, and kept his principal force entire.
The siege of Silistria was carried on for several weeks, and the garrison shewed the most unconquerable perseverance and bravery. It seems, by the accounts that have been published, to have been a continued interchange of sallies and assaults. We have no regular detail of this siege; but by the Russian accounts of particular parts of it* which were published when they seemed to form a certainty of taking the place, the loss of men must have been prodigious. • At length the Ruffians raised the siege, and repassed the Danube, in the beginning of December. They, say, that the elements themselves fought against them, and were an invincible obstacle to their operations; that a very severe cold set in, alternately with vast snows and rains, which made the rivers overflow in such a manner, as to lay the low countries totally under
water; that by this means, the communication between the opposite shores of the Danube became very difficult, and that between the different bodies of troops in the interior country, was entirely cut off. That in such circumstances, it became impossible to subsist the troops in a country so ruined. and totally destitute of forage as,Bulgaria; so that at length, after having gained many advantages, and having, by the,destruction of their forts and magazines, put it out of the power of the enemy to become troublesome to them in their quarters during the winter, they repassed the Danube.
Such is the Ruffian account of the event of this expedition; which leads us naturally to enquire, where, or in what manner, the celebrated Seraskier Hossein Basha gained so much honour in this latter campaign,'as to be distinguished as the restorer of the Turkish glory, and as having renewed the lustre (which had been so long tarnished) of the Ottoman arms. Of these particulars, the short imperfect accounts that are transmitted by foreigners from Constantinople, give little more satisfaction than those published by the Russians. We however gather from them, that this commander having come to the relief of Silistria, at the head of the Turkish cavalry, he first with great judgment and activity cut off the Russian convoys, and afterwards in repeated engagements, routed, and almost ruined their cavalry; so that from the vigour and celerity of his operations, the army was obliged to raise the siege of Silistria, and to repass the Danube with such precipitation, that they not only left the magazines which they had t taken
taken from the Turks, bat their own also behind; and that Hossein Balha thus literally fulfilled the promii'e which he had made to the Grand Signior when he was leaving Constantinople, that there should not be a Russian on the right fide of the Danube at the winter solstice.
We have no authority on which to form a judgment on the nature of ihe war in the Crimea, or of that union which it seems has taken place, between the revolted Ruffians and Cossacks, and their ancient enemies the Tartars. Nor are we informed, whether the insurgents and their new allies, intended to form an independent government, or whether the former, to secure themselves from the punishment due to their rebellion, were willing to submit to the dominion of the Tartar Chans, under its usual dependence on the Porte.
It however appears, that this war and revolt have been extremely troublesome to Russia. That the enemy made themselves masters, early in the year, of the whole peninsula, including fiachiseray the capital, except one or two maritime places that were strongly fortified and garrisoned; that the Russians have sent different armies under different generals for the recovery ot the Crimea, and the chastise went os the rebels; that though little dependance is to be placed on 'be contradictory accounts that have been given of .these transactions, it is evident that a number of actions have been, sought with various success, and a brisk war carried on during the whole campaign in that quarter; and that though we have been informed, more than once, of decisive victories
obtained over the rebels and their allies, we still find affairs there to continue in the fame disorder, and that later orders have been issued at Peterfburgh, for the fending of fresti troops, and the making of extraordinary levies for that service.
One circumstance, which still adds to the oblcurity of the prt lent state of affairs in the Crimea, seems however to deserve sqme notice. We find that the new Chan of the Tartars, Deules Gueray, had been, sent from Constantinople with a considerable naval force, and attended by a great number of the principal lords of Tartary, with about two thousand of their followers, either to recover, or to take possession of the throne of his ancestors. Though the details of this expedition are not to be relied upon; yet it is certain that it failed of effect, and that the Chan, with the Turkish armament, returnrd unsuccessfully. The- Turkish accounts fay, simply, that the expedition failed of success; or, that it was foiled through bad weather; the Russians fay, that this prince joined the rebels, and was afterwards totally defeated at the head of a considerable army, and driven out of the Crimea. As the former of these gives an effect without a iufficient cause, and the latter wants all subsequent marks of confirmation, we are still in the dark as to the real caure of this failure. It does not then seem very improbable to suppose, that the new allies, having formed some separate scheme of government, equally independent of Russia and the Porte, might have refused to acknowledge the authority of the new Chan; nor would the impracticability or absurdity of such a design, be a suf
[B] 2 sicient ficient argument against its being adopted, by so headstrong and ignorant a people.
Some trifling engagements which happened between the hostile powers on tve Black Sea, answered no other pupose than to shew, that from the badness of their vessels, and thev wretchedress of their sailors, the one was nearly as ill framed to acquire, as the other was to pres rve, the dominion of that boilteri us gulph.
The Russian operations in the Levan', were not this year attended with any great eclat, or productive of any considerable advantages. Their force, however, at the beginning of the ompaign, seems, by the accounts of it that have been published, to have been pretty considerable, and is laid to have consisted of 17 ships of the line, cf which three were unfit for service, 13 stout frigates, from 22 to 44 guns, -three English vessels, which they had purchased, of 20 guns each, and a number of small Ragusan and Duleignot vessels, which, with galliots, chebeques, and chebequins, amounted in the whole to about fifty. The complement of men, which the Russian ships brought from the Baltic, was about 1) ,000; but of these many had died, and numbers were unfit
tuaties, had long been the princi" pal station of the Russians. Though the situation of this island, it lying about midway between the Morea and the Lesser Asia, might seem in some respects to render it an eligible station, it seems in many others to be greatly defective: among these, its distance from either coast, particularly from that of the Lesser Asia, might be considered as a principal objection; and its smallness and barrenness, made it an uncomfortable'place of refreshment and recovery for such great nurnbers. It indeed seems surprising, that after the extraordinary fortune by which they destroyed the Turkish sleet, and thereby became the uncentrouled sovereigns of those seas, the Russians should not, in so many years, have been able to possess themselves of any one considerable island, which by its products might have been a support in their enterprizes, and by its strength a security in cafe of misfortune.
A strict connexion and alliance had long subsisted, between the Russians in the Mediterranean, Ali Bey, and the Cheik Daher; and the latter were frequently assrfted in their attempts upon the Turkish ports on the coasts of Syria and Palestine, by the Russian ships,
for service; the smaller vessels of who occasionally landed troops and
d ss\rent kinds, were manned by artillery for that purpose. They
3 ceo Greeks and Albanians, also supplied them with Ibme cfli
These, who were fit for nothing cers, engineers, and a few hun
but a pyratical war, committed many robberies on the ships of all nations, and had long been the scourge and ruin of the Grecian islands. t
The isle cf Paros, anciently famous for its wine and its marble;
dreds ot Greeks and Albanians, to manage their artillery. Previcus to Ali Bey's departure fer the invasion of Egypt, he sent, in the beginning of the year, one of his principal officers, and bosom friends, to the isle of Paros, to re
but rendered immortal by its sta- new and strengthen the alliance
with Count Orlow, and to negociaie the assistance he should require in the progress of his enterprize, as well as to discover the extent of the friendship and protection he might expect in case of misfortune. This envoy, having met with as kind a reception as he could wish, carried back a letter from Count Orlow, in which he promised Ali Bey every assistance in his power, and pledged himself, in the most sacred manner, that he should never be abandoned, and that in the worst extremity, he should find an asylum in the Ruffian empire, where he should be as highly respected as he had been in Egypt. The defeat and death of this bold and urfortunat: adventurer, put an end to the hopes of advantage which the Ruffians would have had a right to entertain, if he had succeeded in recovering the possession of that country.
it appears that the Ruffians, in the month of April, or the beginning of May, made an unsuccessful descent upon the island of Negropont, in which they suffered
freat loss, the Turks, it is said, aving totally cut off all the men that were landed. They soon afterwards quitted the island of Paras entirely, the sick, with part of the fleet, being sent to Leghorn, where they fixed an hospital, and the ships were refitted; the rest were employed in cruizes, or expeditions. It appears that they made several descents upon the islands of Cyprus, Candia, and others, which were attended with no other advantage than the obtaining of plunder; they were not, however, at all times successful in these attempts, and four sacks, full of Kuffiaa scalps, were sent from
Stanchio to Constantinople, as a proof of the reception which they met with in that island. Such matters are of little consequence, and if they were otherwise, we are neither furnished with dates nor with facts to be particular in them.
As the Cheik Dahcr, instead of being discouraged by the fate of Ali Bey and his army, seemed to acquire new vigour from this misfortune, and now trusting only to himself, redoubled his efforts in Syria, the Ruffians did not fail to encourage and uphold him in his rebellion; to which purpose, the Greek and Albanian ships in their service, have constantly attended him in his attempts upon the sea ports of that country. Several of the Ruffian ships have committed great disorders on the Venetian islands, in, and about, the mouth of the Adriatic sea; and by the erecting of batteries and taking possession of the harbours, have exercised a sovereignty, which seems incompatible with the respect due to the rights and dignity ot an independent state. Though this conduct excited complaints at Venice, it still remains to be seen, whether that republic considers it as a violent infraction of her territorial rights, or whether it is only the consequence of a private good* , understanding between those powers. It is not impossible, notwithstanding the cautious conduct, and pacific sentiments of the republic, that the continual losses and fallen state of the Ottoman power, might have inddeed her to listen favourably to the splendid representations, of her becoming a principal in the war, and thereby recovering, with facility and in a little time, those provinces and islands, which she  3 had
had been losing piece-meal for two hundred years.
The Russians, however, took a great number of prizes during the year, which were fold in Leghorn and other ports of Italy, and which might in some degree indemnify the expences of the fleet. In this respect they have gone greater lengths, than they had hitherto ventured, in seizing the property aboard christian veisels, u :der the certainty or pretence of its being Turkish; by this means the Levant trafie has been totally ruined, and it becomes a doubt, whether the commercial iiaies of Europe, or the Tuiks, have been the greater sufferers in this pyratical war. It is certain that the molt savoured of the former have severely felt its effects; and if is said th it the merchants of Marseilles, and some Others, who were the most immediately concerned, are irrecoverably ruined.
Such has been the languishing
state of the war in the Mediterranean, which has not, since the first year, in any degree answered the hopes that were formed upon its original success, nor the great expence it has'caused to Russia. It is true, that great damage and milchief has ensued from ili'.s naval expedition ; but it has fallen principally upon individuals of different nations, without effectually distressing, or essentially weakening the enemy. We find that this year, whilst the Russians were employed in plundering rich merchant sliips, Constantinople has been supplied with corn and provisions, Irom Egypt and Syria, in the greatest abundance; and as the capital was thus prelerved from the only fatal consequence it had to dread in a war ot that nature, the ruin of a few merchants., or the ravaging ot some of its remote and numerous islands, were matters of little importance to the Porte. .