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IMPÀTIENT to protest against doctrines which I only met with a fortnight since in Mr. Hughes's “ Appeal” and “ War in Greece," I have hastened to the goal without prancing about in periods ; anxious to write fast rather than well, and to procure justice for the cause, not celebrity for the advocate of Greece. I have no time for an operation of such length as shortening my statement, or even for softening down what may offend those, who have been just confirmed in making religion an engine of persecution, by seeing the Catholic peers again exiled from their birthright, because they will not purchase justice by apostacy, If I have talked of sconcing those short commons of spiritual food, or, (since God sends meat of spiritual cooks, on which the Irish episcopalians contrive to keep their souls alive; or have fancied the spoliation worse than the conversion of heretics, and an overfed hierarchy as bad as a sanitary inquisition; or have neglected to forget, that of the fugitive priests whom England charitably fed, some had been prelates wealthier and mightier than even “ the primate of all Ireland;" I hope that these interwoven heresies will not prejudice the English jury against my clients. A man linked with no party, and privileged by insignificance to vacillate, may outgrow such morbid sentiments, but I am too new to authorship to have yet learned to hide them. An Englishman, and a Protestant, may surely blame a system which disgraces England, and almost desecrates Christianity, without denying the worth of many individual Irish clergymen, or assailing the English church, whose debtor and creditor account to the public good shows a balance in its favor; and which clinging to the fabric of the state, and growing out of the foundations of property, cannot be roughly handled without shaking both. But there are alternatives, which might calm the inflammation of Ireland; and a reform, which would not amount to revolution.
I have spoken contemptuously of Austria, for I had to consider her dealings with foreigners, which are usually mean or tyrannical; had I reviewed her domestic policy, I should have said, that exacting from her subjects a more than filial obedience, she treats them with almost parental mildness; and that her system of suffocating intellect as an enemy, and treating men like children, may suit a population better fed than taught, though it irritates those restless and sensitive Italians, who are suffering 80 severely for the crime of not being a homogeneous impenetrable mass.
I should have been more diffident in passing judgment, if I had originally meant to prefix to these pages a name, which forms their sole chance of attracting attention.
If any critical Ibis, whose beak checks the plague of literary serpents, should pierce this minute ephemeral production, though I may shrink from that sensitiveness, which the earliest and deepest trials of sensibility cannot raise us quite above, I shall never repent trying to redeem the character of England, and to promote the interests of Greece.
Portugal-street, August 3, 1822.
WHEN I heard that a writer of some eminence had taken up the cause of the Greeks, and that an animated and eloquent Pamphlet had appeared from the pen of Mr. Hughes, I fondly thought that their case was at length fairly laid before the English nation.
Having read Mr. Hughes's appeal, I feel dissatisfied with pleadings so impassioned and partial, and regret that his name should confirm, and his language embellish, the prevailing error, that the present struggle is an attempt to drive the Turks out of Europe. Mr. Hughes not only assumes this, but he assumes, that it is an easy and desirable operation. He should consider what it is to expatriate millions of our fellow-creatures, with women and children, who, though innocent of all guilt, must be involved in the general sentence. He should remember that the scenes, which he has so eloquently described, occur only where the two populations are interwoven; that Rumelia is inhabited chiefly by Turks, and that the Aga' or Turkish country gentleman," is not every where a faithful original of “The Saracen's Head,” for which he has made him sit; but that in the paroxysms of national anarchy, the innocent and helpless suffer, while the able and ferocious fåtten on the spoil. Even in the French Revolution, when men are generally allowed to have approached nearer to the nature of dæmons than at any other period in the history of the world, it was the guilt of a portion only which involved the mass of the nation in such misery. He should reflect, that it is no such easy task to
i Vide Lord Byron.
root up an enormous population, and re-plant it in another quarter of the world, and that his colossus of clay could scarcely be lifted up by Minerva, and quietly set down in Anadoli. And if it cannot be done quietly, how will he effect it? Would he have the horrors of Navarin, Tripolitza, and Yanina, a thousand fold multiplied ? For the warfare of two armed populations is far more dreadful than the regulated destruction of stipendiary armies; and the soldier, who is paid to kill his fellow-creatures, whether at twelve kreutzers, or twelve pence a day, is the least terrible of belligerent animals.
But Mr. Hughes not only approves of this sweeping clause, this vast cathartic for a diseased country; he holds that all European nations, and we in particular, are bound to assist in administering the dose : « I. do not hesitate to affirm, that the atrocities com. mitted by the Infidels against their Christian subjects, ought to put them under the ban of the European confederation.” The Allied Powers, during the worst scenes of the French Revolution, never pretended to drive the French out of France, because their crimes put them under the ban of Europe ; the tendency of their doctrines and conduct to revolutionise other governments, was the pretext for war; and, until this result was apprehended, they were suffered to indulge their propensity to noyades and fusillades, and to enjoy their mechanical discoveries of the guillotine and the soupape in all peace and quietness. Is Mr. Hughes then prepared to say, that the enormities of the Turkish Government will augment the disaffection of Ireland ?
Suppose the Mufti (or Mahometan “Primate of all Turkey.")) had, in 1649, declared by a fetfah, that the cruelties which the British conquerors, under their chief Cromwell, were committing on the Irish,' put them under the ban of all Islamism, and that Mahomet the IVth, a then as powerful as George the IV th now, ought to send a fleet of Caravels and an army of Janizzaries, not merely to assist in obtaining for the Irish what has been subsequently granted them, but to drive the savage Normans, who, six centu.
1" He entered the city of Drogheda by storm, and indiscriminately butchered men, women, and children; so that only one escaped the dreadful carnage to give an account of the tragic scene."
GOLDSMITH, vol. iv. p. 322. ? At the time of Cromwell's Irish campaign, the Ottoman power was in its full vigor, and from thence advanced in the gradation of the capture of the Venetian islands in the Archipelago, the defeat of the Austrians in 1663, and the conquest of Candia in 1670, to that acme of their triumphs, the siege of Vienna, which was saved by Poland in 1683 : of course not that Poland from whom Austria sliced off her provincial kingdom of Galitzia. The power of Mahomet the IVth was to the rous anarchy of Ireland in 1649, about what the power of George the IVth is to Turkey in 1822.
ries before, had occupied the Saxon kingdom of England, back into Normandy-How would Mr. Hughes, if writing the history of that period, speak of that Mufti's fetfah ? and does he not fear lest some future Colombian Gibbon should say of his pamphlet and proposal, “ of the Greeks, foolishness;" or, if Syntax be an author then read,
“Eloquentiæ satis, sapientiæ parum?" There is no reasoning so fair as argumentum ad nationem, no rule so infallible as, “ Do as you would be done by.”
Mr. Hughes says, with a generous ardor, which must not blind us to the fallacy of his logic, “ Away, then, with Alimsy, Jesuitical pretexts. What Christian nation can, what nation would, plead an alliance offerisive or defensive with the Sultan? It is sufficiently disgraceful to have formed any tie or convention with tyrants nurtured in ignorance and hostility to our faith, slaves to eunuchs and other vile ministers of a seraglio, who commit open outrages and insults on the very ambassadors of European states.” The “ flimsy Jesuitical pretex!” which we should really guard against, is that famous sophism, “ Fides cum hereticis non est servanda ;" a doctrine which will hardly be recognised now ; though it might alleviate our financial distress, by settling at once the claims of the Jewish stockholders. Of all the odd charges which are every day brought against ministers, this is the strangest. It seems that they have been guilty of making treaties of commerce with people of a different religion from ourselves; that they have aggravated this first fault by observing them; and that they can now atone for such multiplied guilt only by breaking them.
With regard to the second charge against the Turks, I cannot see what we have to do with the qualifications or disqualifications which they think necessary in a cabinet minister, any more than they have with our tests and oaths of supremacy; though, when we thus learn, that the virtue of a Turkish Chancellor of the Exchequer is owing to necessity rather than choice, we may recall with augmented pride the memory of an immaculate minister." As for the last charge, the great error of Turkish policy has been prostituting the immunities of an ambassador, and letting every insignificant consular agent, Greek or Frank, not only defy
1 “ The Lord Chancellor" answers, perhaps, more nearly than “ the Chancellor of the Exchequer” to the Kislar-Aga, or Chief of the black Eunuchs, who has, with equal propriety, the gift of all the Grand Seignior's Crown Livings, and the uncontrolled superintendence of the endless and enormous religious foundations throughout Turkey. The parallel between our Chancellors and the Kislar-Aga must however end here.