THE HELLENIC KINGDOM
A LONG residence in the East, and long intercourse with the Greeks, have created in the mind of the writer of this pamphlet, a strong interest in the fate of the Greek people, and a deep conviction of the existence of great latent energies in their national character. The present state of the Turkish Empire, and the creation of the Hellenic Kingdom, have given a certain degree of political importance to the whole Greek nation, and awakened a hope in the breasts of all those who speak the Greek language, of being one day united under the same laws, institutions, and govern- ment. Feeling persuaded that very much is yet to be learned concerning the Greek people, before their progress cati be justly estimated or efficiently aided; and seeing that very inaccurate ideas of the mental capabilities and moral qualities of the nation are prevalent at home, the writer ventures on the publication of these observations, with the hope either of giving the public more accurate impressions than those generally entertained, or else of inducing some other writer better able to illustrate the subject than himself, to take up the pen. As his object is strict accuracy, he begs that his attempt may be judged rather by its truth than by its style.
Since he may be considered as stepping forward as the advocate of the Greeks, he is anxious to disclaim all intention of being the enemy of the Turks. He feels, indeed, the strongest detestation of their government; regarding its existence as inseparable from the perpetration of evil, and the debasement of the moral feelings of its subjects. Still, he doubts not, that where a people possesses a distinct national character, there exist, in the very causes of that national character, the means of calling into existence a sound political system of government. Now, as the Turks have for ages retained their peculiar nationality, perpetuated and preserved by a distinct language, there can be little doubt, that if their institutions were formed into a just political organization, the good features of human nature would soon, even in their public administration, dominate over the bad; and it is in their public administration that the chief seat of Turkish corruption is to be found. The official Turk is generally false, tyrannical, and bloody; but those who have been intimately acquainted with private individuals of the better classes of society, agree in declaring them to be just, humane, and honourable, while the national courage in every rank of society is undeniable.
The crime therefore, of its own suicide, must rest with the Turkish government, but the defects of the social system of Turkey, which must soon cause a dissolution of the empire, are inherent in the circumstance of the population of these countries. Could each race of people in this extensive realm, be separated from the rest by some all-powerful fiat, and those who speak a peculiar language, or are amalgamated by a similarity of usages, institutions, and religion, be entirely kept apart by geographical boundaries, then, perhaps, it would not be a hopeless task to attempt the political improvement of the Turkish Empire by some systematic combinations. As any such wild speculation is, however, not likely to be realized, and as the Turk, Greek, Arnaout, Armenian, Curd, Arab, and Drusee, are likely to remain for ages mingled together in different parts of the Ottoman Empire, it is probable that the shifts of diplomatic convenience will have a more direct influence on the fate of the provinces and people of the Turkish Empire than any considerations relating to the feelings and prospects of its population.
From this general indifference, however, the Greek nation has already secured an exemption. A part of its population has already entered the pale of the European republic as an independent state, and the existence of the Hellenic Kingdom is deeply connected with the political schemes of diplomacy in the East. That part of the Greek nation which has secured its independence, must henceforth exert so powerful an influence on the millions of which the whole people is composed, that their feelings can no longer be neglected in any arrangements concerning their ultimate fate, if it be expected that such arrangements are to be permanent. The object, therefore, of these observations, is to present a faithful account of the leading features of the present moral and political condition of the inhabitants of the Hellenic Kingdom, and to examine the means by which they are likely to exert a permanent and beneficial moral influence on the condition of their countrymen, who are yet subjects of the Turkish and Russian Empires.
Athens, 25, July, 1836.
In the present state of the East, when the important problem of the fall of the Ottoman Empire and of the subsequent fate of its mighty relics, both engage and alarm the statesmen of Western Europe, the affairs of the Greek nation must force themselves on the attention of the British public. Nearly five millions of souls speak the Hellenic language, and are closely united together by a community of feelings, institutions, literature, and religion, which has been powerful enough, during the vicissitudes of two thousand years, to preserve their distinct nationality, even though it has been lost in the interval by different races of their conquerors. The fate of the new Hellenic kingdom, which the alliance of England, France, and Russia has founded, while it will, if the new state be well governed, exercise an extensive influence on this powerful body, must, on the ther hand, itself be liable to be affected, and, perhaps, at times directed by national feelings, having their origin beyond the limits of the kingdom. The fortunes of Greece and the fate of the Greeks are not confined to that famous spot of earth, celebrated for the number of its independent republics in ancient times, and for the smallness of its independent kingdom in modern; and if the incapacity of foreign lawgivers succeeds for a time in arresting the progress of native talent in this spot, other places will be found free from the inconvenience of these restrictions, where the political and intellectual fervour now circulating in the veins of the nation, will display itself with additional force. Many artisans and shepherds have already emigrated from liberated Greece, at the moment her rulers are inviting immigration. The same measures which produce these emigrations, may induce the learned and the wealthy to follow the example, and both Russia and Turkey would offer them a distinguished reception; while in the latter it would not be very difficult for them to exert a powerful moral influence over their coun-trymen — an influence not likely to prove very favourable to the system or the country which had driven them into exile.
As there can be little doubt in the minds of those who have paid attention to the affairs of the East, that the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire must very soon take place, in spite of the forbearance which the armed force of England and France imposes on Russia and Egypt — it becomes probable, nay, almost certain, that the most influential political body which will replace the European part of Turkey, if it do not fall under the dominion of Russia, must be composed of the Greek nation. Their numbers, and their superiority in knowledge to the rest of the inhabitants of these countries, will secure them this fortune, by whatever arrangements, or under whatever modifications, diplomacy may find itself compelled to carry this result into execution.
The immense importance of establishing a national system of administration in the Hellenic kingdom must hence be apparent. Without such a system, no good moral influence can be exerted over the national mind, nor can the people be pre- pared for availing themselves in a worthy manner of any favourable changes in their condition. Unless a just and national system of government be established in the new state, the numerous body of wealthy Greeks at present residing in Russia, Austria, and Turkey, will be more inclined to direct their attention to the formation of a dependent mercantile community under the guarantee of these three powers, than risk their fortunes and happiness in order to share the imaginary political independence of their poor, over-taxed, and oppressed countrymen.
The terrible effects of the Greek revolution, and the barbarous conduct of the Turkish goyernment during its continuance, have for the present collected all the Greeks of talent and influence, of whatever province, in the liberated state. The Hellenic kingdom possesses, from this circumstance, an extraordinary power of directing the improvement of the political, moral, and religious state of the nation. The knowledge that the greater part of the literary men of talent, and the most respected of the Greek clergy are now citizens of Greece, keeps the eyes of the population of Turkey directed for example and instruction to the new kingdom, and will continue to do so, as long as the stirring events of the revolutionary war are fresh in their minds. But what permanent influence can a population of six hundred and fifty thousand souls, in a corner of the Archipelago, hope to exert over the four millions of Greeks who are scattered over Europe and Asia, unless that influence be based on the example of a national system of government, a popular literature, and a superior religious education.
Now, as the present administration of Greece is not yet settled on any consistent national system, but a foreign prime minister, with the advice of the diplomatic agents of the protecting powers, still directs, with absolute power, the whole of the public business according to temporary exigencies; liberated Greece is rapidly approaching the critical moment when it will be decided whether she is to stop in her short career, and sit down the poorest, and, proportionally, the heaviest taxed country in Europe; or whether, by the cultivation of her national institutions, by the application of the principle of publicity, and the control of public opinion to her internal organization, and the strictest economy to her financial affairs, the Hellenic kingdom is to serve as the model on which the Greek nation will rebuild the fabric of their political society. By establihhimg a strict administration of justice, complete security of private property, and a sound system of civil and religious education based on national instittutions, the Hellenic kingdom has it in its power to do more for the civilization of the East, and for the consolidation of a moral power beyond the influence of Russian control, than all the fleets and armies of England and France can ever achieve.
Three years and a half have now elapsed since the Government of Greece has been exclusively entrusted to foreign statesmen. Three years and a half ago, a numerous body of Bavarian troops, infantry, cavalry, artillery, and engineers, arrived in Greece, flushed with all the fervour of military enthusiasm. Bands of irregular and lawless soldiery, a half clad people suffering under the pressure of famine, and a country everywhere, laid waste, in which a tree or a cottage was no where to be seen, offered certainly no very inviting prospect to the new rulers. Had the Regency consisted of men more experienced in practical affairs, its members would have felt that their foreign troops were too numerous and much too expensive for a permanent royal guard; and that they were not numerous enough nor sufficiently experienced to be of any use as a conquering army. The glittering arms of these fine troops, and the golden prospects of the high pay, secured by the funds which the allied powers had placed at the disposition of the Regency, and which they generously lavished on their country-men, removed the sombre colouring which the future might otherwise have offered. Nothing was heard at Nauplia but the sounds of rejoicing. The Greek people, delighted with the hopes of tranquillity, and regarding the presence of their monarch, as a guarantee for all the advantages of an European Government, hailed his arrival with the sincerest joy. The Regency received the homage of the nation, with the assurances of protection, defence, and civilization. In a few days Greeks and Bavarians mingled together in public festivities, and perfect unity of purpose seemed to pervade Greece. Promises and prophecies were loudly made concerning the progress which Greece was soon to make in arts and arms. The Genius of Hellas, aided by Teutonic judgment, was expected to create a new era; and already visions of another Greek empire, and projects for colonizing the east, from the banks of the Iser, floated in the imaginations of the statesmen who composed or surrounded the Regency.
Such was the state of Nauplia in the early days of Count Armansperg's presidency. Let it be compared with the actual state of Greece, now that he is Archchancellor, after two years, at least, of as absolute power as generally falls to the lot of a Grand Vizier. What progress has Greece yet made in commerce, civil and military organization and public security? What has the much vaunted Teutonic judgment done for the improvement of Greece? Where are now the visions of the new Bavaro-Greek empire, and where the long-cherished project of a German America blooming in the Levant?
It is true that Greece, during the intermediate period, has been gradually rising from her ruins; the people are settling down to agricultural occupations; new houses are everywhere being built; land is rapidly reclaiming, and vineyards are in some favouted districts climbing the sides of the rugged hills. The Greek is again, as formerly, heard singing, and seen dancing after the labours of the day. Does he not then acknowledge that he owes this amelioration of his circumstances to the gay strangers who landed in the Peloponnesus, with their glittering helmets some three years and a half ago? The writer has often asked this question, and he has invariably received for answer, a negative. "No; we owe it to the presence of our king, and to the protection of the allied powers,'' is almost invariably the reply. So just are the observations of the Greeks on the real situation of their public affairs. We believe that our readers will see, in the course of these observations, that the Greeks are perfectly right, and that their progress has been made in spite of an anti-national system of civil administration, and a total want of all system in a series of blundered military, legislative, and financial measures.
During the first days of the Regency, every thing was decided by rules and prejudices, imported from Germany; and the object of the Government appeared to be, to assimilate Greece to Bavaria, in the shortest possible time. That scheme having failed, the object of the present day seems to be, to render it as unlike, what it had become in the late attempt, as possible. The inconsiderate conduct of Mr. Maurer, during the period he held the direction of the Regency, and the failure of General Heideck's military operation's in Maina, and hid measures to form a foreign mercenary army in Greece, overthrew the moral respect paid to the Bavarians on their arrival : while Count Armansperg's neglect of all military system in forming an army has compelled him to entrust the suppression of the late re-bellion in Acarnania, to bands of irregular soldiery enrolled for the occasion by the Greek chiefs, whom General Heideck's persecution has rendered the opponents of all organization in military affairs.
The truth is, there never were two people between whom less real sympathy can exist, than between the Germans and the Greeks. The highest German functionaries in the kingdom, have never appeared to take any interest in the internal amelioration of the country, nor, though some of them have received salaries equal to the incomes of the ten wealthiest landed proprietors in Greece united, have they ever expended one dollar on the improvement of the country, from which they have drawn this exorbitant pay. Not one of the Bavarians has planted a tree or a vineyard, though many of the other foreigners of inferior incomes, English, Americans, French, Russians, and Italians, have contributed liberally to the ornament and improvement of those parts of Greece which they have inhabited. The English do not owe less to the Dutch, who accompanied William III. or to the Hanoverians, who attended George I to London, than the Greeks do to the Bavarians who have accompanied king Otho. If Greece, therefore, is to form an independent state, and if king Otho is to rule a happy and flourishing people, it must be by the exertions of the Greeks themselves. Greece must rise or fall by the national institutions and national character of the people. Its Government, good or bad, must be such as they themselves can administer, suitable to their wants, and capable of being carried into executioii by their means.
Before proceeding to our observations on the national institutions and character of the people, and the form of the general internal administration of Government, to which these naturally lead; we conceive it necessary to give a slight sketch of the most remarkable of the social features of the Greek population, prior to the establishment of the Hellenic kingdom.
ON THE STATE OF THE GREEK POPULATION PRIOR TO THE ESTABUSHMENT OF THE HELLENIC KINGDOM.
It is certainly impossible to give an accurate view of the state of a people, without possessing a just estimate of their national character. It has ever been considered difficult to form an accurate estimate of the Greek character ; and in this sketch, it is not expected to accomplish that which natives themselves own to be a hard task. We shall only endeavour to state what appear the prominent features of the people, and the circumstances which exert a peculiar influence on their condition. These features appear to us extremely diflterent from those generally selected as characteristic of the nation in Western Europe.
No race of men can carry with them a more distinct identity of character than the Greek. In all the varied circumstances of the Ottoman and Russian Empires, whether as crowned slaves on the thrones of Wallachia, or as starving warriors on the mountains of Maina, a similarity of national character stamps them as Greeks. The first feature which makes an impression on strangers, is the rapidity with which the Greek, of every station, combines and classes his ideas, and refers all his actions to the guidance of his mental faculties, whether his mental inclinations be virtuous or vicious. The vices, however, of the Greeks, drawn into relief by circumstances, have rendered their character an unpopular one, and, as usually happens with all unpopular characters, a number of new vices have been most unfoundedly attributed to it; and even some of its virtues have been decried as vices. Many of these ascribed vices are the mere modifications of circumstances, and by no means inherent features in the national character : they would quickly vanish, if a better destiny were opened to the people.
The extreme difficulty of pourtraying, at fall length, the Greek character, must be immediately felt by any one who reflects on the varied fate of the different portions of this singular people. Let us examine the commonest accusation current against the Greeks in the seaports of the Mediterranean. The dealers in figs and raisins generally describe the Greeks as a race of the rankest cowards. Nay, the whole Frank population of the Levant unite at least in this accusation. Yet amidst all the warlike tribes who march to battle under the eye of the predestinated Turk, the Roumeliot Greek has ever enjoyed the very highest reputation for valour. His services are sought for by the Pashas of Europe and Asia, and he is placed on a footing with the Arnaout as his equal in courage. What, too, but a respect for the courage, as well as a confidence in the fidelity of the Greek armatoli, could have induced the Turks to preserve this Christian militia for nearly four centuries? Surely on this subject few will be inclined to doubt whether the opinion of the Turkish officers or the Frank merchants is best entitled to credit. The truth is, the falsity of the Fanariot statesmen, and the meanness of the Rayah traders are not more proverbial in the East, than the frankness and courage of the Roumeliots, or the pride and honesty of the Hydriots. The naval islanders, the Mainotes, Suliots, and Roumeliot population are all constitutionally brave and habitually war-like. Indeed, the little kingdom of Greece can boast, in proportion to its population, not too small, but far too large a number of active and daring soldiers, not inferior in any warlike quality except discipline, to any troops in Europe; and in many of the qualities of the soldier, superior to almost all others. We make this assertion with the full conviction, that several European officers, who have served with the Greek troops, will readily vouch for its accuracy.
Let us not suppose, however, that the debased character and unsettled principles of the Fanariots, the turbulence of the Roumeliots, and the intriguing spirit of the Moreat primates embrace all the prominent phases of the Greek character, and that, as some say, the Greek is incapable of tranquillity and steady domestic industry. The contrary appears from experience to be the real case. From the occupation of the most flourishing part of the Greek population, it may be inferred, that the natural bias of their character is not so much inclined either to war or commerce, as to rural occupations and agriculture. It has been remarked by all travellers, that no rural population in Europe has ever arrived at a higher degree of civil organization, arranged their local governments better, or displayed more energy and judgment in the conduct of their municipal concerns, than the Greeks. Without running over a long catalogue of names, we may refer to the state of many of the Greek islands, to the population in the mountains of Thessaly and Lower Macedonia, to Talanta, Livadhea, and several districts of the Morea prior to the revolution, and to several communities of Greeks in the Ottoman Empire at the present day. Every village, in which there was no resident Turk, if the property of the soil belonged to the inhabitants, invariably presented a happy and industrious aspect. The people were employed about their own private affairs, and in order to transact the public business of the village, they elected one or more of their most experienced and respectable fellow-citizens to act as chief magistrate. To these magistrates, called Demo-gerontes, were united the parish priest, and to them was entrusted the whole civil and police jurisdiction. Even the collection of the public taxes was generally transacted by their means, and the amount was thus remitted to the Turkish authorities, without that oppression which usually marked the direct communication of Turks with Greeks. Much of that strong spirit of nationality, which has ever formed a leading feature in the Greek character, and has enabled the people to transmit to the present generation some of the institutions and usages, as well as the language of the ancient republics, is to be ascribed to this system of local governments.
Before we say any thing more concerning the institutions of Greece, let us conclude our desultory observations on the national character of its natives. The most prominent features in the character of the Greek under every varied change in his lot, are, we think, activity of mind, general intelligence, and aptitude to comprehend and receive the mental impressions of others, inquisitivenes and a love of knowledge, joined to a strong desire for personal independence and equality. These feelings, we think, may be traced in all the provinces where the Greek language is spoken, and seem constantly to have exerted their influence on the nation. We do not pretend to deny, that many of these feelings may, and that some are often misled to evil, but still we doubt not, that every candid inquirer will be convinced, that possessing these feelings, the Greek must have a national character capable of leading him to the highest pitch of mental improvement, and the power of so modelling his institutions, that he may not only ensure his moral progress where he has already gained political independence, but must obtain also the amelioration of his moral and social condition, even where he remains subjected to a foreign yoke.
In considering the condition of the Greeks at the period of the establishment of the present monarchy, it must be recollected that the war of the revolution had reduced the surviving population to a state of the most complete destitution. All agricultural stock was extirpated, houses, barns, and stables were destroyed, fruit trees and 1vineyards rooted up, the very forests from which the dwellings might have heen reconstructed, were every where humed down, lest they should afford shelter to the unsubdued population. The sword, famine, and disease had reduced the inhabitants of the continent and the Morea to about one-third of their original number. We believe there has been no war in modern times in which an equal loss of property and life has been sustained by any people, which, amidst this suffering, has remained unsubdued. From the commencement of 1821 to the end of 1832, Greece has been deprived of every internal resource. Her commerce, on which a population of at least 250,000 souls was directly dependent for subsistence, was completely annihilated. The commercid navy, which had formerly not only maintained all this multitude, but likewise added annually to the national capital, suddenly became a drain on former savings; for the whole revenues of the Archipelago did not suffice to pay and provision the fleet for a few months every year, without providing any fund for purchasing stores and ammunition, or for the necessary repairs of the vessels, all which had to be furnished from the former savings of the proprietors of the ship.
The armed population on the continent amounted at times to fifty thousand men, and as the labour of most of these was withdrawn from agriculture, this immense body had also to be maintained, in great part, from the accumulated capital of the country. In the meantime, all the richest plains remained uncultivated, from being the seats of war, and exposed to the incursions of the Turkish cavalry. It is not, therefore, to be wondered at, that a few years should have sufficed to consume the whole native resources of Greece. The flocks and cattle were all consumed for the support of the soldiery, and the shepherds became bands of soldiers in order that they might themselves eat up their own sheep, and when their own flocks were consumed, what could they become but bands of robbers?
Even with the immense supplies which Greece received from the Philhellenic committees of Europe and America, the revolution seemed not unfrequently to be in some degree of danger of extinction from the actual starvation of the whole population. Without the Philhellenic supplies, the English loans, and the long series of payments made by France to Capodistrias, the whole population of the continent must in the end have emigrated; for, from the year 1821 to 1832 Greece imported several months' subsistence every year; and, during this period, the grain and provisions imported have been valued at £800,000 sterling, for which she had no produce to offer in return; and it is known that thousands of individuals in Greece have passed weeks without tasting bread, living entirely on wild herbs.
The extreme difficulty of finding nourishment for the soldiers, soon became one of the greatest sources of the internal disorders which afflicted the country during the war. When the greater part of Greece was exhausted, the leaders of the troops were compelled either to dispute the possession of those provinces which still offered some resources, or, by 21 yielding their possession to others, confess their military skill and power inferior to that of their fortunate rival, and disband their troops. Emulation once roused, the civil war for the maintenance of the troops was soon carried on with as much vigour and animosity as the wair with the Turks. After civil war had commenced, it was not at all unnatural, that combinations of chiefs, formed to seize or secure the possession of particular provinces, should attempt to make their tenure more permanent, by striving to render themselves masters of the renis of government, and thus become the dispensers amongst their own followers of the supplies of provisions which arrived in a constant stream from the excited feelings of Europe.
Let not the unreflecting fancy, as we have often heard asserted, that these very supplies were the real cause of the civil war, or even suppose that they did not tend very considerably to alleviate the miseries of Greece.
We cannot here pass unnoticed the hackneyed assertion, that the strongest point of resemblance between the modern and ancient Greeks, is their love of civil war and faction. We shall, therefore, venture to say a few words in defence of both the ancients and the moderns on this subject. The ancient Greek republics were, in spite of their diminutive size, as much independent states, and had as good a right of appealing to club law, as any modern autocrat in Europe, and probably did so, generally, on quite as legitimate causes of quarrel. Sparta was certainly as much justified by the principles of political wisdom, in striving to establish oligarchy throughout Greece, as Russia is now in striving to uphold absolute monarchy throughout the civilized world. Athens consulted her true interest as much in opposing Sparta, and extending her democratic propaganda, as England does hers, in opposing Russia and supporting the principles of constitutional liberty. Nor are the historical results of a comparison with ancient Greece more favourable to the critics. Athens was indeed far smaller than Great Britain in extent of territory, less numerous in population, and poorer in wealth; yet, in arts, literature, and all intellectual glory, she does not suffer by a comparison. The Macedonian state was smaller than the kingdom of France before each engaged in that career of conquest which flattered them with universal empire. In courage and in military skill and conduct, the Macedonians do not appear to have been inferior to the French, while in the success of their undertakings, and the permanency of their conquests, they have a good deal to boast over their modern rivals.
But with regard to that division into factions which so strongly marked the internal constitution of the Greek states, and which has been supposed to impel the moderns to civil war by an hereditary instinct, we can only observe, that we are much more inclined to blame the ancient Greeks for their abuse of power when obtained, than for their formation of parties to obtain it. We see every where that party spirit is inseparable from the expression of that difference of opinion which is the natural consequence and the surest guarantee of a free government; and that what is called faction, is most prominent in the most enlightened and civilized countries and periods. That the parties in the Greek republics abused success, is, perhaps, rather to be attributed to the imperfect political institutions of their states, which compelled them to nourish fierceness of manners as a defence against tyranny. Perhaps we ourselves, in some very recent occurrences at home, owe our tranquillity more to the power of our political organization and the influence of our manners, than either to the personal moderation, or the want of factious feelings in our political leaders.
Various moral and political causes produced the civil wars and factions of the ancient Greeks; totally different causes produced those of the modern; but it is doubtless far easier to say with Lord Byron's French Athenian, "Sir, they are the same canaille that existed in the days of Themistocles," and that, as the descendants of the ancients, they are impelled to faction and civil war by a natural hereditary instinct, than to inquire into the causes of these civil wars and factions, however simple and apparent they may be.
We believe that the fact of the Greek troops being compelled to consume more than the annual produce of the country, and the natural instinct of armed men to help themselves, is quite sufficient to explain the commencement of the civil wars in modern Greece; and we believe the circumstances in which the country was placed, sufficiently explain the permanence of these disorders, without seeking for any marked tendency to these vices in the national character. Can it be regarded as any thing remarkable, that the Hydriots, Speziots, Psariots, Cretans, Samiats, Suliots, Roumeliots, and Peloponnesians should act as separate tribes, and attack one another to secure the means of existence when suffering under the pressure of famine, and allured by the hope of comparative wealth and power? Is it peculiar to modern Greece, that unprincipled politicians should strive to excite the turbulence of soldiers, in order to serve their own personal intrigues; or is it in the Greek revolution for the first time that national resources and public wealth have been squandered for party purposes?
Let it not, then, be made an especial reproach to the Greek revolution, that it is deeply stained with domestic strife; but let the critic who will not examine the causes of these vices, point out where the sword has ever been drawn in the holiest cause, without all the worst feelings of human nature, as well as the noblest, displaying themselves in the struggle, and finding the means of augmenting the misfortunes and rousing the passions of mankind— and let him reflect, that no Greek in all their civil wars, even when unsuccessful, ever called in the aid of the national enemy.
We hope, as we proceed, we shall be able to show, that there are circumstances in the present state of the country, which render more than probable that the people will now seek for other occupations than war : if the measures of their rulers permit them. We do not, indeed, hesitate to say, that if the disinterested passion for blows which so strongly characterised the ancient Greeks, were to be a leading feature in the modern Greek character, we should abandon all hope of ever seeing any rational civilization introduced into liberated Greece.
During the state of destitution which prevailed in Greece, from the breaking out of the war until the arrival of King Otho, there were two periods of comparative tranquillity, which strongly marked the elasticity and enterprise of the Greek character, and which prove the truth of the assertion, that there is in the country a very marked attachment to the quiet pursuits of rural industry.
In the Morea, the year 1823 was one of comparative tranquillity, and it was supposed that more land was cultivated during that year, with the war raging around, than had been cultivated for some years prior to the revolution. The next period of tranquillity was that which ensued during the presidency of Count Capodistrias. Then, although no arrangements were made for facilitating the employment of capital in property, although no sales of building ground took place, and although the farmers could neither purchase dwelling houses, gardens, nor vineyards, nor obtain leases for a term of years of the land they cultivated, although the internal trade from one port to another remained subject to a duty of six per cent.; still many houses were built on national property, gardens and vineyards planted, and much national land was brought under cultivation in every part of the country, without any guarantee having been obtained by the cultivators to secure the permanent enjoyment of the fruits of their labours.
Capodistrias, however, during the first two years of his government, before he placed his policy in direct opposition to the feelings of the nation, maintained a degree of order in the public administration, which was rapidly gaining confidence, and inducing considerable capital to be devoted to agricultural improvements. The circumstance of greater order having existed in Greece during the presidency of Count Capodistrias, than at any other period of the revolution, down even to the present day, has been the cause of the feeling of respect which seems generally entertained for his talents in Europe. That he was really very superior in talents to any of the statesmen who have succeeded him, there can be no doubt; but as his talents were those of a man exercised in the combinations of circumstances, and in the exposition of measures, not those of one habituated to examine general principles, or connect the execution of isolated measures with a general system of administration, we have very great doubts whether he ought really to derive more credit for the temporary improvement of Greece during his early government, than Charles X, who furnished him with the money necessary to pay the irregular troops with regularity, and thus secure their observance of order.
Neither Capodistrias, nor his successors in power to this day, have ever felt that the government of a country by foreigners, and especially the government of a new country, in order to be in harmony with its subjects, must submit its measures to the test of public opinion, and learn from that tribunal the modifications which may be necessary from the exigencies of actual circumstances.
The general government of a new country, where the bonds of social union are slightly tied, must attempt as little as possible to command the people; for it should never allow them to know what they may easily discover, that it may command without the power of enforcing obedience. In all the details of administration, it must study existing usages and habits where they dawn into incipient institutions, and, by aiding and directing them in their progress, it must seek to secure the execution of its wishes without compromising its authority. If it be impossible, as may sometimes be the case, to prevent the people going wrong, government had better, by a judicious modification of the evils resulting from the error, gradually seek to enlighten the people, than, by opposing the torrent, run the risk of creating disorders more dangerous than the evils it would avoid. The truth indeed is, that in three times out of four, the people, in cases of internal administration, are more likely to be right than the government.
No government, too, which has not the halo of antiquity to adorn it, or the prejudices of feudality or religion in its favour, is now likely to be regarded as any thing more than an agent, whom the people have named to transact the general business of the state, as the town councils are named to transact the business of the communities, whatever may be the modifications to which it is submitted in order to secure stability. Unless, therefore, the government of a new country act in unison with the habits and views of the nation, not only will the progress of both be arrested, but they will soon be placed in opposition, and the opinions of one must quickly succumb to the power of the other. The superior knowledge of statesmen in that which is their own peculiar business, is too apt to lead them to consider their good intentions a warrant for rashly deciding in favour of their own opinions; but they ought to recollect, that as servants of the nation, they cannot know better than their employers what tends most to those employers' happiness.
We conceive that the administration of Count Capodistrias deviated too markedly from the course here signalised, to have aided much towards the permanent improvement of Greece. It was a series of unconnected measures, adopted according to a very confined and partial view of the modifications of every varying event — not based on any plan of internal organization of the nation, and not even reduced to a uniform system. It is true, Capodistrias was placed in difficult circumstances. It was not in his power, before a treaty had been concluded with Turkey, to venture on reducing the number of the armed population; nor would it perhaps have been prudent to adopt any general measures relating to the distribution and cultivation of the national lands, to which the military made just claims of participation. Still he had it in his power to systematise the commercial organization of Greece already in existence, and to settle the mass of exiles from the Turkish islands and provinces, who were then wandering about the country; yet he did all he could to destroy the first, and he left the exiles to perish with hunger, or return to become industrious subjects of Turkey. The professional statesmen of the continent seem, however, in general, from the prejudices of an education amidst the strictest routine, little adapted for new or unusual conjunctures; and Oxenstiern's remark on the rarity of common sense, is probably as applicable to the statesmen of the present day, as it was to those of his own.
The views of Capodistrias with regard to internal administration, seem to have been peculiarly erroneous when applied to Greece, and his political economy and domestic policy were quite as vicious as his foreign politics. His only defence seems to be, that he may have conscientiously believed, that Greece could only be happy and tranquil when dependent on Russia, and that the euthanasia of the revolution was the incorporation of the whole Greek nation in the empire of all the Russias. That he was at heart a Russian, and an enemy to the freedom of Greece, is the general opinion of his countrymen, who accuse him of sacrificing their future prospects to personal ambition and views of family aggrandisement. Whatever progress, therefore, the Greeks may have made during his administration, must be attributed entirely to their own energetic and enterprising character.
We shall now attempt to investigate the causes which have chiefly tended to create and perpetuate this energy in the national character. This peculiar feature of the Greek is no where so conspicuous as in the manner in which, after the most dreadful calamities, and the almost total annihilation of the resources of his country, he sets himself to work to commence a new life of industry, and by which, the moment the union of half-a-dozen families takes place, he lays the first foundations of civil government. It is an interesting subject of speculation to examine to what causes it is owing, that the conduct of the Greek peasant tends, by the shortest path, to the advancement of the political and social organization of his country, and to fixing on a firm and intelligible basis, the whole relations of individuals to the general government; while the scientific measures of Counts Capodistrias and Armansperg harve all ended in total failure, and in an awkward attempt to fit centralization and European laws to a people whose usages and institutions are totally incompatible with the machinery required for the execution of these foreign regulations. Can there be a better proof that the institutions of the Greeks are more suitable for constructing a good practical system of government, than the patch work of modern philosophy and amended feudalism which German employes seem to fancy the perfection of statescraft, and which forms the cumbrous machine by which the higher classes of Germany contrive to locate themselves on their native states, in order to receive salaries rung from the people, under the pretext of doing work which, we are inclined to suspect, might in many cases, with greater advantage to the community, be left undone?
The institutions of a people can never be suddenly altered by legislative enactments, for they form a more important and influential part of national existence than laws themselves. The institutions of a people give the true stamp to the national character, and their strength will be always attended with beneficial effects. Thus, when the institutions exerted so little influence on her government as to leave the manners of the court and army the only centre of national feeling, and made these, in the general opinion, the practical guarantees of ideal benefits, the seeds were sown of a revolution which destroyed the whole civil organization of the nation, and which is likely to make the French of the future a totally different people from the French of the past; while, on the other hand, the strength of the institutions of England connected the relations of every individual with the general administration of the state, and placed the centre of national feeling in that expression of the political rights of the people, called the English constitution, which may be justly termed the ideal guarantee of a practical good, — and thus these institutions secured the means of ameliorating that constitution according to every new exigency of society, by referring the proposed changes to the principles on which the national institutions are themselves based.
The effects of the peculiar institutions of the Greeks are quite as remarkable, and exercise as extensive an influence on their character, as those even of the English. No social feature is more remarkable, and perhaps none less agreeable to strangers, than a species of local patriotism, which draws a marked line of distinction between the immediate society of which each separate community consists. The Greek rarely speaks of his nation, yet he speaks continually, and with enthusiasm, of his country — an epithet which he applies to his native village. Whether his birth-place be the barren mountains of Suli, the rocky islands of Hydra or Psara, or the marshes of Missolonghi — still it contains for him every endearing and patriotic association which other nations find in their more enlarged signification of country. This system of egoism is extended still farther, for the Greeks have generally restricted the signification of Christian to a member of their own church, if they do not use it to express their own nationality as distinct from the other people and sects of Turkey.
Their common religion and language, and a similar source of oppression, whilst they separated the Greeks from their conquerors, kept them linked together by these points of friendly contact; but it was their strong local sympathies which alone united their hearts, and which, by making every little community stand together and feel as one man, transmitted to the present generation an uncorrupted nationality. When the nobles of the Fanar, and the primates of Greece had im- bibed all the feelings of eastern slaves, and distinguished themselves only by subserviency to their tyrants — selling their country to the Turks, and when the Turk condescended to trust them, selling him again to the highest bidder amongst the Franks, — the uncorrupted local attachments of the peasantry bound them together, and preserved them true to themselves and to the national cause. The patriotism of the higher orders, based on feelings too general and philanthropic for the times, slept for centuries, while that of the lower classes, circumscribed in a narrow sphere, was cherished with as much care, and yielded as much light during the darkest ages of Greece, as it now does in the hour of dawning liberty.
Many of those Greeks who have been educated in Europe, complain of the exclusive nature of their countrymen's patriotism, and the extreme bigotry of their local attachments, and the Europeans in Greece loudly echo the complaint. There can be no doubt that this feeling is often carried to excess, yet its beneficial effects have been so great, that it hardly seems prudent to seek to check it. To it must be attributed no inconsiderable portion of that constancy which enabled so many to die of hunger rather than yield to the enemy, so long as their fellow-citizens resisted; and to this feeling must be attributed that charity which, in so many instances, induced the Greeks to share together their last loaf. Such strong attachments may be found every where in the circumscribed sphere of a family, the institutions of Greece have extended these feelings to a whole village, but it may be doubted whether they are capable of further extension without some diminution of their force.
We believe that it is to this incredibly strong local attachment that the Greeks now owe their existence as a nation; and the preservation of this patriotism from the days of their former independence to the present hour, we believe they owe entirely to their system of communal administration — to their Demogerontias. The admirable effects of this system, with reference both to the civil and financial government of the Greek subjects of the Ottoman empire, have been already pointed out by Mr. Urquhart, in his able work on the resources of Turkey. So justly important does he represent this system, that he has convinced many of his readers that the sole hope of the salvation of Turkey is in the maintenance of the administration of its Rayahs, unless, peradventure, some foreign power should think fit to run the risk of her own ruin to delay the fall of the empire of Mahomet.
The extreme simplicity of this system, and the fact that, while it developed public opinion, it conferred a power on the popular will, which was the chief cause of its long duration, must render it worthy of the attention of the practical statesman. We have already mentioned, that it consisted in the election of one or more of their number by the inhabitants of the villages and towns. These Magis- trates transacted, in the most public manner, the ordinary police, judicial, and financial affairs; they were aided by the priest, and, in financial business, by the leading people of the place, while in all difficult cases the heads of families assembled at their meetings before the church formed a real jury. By this arrangement, publicity in public affairs was ensured, and public opinion was called into operation as a practical check on official conduct in Greece, and its beneficial effects were generally felt long before they were known or suspected in Western Europe. By this means, a high degree of local information was kept alive amongst the people, and feelings of public interest were created, which for centuries prevented the Greek villagers from carrying their disputes before the Turkish tribunals. These simple Demogerontes, or elders of the people, formed a barrier against the progress of the Ottoman power; a moral barrier which has restrained the torrent until, its sources having failed, the great lake which it had created is rapidly disappearing.
The circumstance of finding an internal administration of the rural districts organized to their hand, proved so convenient to the Turks, that they immediately availed themselves of it in their financial operations, and having once experienced the facilities it afforded, they became its strenuous defenders; and thus secured to the Greeks the means of preserving their nationality at the very moment it seemed irrecoverably destroyed.
The habits of the Greeks in the executive details of their local business are now so firmly fixed, that it is no rash prophecy to declare, that no foreign rulers will ever govern the country, who do not base the details of their administration on this institution. An institution which is now established in the habits and hearts of all the Greeks so firmly, that it can only be effaced by the total demoralization or extinction of the Hellenic race.
In all countries where the system of centralization is adopted, the greatest difficulty of government is in the formation of that machinery, and of those usages and institutions amongst the people, which afford a guarantee for the stability of their conduct, and ensure their pursuing a consistent and uniform line of conduct in carrying into effect the intentions of the general government. In the most civilized countries, and with the most carefully educated agents, this difficulty is felt; how impossible must it be, then, to supply the imperfect and indefinite nature of all administrative legislation, where the distant ramifications of government come into immediate contact with the interestsof the people in a rude state of society, only by means of a prefect's agent or police officer.
In a rude state of society, therefore, where the intricate combinations of law and police, arising out of the innumerable exigencies of civilization, are unknown, it is probable that no better system of administration has yet been discovered than that of the Greek Demogerontias. Courts of justice must always be confined to questions affecting rights of property and pecuniary transactions of a certain magnitude, and courts of police are invariably courts of corruption and tyranny, where they exist far from the controul of the highest authorities. There can be little doubt that public opinion and their own respectability will ensure better conduct from the magistrates named by the people, than can be obtained from the doubtful knowledge and character which the miserable pittance the Greek government can afford its subordinate agents can purchase from them. Who would not rather trust his case to the honesty of a farmer, than to the science of a hired justice in a distant province? But whether this system be philosophically the best, is now of little consequence; the fact is, we find it universally established in Greece — we have two thousand years' experience of its good effects — no objection is urged against its operation, and we have it thoroughly understood by the people in all its practical details.
On the other hand, the system of centralization will be very long of attaining a like perfection under such directors as its present Bavarian and Fanariote patrons in Greece. The present system of local administration, not only embraces the details of ordinary civil business, but it is applied to all questions of agricultural affairs. All disputes concerning rights of grazing, forest laws, irrigation, and fallows, are determined according to a code of generally received, though unwritten usages, the collection and publication of which would have been a task worthy of the Bavarian legists; it would have presented the only living record of the ancient republics of Greece, and would have been of more general interest to the historian of the human mind, than the laws of the Lombards and the Bavarians.
It is strange, indeed, that in a country where most things that are old, are treated with affected veneration, the usages and institutions of the people, though the oldest in Europe, should have been treated with neglect, and even with contempt; and that it should have been attempted to legislate for this people, without any collection of its existing customs, or any attention to its usages, though experience had proved them to be so admirably calculated for durability. Such, however, has been the case, and from the year 1832, the whole system of the Greek local administration has remained un acknowledged by the general government, and it continues to exist by the will of the people alone, while numerous trans- lations of German laws and ordinances, are published in the Greek Gazette, as the guides of the country. It is needless to say, that three quarters of these foreign laws are waste paper in Greece, whatever impression they may hare made in favour of their authors on the German public, when they appeared in the Munich and Augsburg Gazettes.
It may perhaps appear surprising to many, that so simple a circumstance as the existence of popular village magistrates, should have exercised so extensive an influence on tibie moral condition of the Greek nation. But let Englishmen reflect that the foundations of their own liberty were laid in the tythings and hundreds of Saxon times, rather than in the Wittenagemots; for while the Normans overthrew all traces of the latter, the spirit of the Saxon communal administration, perserved that moral strength, which, with the amelioration of society, ripened the Norman despotism into the British constitution. We fear not to say, that Greece has found her national spirit as well preserved by her Demogerontias, as England had hers by her hundreds. Whether her future course may not be cheered and aided by her illustrious predecessor in the race of civil liberty, we shall not stop to conjecture.
We conceive we have now given a sufficient explanation of the peculiarities of the social organization of political society in Greece, at the conclusion of the war of the revolution. The domestic civil administration of the country, it will be seen, presented few difficulties, and the national voice pointed out distinctly the road to be adopted. Everything combined to facilitate the task. The people were desirous of engaging in the cultivation of a rich and unappropriated soil, which was in sufficient abundance to satisfy the whole of the diminished population. Two-thirds of the new kingdom being national property, the rent or price of this land was sure to put government in possession of a sufficient revenue, until the country should be cultivated. The commencing tranquillity, by encouraging industry, was daily augmenting the wages of labour, while the increased cultivation, was as rapidly lowering the price of provisions. All the favourable circumstances in new countries, were found united in Greece; added to this, that knowledge of the peculiar capabilities and products of the soil already existed, which long study and dear bought experience can alone supply in other countries, where similar advantages are usually found. The very inconveniences attendant on a scanty population, were not likely to be any serious bar to the rapid improvement of the country; for Turkey offered, in the immediate neighbourhood, a numerous Greek population, eager to emigrate and become citizens of the new state. Capital itself — the last and most necessary acquisition of civilized society, the want of which so long arrests, the progress of new countries — seemed on the eve of arriving in considerable supplies, by the immigration of wealthy Greeks and strangers, to purchase the Turkish estates, offered for sale, in Attica and Euboea, under the provisions of a protocol of the allied powers. Had the government of liberated Greece known how to profit by all these favourable circumstances, the country might long before the present day have made advances towards prosperity, which years must now elapse before she is likely to attain, since one of those happy conjunctures, which so rarely return, has been allowed to escape unimproved.
VIEW OF THE PROCEEDINGS OF THE DIFFERENT ADMINISTRATIONS IN GREECE SINCE 1832.
Before reviewing what advances have been made by Greece in the career of improvement during the last three years and a half, it may perhaps tend to facilitate a correct judgment on the subject, if we state what were the general wishes of the country, and what measures public opinion had pointed out as indispensable to the success of any foreign administration. We believe no government ever assumed the direction of public affairs, in any country, under more favourable auspices than the Regency of king Otho's minority. The absolute necessity, not only of a foreign sovereign, but also of some foreign administrators, was universally felt, as every public man in the country had been tried, and all had been found wanting in the highest offices of the state. The sovereign who arrived, immediately gained the hearts of his subjects by a degree of judgment, dignity, and kindhess, remarkable at his early age; and which has never since for one moment forsaken him. This rare union of qualities, so important in his station, hare rendered king Otho one of the most popular monarchs in Europe, and his popularity has been no slight assistance to his public servants.
The members of the Regency were men of talent, who enjoyed some reputation in their respective branches. The hopes of Greece, were therefore, justly raised to the very highest pitch. It was felt by all, that the whole general administration, as well as what is usually termed the executive power, would at first be thrown into the hands of the Regency. It would be invidious to attempt the collection of the facts on which this opinion may have rested, and it is difficult for a stranger to decide on its justice, unless he should have enjoyed some opportunities of observing the political conduct of the individuals who then figured in the highest public situations in Greece. At the same time, it was fully understood, that however superior the members of the Regency might be, in knowledge of the general principles of administration, of the organization of the public offices, and of the science of law making, still they must be far inferior to many of the natives in knowledge of the wants of the country, of the objects for which new laws were required, the details to which legislation could alone be applicable, and the measures by which that legislation could be advantageously carried into effect.
To supply this, it was supposed that the Regency would, immediately on its arrival, assemble a council of state, selected from the most influential men of talents in the country; and that they would have made this selection before personal motives, or petty intrigue could in any way have warped their judgment from making the choice on general principles. That they would even have received into this council of state, a certain number of provincial members by popular election, as a means of ascertaining the extent of local feelings and prejudices, was expected by some, who founded their hopes on the supposed liberality of the opinions of the president of the Regency. It was thought that no step in legislation could possibly be taken by foreigners, totally ignorant of the language of the country, until this was done. A council of state, it was said, would supply the readiest means of collecting information concerning facts, it alone could prepare reports on the internal state of the kingdom supported by proper evidence; and it was shrewdly added, that the publication of these reports would afford the only guarantee the government could possess against being misled by false information, and secure it from that unpopularity, which must always more or less attend the government of foreigners.
The next great measure which was expected, was the re-establishment and public ratification of all the existing institutions of the country, and an order for the legal election of Demogerontes, in all the villages and districts where no elections had lately taken place, on account of the anarchy introduced by Capodistrias' tyranny, and the subsequent civil war. This was generally considered the readiest way of restoring a general and uniform administration in domestic affairs, and supplying the executive immediately with the most efficient and experienced agents in the rural districts, which were firmly attached to the monarchy, and ready to aid the Regency in the execution of all its measures.
Such were the two acts, which it was expected by the liberal party, would have marked the first hours of the sojourn of the Regency in Greece. So sweet, however, does the possession of absolute power appear to be to all men, that even such distinguished liberals as Count Armansperg and Mr. Maurer, could never during the long period of their authority, prevail on themselves to lay down one iota of that authority which the three allied powers had incautiously and illegally placed in their hands. It was not until the conclusion of last year, that the nomination of a body, without evep a fair deliberative power — a species of a new parliament of Paris for registering royal ordinances, under the name of a council of state, was established at Athens.
We shall not enumerate the other measures on which the decision of government was anxiously expected, as some time was evidently necessary to their discussion and perfection. An immediate decision, however, was loudly called for, on some questions relating to affairs connected with the fortunes of large bodies of private individuals; and as these subjects have generally a more immediate influence on national tranquillity, and often a more direct effect on national wealth, than the forms of the general administration or the details of legal procedure, the neglect of them at similar conjunctures is peculiarly dangerous. The following five measures might certainly, under the necessary modifications, have been adopted with great advantage to the nation.
1. That the government should announce its intention to guarantee all existing rights of property honestly obtained.
2. That a distribution of a certain portion of the uncultivated national lands should take place amongst those who possessed no property in Greece, according to a fixed scale of civil or military service during the revolution.
3. That an hypothec loan fund should be established by the government, in order to lend money at a low rate of interest, to those landed proprietors who had their buildings and stock destroyed during the revolution, according to a combined scale of their individual services and rank, and the extent of the mortaged land.
4. That sales of building ground and gardens should take place in the principal towns and villages, in order to induce the permanent establishment of all resident capitalists.
5. That leases of national land in the immediate vicinity of large towns should be granted, at a public auction, to be held every three months for that purpose.
Besides the above, there were various others on which a considerable difference of opinion existed amongst the best informed men in Greece, and on these measures government had no resource but to order reports to be prepared by competent persons, and to submit these reports to public discussion. Of these the most important were, the state of the foreign and domestic trade of the kingdom, and the means to be adopted for its improvement; the means of providing for the liquidation of the foreign and domestic debts, the mode of indemnifying the services of those who had fought during the revolutionary war, and the vexata questio of the distribution of a portion of the national lands to every Greek citizen.
The Government of Greece must now, when the neglect of the early examination of these subjects is producing such bitter fruits, deeply regret its former jealousy of public opinion. Amidst the public expectation of conciliatory measures, the Regency commenced its acts by an ordinance disbanding the whole of the irregular army in Greece. A measure of great energy, on the wisdom of which public opinion is still undecided. By this ordinance, the whole of the irregular troops in Greece, were compelled either to become citizens, to enter the regular troops, or to quit the kingdom.
Considering the prejudices which generally prevailed against regular troops as not very efficient in Greek warfare, this may be considered a hard measure to have adopted towards the constant defenders of Grecian independence. Many, however, struck by the disorders and ravages which disgraced the civil wars, immediately preceding the arrival of the Regency, considered the annihilation of the irregular troops as a first and indispensable step towards order and the security of property.
Upon the whole, when it is considered that numerous bands of Turkish and Albanian robbers had already introduced themselves into Greece, and joined themselves with bands of the Thessalian and Macedonian armatoli, who formed independent companies, unconnected either in interest or feelings with the inhabitants or the revolution; it cannot be concealed that some energetic and sudden measure was necessary to expel these bands before they could unite their forces. It was, howeyer, no easy matter to separate these from the rest of the irregulars, with whom and with whose captains and parties they had become so mixed up, that any attack on the one, was sure to make enemies of both. Had the Regency, therefore, attempted to distinguish the innocent, the business would have become a matter of detail; the distinctions in its execution, and the selection of the deserving, must have been entrusted to the consideration of the Greek secretaries of state, and a dangerous lapse of time would have occurred between the decision and the execution of the measure.
Maurocordatos must have protected one criminal allied with his military partisans; Koletti must have supported another to prove his influence equal to that of his rival, and the Regency, incapable of deciding amidst conflicting evidence, would in the end have discovered that no individual in the irregular army had committed any of the disorders which laid waste the greater part of Greece in 1832.
The ridiculous increase of ofhicers which had taken place during this period of disorder, had also rendered the business much too complicated to be entered into in detail, with the slighest hope of a satisfactory termination; and there can be little doubt, that as much discontent would have been caused by any other possible arrangement, as that which flowed from the energetic and effective measure adopted; while no other could have succeeded in radically curing the disease. In such a case there was no time to lose — the measure, to prove effectual, required to be done quickly, to deprive the irregulars of the possibility of concerting common measures or learning the sentiments of the most powerful leaders. For at that time there were ten thousand armed men in Greece, five thousand of whom were soldiers hardened in Turkish warfare, who would never have quitted their arms nor adopted the dress of regular troops. It would have required more than five times the military force the Regency had at its command to have subdued these men, if they had found time to concert a common plan of operations, and to unite under an acknowledged leader. The rocks of Korax, and the malaria of Thermopylae, would have sufficed to save them from the Bavarian troops. The powerful party called the Nappists or Russo-Greeks, stood ready to aid any movement which tended to keep up excitement, and prevent the country settling into tranquillity, unless under their own administration. We feel little hesitation, therefore, in saying, that the mea- sure, though a severe one, was necessary for the security of the monarchy in Greece, and that it is far too important and too daring an act, to have been conceived by the feeble statesmen to whom accident committed its execution. Had the talents which conceived the measure carried it into execution, it could never have been executed in the blundering way which leaves Greece at this momenty at the commencement of the alleviation of the evils which have been resulting from the absurd measures flowing out of this ordinance, disbanding the irregular troops, and subsequent ordinances enrolling them.
In saying this, we are anxious to declare, that the mode in which the measure was executed, and the manner in which the native Greek troops were afterwards neglected by the three members of the Regency in their respective periods of power, will always reflect disgrace on their heads, and dishonor on their hearts. The moment all danger from the irregulars ceased, and their force was completely broken, it became a sacred duty of the government to provide a suitable means of embodying the soldiers of the revolution in organized bands, without enforcing any change of dress or arms. Subsequent events have shown the necessity of some such measure, even for the defence of the kingdom. Unfortunately the Regency became too deeply engaged in settling themselves and their friends comfortably down in the high pay, and great offices suddenly opened to their ambition, to think of the permanent defence of Greece, or the gratitude due to those who had by their valour and services saved the kingdom. A period had arrived when the services of the heroes of the revolutionary war, were considered as belonging to a past epoch, while the hopes of a brilliant future was attached to the prospects of the heroes of 1833. A very short period elapsed before it became apparent in Greece, that the members of the Regency were more occupied in organizing the machinery by which it was to carry on the work to be done, and in preparing decrees and ordinances, which, by their publication might secure the applause of the literary circles of Germany to their scientific details, than in investigating by what general principles remedies might be applied to the existing evils in Greece.
Long instructions to secretaries of state and prefects were published in the Government Gazette, where they remain to this day a dead letter, or have produced little practical effect beyond the waste of an enormous quantity of paper. Great parts of these documents are no way adapted to the state of the country, and they are evidently drawn up without a single inquiry having been made into the actual state of things. After these laborious efforts of legislation, a few ornamental decrees were published, to polish and bring to perfection the external appearance of the new state — to imprint on it the most finished stamp of European civilization, and blend it harmoniously with the elder nionarchies of the west. An order of knighthood was established; and the colour and form of the uniforms of the civil servants of the state, were regulated with infinitely more knowledge of professional detail, than gentlemen usually possess. Ornaments were profusely heaped on the public uniforms of individuals whose every day garments probably required the aid even of a domestic tailor. Such were the measures by which three eminent German statesmen seem to have thought, that a people, in whom the first principles of poli- tical freedom and religious liberty were fermenting in the difficult task of organising the social condition, could be permanently governed, — the wealth and resources of a new state improved, and a monarchy consolidated. With these matters, the general legislation of the Regency terminated in the 18th of April, 1833, and it commenced its labours of detail.
The effects of neglecting to investigate the state of the country, were soon too apparent in a series of troubles and misfortunes, which, commencing shortly after the period we have cited, continued to embarras the Regency until the majority of king Otho in June, 1835. Some disturbances broke out in Tinos, the head quarters of the Capodistrians, which caused a long decree, establishing martial law, in September, 1833. It seems probable, that this must be the event alluded to by the Spectator in the following words : — "The continental journals state, that martial law has been declared throughout the kingdom of Greece; we suspect that the de- scendants of Leonidas are too familiar with martial law — the only law which they have lived under for centuries — to feel any constitutional scruples about obeying their young monarch's proclamation."
Shortly after this, the Regency and its councillors, consisting chiefly of strangers and emigrés Greeks, were so far misled in their estimate of the state of society, and so ignorant of the power which public opinion has already acquired in the country, as to venture some attempts to circumscribe the liberty of the press. Had these regulations been really directed against abuses of publication, they might have been pardoned, but it was too evident, that under an affected care to guard against minor injuries to individuals in office, a serious injury was wantonly inflicted on the nation. As far as government sought to restrain the freedom of political discussion, it totally failed; and Greece has still to boast four political newspapers, superior to very many continental journals, in which as great a latitude of party violence is displayed, as in any country east of the channel. Numerous schemes of internal improvement followed, which had evidently reference to no practical effect, farther than what would result from their publication in the Augsburg Gazette.
Amongst other projects, it was decreed that seven great roads were to be formed to the uttermost ends of the kingdom; and certainly the numerous Bavarian pioneers might have been thus very usefully employed. A road from the Piraeus to Athens of five miles is just completed, and a road from Nauplia to Corinth is carelessly traced; such are the only results of three years' labour, and at this rate of proceeding, it will require at least 275 years to finish the roads proposed.
In the meantime, though little was effectuated in Greece for the improvement of the country, the greatest activity was displayed abroad in the expenditure of the loan, which the allied powers had placed entirely under the control of the three individuals who composed the Regency, without allowing the Greeks, either by means of a council of state, or by a cabinet composed of Greek ministers, or even by public opinion, which would have followed on publicity, to offer any check to the general system of jobbing for which Greece is now expected to pay. The troops were recruited amongst the Bavarian bargers, instead of amongst the Greek peasants — brood mares were transported from Mecklenburgh to breed mules in Greece — an entire cargo of pick-axe handles was brought to make tools, and it is now using as fire-wood — splendid military equipments were ordered in France — naval stores and steam boats as far north as Sweden. Fortunately for Greece, a schism took place in the Regency, and the indecent quarrels of Count Armansperg and Mr. Maurer, induced foreign interference to be called in for the preservation of decency, which might have been long neglected for the preservation of Greece.
We shall not enter into the causes of this illustration of the fact, that European statesmen can fight about the wealth and power of provinces, with as much acrimony and party spirit as Greek capitani. Mr. Maurer, who appears to have been the best-informed and most capable man in the Regency, has published three volumes in justification and explanations of his views, acts, and policy, which prove only, that he was an able, active, and conscientious man — but mistaken in his treatment of Greece, from what his countrymen call one-sidedness.
A very strong proof of the extreme unpopularity of the measures of the Regency at this period, is the fact, that Count Armansperg became extremely popular amongst the Greeks, from the mere circumstance of its being known, that he was opposed to his colleagues, though the remaining period of the Regency proved that his opposition was chiefly personal, since in no one case has he altered the anti-national laws passed before he obtained power, and he continued to govern on the same exclusive principles.
On the 2d August, 1834, the King of Bavaria recalled Mr. Maurer, and Mr. Abel, the secretary, and supplementary member of the Regency, a man of considerable talents and ambition, and replaced them by an unimportant individual, who had strict orders to secure by his vote a complete dictatorship to Count Armansperg. The merits of Mr. Maurer's administration can now be very justly estimated, and public opinion has calmly ratified the hostile feeling his measures awakened at the time of their promulgation. The truth is, that though Mr. Maurer was a man of talent, possessing a deep knowledge of his profession, and one who devoted his whole energies to the work of building up a liberal system of legislation for Greece; yet he was rather a subtle lawyer than a profound legislator. He had lived and thought too much as a German professor of law, to estimate the real value of the feelings, usages, and institutions of the Greeks, and, like too many of the politicians of the present day, he had fallen into the error of believing, that there is a standard of law adapted to all countries and nations.
The energy and activity of his government, however, contrasts strongly with the feebleness and lethargy which has reigned amongst his successors, whose policy has unfortunately not tended more than his own to advance the prosperity of Greece. The undue favour with which the Germans were treated in the army, and the gross neglect of the acknowledged talents of the Greeks in the navy, continued after his departure, and Generals Heideck and Lesuire will be regarded as the real causes of the failure to form a regular army in Greece, by their systematic partiality and injustice.
The organization of the judicial department, which Mr. Maurer himself conducted, was more judiciously arranged than any other of the foreign schemes introduced to Greece, precisely because the administration has been chiefly en- trusted to Greeks. Yet even in this department much remains to be done, before the usages and institutions of the nation are so dove-tailed into the legal system, that the people derive full advantage from their knowledge of the practice of the law which these usages might entail, while the assimilation of these practical features to the general theory of jurisprudence is so complete, as not to perplex the decisions of the judges. So great were the difficulties at first found in adapting the present judicial system to general practice, that the "Athena" declared last October, that many of the tribunals had not then given ten decisions; and points out the absolute necessity of altering some of the existing arrangements.
Some administrative measures were attempted during the Regency of Mr. Maurer, which excited more direct opposition than his general principles of legislation. One of these, adopted at the suggestion of the celebrated Maurocordatos, then secretary of state for the finances, illustrates admirably the feeling of the government and the state of the country. As early as the month of May, 1833, it sowed those seeds of distrust in the minds of the people against the intentions of their rulers, which no subsequent measures have tended to eradicate. This occasion was seized by the factious, of representing how incompatible a government which has no common feelings with the people — whether Bavarian or Fanariot — must be in a country like Greece, which can only exist as an independent state, by every individual family now in it, rapidly bettering their condition, and drawing in an immigration of fresh labourers.
The Regency, at the suggestion of Maurocordatos, (whose head, ever full of schemes, seems to have been anxious to place the Regency in such a position that they could not have proceeded without his assistance) thought fit to rake up an old Mahommedan law, as much at variance with the actual practice of European Turkey, as with the principles of justice. With this Arabic text (evidently conceived for the soil of Arabia deserta) in his hand, he persuaded the Regency of the Eastern America it felt so eager to colonize, that all the land in Greece, not actually under cultivation, could be declared the property of the state. As Minister of Finance, he issued a circular, in which the following memorable words are contained : — " That every spot where wild herbs fit for the pasturage of cattle grow, is national property," and that the Greek government, like that of the Sublime Porte, recognises the principle, "that no property in the soil, except the exclusive right of cultivation, can be legally vested in a private individual."
This extraordinary attempt to govern according to the legislative principles of a "horde of Asiatic barbarians encamped in Europe," and to enact laws by means of a ministerial circular, was made, in direct violation of the laws of Greece, and the rights of private property, which even the Ottoman government had for nearly four centuries uniformly respected. The attempt to enforce this circular, by seizing all the private pasturage, created such a ferment in the country, that the measure was silently withdrawn; but the suspicion that the Greek government considers itself the legal heir of the Sultan, and will add Europeab and Fanariot chicane to assist its pretentions, will create a feelipg of insecurity in landed property in Greece, so long as it is observed that every man of property in the country, and every representative of the nation is carefully excluded from public affairs. The immediate effect of this attempt to render the state the sole proprietor of the soil, while all the population of the country were calling out for its distribution, may be easily conceived. The warlike population of Roumelia, chiefly engaged in pastoral occupations, was on the eve of taking up arms, and was, in fact, only prevented by the sudden arrestation of its principal leaders.
Avarice and the ambition of the success of playing the civil Pizarro and Cortes, easily explains the ideas of the inexperienced statesmen who thought to appropriate the soil of Greece; but it is to this day difficult to conjecture what motive could have indulged the Regency to engage in the rash attack on the mountaineers of Maina. The pretext was an order to destroy all towers or houses which could be converted into defensive buildings. Now, as almost every house in Maina is a tower with a stone stair-case comminicating with a door in the second storey by means of a moveable platform, this order was pretty nearly equivalent to an invitation to the wealthier classes in Maina to lodge in the open air. Is it to be wondered at, that the Mainotes preferred defying the governinent, to tamely submitting to be treated like wild beasts? Yet at this very time, the Mainotes were extremely anxious to quit their barren mountains, towers and all, and settle in the uncultivated national lands in the plain of Messenia, and it would have been easy at the time to have rendered them the firmest friends of government, and useful and industrious subjects, instead of converting them into the destroyers of the Bavarian power in Greece. The Bavarian troops sent against them were every where defeated, and their military reputation, in the opinion of the Greeks, completely destroyed by the manner in which many were compelled to lay down their arms. Indeed, it required the most extraordinary ignorance of the country and the people, to suppose that the small number of troops which could be sent against the Mainotes, could make any impression on that numerous and warlike population, flushed with the recollection of their victories over the numbers of Ibrahim Pasha.
When the Regency in these important measures displayed such neglect of the national spirit, it is not to be supposed that their general administration was characterised by any feelings of justice towards the Greeks; and, accordingly, numerous measures were adopted which daily augmented the discontent. Orders were at one time sent to all the principal towns in Greece, to prevent the construction of houses, until the plans of the respective towns should be examined and approved by this onmi-law-giving trio. We shall not weary our readers with many details. At FPatras, the indemnifications promised by Capodistrias, in 1829, in tracing the existing town, have not yet been paid; while, in express violation of the conditions on which the principal street towards the sea was built, the government has lately sold the ground between their front and the beach as building ground. At Athens, it was decided to excavate one-half of the town in order to search for antiquities, though it was calculated by a French engineer, that the expense would exceed the excavation of Pompey; and it was said by Professor Kiersch himself, who knows something more about Greece and its antiquities, than Armansperg, Maurer, Heideck, Abel, and Greiner, that working oxen were more wanted, than the bull of Marathon itself in bronze or marble. The proprietors of the houses in the district marked out for the purpose of this excavation, were for two years prevented from completing them, even though some of them were half finished before the plan was adopted. At length, however, government suddenly changed its mind, and without any public communication, commenced building a large barrack in the middle of the ruins of Hadrian's library, exactly in the spot where excavations might perhaps have been attended with some success; and, to cure its successors from a wish ever to repeat its own folly, it filled up that part of the enclosure near Lord Elgin's tower, and nearly buried the church of the Megale Panaghia, in which are many antiquities and some very curious paintings, with ten feet of additional rubbish.
The contrast of this act, with a long decree in the twenty second number of the second volume of the Greek Gazette, on the preservation of antiquities, though it may be very amusing to the people of London and Munich, is death to the poor sufferers at Athens.
In enumerating the follies of this period of the Regency, we are not unwilling to do ample justice to its merits, and do not forget, that the most liberal and enlightened measure of any foreign statesmen in Greece, and which wants only a more direct adaptation to actual exigencies in the rural communes, and the check of publicity in their financial business in the towns, to be the Magna Charta of Grecian liberty, was framed by Messrs. Maurer and Abel : we mean the law establishing the municipal and communal system in Greece. This law, which found a corresponding institution based in the usages of the country, was immediately understood and fairly appreciated by the Greeks, and will long be regarded as a proof of the real desire of its authors to establish a rational system of goverment, and of their capacity to do so, when they could keep their heads clear of the fumes of irresponsible power. But even this excellent law has been most shamefully neglected and is not yet carried into execution; nor are all the communes formed even in the province of Attica, though the result of the system has been found most beneficial in all those communes which have been hitherto allowed to elect their own magistrates. Indeed the enlightened Greeks look more to this system for the permanent improvement of their country, than to the general government by it alone they now hope to introduce a general system of education. It is, therefore, with deep regret that they see the present chancellor allow every impediment to be thrown in the way of its execution, merely because it is considered to reflect honour on his political antagonists, and frequently calls forth a few words in their preise from llie public pres, praise which he considers the bitterest satire ,on his own neglect and indolence.
About this time a bureau of statistics and political economy was made to figure in the newspapers as one of the new institutions of Greece; though it has been long since dead of inanition, we may say a few words concerning it, as the ordinance establishing it is one of the most curious specimens of legislation, de omni scibili, on record in any age or country. For instance, the engineer officers of the French expedition in the Morea, had completed an excellent map of the Peloponnesus, and the French government had presented Greece with one hundred copies of this map; yet no allusion is made to its existence, and the decree calmly orders this expensive and difficult undertaking to be recommenced, in a country which had not been able to procure the plans of a dozen petty towns, and all this preparatory only to a special survey of the whole kingdom. Clauses are inserted about geology, mines, roads, internal navigation, and canals!!! The very idea of forming canals in a country where most of the rivers are consumed in canals of irrigation, long before they reach the sea, proves the exact knowledge of Greece, which was at this epoch necessary to make a legislator. The extreme breadth of the country may be seventy- five miles, and there are at least sixteen mountains standing apart whose heights exceed 6000 feet. In such a country, this ordinance orders the under secretaries of the public economy department, to examine whether it will be less expensive to establish a system of canalization, or continue the construction of the roads already decided on, which we have already seen it will require 275 years to complete. All this really puts us in mind of the story of the Queen of France recommending the poor to eat pie-crust when bread was dear.
When Count Armansperg obtained the entire direction of public affairs, this wild system of legislation had already sown the seeds of a rebellion in the Morea. The Count was so alarmed and confounded by this very natural result of his colleague's conduct, that he abandoned, in a fit of timidity, the entire direction of the measures necessary to repress this rebellion, to Mr Koletti, who was the secretary of state for the interior, supposing, probably, that as he, from his official situation, must have possessed perfect knowledge of the means by which the rebellion had been brought about, he was the likeliest man to find the shortest way back to saddled with bands of irregular trodps not under its immediate control, and is said to have been viewed with no favourable eye by the Count evet since.
The immediate cause of this insurrection was an awkward attempt to change the manner in which the tenths of the gross of produce of the land are collected as land-tax. It appears to be the general opinion that it will be difficult and dangerons, and not very judicious, to attempt any change of the Turkish system, except as far as the amelioration of its details, and the security of the peasant against injustice aree concerned, until capital is more abundant in Greece, the interest of money lower, and a readier market to be found for produce in the distmt protinces. Government, however, decided on a new mode of collecting these tenths, which was indeed likely to yield more profit to the state, but was sure to entail on the peasant a payment of considerably more than the tenth of his produce. It is well known, that all the dangers of the scheme were pointed out to hee secretary of finance, but the young man who then held that important post, had no knowledge beyond what can be acquired at public lectures in the University of Leipsic. The consequences of his paying more attention to his studies in Germany than to the practice of the world in Greece were the devastation of part of the Morea, a direct expense of about £70.000 of the loan as cost of the campaign and its contingent measures, and a loss of double that sum in the destruction of property. At length it was perceived, even by the secretary of finance, that under the provisions of his Leipsic law, the farmers of the revenues had contrived to extort from the cultivators eighteen to twenty per cent. instead of ten, and from some of the national lands forty and fifty per cent, were seized instead of twenty-five. The law, like so many others, was indeed abandoned, but not till Koletti had compelled Count Armansperg to employ irregular troops, and to permit the seeds of ihe present disorder in the military affairs of Greece to take root.
After the suppression of this rebellion, the attention of the Regency was occupied in preparing for the removal, or in removing the government from Nauplia to Athens; an important event, which engaged the exclusive attention of the rulers of Greece, from the end of the month of September, 1834, until the following February. During this period, after a vain attempt to imbibe some attic salt, an abortive essay was made to open three straight streets inthe new capital. The evidence of failure is likely to be long visible in the position of the hotel of the minister of war, and the trapezoidal form of the few houses scattered along the sides of the streets of Eolus and Hermes. Even the Government Gazette, the organ through which the applauses of Germany had been hitherto secured, by the literary activity of its preceding members, was now forgotten by the Regency, and the decrees from the month of May — that is the whole public legislation of Greece— were no tprinted or published until the following September. The president of the Regency, doubtless, had adopted as a state maxim, that excellent Spanish proverb, "Haste cometh from the Devil".
Some have attempted to explain, and others to apologise for this extraordinary stupor, by asserting, that it was caused by the intrigues of General Heideck, and Mr. Greiner a Bavarian financier, who certainly never gave any other signs of life in Greece. While many even say, that Count Armansperg was afraid to act, lest his measures should be thwarted and controlled by the superior genius of Koletti. Subsequent experience has however shown, that it is by no means necessary to seek such distant causes for a lethargy, which we now know to be habitual.
At length, on the 1st of June 1835, the wished-for day of the majority of king Otho arrived, and to the delight of the inhabitants of Greece, the Regency ceased to exist. In taking leave of it, it is lamentable to reflect on the total waste of time which marked its conduct, both under Mr. Maurer's period of legislative activity, and Count Amansperg's reign of public lethargy and private intrigue. Not one single national measure had been carried into execution. Half the published laws had never been attempted to be put in execution, and of the remaining half, great part had been discovered injurious or impracticable, on the first attempts being made to enforce them. It is not, therefore, to be wondered at, that the Greeks should have felt the sincerest joy at the termination of a government, which had so completely neglected all national questions and interests. The order and tranquillity, therefore, which generally existed in the country, must be received as evidence of the profound attachment of the people to the pursuits of honest industry, when the smallest hopes are held out to them of their being able to enjoy the fruits of their labours; and a proof that they were infinitely more attached to the real interests of Greece, and more capable of pursuing them, than their rulers.
On the first of June, 1835, a new era was expected to commence in Greece, and the popularity and amiable personal qualities of the young monarch, who assumed the reigns of government, were certain to secure him the honest support of the whole nation and their fullest patience, while he carried into execution all those national measures which his ministers had hitherto delayed, and which were be- coming every day more necessary to the permanent tranquillity of the state. His first act wm one of moderation and wisdom. He entrusted the entire formation of his miniftry to Count Armansperg, who of all the foreigners then in Greece, was distinguished by the temperance of his views and who from having presided over the Regency for more than two years, must have been supposed to possess some knowledge of the Greeks and of Greece. Count Armansperg was perhaps the only Bavarian who was at that time popular in Greece, and he was known to be strongly supported by the British cabinet. The choice of the monarch was ratified by the nation, but the satisfaction was of very short duration, for the Count, unable to lay down the sweets of obsolute power, named himself Archchancellor of Greece, with all the attributes of sole executive minister, and from that day until the present no complete Greek ministry has been formed, no cabinet has been assembled, and the imperfect administration has generally consisted of from four to six persons, who communicate with the Archchancellor's public office on business, rarely personally with the Archchancellor, and almost never with the monarch. The imprudenee of this attempt to make "the prince a pageant, and the people nothing", is as great as the act itaslf is unjust, illegal, and, according to the acknowledged laws of Greece, crimnal.
The first act of Count Armansperg's power as sole director of the Regency had been, to send troops to quell the rebellion in Messenia; his first act as Archchancellor ijof Greece was to dispatch an expedition under General Gordoni to suppress the system of brigandage, which had arrived at an alarining head in Etolia and Acarnania, and along the line of the northern frontier. This expedition had the immediate effect of securing the tranquillity of these provinces; and had lthe able and energetic measures of this first and last of English Philhellenes been adopted, Greece would at this day have been in possession of national troops, sufficient to have prevented the rebellion of Acaarania and Etolia last spring, or rather, the causes of that rebellion, which he so ably pointed out and so dis-tinctly predicted, would have been removed, and the precipitate assembly of irregular bands, whose very numbers were unknown to government, and many of whose officers were last year fighting against General Gordon, would not now have been necessary to preserve the Chancellor in his office.
Count Armansperg soon discovered, that in his new position, he must make some concessions to public opinion, and after long deliberation, he announced the following four measures, as on the eve of publication, on which he desired his friends to say, that he requested his reputation as a statesman migh rest.
1. A law for the distribution of the national lands.
2. The nomination of a council of state.
3. The establishment of a Phalanx, to be composed of the soldiers of the revolutionary war.
4. The establishment of a Bank.
The absolute necessity of all these measures was universally acknowledged. It only remains to examine in what manner they have been carried into effect. It is needless to enter into any details concerning the nature of these measures, as the discussion, to be of any value, must be rendered far too long to be interesting at a distance from those whose interests are not immediately affected. We shall, therefore, only state their general results.
Concerning the first, we have only to say, that the provisions of the law of dotation, as this law for the distribution of the national land is termed, has had almost no effect at all, for very few individuals have been willing to accept land on the severe conditions which it imposes on inferior soils; while the dotations which have really taken place, being all of land of the best quality, already cultivated, and yielding a rent, are likely to cause a diminution of the national revenue. Fortunately, however, for Greece, the complicated nature of this law will render it of little effect either for good or evil.
With regard to the establishment of the council of state, we shall only remark, that as far as the choice of the members goes, it has succeeded tolerably well; and though its present constitution renders it nearly useless, it may easily, by extending its duties, be rendered an institution of great advantage both to the crown and the nation.
The necessity of some extensive measure, in order to do justice to the soldiers of the revolution, and secure a military force in Greece, seems to have led to the formation of the Phalanx, and subsequently to the enrolment of five regiments of irregulars under Griva, Giavella, Mamouri, Grigiotti, and Vasso, all distinguished generals of the revolution. But with all this, Greece has no army and no organised military establishment of any value, regular or irregular; and the actual circum- stances of the country will soon force the subject, not only on the attention of statesmen in Greece, but also, we suspect, on that of the three protecting powers. The subject, however, is so complex a one, embraces so many interests, and requires the publicity of so many previous reports, to ensure just measures, and guard against the influence of party and personal prejudice, that in the few words we could here afford it, we are more likely to be misunderstood ourselves, than to throw my light ou the subject.
With reference to the establishment of the bank, it is well known in England, that the favourite scheme of Count Armansperg was so crude— so directly injurious both to the banker and to the countryt that it was completely rejected. An eminent London banker has since succeeded, in concert with the Greek goyernment, in arranging a charter which, while it affords the most liberal assiatance to the agriculture and commerce of Greece, on the most moderate terms, will secure to the capitalists an extensive field of operation for their capital, and the amplest security for their advances.
These four great measures, on which the archchancellor of Greece has himself requested that his reputation may rest, have now been before the public for nearly a year, and we refer it to the decision of all, if they have tended, or are likely to tend to the advancement of the prosperity of Greece, unless they are entirely new modelled on the existing institutions and usages of the country by the people themselves.
VIEW OF THE ACTUAL STATE OF THE COUNTRY, AND THE MEANS TO BE ADOPTED FOR ITS IMPROVEMENT.
Even the passing traveller who visits Greece, will soon be convinced, that it is a country in a progressive state of improvement. In spite of the troubles of Tinas, the war of Maina, the rebellion of Messenia, the robbers on the frontiers, the expedition of last year, and the rebellion of the present, the greater part of the country is rapidly passing into a more organized and social state of society. Numerous villages and hamlets have already risen from their ruins, fields of grain now wave, and flocks and herds pasture in spots where, three years ago, there were hardly any vestiges of cultivation. Considerable capital has also been laid out in building in the principal towns; still there is a general complaint that the government does nothing to aid this progress, and that all this amelioration has been achieved by the industry of individuals striving against many impediments, which it was all along in the power of the government to remove, even without descending from its proper sphere of action.
The most important measure of domestic policy, connected with the progress of Greece, is the conversion of the national lands, by some tenure or other, into private property. The chief basis of any rapid improvement in a new country, (and, we bebelieve, we may apply this significant expression to this very old one,) must always be in the advancement of agricultural industry, as the surest step towards an increasing population. Now the first step towards the improvement of agriculture, is the existence of proprietors. The second step towards a firm guarantee for the security of property, must be sought for in the moral qualities of the proprietors; the foundation of the first step depends solely on the government; and when the government shall have done its duty, it will, we hope, not be difficult in Greece, to find proprietors who will have sense and spirit enough to fullfil theirs.
To illustrate the extreme importance of this subject, and to show how closely the national prosperity is connected with it, and how immediately it might be affected by it, we shall mention the state of a numerous body of the population of the Hellenic kingdom. Great part of the agricultural labourers are not subjects of the new state, but natives of Epirus, Thessaly, and the Ionian islands. Many of the wealthiest shepherds and most of the masons and carpenters, are Turkish subjects. During the last three years, the labourers and workmen in Greece have been earning very high wages, not one quarter of which, from their frugal way of living, they have consumed in the country for food. The other three quarters have been carried out of the country by these workmen in their annual visits to their families, and has either been spent in their support, in the purchase of clothing, which these workmen always bring new from their own country, where it is cheaper than in Greece; or, in extending the cultivation, and ameliorating the condition of Turkish villages.
Out of a capital of twenty millions of drachmas (£715,000 Sterling,) which has been expended at Athens and the Piraeus, it is conjectured that ten millions have, in this way, been withdrawn from the national circulation, and have yielded no farther profit to the community by their expenditure than the annual profit derived by their employers. Now if the sum had continued to circulate in the kingdom, by being expended in new production, by those who received it as wages, it may easily be conceived, how rapidly it must have operated in augmenting the wealth, and improving the resources of the country. The great annual expenditure caused by the location of the population, and the reconstruction of so many towns and villages, has now nearly ceased, and the numbers of the foreign workmen being diminished, and all their wages having disappeared, what might easily have been anticipated has now occurred. There is a general stagnation of business. While this state of things was staring government in the face, it was more than once called upon to examine, whether it were not possible to adopt some measures to retain this capital, and induce these workmen to settle in the country. It was all in vain; the case had not been foreseen in the lectures of any Professor of political economy, from Liege to Dorpat. One definite measure which seemed likely to combine both these results, was thrown out for the consideration of government. As this measure was in perfect harmony with the avowed policy of government, and even, if not fully successful, could be attended with no evil consequences, it remains to this day to be explained why it was not attempted to be carried into execution. It was proposed to commence selling small lots of building ground, with walls and ruined houses, in those towns to which the greatest numbers of these workmen resorted. Bargains of this nature, holding out hopes of great profit from the employment of small sums of money, would have probably induced many of the strangers to become proprie- tors. Even if the purchaser should have been unable or unwilling to remove his family to Greece; the circumstance of his possessing property in the country, would have established a degree of connection, which would have led to continual visits. A very short time would have sufficed to show his fellow citizens, whether property was more secure, and more productive in the Hellenic kingdom, or in Turkey, and if the question had been decided in favour of Greece, many would have been induced to follow the example. The foundation would have thus been laid for an immigration highly advantageous to liberated Greece, an intercourse from which she was likely ultimately to secure an influx of the two things she stands most in need of capital and inhabitants. At the same time, such a connection as this, would be the most effectual means of extending the influence of Greece over the opinions of the Greek rayahs, and of directing their attention to the progress of the Greek kingdom. That it would have been attended with considerable suc- cess, we have been assured by several respectable Greek subjects of Turkey, who, in visiting Greece, have regretted the difficulty of purchasing property in the country.
A second measure of equal importance in improving the state of the country, and which might have heen rendered the means of raising a large capital for an hypothec loan fund, was the sale of lots of national land in the immediate vicinity of those villages and towns which are chiefly private property, and which possess a wealthy peasantry. That there are a few such cases in Greece may he easily understood, from the fact of there being villages in the richest parts of the country which are private property, while those around are national. The first paying only ten per cent, of land tax, while the second pay twenty-five, it is evident that where these live those must grow wealthy in a few years. There is also proof of this being actually the case, as small portions of land accidentally offered for sale in these favoured situations, generally bring twenty year's purchase as their price. Government, however, determinedly refused to enter into examination of details on this subject, asserting that every possible evil, whether already in existence, or which, by the varying combinations of circumstances can be called into existence, is provided for by the general measures adopted in the law of dotation.
Indeed, such supineness prevailed on all practical subjects connected with the welfare of Greece, that great numbers of respectable Sciotes, Samians, and Cretans, who intended to settle in the country have quitted it and returned to their respective islands. The necessity of establishing colonies in Greece had been continually spoken of, and Count Armansperg had himself been engaged for at least a year in drawing up a law on this subject, but it was at last discovered, that the project of making a German America of Greece required the consent of the inhabitants, and that such consent was not very likely to be accorded even to the benevolent Count. The fond and long-cherished expectation of founding a Bavarian colony, which should avoid all the faults of the English colonial system, and give, as was expected, an active expression to the feelings of the civilization of the nineteenth century, was abandoned, — the Greeks showing no anxiety that these fine expressions should be carried into execution at their expense. They were ready to give a hospitable reception to foreigners who would pay their own way, but they objected, as they themselves expressed it, that any man should learn to shave on their heads."
It would be unfair to pass over the subject of colonies, without stating what has actually been performed. Much has been said and published about colonies of Psariots, Macedonians, and Epirots. A Psariot colony of some thirty families has actually been established amidst the ruins of Eretria, and government has contributed to its existence, not much certainly to its prosperity, by a donation of ten acres of a poor soil in the neighborhood, to each family. A colony of Macedonians is on the eve of formation at Atalanta, in a richer plain, and under equally liberal auspices. And when the situation of the Epirot colony is decided on, and the colonists found, government will act equally liberally to them. In the meantime, thousands of families have been reduced to poverty waiting in expectation of being allowed to settle on the waste, national lands. They have tried
"What hell it is, in suing long to bide."
As the emigration of Europeans to Greece has been sometimes recommended, it may perhaps be worth while to state the reasons which are generally considered in the country, as conclusive against its success. The fact which we have already mentioned, that there is a numerous population of Greeks in Turkey speaking the language, accustomed to the climate, and skilled in the usual modes of industry now practised, and who at present visit the country as labourers, at little expense and loss of time, shows that foreigners of the lower orders have very little chance of competing with them. The difficulty of purchasing small portions of land at reasonable prices, precludes the immigration of farmers and small capitalists, whose own labour would be a considerable part of their capital. And now, the establishment of the National Bank will render it a wiser and safer plan for large capitalists to invest their money in it, than to select themselves the means of employing it, unless they have long experience of the country and inhabitants. Still, there is a class of persons who may find Greece a place of agreeable and profitable retirement. To those who possess small fortunes, (from four to ten thousand pounds) and who wish to enjoy the advantages of that little society which a capital of 15,000 inhabitants affords, with that mental refinement which so small a fortune could with difficulty procure in any other part of Europe — Athens offers some advantages. To such persons to whom the climate may be agreeable, and who intend making a long residence, profitable means of employing their capital would easily be found.
The commerce of Greece has not made the same rapid progress during the last three years as the agriculture; and it at present suffers very severely from the general stagnation of business. It is probable, that much might be done to remove this, but governments in general do so little but harm, by meddling with commercial legislation, that the Greek government would do well to lay down the rule of confining itself entirely to the removal of impediments to the extension of commerce, where they are found to exist. We regret extremely to see, that she has already begun to depart from that soundest of all financial principles — never to impose any duty which is not for the express purpose of raising a revenue. She has lately imposed a duty on the importation of foreign grain, and taken steps to create several monopolies. At present, the minimum import duty on commerce is one of ten per cent, ad valorem, levied on the valuation made at the Greek custom house; and the export duty is one of six per cent. As long, therefore, as the export and import duties of Turkey continue at three per cent., there can be little doubt that a very extensive smuggling trade must be carried on in a country which possesses such a line of coast, and such numerous islands as Greece, and, it is probable, that the revenue would gain considerably by a diminution of this duty.
There is another ordinance (23d November, 1833,) relating to the shipping interest of Greece, which appears to us highly impolitic, and likely to inflict more serious moral injury on the country, than what could flow from the mere loss of revenue. By it all foreign capital is excluded from employment in Greek vessels, and all foreign flags are shut out from the carrying trade of Greece. We shall not offer any observations on the general policy of such laws; it is with reference to the Archipelago alone that we intend to examine its effects on the real interests of Greece. As far as Turkey is concerned, it is likewise a departure from the prin- ciples of reciprocity, or the present fashionable system of commercial legislation, the doctrine of tit for tat. The Turks allow Greeks to be part owners of vessels under the Turkish flag, and permit Greek boats to engage in the coasting trade of their islands; and even if they were to prohibit it, in their present progress towards European civilization, the government of liberated Greece ought not to forget, that the Turkish bottoms which would engage in their carrying trade, are all owned by Greeks, and that the augmentation of vessels in this situation, would only tend ultimately to secure the union of the country of the proprietors to the new state, by a community of interests. And, in strict justice, do not the sacrifices of the Sciots, Samiots, and Psariots, in the cause of Greek independence require, that every thing should be done on the part of liberated Greece, to alleviate their present lot? It is not their fault, it is their misfortune, that they are now the rayahs of Turkey. The very idea of excluding foreign capital from employment in the country, where the rate of interest on commercial voyages of a fortnight's duration is never less than two per cent, a month, and generally three, seems to argue an unnecessary alarm for the rapid increase of navigation and the speedy accumulation of capital, or else an unexampled sensitiveness on the decline of profits.
It appears to us, it would have merited the attention of the Greek government, to have striven as much as possible to amalgamate the interests of the whole Greek nation with the prosperity of the Hellenic kingdom; instead of seeking, by this petty legislation, to awaken dissensions, and create distinctions and opposition of interests, between the Greeks who are subjects of King Otho, and those who are rayahs of Sultan Mahmoud. It is on such occasions as this, that the local knowledge and national feelings of an efficient council of state, or of a legislative assembly, would have been invaluable to King Otho, and saved his kingdom from many laws of pedantic ignorance. With what delight must Russia behold this powerful and wealthy body of rayahs driven to fix their eyes on her for protection, and how different will be her conduct towards this legacy which she has received from the mistaken avarice of Grecian law-givers.
We have thus pointed out two sources of which an intelligent government might have availed itself, and might indeed still avail itself, in some small degree, in order to exercise a moral influence over that part of the Greek nation still subject to Tur- key, by improving its condition, and binding it to the new kingdom by ties of affection and personal interest. Means, too, which are so rarely fomid without violating that great rule which ought always to direct a government, of never meddling with the affairs of the people, except when the business requiring interference falls strictly within the exclusive province of the general administration.
We are now compelled to allude to a subject which we would willingly have passed over, had it not been more necessary than any other fact we have yet mentioned, to convey an exact idea of the feelings which regulate the conduct of the present adminstration of Greece, and of the sentiments with which that administration must of necessity be viewed by the people at large. Undue favour in political and military promotions, honours and money given as rewards of political intrigue or subserviency, are so certainly the invariable consequence of the absence of responsibility and publicity in public business, that though they excite dissatisfaction in the higher classes of society, they are generally disregarded by the mass of the nation. There is one subject, however, on which the poor and the rich feel alike, and where the deadliest opposition may be created by the smallest violation of justice. All feel that the social contract is invaded, the first bonds of society rent asunder and the continuance of the union of its members rendered dependent on force alone. This crisis in society is produced by the deliberate vio- lation of the rights of private property. Now that such a systematic violation of the rights of property has taken place in Greece, whenever the pettiest interest of the government has prompted, is felt and loudly asserted throughout the country.
We have instanced the violation of a solemn contract at Patras. In the capital, however, direct seizures of property occur daily. If a palace, a mint, a printing office, or a stable is to be built, a public nuisance established, or a colony founded, the property of private individuals is seized without even the formality of informing the proprietors, whose very land-marks are thus lost. A plan of the town of Athens was adopted by royal ordinance, without the citizens of the town having seen it or been consulted on its practicability, let alone utility; and it was declared, that government should have the right of appropriating all the land therein, indicated as necessary for public buildings, at the rate of about £30 an acre, within six months. Under the guarantee of this royal ordinance, many individuals purchased land adjoining the actual town, at £150 to £200 an acre. Yet government has now, after a lapse of nearly three years, annulled the contract, and refuses to take the pieces of land then selected, and insists on the right of selecting any piece of land suitable for public purposes, at the former price of £30 an acre. Some of the inhabitants, knowing that a foreign consul, whose land had been thus taken by government in violation of the contract, had succeeded in making a private arrangement with the chancellor, have protested against this violation of the right of property, and, though government has more than a year ago completed the buildings on their land, have never received one farthing of indemnity to the present hour. The late seizure of land belonging to an American religious mission, under circumstances of gross injustice, and of a Russian consul general, is now likely to bring matters to a crisis, and compel the chancellor to adopt some new line of conduct, less at variance with the principles of justice, than his former proceedings. Can he, who is said to have shared the enthusiastic scheme of making Greece a second America, seriously believe, that "the country beyond the Atlantic, where now a younger Europe flourishes," reached her present unexampled pitch of wealth, glory, and happiness, by such principles as he acts on?
There yet remains one way in which the moral influence of liberated Greece may be very extensively, though indirectly, beneficial in improving the condition of that part of the nation, still under a foreign domination, to which we may allude. It is well known, that the subject of education has excited great attention amongst the better classes in Greece. The most popular of the Greek news-papers, the Athena, is filled with discussions on this subject; and many of the villages and towns of liberated Greece, even before the constitution of their communes, have built and endowed public schools. A strong desire for education pervades every class of society. Here, then, a field is opened to the government, of exerting the most power ful and beneficial influence on the whole mass of the Greek nation. The establishment of a University, in the Hellenic kingdom, on the plan of those of Germany, with those provisions for exact discipline amongst the members, which the circumstances may be found to require, would not only be of great advantage to liberated Greece, but would also tend to create and disseminate a community of feeling, wherever the Greek language is spoken. The formation of a public library, which would afford the means for students even of mature age, to pursue their studies, and the endowment of a special college, for Theological studies, are loudly called for by the present demand for schoolmasters, and the want of educated priests, in all the provinces of Greece and Turkey. Would not this truly national undertaking, better warrant the expenditure of the loan granted by the three allied powers, than the journey of a Bavarian architect to make a plan of Athens, or than the excavation of the Acropolis, the rebuilding of the Parthenon, the building a mint or even a printing office, or a transit warehouse, or than the maintenance of a regiment of lancers, and a military school ?
The success of a University in Greece would unquestionably be most brilliant, and would reflect more lasting glory on the reign of king Otho, and enable him to exercise a wider influence over the Greek nation, than all the military and antiquarian establishments of his kingdom. No people can supply a greater proportion of men able and willing to fill the chairs of such an establishment. These professors would bring to their task an enthusiasm which would immediately find a responding feeling in the breasts of their pupils, and they would awaken an echo which would be repeated through Europe and Asia, as far as Greek is a spoken lan- guage. Every Greek feels himself connected with the literary glory of his ancestors, and he would soon be proud of that of his contemporaries. The anxiety the Greeks feel about such an institution, and the eagerness with which they would contribute to its prosperity, is shown by the magnificent donations which many wealthy Greeks have already furnished in books and money. Yet, with all this favourable disposition on the part of the people, the school-houses, commenced by Capodistrias, remain either unfinished, as at Corinth, unoccupied as at Megara, or turned into a barrack for the gendarmerie, as at Loidoriki.
It may here perhaps be justly observed, that all plans for the improvement of a country, proposed by strangers, ought to be examined with a careful and suspicious eye. The vanity of projecting, is too apt to lead the most phlegmatic and judicious to overrate the circumstances which are favourable to their plans, and to overlook those which are unfavourable. Foreigners, even when they perfectly understand the language of a country, can generally no more acquire the feelings, than they can the exterior appearance of natives. Entertaining this opinion, we own we have looked with wonder at the proceedings of the European statesmen, who have established in Greece a form of administration which compels the Greek to wait for every im- provement until projected by strangers, ignorant of their language and manners, and stimulated to the service of the country only by their salaries. In a country issuing from a long revolution, a foreigner is entrusted with the whole executive and legislative power, unrestrained by the ties of naturalization, and unaided by any institution which can convey to him the true and uncorrupted sentiments of the nation he is appointed to govern. In a country where the national institutions and habits of the people had established feelings of the most democratic equality amongst all subjects, a foreigner is placed between the throne and the people, as if to separate the monarch from that respect which the nation is so willing to pay him, and to leave the throne resting on nothing but the supposed talents of this foreign chancellor. The very form of administration which combines all the evils of an elec- tive despotism, and which has invariably placed the governed and the governors in mortal opposition, and has been productive of more rebellions and revolutions than any other known combination of power, is thus adopted with the sanction of the three most enlightened nations in Europe, as the surest means of establishing tranquillity in Greece. We are irresistibly compelled to conjecture what can have been the ulterior projects of statesmen who have departed so far from the lessons of practical wisdom. Can the English cabinet seriously think that their influence can maintain the state of things without the aid of British funds, or are they prepared to come before Parliament and ask more money to pursue their speculations in the art of maintaining a government by means of elective despotic ministers? For our own parts, we view the future without alarm, for we feel confident that a very short continuance of the present system will induce the sovereign of Greece to call toge- ther a national assembly in order to lay the basis of an organised system of internal administration, and in order to form a body capable of legislating according to the exigencies of the country.
The present state of affairs, however, is certainly threatening. Let us inquire, therefore, if it be not possible, by some means in perfect accordance with the existing condition of the Hellenic monarchy, to organize the administration of the kingdom in a manner which, while it immediately secures a due expression of popular opinion, will guarantee a stability of measure, and a consistency of political views, which has been vainly sought for in the vacillating conduct of foreign regents and chancellors.
In Greece, as in every country which possesses popular institutions, such as we have already shown, exist in her municipal and rural organization, no government can be permanent which is not directly influenced by, and which does not move in constant accord with, public opinion. At the same time, we are well aware, that the machine of government must be so constructed as to ensure the expression of public opinion, without allowing the popular will to become the director of the ex- ecutive power. That this can be permanently and securely done, without the existence of a legislative assembly, and a complete and responsible ministry, we hold to be impossible. These are the objects for which Greece must agitate and we conceive these to be the only sure guarantees of the stability of the Greek monarchy. We shall, therefore, examine by what practical measures their formation can be facilitated.
To proceed cautiously. The first change which must be made in the actual administration of public business would be one of mere form; yet it would create a machinery by which the institutions and usages of the Greek nation would be made known to the government, and enabled to exert some influence on legislation. We conceive this to be the first step towards the good government of Greece; for institutions and usages are a far more powerful lever to direct a people, than civil laws and political constitutions. That this may even be done without any change in the individuals who now hold public situations in Greece, farther than by com- pleting the ministry, we think of importance, as we see that the change of individuals and names is the present receipt proposed by strangers to remedy all errors in Greece, — a receipt which, whatever may be the faults or virtues of different sets of individuals, is sure to be fallacious where the system of government is radically bad.
We suggest, therefore, that the present council of state should be charged to prepare reports on every subject on which the government feels itself called upon to legislate, that these reports, signed by the members who draw them up, and supported, if necessary, by the requisite evidence, should be published by government, and that, after waiting for the expression of public opinion, and the further explanations which it may give, the laws be prepared and considered in a real cabinet of Greek ministers. If the present council of state do not contain a sufficient number of persons capable of performing this work, the necessary addition to its members can be made. We shall not enter into any explanation of the details by which this system can be put into immediate execution; we shall con- tent ourselves by saying, that the present system of preparing laws, changing the institutions of the country, and imposing new taxes on its inhabitants in the private room of a foreign minister, and transmitting these laws to an inefficient council of state, with an order to return them ratified in forty-eight hours, cannot be endured much longer. The cup is full already. Experience, too, has shown, that such laws are despised by the people and ridiculed by the employes of the state, as being inapplicable to, and unconnected with, the state of Greece.
There is, however, one advantage which would result from this mode of referring the legislation of Greece to the council of state, which is likely to have more weight with the present disposers of affairs in that country than the mere feelings of justice. They will begin soon to perceive that a national assembly being inevitable, this is the only manner by which they can be prepared to meet it; that in this manner alone they can hope to know what are the measures which a national assembly would be likely to adopt, or by what line of conduct its votes and resolutions may be guided. The habits of business and public discussion, as a means of advancing instead of retarding public affairs, can only be acquired by habit and experience, and the practice which the members of the council of state would have gained in the way proposed, would render them powerful auxiliaries in the national assembly, to which many of them, from their local influence and high character, are sure to be returned. With regard to the necessity of calling together a national assembly, we have only to appeal to the candour of the readers of the pre- ceding pages.
To conclude, we shall now offer a few observations on the actual resources of the kingdom, in order that a just comparison may be drawn between their extent, and the political results which the Hellenic kingdom has been expected to work out in the European republic. The revenues of Greece are estimated at about £400,000 sterling, and the population about 650,000 souls. The amount of taxation paid by each individual is therefore about 12s. 3d. sterling. The contribution of a family of five persons amounts to about £3 1s. 6d. which is a rate of taxation which considerably exceeds that paid by Russia, Sweden, Spain, Naples, Sardinia, and Ireland, and which equals that paid by the Austrian empire, including Lombardy. This amount, levied in a country so thinly peopled as Greece, where the price of grain is so low, and the expenses of transport so great, is worthy of careful observation on the part of those who speculate on the future prosperity of the country. Indeed, it is evident, that in a country which, on the Continent and the Peloponnesus, does not average more than twenty persons to a square mile, no such 106 amount of taxation could ever be collected, unless a rent of a great part of the cultivated land flowed directly into the pockets of the state; and with such an amount of taxation, not re-employed in production, it can hardly be expected that the progress of Greece, either in wealth or population, can be very rapid. There is too little of the national land of a sufficiently good quality to permit great extension of its cultivation, while it remains subject to a tax of fifteen per cent, over and above the regular tenths; when we recollect that this tax of twenty-five per cent, of the gross produce of agriculture is burdened with its transport, in the retired and mountainous parts of the country, to the distance of six hours. The cultivation of land in Greece is not likely to be much increased, or the population augmented, until some change takes place in these laws. Indeed, in general, the government of Greece does not appear to be sensible that the resources of the country can be seriously augmented only by that part ot the national income which is left in the pockets of the people : it is too much employed in endeavouring, in every possible way, to turn the national resources into its own hands, when they are spent, if riot lavishly, at least unproductively. The fact that hardly any fund remains to great part of the people for improving their condition, sufficiently explains the low scale of contentment amongst the peasantry, and the total extinction of all ambition of rising to wealth.
The annual expenditure has hitherto amounted to about £650,000, exceeding the revenue by about £250,000. Of this sum the army has absorbed about £390,000, that is within £10,000 of the whole revenue of the kingdom. As the army absorbs such an extraordinary proportion of the revenue, it must be of importance to know exactly its numbers and efficiency. But as no returns on the subject have ever been published, and as its organization is in a continual state of fluctuation it is extremely difficult to catch a fleeting form, or describe the fashion of an hour. During the month of September last year, the numbers of the Greek army is said to have been stated to the allied powers, at about 9250 men, in not very unequal proportions of Greeks and Bavarians. Of these the regular troops, consisting of eight battalions of infantry, a regiment of artillery, one of pioneers, and one of lancers, amounted to 6000 men, of whom the greater part were Bavarians. There was a corps of Greek gendarmes, a very efficient and useful body of men, who have distinguished themselves by their valour and good conduct on several important occasions, about 1000 strong. The remainder of the army consisted of light battalions of Mainotes and others, which, with proper attention, might have become excellent troops.
At present, the death and retirement of a number of the Bavarians has reduced the regular battalions to four, of which two consist of Bavarians, but even these are now in part officered by Greeks. So much have the regular troops been neglected lately, that their number has been allowed to decline to about 3000. The gen- darmes, who are to a certain degree regular, are supposed not to exceed 800 men. To replace these, a new class of troops have been assembled, without either organization or discipline, and without any uniformity in their arms or dress, collected in bands under their chiefs, as in the most disturbed days of the revolution. They have been facetiously termed national guards, as a hint, probably, for the nation to guard against them. The formation of the Phalanx, with its corps of officers, is said to have brought the numerical force of the army to about one officer for every two privates. This conduct has naturally induced the world to believe that the intention of government is gradually to dissolve the regular troops, and return to the system of palikarism. Whether such be the real intention of the government or not, the same end will be as effectually obtained by the continuance of the present vacillating system for six months longer. The present state of the army in Greece, we have already said, loudly demands the attention of the King of Greece, and of the nation ; and without publicity, truth will prove unattainable, and wise measures cannot be adopted.
The national spirit of the Greeks for naval affairs is generally known, by the reputation which they earned for skill and daring in their maritime warfare with the Turks. The names of Miaoulis and Kanaris will be cherished with respect and admiration as long as capacity and courage, successfully exerted in a good cause, awaken the gratitude of mankind. The aptitude of the Greek sailors in acquiring habits of discipline, has been displayed on several occasions, though the circumstance of the best seamen using exclusively the Albanian laguage, has throw timpediments in the way of its introduction; for with this difficulty of language to contend with, officers must possess patience equal to their skill, or they cannot hope to succeed. The exploits of Captain Hastings, with a crew chiefly Hydriote, show what may be done by ability and perseverance. The steam-vessel commanded by that officer was the first vessel from which red hot shot have been habitually used at sea. Now, it is clear to every body, that the operation of heating a sixty-eight pound shot, and firing a number of loaded shells from a vessel, must be an operation of such delicacy and danger, as can only be undertaken where the crew displays the greatest order, activity, and intelligence. Yet Captain Hastings, in a memoir on the subject, mentions, that during little more than a year's service, he fired 18,000 shells and a considerable number of hot shot, and burned seven Turkish vessels, without a single accident on board his own ship. We grieve to say, that the Greek navy is now in such a lamentable state of disorganization and inefficiency, that we cannot trust ourselves to make any observations on the subject.
It remains for us now to notice the administration of justice, and the conduct of the business of the interior. Time will doubtless be required to model the execution of the laws of Greece to the exigencies of the country, but as the attention of the Greeks is already directed to this subject, there can be no doubt that it will be effectually done, as soon as they are enabled, by means of an efficient council of state, or by a legislative assembly, to take part in their own legislation. The trial by jury in criminal cases has already been introduced with the greatest success, and we have very little doubt that its extension to civil cases would be attended with great advantages; for there is no other institution of western Europe so completely in conformity with the manners and usages of the people. Indeed, they have been so long accustomed to a nearly similar mode of deciding judicial affairs by the presence of the heads of families, with the village magistrate and priest, that the institution of juries seems, even to the lower orders, to be merely an improvement on their own system, the advantages of which they fully appreciate.
With regard to the civil administration of the country, as connected with the department of the interior, it is impossible even for the most indifferent traveller not to perceive, that it is in the most deplorable state of inefficiency. Based on the system of centralization, without the influence and power of an established and complete organization, it is in direct opposition to the habits and usages of the people, and becomes an impediment to the settlement of the local affairs of the provinces, by introducing the theories of ministers where they are absolutely injurious, and the intrigues of political parties where they would otherwise remain unknown. Until the popular institutions of the country are brought into direct communication with the administrative department of the interior, we feel persuaded that little will be done for the permanent organization of Greece. Every body who appreciates the advantages of simplicity and publicity in the administration of public affairs, must perceive how great gainers the Greeks would immediately be by the change.
To conclude, it is our opinion that if the Greek kingdom is to make those advances towards prosperity which the state of the country warrants, it can only be done by adopting a completely new system of administration and government, — by returning immediately to the native institutions of the country, in the administration of the affairs of the villages; by connecting this with the communal system, and putting that system in execution; and by creating some organ for the expression of public opinion, in the highest sphere, and on questions of general legislation and administration, whether it be an efficient council. of state, or what is far better, a legislative assembly. Publicity, however, must be introduced into every department of the public administration, in order that foreigners, whether they be Bavarians or Fanariotes, may no longer render Greece one extensive system of private jobbing. There must be budgets and accounts of public expenditure regularly published, wherever public money has been received, whether in the villages, in the towns, or by the general government. The maxim, hitherto current, that the people exist merely to be governed, and that the government alone forms the state, must be laid aside altogether. Unless this is done, and done speedily, the cry for a national assembly will be very soon irresistible, and the excitement under which the assembly itself will meet, will be too great to ensure the adoption of prudent measures. In some way or other, Greece must obtain a system of government in conformity with the usages of civilized Europe, and adapted to her own institutions, or her situation as an independent state is impossible. When such a system is adopted, however, we have little doubt, that the energies of the Greek nation will soon be displayed in the advancement and prosperity of liberated Greece, and that its progress will soon rival that of the most favoured countries. The active and industrious population of the Hellenic kingdom, may then be sure of exerting a powerful moral influence over the fortunes and happiness of those millions of their countrymen who still groan under a foreign yoke. The moral improvement of the Greeks holds out the only rational hope of re-establishing order amidst the increasing anarchy of the Ottoman empire, and may one day secure the union of its population under a system of perfect political equality, a consummation which can alone prevent its subdugation by Russia.
At all events, the prosperity of the Greek kingdom is the first step towards the civilization of the east; and is, therefore, of more importance to Europe than it would be from its mere connection with the repayment of expended loans, or even than the mere political question of Hellenic independence would alone make it. The moral condition of several millions of mankind, and the ultimate civilization of western Asia, can only be advanced and improved by the good government of the subjects of king Otho.