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pressions of the human mind, and cannot be understood as such except by self-observation, by discovering in ourselves the powers and tendencies of which history shows us the results. It is by selfobservation that the history of the human race, which otherwise would remain a dead letter, becomes a living language, that establishes an intercourse between the most remote nations and generations of men.
To the student of human nature, it must be of the highest import to watch the progress of the human race, and its improvement, from its first dawn in Asia, the mother of nations and religions, of social institutions, and the centre of the commerce of the ancient world. We see the spirit of improvement advancing with the course of the sun, from the banks of the Ganges to the shores of the Mediterranean, awaking a new life in Egypt, Phoenicia, Palestine ; then calling forth a new world of light in Greece, the original seminary of the arts and sciences, of philosophy and civilization; thence proceeding to Italy, the great school of war and legislation; and successively enlightening all Europe. But when the night of despotism which had overshadowed Asia, began to descend on Europe, the sun of freedom, which had set on the eastern borders of the Atlantic, rose upon this western hemisphere.
Have we reason to believe that the spirit of improvement which has travelled round the earth, has found at last a permanent home? The past seems to promise it; but the fulfilment depends on the future. The history of religion and politics, the foundation of all other social institutions, shows us in Asia, herdsmen, patriarchs, conquerors, and despots, who still preserve their original character as herdsmen of human beings, who are controlled by political and 'religious institutions, as by instinct. In Greece and Italy, the power of one or a few human beings over the rest, was abolished ; individual liberty and self-government were claimed by the people. But while individual liberty had attained its highest state in Athens and Rome, the free citizens exercised a despotic sway over their allies, their provinces, and their slaves. In religion, a few individuals alone threw off the bondage of the established creed and worship of the nation; and the greatest and best of these, atoned with his life for this conscientious assertion of religious liberty. While the freemen maintained tyranny over their fellow men as a matter of right, their freedom itself was only a matter of fact and of force; and was finally overthrown by force. It was reserved for the people of this country, by the declaration of its independence, and in its constitution, to recognise liberty in politics and religion, as the birthright of every human being; to proclaim, that in politics the people themselves are alone and always entitled to frame their constitution and laws; and that in religion even the people have no right to legis
late, the profession and exercise of religion being not a matter of the state, but of individual liberty.
Our destiny, our duty, and our success, are thus adumbrated by our history.
We conclude this article with recommending to our own country, and particularly to our colleges, the Ancient and Modern History of Heeren, translated by Mr. Bancroft, who has thus acquired a new claim to the grateful acknowledgment of the public, for his judicious and truly patriotic endeavours to enrich our own literature with what is most valuable in that of Germany. We have only to add a wish, that the success of this work may encourage the translator, or some other competent mind, to complete it, by the addition of a history of the middle ages in Hee ren's style and spirit.
ART. VI.-GREEK REVOLUTION.
1. -An Historical Sketch of the Greek Revolution. By SAMUEL
J. Howe, M. D. late Surgeon in Chief to the Greek Fleet.
New-York. White. 1828. 2. — The Condition of Greece in 1827 and 1828, being an Exposition of the Poverty, Distress, and Misery to which the Inhabitants have been reduced, by the Destruction of their Towns and Villages, and the Ravages of their Country by a merciless Turkish Foe. By Colonel JONATHAN P. MILLER. New-York. 1828.
THERE has of late been an increasing disposition to think and talk lightly of the Greeks. The disgust which has been felt at the shameful piracies committed in the Archipelago, has been extended to the entire nation; a dislike of the whole has been engendered by the vices of a part. We scarcely need to say, that this mode of reasoning is very unfair. It is particularly so, in respect to this unfortunate people. The condition of Greece has for some years presented to the eye one vast sheet of misery. The fugitives from ruined villages or desolated fields, seek shelter in the mountains, or fly to the coasts. No fair employment awaits them there. It is the alternative of piracy or famine. The world is not their friend, nor the world's law; sickened with the one, they violate the other. When apprehended, the hand must punish, but the heart may pity. Leaving these littoral outcasts to their fate, we should visit the interior, we should contemplate the Greek within his own limits, we should endeavour to ascer.
tain whether he there retains the traces of that bold and lofty character which once blazed in literature, and sounded in war whether the slavery of four centuries has smothered all the sparks of former energy and patriotic fire, and debased their minds to the level of those of their masters. If the result shall disappoint us—if the Greek appears as some have depictured him, selfish, subtle, treacherous, and vindictive, we may deplore the alteration of his character, but we must not despair of the possibility of restoring it, by delivering him from oppression, to all its former dignity.
Still less should we accede to the erroneous and extravagant counter impulse of those who are beginning to discover the virtues and the merits of the Turks. These people are not content to hold the scales even. By a puny mode of reasoning, they pass all that is abstracted from one, to the credit of the other, and if the slave is unworthy, they try to exalt the merits of the tyrant, who has in fact deprived the slave of his worth. To us it distinctly appears a duty on the part of the greater European powers, to emancipate this unfortunate body of men, whatever may be their present debasement, and to recover the country from those who assert no other title to it than conquest ;-a conquest ultimately proceeding from the unjust and unprovoked invasion of the Roman empire, during the reign of Eudocia.
In the preface to Dr. Howe's hasty but valuable work, now before us, sentiments similar to our own are so well expressed, that we shall commence our article by transcribing them.
" The author hesitates not to rank himself among the friends, and even among the admirers, of the Modern Greeks ; for he has been rather surprised at finding so much national spirit, and 80 much virtue among them, than that there was so little ; and he thinks he has seen enough of them, to justify him looking confidently for the day, when they will show themselves worthy of their glorious descent; to the day, when it shall no longer be said with truth, that Philopemen was the last of the Greeks.'
“ The arguments of those who reason upon the present degraded situation of the Greeks, and assert that they are less deserving our notice than the Turks, are not worth the pains of a refutation. The feelings of that man, who regards with perfectly philosophical indifference, such a people, such a cause, and such a coun. try, as that of Greece, are not to be condemned; but, they are not to be envied. And surely a like allowance should be made for the opposite feeling : for that enthusiasm which is pardonable in this cause, if in any ; for it springs from the best feelings of human nature. To admire Greece, and Greeks, for what they have been, may not be rational, but it is natural; to hear the descendant of De. mosthenes speaking the same beautiful language, which fowed like a rill, or thundered like a torrent, from his lips ;-to hear the Modern Greek women say. ing, like the Spartan matron, to her son, as he goes out to battle— With it, or upon it,'--to see the descendant of Miltiades, fighting for liberty on the battleground of Marathon ; are scenes which the scholar cannot contemplate without some emotion ; and the feeling of indifference which philosophy tells him to substitute for it, is an artificial, and not a natural one." Of this, more hereafter. --
We have perused this book with great pleasure, and can justly
recommend it, as a creditable addition to American literature. Bearing the modest title of a sketch, it commences with a short view of the state of Greece, towards the close of the last century.
The country was gradually becoming more enlightened; the impatience of Turkish tyranny inereased, and insurrection was calculated on, as unavoidably to take place, at a period rather more distant than that in which it broke out. Its premature eruption is thus related and accounted for:
“While the prudent but sincere friends of Greece were labouring to establish her future independence by the slow but certain means of enlightening the people; other impatient and fierce, but perhaps not less generous spirits, were burning to hurry her into an immediate struggle with her tyrant; counting more upon their own ardour, and the justice of the cause, than upon the means provided. Such were the men first known as members of the secret society called the Hetaria. Some have attempted to trace back the origin of this famous association to Rhiga, as its founder; certain it is, that Mavrocordato, ex-Hospodar of Moldavia, during his exile in Russia, had the direction of a society, whose pro. fessed end was the amelioration of the situation of the Greeks. Whether this was the Hetaria or not; after his death, its conduct was changed, and every nerve was strained to bring matters to a crisis, and prepare the country for a re. volution. The founders and first directors of the Hetaria, knew human nature well; and wrapped their institution in that solemn mystery, so imposing upon all men, but calculated to make a deep impression upon the young and enthusiastic spirits, whom it was their object to select as their members. They constituted themselves into an imaginary power, under the name of Asx; their persons were unknown; but they male all the inferior grades look up to the Asin with reverence and submission. This invisible power guided all the movements of the society ; received all the moneys, and appointed emissaries to go to every part of Europe where Greeks were to be found. These emissaries (aces6lónas) sought out, and initiated into the mysteries of the society, as many Greeks as they could find, with the necessary qualifications, viz.
, those who were ready to swear to consider every earthly tie and interest as of no force, compared with their sworn duty to the Hetaria.
• It was in itself most interesting and gratifying, to see Grecce rousing herself after a lethargy of ages, and her sons pledging their fortunes, honours, and lives, to free her from bondage. But when a member was to be admitted into the He. taria, every art was practised to make it more solemn and impressive: the candidate was brought at midnight, to a room lighted by only one taper, which was placed upon a table covered with a black cloth, on which was laid a skull and thigh bones, and the image of the cross. After solemnly declaring, that his only object in demanding to be made a Hetarist, was to serve in the great work of emancipating his country, he was catechized; many ceremonies were performed: and then the priest, or admitting brother, received him, saying : Before the face of the invisible and omnipresent true God, who in his essence is just, the avenger of transgression, the chastiser of evil; by the law of the Hetaria, and by the authority with which its powerful priests have intrusted me, I receive you, as I was myself received, into the bosom of the Hetaria.' The novice, still on his knees before the holy sign of the cross, then repeated a most solemn oath, which ended thus: 'I swear that henceforward I will not enter into any other society, or bond of obligation, but whatever bond, or whatever else I may possess in the world, I will hold as nothing compared to the Hetaria. I swear that I will nourish in my heart, irreconcilable hatred against the tyrants of my country, their followers, and their favourers: I will exert every method for their injury, and when circumstances will permit, for their destruction. Last of all, I swear by thee, my sacred and suffering country, I swear by thy long endured tortures, I swear by the bitter tears which for so many centuries have been shed by thy unhappy children; by my own tears, which I am pouring out at this very
moment; I swear by the future liberties of my countrymen, that I consecrate myself wholly to thee : that henceforth these shall be the cause and object of my thoughts; thy name, the guide of my actions; and thy happiness, the recompense of my labours. »
“One hundred dollars was paid by each member on admission, which was transmitted to the public chest, kept by the Asxn, or invisible government. Every facility was given for admission, and, like the Carbonari, any one member could constitute another, by calling a third as witness. This did not so much endanger the secrets of the society as might be supposed ; for except those who received some most lucrative employ from the Turks, no Greek, however base he might be, could help bearing a most deadly hatred toward them; or longing for the hour when he might take deadly vengeance for the horrible injuries done to his race; and wash out in Turkish blood, the insults and injuries he had re. ceived from the hour of his birth. The society spread most rapidly : thousands became members, in the southern parts of Russia, and in the various kingdoms of Europe. They were found in every mountain-hamlet of Roumelia, in every valley of the Peloponessus, and in every island of the Archipelago ; nor there alone, but the large Turkish towns abounded with them; and they brooded upon their schemes, under the very walls of the Seraglio at Constantinople. Their plan, bold, extensive, and magnificent, was worthy of the descendants of ancient Greeks. On an appointed day, every castle in the Morea was to be attacked; fire put to every arsenal and ship-yard throughout the Turkish empire, and their Aames, with those of the Sultan's Palace, were to be the beacon, to tell all Greece that her hour of vengeance had come.
“But the Hetaria did not rely solely upon the zeal and voluntary exertions of. individual members; certain ones were selected, and sent forth by the governors of the society, not only to make proselytes, but to keep awake the hopes of the people, and by hints and promises, engage them to hold themselves in readiness for a sudden and general effort, upon the first favourable occasion. Many of these, exceeding perhaps their orders, gave themselves out as emissaries of Russia; who they said was preparing to free Greece, and possess herself of Turkey."
The nature of this association has not, we believe, been heretofore given so fully to the public, and it merits the attention of those who are not aware of the full effect of secret combinations, which sometimes promote a good cause, and not unfrequently increase the mischief of bad ones.
To the latter, secrecy is a shelter from good government, but in the present case, it was necessary to protect the purest motives from the jealousy and cruelty of a government of the worst kind. It was wonderful, that the secret confided to such numbers, should have been preserved so long, in a country where all unusual assemblages of people excited suspicion; but the explosion seems to have been quite unexpected.
The war made by the Sultan upon Ali the Pasha of Albania, was the signal, and they resolved to strike the blow. selection of Alexander Ipselanti (so the author spells the name,) as director, the Hetarists are charged with much want of judgment; he is said to have been brave, without enterprise, learned, without a knowledge of men, and vain, without self confidence. His unsuccessful commencement is well known. But by the 1st of May 1821, the insurrection had become general. “ Ipselanti in Moldavia, the Suliotes in Albania, all the Morea, and many of the islands, were in arms.” The vindictive massacres