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improperly characterised in that proverb, which classes them with “ the Jews of Salonica, and the Turks of the Negropont.”
Among the various foreigners resident in Athens, French, Italians, Germans, Ragusans, &c., there was never a difference of opinion in their estimate of the Greek character, though on all other topics they dispute with great acrimony.
M. Fauvel, the French consul, who has passed thirty years principally at Athens, and to whose talents as an artist, and manners as a gentleman, none who have known him can refuse their testimony, has frequently declared in my hearing, that the Greeks do not deserve to be emancipated; reasoning on the grounds of their “national and individual depravity!" while he forgot that such depravity is to be attributed to causes which can only be removed by the measures he reprobates.
M. Roque, a French merchant of respectability, long settled in Athens, asserted with the most amusing gravity, “Sir, they are the same canaille that existed in the days of Themistocles !” an alarming remark to the “ Laudator temporis acti.” The ancients banished Themistocles; the moderns cheat Monsieur Roque : thus great men have ever been treated!
In short, all the Franks who are fixtures, and most of the Englishmen, Germans, Danes, &c. of passage, came over by degrees to their opinion, on much the same grounds that a Turk in England would condemn the nation by wholesale, because he was wronged by his lacquey, and overcharged by his washerwoman.
Certainly it was not a little staggering when the Sieurs Fauvel and Lusieri, the two greatest demagogues of the day, who divide between them the power of Pericles and the popularity of Cleon, and puzzle the poor Waywode with perpetual differences, agreed in the utter condemnation, “ nulla virtute redemptum,” of the Greeks in general, and of the Athenians in particular.
For my own humble opinion, I am loth to hazard it, knowing, as I do, that there be now in MS. no less than five tours of the first magnitude and of the most threatening aspect, all in typographical array, by persons of wit, and honour, and regular common-place books : but, if I may say this without offence, it seems to me rather hard to declare so positively and pertinaciously, as almost every body has declared, that the Greeks, because they are very bad, will never be better.
Eton and Sonnini have led us astray by their panegyrics and projects; but, on the other hand, De Pauw and Thornton have debased the Greeks beyond their demerits.
The Greeks will never be independent; they will never be sovereigns as heretofore, and God forbid they ever should! but they may be subjects without being slaves. Our colonies are not independent, but they are free and industrious, and such may Greece be hereafter.
At present, like the Catholics of Ireland and the Jews throughout the world, and such other cudgelled and heterodox people, they suffer all the moral and physical ills that can afflict humanity. Their life is a struggle against truth; they are vicious in their own defence. They are so unused to kmdness, that when they occasionally meet with it they look upon it with suspicion, as a dog often beaten snaps at your fingers if you attempt to caress him. “They are ungrateful, notoriously, abominably ungrateful!"this is the general cry. Now, in the name of Nemesis ! for what are they to be grateful ? Where is the human being that ever conferred a benefit on Greek or Greeks? They are to be grateful to the Turks for their fetters, and to the Franks for their broken promises and lying counsels. They are to be grateful to the artist who engraves their ruins, and the antiquary who carries them away; to the traveller whose janissary flogs them, and to the scribbler whose journal abuses them! This is the amount of their obligations to foreigners.
January 23, 1811. AMONGST the remnants of the barbarous policy of the earlier ages, are the traces of bondage which yet exist in different countries; whose inhabitants, however divided in religion and manners, almost all agree in oppression.
The English have at last compassionated their negroes, and under a less bigoted government, may probably one day release their Catholic brethren; but the interposition of foreigners alone can emancipate the Greeks, who, otherwise, appear to have as small a chance of redemption from the Turks, as the Jews have from mankind in general.
of the ancient Greeks we know more than enough; at least the younger men of Europe devote much of their time to the study of the Greek writers and history, which would be more usefully spent in mastering their own. Of the moderns, we are perhaps more neglectful than they deserve; and while every man of pretensions to learning is tiring out his youth, and often his age, in the study of the language and of the harangues of the Athenian demagogues in favour of freedom, the real or supposed descendants of these sturdy republicans are left to the actual tyranny of their masters, although a very slight effort is required to strike off their chains.
To talk, as the Greeks themselves do, of their rising again to their pristine superiority, would be ridiculous: as the rest of the world must resume its barbarism, after reasserting the sovereignty of Greece : but there seems to be no very great obstacle, except in the apathy of the Franks, to their becoming an useful dependency, or even a free state with a proper guarantee;under correction, however, be it spoken, for many and well-informed men doubt the practicability even of this.
The Greeks have never lost their hope, though they are now more divided in opinion on the subject of their probable deliverers. Religion recommends the Russians; but they have twice been deceived and abandoned by that power, and the dreadful lesson they received after the Muscovite desertion in the Morea has never been forgotten. The French they dislike; although
little? It is rather a curious circumstance that Mr. Thornton, who so avishly dispraises Pouqueville on every occasion of mentioning the Turks, nas yet recourse to him as authority of the Greeks, and terms him an impartial observer. Now, Dr. Pouqueville is as little entitled to that appellation as Mr. Thornton to confer it on him.
The fact is, we are deplorably in want of information on the subject of the Greeks, and in particular their literature ; nor is there any probability of our being better acquainted, till our intercourse becomes more intimate, or their independence confirmed: the relations of passing travellers are as little to be depended on as the invectives of angry factors; but till something more can be attained, we must be content with the little to be acquired from similar sources.*
However defective these may be, they are preferable to the paradoxes of men who have read superficially of the ancients, and seen nothing of the moderns, such as De Pauw; who, when he asserts that the British breed of horses is ruined by Newmarket, and that the Spartans were cowards in the field, betrays an equal knowledge of English horses and Spartan men. His " philosophical observations" have a much better claim to the title of "poetical.” It could not be expected that he who so liberally condemns some of the most celebrated institutions of the ancient, should have mercy on the modern Greeks; and it fortunately happens, that the absurdity of his hypothesis on their forefathers refutes his sentence on themselves.
Let us trust, then, that, in spite of the prophecies of De Pauw, and the doubts of Mr. Thornton, there is a reasonable hope of the redemption of a race of men, who, whatever may be the errors of their religion and policy, have been amply punished by three centuries and a half of captivity.
* A word, en passant, with Mr. Thornton and Dr. Pouqueville, who ha:e been guilty between them of sadly clipping the Sultan's Turkish,
Dr. Pouqueville tells a long story of a Moslem who swallowed corrosive sublimate in such quantities that he acquired the name of "Suleyman Yeyen," i. e. quoth the Doctor, “Suleyman, the eater of corrosive sublimate.” “Aha,” thinks Mr. Thornton, (angry with the Doctor for the fiftieth time,)“ have I caught you?" -Then, in a note twice the thickness of the Doctor's anecdote, he questions the Doctor's proficiency in the Turkish tongue, and his veracity in his own. -" For," observes Mr. Thornton (after inflicting on us the tough participle of a Turkish verb), “it means nothing more than Suleyman the eater," and quite cashiers the supplementary "sublimate.” Now both are right, and both are wrorg. If Mr. Thornton, when he next resides "fourteen years in the factory,” will consult his Turkish dictionary, or ask any of his Stamboline acquaintance, he will discover that “Suleyma'n yeyin," put together discreetly, mean “the Swallower of sublimate," without any " Suleyman" in the case; “Suleyma” sign fying "corrosive sublimate," and not being a proper name on this occasion, although it be an orthodox name enough with the addition of n. After Mr. Thornton's frequent hints of profound Orientalism, he might have found this out before he sang such pæans over Dr. Pou. queville.
After this, I think « Travellers versus Factors shall be our motto, though the above Mr. I hornton has condemned "hoc genus omne" for mistake and misrepresentation. “Ne Sutor ultra crepidam," “No merchant beyond his bales.” N. B. For the benefit of Mr. Thornton, “Sutor” is not a proper bame.