Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

gene

hinted that we should be glad to see Greece enjoying the largest possible circumference of dominion; at all events that the territories of those families who have been most conspicuous in fighting for her liberation should be embraced within the new state. It is obvious indeed that the alliance acted upon a principle of rosity towards the Porte, when, giving to Greece, as they did, so many other unexpected advantages, they, in order to adjust the balance as it were with an impartial hand, reduced the extent of Greek rule within limits narrower than those which were first proposed. It would be uncandid not to do justice to the motives which actuated the alliance upon this occasion. Nor can we reflect without pity upon the miserable state of impotence to which the Ottoman sovereignty was reduced, at the period when that question was latterly arranged. Nevertheless it certainly would appear to our very humble judgment that the line of frontier described in the protocol of February, 1830, is not the line which would be most advantageous either to the Turks or the Greeks. It would preserve to the former several portions of territory in which the most unrelenting of their enemies will continue to have possessions. It would deprive the Greeks of some of the bravest of her defenders, and be attended with several serious disadvantages which are forcibly pointed out by General Church.

• If this supposed line of frontier is to be given to Greece, she will be left without a single port beyond the Gulf of Lepanto, as Missolonghi has no port, (it has but a roadstead,) and the ports of Dioni, Dragomestre, Mitica, and various others, are on the other side of the Aspro-Potamos or Achelous. Can any person pretend that the Aspro-Potamos can form a defensible frontiera river that can be walked through in nearly every part for at least eight months in the year? Greece, in becoming an independent country, will be supposed to maintain on her frontier a vigilant police, to save her and to save Europe perhaps from the plague, should that frightful malady break out at any time in Roumili. With the line of her imaginary frontier this will be impossible. I am endeavouring coolly to point out the disadvantages of the frontier with which it is said Greece is to content herself; whilst I confess that the agitation of my feelings, from the persuasion of the miseries to be entailed upon her, if this line is persisted in, almost prevents me from holding the pen. Lulled into a fatal security by the protocol of the 22d of March, the Greeks were unavimous in their gratitude to the Allied Powers, and saw before them a fair prospect of becoming an independent country, in the supposition that their frontier would be that of the line from Volo to Arta, or (more properly speaking) the frontier defended on one side by the Thermopylæ and on the other by the Macrin-Oros. This is the only line, not merely of security as a military frontier, (I speak from experience,) but which will enable the new state to prevent all prohibited communication between Greeks and Turks. This line, and far beyond it, the cantons of Agrapha and the province of AsproPotamos, are in the peaceable possession of the Greeks; and before I left the camp of Macrin-Oros we had fortified its passes on the high roads leading from Tricala, Arta, Previsa, and Joannina, to Vonizza, Missolonghi, Salona, and Livadia, &c. &c. The left of this line is washed by the Gulf of Arta, near Coprena, and the nearest Turkish camp to my advanced posts was Comboti, an hour's ride from Arta. This line is strengthened by the strong Castle of Carvassara : the next position along the Gulf is that of the fortress of Vonizza; and directly opposite to Prevesa, on the point called Punta, (the promontory of Actium) the passes are defended by redoubts built for that purpose by the Greek troops. Such is the line of frontier which Greece at present holds; and I doubt if the Turks themselves wish to come again within that line, for they were never masters of Acarnania de facto, and they have a proverb which says,

[graphic]

66 All Roumili is for the Turks, but Karlili-no." Those that are acquainted with this country know that Karlili is Acarnania, and part of Etolia.

The population of Karlili or Acarnania amounted to about thirty-five thousand souls before the war in Greece; that population has been re. duced during the war to about two and twenty thousand souls; but as soon as the protrocol of the 22d of March was known in Greece, numerous families from Epirus, the men of which had nobly fought for Greece, have established themselves there, exclusively of the Souliotes. This is the country also from which Greece can supply herself best with timber for building ships of war. 'I

must now speak of the people themselves, I mean those of Acarnania and Etolia. From these provinces Greece has drawn her best soldiers ; it is unnecessary to mention the different fields in which they have fought; I will merely say that the army with which I had either the good fortune or the misfortune, (according to the future fate of these provinces,) to liberate Western Greece, including Missolonghi, Lepanto, Anatolico, Carvassara, &c. &c., was, with very trifling exceptions, composed of the inhabitants of Acarnania and Etolia; and every Greek, of whatever part of Greece he may be a native, will readily admit that, to the warlike inhabitants of these countries, Greece has more obligations than to any other. The traveller through Acarnania, a few months ago, would not have found a single habitable house, owing to the effects of the war. the suspension of hostilities, and subsequently to the arrival in Greece of the protocol of the 22d of March, all the families of that country which have survived the war are returned to it; and, grateful to God for their liberation from the government of the Turks, they have commenced, as far as their moderate means allow them, to rebuild their houses and towns, and to enjoy the blessings of freedom. Are these people again to be given up to the Turks, after having fought for their liberty for nine years, and being ever the foremost in every glorious exertion for the general emancipation of their country and of Greece in general ? Will they submit to the Turks as their masters ? From the knowledge that I have of their character, and from what they have suffered, I think they never will. Can the other Greeks, or ought the other Greeks, to abandon them to their miserable fate? I doubt it; and what may not be apprehended from the desperate resolution of five or six thousand determined and veteran soldiers ? Blood will, doubtless, flow before these men give up their country, their families, and their honour, into the hands of the Turks. Must they be compelled by the bayonets of the Allied troops to put on Turkish chains ? Forbid it, God, for the honour of England and of Christianity! That would not be to decide the question according to the generous intentions of the Allies, but as Lysander threatened to settle the dispute about boundaries with the people of Argos.

But on

[graphic]
[graphic]

The principal families of Acarnania and Etolia are those of Kara-Iscaki, Varna-Kiotti, Tehonga, Vlacopulo, Chélio, Griva, Cazzicojani, Staïco, Macri, Manghina, Verres, Iscos, Rango. Among these names we find the chief military leaders of Greece. Some of these chiefs, overpowered at times by the armies of the different Pashas, particularly of Kioutahi, have been occasionally obliged to submit or to fly, seizing, however, always the first opportunity of rejoining the standards of their country; and it was to the union of these chiefs to the few troops with which I landed in Dragomestre in 1827, in November, that Greece now owes the liberation of the greater part of continental Greece.'--pp. 3–7.

With respect to Candia we do not see what claim the new state could have upon it, since in point of fact the Turks have, during the late war, always preserved their power in that island. This point we should give up, but the friends of Greece will, we hope, continue to contend for the line from Volo to Arta, although we confess, considering the complicated and unfortunate situation in which Prince Leopold's renunciation of the sovereignty has left the affairs of Greece, our own expectations on the subject of a larger boundary are at this moment by no means sanguine.

After all, we suspect that the question of the boundary was not the only one which created difficulties in the mind of the Prince. The Greeks manifested a decided wish that he should embrace their religion, to which his Royal Highness is understood to have invincible objections. How little must his Royal Highness have known of the parties who at present form what may be called the influential classes of Greece, when he desired that their wishes should be consulted upon the choice of him for their sovereign. We should recommend the Prince to read the reports of Count Bulgary and Admiral de Rigny. If he waited until the estates of Greece assembled, and gave him their votes, his Royal Highness might wait until the arrival of the Greek Kalends. The Count Capo d'Istrias, a Greek in every sense of the word, has appeared very anxious, for some reason or other, to exaggerate the difficulties which the new sovereign would have to encounter. Unquestionably the Count is a man of great ability, and we should not be surprised if in the end he should be allowed to retain, under a less dignified name than that of Prince Sovereign, the real supremacy which the want of funds alone now prevents him from exercising with unbounded sway.

a

Art. VI.— The British Naturalist; or, Sketches of the more interesting

Productions of Britain and the surrounding Sea, in the scenes which they inhabit ; and with relation to the general economy of nature, and the wisdom and power of its Author. Volume second. The Year

Spring, Summer. 12mo. pp. 383. London: Whitaker and Co. 1830. The first volume of this little work deserved and obtained from us a favourable notice some months ago. We praised the amiable spirit in which it was written, the lively and accurate pictures of

[graphic]

nest.

nature which it exhibited, and the familiar diction in which subjects, usually obscured by technicalities, were rendered intelligible to the most moderate capacity. The present volume is equally worthy of the author. It pursues a plan, indeed, somewhat different from its predecessor, for instead of going on with the history of natural objects in connection with the scenes in which they are found, it takes them up according to the seasons which witness their production. This change of method may injure the completeness of the work, as a whole, but at the same time it gives to it a variety which most readers would, perhaps, prefer to greater unity of design.

In following the seasons as the index to his topics, the author also runs the risk of confusion. For instance, beginning with the spring, he relates all that is necessary to be known about the pairing of birds, the birth of their young, and their escape from the

But after describing the most remarkable of those which are seen in Great Britain, if he pursues his subject in all its extent, he will have to travel out of the spring to the summer,

to the summer, the autumn

, and the winter. He must either do this, or he leaves off his natural history at the preface. If he make it perfect, then have we in the section entitled spring, descriptions of plumage or habits which belong only to the summer or either of the other seasons, and thus the classification of his chapters by the seasons becomes a source rather of perplexity than gratification. A similar imperfection constantly occurs in Mr. Rennie's “ Insect Architecture” and 6. Transformations." Under the former head he gives us all that relates to the construction of the habitations of insects; and under the latter, all that relates to the changes which they undergo. But the anatomy of those interesting beings is necessarily either left untouched, or slightly glanced at, as also are their habits of feeding, although both these topics enter essentially into the two other parts of the general subject, without which they cannot be understood. This unsatisfactory result is the consequence of the taste which prevails for giving attractive titles to books, with the hope of rendering them popular.

We have often thought that a very delighful, as well as consecutive, method of treating natural history would be to take the more interesting objects, just as they might happen to present themselves to the view, in a series of excursions into the country. We should, by all means, prefer walking on such occasions, and should like that companion the best who should really shew that he was an enthusiast on the subject, not passing unnoticed the appearance of the heavens, whether in rain or sunshine, the feeling which the evening, or the noon, or the morning begets, the meanest insect that is met on the path, the wildest flower that grows near it, the scenery, the trees, the streams, by which it is adorned. From the plan of the first volume of the present work, we expected that a design not remote from this would have been followed by the

[ocr errors]
[graphic]
[ocr errors]

author; but he has chosen otherwise. What we desire to see, in a word, is a book upon nature that reflects the ever-varying enjoyment, the freedom, the knowledge, and happiness, which occupy the thoughts of a natural philosopher, and give a musical tone to his mind, while he is abroad among the sublimities or beauties of the universe. There is truly nothing in this scheme which would cut any particular subject short at the moment when it becomes most interesting and curious, nothing to postpone our gratification to a future time and a different volume. It would follow the plan of nature itself, in which there is nothing more remarkable than the infinite variety which it combines with the most perfect unity.

Although the volume before us does not entirely coincide with our own view of the general subject, yet we must allow that it has great merit. It is addressed to every class of readers ; its whole aim is to be easily and clearly understood. It speaks of some of the most engaging operations of that wondrous Power, which, because unseen and unheard in its own movements, is not distinguishable from its works, and is called nature. Such a work can hardly be read, even in the most cursory way, without improvement and benefit, for it teaches, or rather induces us to make acquaintance with the tenants of the field and the forest, and to make ourselves at home every where.

The first part of the volume very appositely presents an abridged and popular account of the heavenly machinery, by which this globe of ours is illumined and fertilized, and moved perpetually through its orbit of seasons. Without such a glimpse at astronomy, the immediate causes of the seasonal changes could not be comprehended. The author then proceeds to the spring, the opening of which he thus happily describes :

Spring is the season at which every man that can get abroad into the fields (and who would live and not inhale the vernal air ?) is a naturalist. It is the dawn of life, the emblem of creation. The creatures rejoice. Those which man has domesticated and protected during the inclement months, are affected by their first visit to the fields as if by magic. The horse, even though worn by labour and pinched by dry and scanty food, canters around and around the field, with arching neck and nostrils distended, as if he would inhale the whole atmosphere at a breath, snorting aloud and shaking from his lungs all the impurities of his confinement. Even the steer is a wanton; and the cow, at other seasons the dullest creature that lives, gambols and gallops with all the sportiveness of the kid. Long, indeed, before there is any thing that can please their appetites or satisfy their hunger, there comes upon them a balm in the gale, a breathing of freshness and vigour, which proves that, even with the lower creatures, life is preferable to the means of living; and that, to all the productions of nature, the first and best of blessings is the air in which“ they have their being,” tempered by those restless breezes, which make it, at all places, ever new.

And when the proper temperature does come,--however transitory it may be, and how much some men may fear that the early making of the

6

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »