The Caucasians and Circassians - Schamyl, the Prophet Warrior - Erzeroum - Trebizond - Kars - Asiatic Campaign - Intrigues in the North-West of Turkey - Greek Attacks on the Borders of Turkey.
We now, in the order of time, proceed briefly to notice the operations which took place in the year 1854 in Asia. The Turks had, single-handed, repelled the hordes of Russian mercenaries on the banks of the Danube; the Allied troops had arrived in large numbers on Eastern soil, and were preparing to invade the Crimea; the Allied fleets, in formidable strength, were swarming the waters of the Black Sea; and, in the Asiatic neighbourhood of that Sea, Turkish troops were endeavouring to maintain their hold of the possessions to which they laid claim, against the encroachments of Russia. It is to be regretted that the Allies did not sympathize and assist them more in their endeavours; for the campaign in Asia, in 1854, was very disastrous to the Turkish cause. The position of Schamyl, the Caucasian chief, was in some measure connected with these operations; therefore we shall make no apology for introducing a brief notice of this extraordinary man, and the heroic tribes of which he is the leader.
The interval between the Black and the Caspian seas is filled up by a ridge of mountains in which occur some of the noblest aspects, the loftiest peaks in nature, and in the varying heights of which, races and clans find their home. The inhabitants are various in their origin, their customs, and their names. Yet, as they may all be designated by the general name of Caucasian, so may they be in common characterised as superior to most other races on earth, alike in bodily form and essential endowment. Noble in blood, they enjoy the inestimable advantage of having noble recollections ; their historical traditions run back many centuries; they themselves and their country appear in the dawn of Western fable; and while Grecian poetry made the Caucasus one of its favourite spots, Persian philosophy placed there the abode of its satan, Ahriman, the prince of darkness. Even the Old Testament has been made to lend its contribution to the venerableness of the land; for the prophet Elijah has been honoured with a cavern, where he is worshipped, and where, according to the popular belief, he still works miracles. Ruins, too, rise here and there, to add at once to the beauty of the scene and the self-respect of the people. These facts combine to show that the Caucasians are anything but that semi-barbarous race that they are commonly accounted. Scarcely, indeed, could they be called highly civilized, if we take as types of civilization a Parisian belle or an English philosopher. But viewed relatively to their mountain home, the Caucasians have a cultivation which befits their position, and raises them high above their neighbours. Living a pastoral life, thinly scattered over the valleys, they coalesce in cities only on the plains where they border on Russia in the north, and Persia in the south. Yet they are united together, individuals with individuals, and, to some extent, tribe after tribe, in social and religious bonds, which at once betoken and confirm their culture. The bond would now be far more intimate and extensive than it is, but for the intrigues and gold of Russia, who has spared neither treasure, nor blood, nor honour, to bring these independent tribes under its yoke. Scarcely less injurious to the moral sentiments has been the prevalence among them of a species of slave-trade of by no means the least degrading kind. The Circassian, whether male or female, is naturally handsome, and the beauty which nature has given in lofty stature, graceful contour, well-turned features, an eagle eye, and a clear, brilliant complexion, is set off to the best advantage by loose and flowing robes, and by a native elegance of manner, which art might spoil, but could not bestow. While these qualities are common to the sexes, the female possesses them in a very marked degree; and she enjoys that inestimable privilege which she has received from nature, of well knowing how to make the most of them for attraction and fascination. This loveliness has been fatal to thousands of Circassian girls, who, in consequence of their charms, have for ages been in great request, that they might minister to the unworthy pleasures of the polygamist Moslem or Turkish voluptuary. Hence arose a trade in beautiful virgins, by which even the parents of very many did not disdain to profit. Lovely girls became, so to say, the circulating medium of the country, and, indeed, of the whole district; the father bartered his daughter for arms; the purchaser, conveying her to Turkey, exchanged her for gold or for merchandise, and with the gain loaded his own coffers, or made new purchases, in order to obtain a fresh supply of the marketable article, feminine beauty. The trade has of late greatly declined. That it should ever have existed is very distressing, and the only mitigation of the evil is, that in the sale of their daughters the brave and liberty-loving natives obtained the means of self-defence and of assault, by which they could make even Russia feel their power, and rise to a hope of national independence.
The Circassian female is the centre of much that is no less romantic than lofty. Whether as a girl or a mother, she feels the nobility of her race, and readily acts with a poetry or a heroism, as the occasion demands. Passionately fond of music and dancing, the Circassians spend much time in those amusements. The vales and mountain-tops echo with popular songs, and few are the more remarkable spots that are not dignified and made dear by the blood of a brother, a lover, a father shed in behalf of Circassian liberty. The land is thus strewed with the materials of poetry, which local bards know how to weave into bands and chaplets lovely as well as strong. When once the light-hearted girl has given her heart, she therewith gives a high moral sentiment, which inspires her intended husband with the loftiest aspirations, of which national liberty is the centre thought. And when the maiden has passed into the mother, she infuses with her milk the love of freedom and independence into her child's heart.
In a country where liberty is so precious, free institutions might be expected to exist. In reality the government is patriarchal; the father is the head, not of the family alone, but of the clan ; and several clans combine together under a patriarch to form a tribe, from which, by a union of tribes, a people or a nation arises. Government with such a people will be both local and general, particular and central; rising in the extremities, it will radiate to a common point, while the influence of that common point, where the social powers are concentrated, will diffuse itself over the whole surface, and add to the efficiency wherein it had its own origin, and in which still it finds its chief support. Accordingly, every village has its own common council, comprising all its male adults, which is convened only when some obvious use, or clear, if not pressing necessity calls. The several village assemblies are easily fused together into a provincial meeting, and by deputies the general will may be represented in a national council. The union here implied is cemented and made efficient by customs as well as prescriptions; and less difficult than we, in our state of society, should conceive, is it to communicate a sympathy or an aim through every fibre of the social body, or to arouse the collective force of the country for the promotion of a common object. This concentration has been of late very much augmented by the wonderful influence of one of those lofty characters which are called into existence by great social necessities. We allude to the prophet and hero of the Caucasus, Imaum Schamyl, who, though past the middle period of life, seems not unlikely to play a part which may place him side by side with Kouli Khan, or even Mohammed.
For now above twenty years have the chief and best tribes of the Caucasus been struggling more or less manfully against the ambitious designs and the oppressive yoke of Russia. With due allegiance to old Blucher's motto, namely Vorwarts (Forwards), which exactly describes Russia's ceaseless aim, the government of that huge country has been straining every nerve to break down the barrier set by that line of mountains against its advance on Persia, Affghanistan, India, Asia. But for the wall of adamant (stronger even than those mountains) which the bravery of the Caucasians has thrown up, Russia would years ago have met England foot to foot on the plains of the Indian Delta. Yet, though able to throw off the chains as fast as they were imposed, the Caucasians had not power to vindicate their national independence. Every year opened with aggressions from new and augmented hordes of Russian invaders, though every autumn saw them driven into fortresses, where they remained cooped up during the winter—a sign at once of their own impotence and of Caucasian independence. Disunion was the main reason of the partial success which rewarded the worthy struggles of the mountaineers. That disunion Schamyl nearly banished. With the aid of a new religion, compounded of an ancient philosophy and a popular Mohammedanism, he has fused the several elements into one mass, and so gained power to achieve brilliant victories, with comparatively small forces, over large numbers of Russian serfs. The first generals that Nicholas had at his command have had their laurels tarnished. Even the present Empeor made a visit thither in vain; and, with an army of not less than 120,000 men, Russia could scarcely maintain her foothold in those parts, and has suffered defeat, and even loss of territory, which she is ashamed to confess, and almost afraid to reflect on.
Whatever may be the cause of the strong resemblance between the various tribes on the eastern Euxine coast, it is an unquestionable fact, that their manners, their appearance, and their dress are all nearly the same. There is everywhere a total absence of set-tied order and regular government. Each canton, each valley, comprises a separate community, governed by traditions and customs handed down from generation to generation. Legal disputes between different cantons are decided by general assemblies, over which men eminent for their high character, and venerable on account of their years, are called to preside. This republican sort of government is often modified by the influence of a prince, or a talented man, who, by the means of his wealth and his connexions, manages to impose laws upon his tribe, and become the powerful chief of his clan. An alliance between several of these tribes, or a general levy for a foraging expedition, is a rare and transient occurrence among them. When such an occasion does present itself, all the men who are capable of bearing arms assemble together at an appointed place, and there, in a tumultuous manner, discuss the plan of attack, and choose generals to head their force. Sometimes the want of harmony among them breaks up the alliance they have formed, or, it may be, some unfavourable omen, or some traditional superstition induces them to put off the expedition to another time. A hare crossing their path is decidedly a bad omen, and this simple circumstance is often sufficient to dishearten the most valiant among them. On the other hand, the time when the moon is in its first quarter is considered very favourable to success in any enterprise.
As soon as a decision has once been formed, the warriors march out with their chiefs and their standards at the head. They observe no regular order of march ; the best horses go first, and the rest follow as they can. The cavalry do not accompany the infantry, except upon extraordinary occasions. They are very rapid in their movements, and do not encumber themselves with any baggage, even when the expedition is likely to last several days. They travel many miles in the night, but always in such a manner as to be ready for a sudden attack at break of day, which is greatly facilitated by their admirable mode of arming themselves for such surprises. The horses are not shod; the sheath of their sabre is wooden and covered with leather; and they carry their gun in a felt case; there is nothing about them that glitters or rattles; and the consequence is, that a troop of Tcherkessians give no sort of indication of their approach, even when they are at full gallop.
A writer thus sums up his remarks on these enemies to Russian aggression:—
" How should a people be conquered who have a spirit as noble as the Hungarian, and mountains, instead of plains, for a battle-field and a refuge? 'If England and Turkey abandon us,' exclaimed one of their chiefs (the one who originated the oath of the league), ' we will burn our houses and property, and retire to the high rocks, and there defend ourselves till the last man falls.' And this was not the momentary enthusiasm of one man. In congress and councils it has been repeatedly declared that if the Russians succeeded in erecting forts in every bay of the coast, the inhabitants would never yield. 'We have abundance of mountains,' they have often said; ' and to these we retire and defend ourselves, if we are unable to retain the coast.' They have, however, made stupendous efforts to retain the coast, and, on the whole, with success. Their rocks and trees are incessantly all alive with human eyes. If a friendly vessel arrives with salt (their great want) or other commodities, out rush a string of men into the sea to seize the rope; or boats full of armed men to row round the vessel and divert the Russian fire. If the Russians draw near to cut out a vessel or storm a fort, there is sure to be some breastwork, if only of hurdles filled with shingle, and concealing a trench; and from behind, the aim taken is always deadly. Their songs are a curious contrast to the hymns of the Russian soldiery—a contrast which reminds the traveller of that which is on record on the siege of Jerusalem, when the Roman trumpets, in the camp sounded harsh and mechanical in comparison with the wild Hebrew music which swelled from the city walls. The Russians chaunt the hymns prescribed and taught. The Circassians have their bards, who exhort and prophesy. 'You men rush forth to the battle; for brave youths love war. If you fall, you are martyrs. If you live, you have half that glory.' This is no mere romance. It is about the most solid and significant fact of the last century, this successful defiance of Russia by Circassia alone, when all the rest of the world gave way. This little country has weathered the long, dreary storm; and now the worst is past, we may hope. The Black Sea is opened, never more to be closed. All western Europe- the foremost people of all the earth—are to be the allies of Circassia. She asked only salt, ammunition, and a clear sea; and she must henceforth have them all. And how much more—how much of reinforcement and of commerce—how much of the gratitude of Turkey and the admiration of western Europe and America, a few years will show."
But one of the most formidable enemies with whom Russia has to contend in Asia is the chief Schamyl, whose life, as related by most writers, reads more like romance than sober history. Extraordinary in itself, it has been raised almost to the miraculous, by the various additions which have been made to it, from the natural propensity of men to exaggerate what strikes them with astonishment.
It appears that for about thirty years a spirit of mysticism has prevailed among the tribes of the Caucasus, favoured, in some degree, by the solitude which surrounds them, and productive of mighty effects upon them. Towards the year 1823, it took the form of a sort of system under the name of sufism; those who are initiated in it being supposed to hold direct communication with God, and to be entrusted with the destiny of their brethren in the Mohammedan faith. One of the leading teachers of this system was Kasi Mollah, who demanded unlimited faith and obedience from his followers, and surrounded himself with a select few, calle murids, who had devoted themselves to death, if necessary, in the defence of their faith.
Schamyl was one of the most distinguished of these murids. He was born in the year 1797, at the small Circassian village of Himri. From his earliest youth he displayed a lofty pride, a strong love of independence, and great earnestness of character. Disdaining the sports and amusements of his youthful companions, he withdrew himself from their society, to peruse the Koran, and meditate upon the sayings of the prophet. Though feeble in bodily constitution, he under-went all sorts of fatigue, braved every species of danger, and cared not what he suffered as long as he could surpass his rivals. If in his struggles with them he happened at any time to be beaten, he retired, in sadness and desperation, to deplore his misfortune and disgrace. Even at this time a strong religious enthusiasm took possession of his mind, which being fostered by his teachers, failed not to produce striking results.
Schamyl had become the favourite of Kasi Mollah by the time when the disastrous conflict at Himri took place. Pursued by the Russians, the Tcherkessians, under the command of Kasi Mollah, had taken up their position in this fortress, which they thought inaccessible. General Rosan advanced in spite of every obstacle, and laid siege to the citadel. For four days and four nights it was bombarded. Foremost among his murids stood Kasi Mollah, beseeching and encouraging his soldiers, who fell around him covered with wounds. After a most heroic resistance, nothing remained for the Circassians but to die bravely. The Russians, after fighting hard for five-and-twenty days, had just taken the last redoubt. Twenty-four murids yet survived; covered with wounds, and dripping with blood, Kasi Mollah, committing his soul to the God of armies, was upon his knees calling upon Allah, and still urging on the small remnant of his force. All the murids soon perished, with the exception of one, who, though struck by two balls and stabbed by a bayonet, managed to effect his escape from destruction, and afterwards became Russia's most implacable foe. This one, who was left for dead in the fortress of Himri, was Kasi Mollah's favourite disciple, Schamyl. How the young horo escaped is a mystery which has not yet been solved. But when he again appeared at the head of the Tcherkessians, he was regarded by the Russians as one risen from the dead. From this time forth his fellow countrymen considered him the special favourite of Heaven, and he became the first of the murids. Another escape equally miraculous, when Hamsad Bey perished in the siege of the fortress of Chunsach with all the other murids, raised him still higher in their estimation, and led to his appointment as successor to Hamsad Bey.
The Czar now sent General Grabbe to the army in the Caucasus, with orders to pursue this Schamyl wherever he might be, as his influence and daring were daily becoming more and more formidable. The general, resolved to attack the lion in his den, went straight to the fortress of Alkucho, where he had taken up his residence. For four long months the fort was battered by the cannon of the Russians, who lost a great number of men. It is even said, that out of fifteen hundred who commenced the assault, only about a hundred returned alive. However, after many desperate efforts, Gen. Grabbe did at last manage to get possession of the fortress. The Russians were in proportion of thirty to one; they slaughtered every body they saw ; old men, women, and even children fell victims to their fury. When there remained no single survivor, they sought eagerly among the heaps of the slain for the body of Schamyl, but it was nowhere to be found. He had escaped, as on the two previous occasions, and in this wave.
There was in the sides of the mountain a large cave to which some murids had retired, and among them was Schamyi. It was no easy matter to escape, as all the avenues were in sight of the Russians. What could the faithful murids do? They sacrificed their lives to save that of the prophet. Finding in the cave some trunks of trees and old planks, they tied them together with cords, to make them into a raft, which they launched upon the river that flowed by the foot of the mountain. Scarcely had they embarked upon it, before the Russians, perceiving them, cried out, " There is Schamyl !" Orders were immediately given to pursue the raft. They did their utmost, dashed into the river with the horses, soon reached the raft, and massacred every one of the murids upon it. Surely Schamyl is now dead. Not so; he has escaped. While the attention of the Russians was fixed upon the craft, a man struck out from the cave into the river unobserved, swam across and soon disappeared in the mountains on the opposite side. We may imagine the effect of this third escape upon his countrymen. His defeat contributed even more to his influence among them than any victory, for it proved to all the tribes that he was veritably sent by God and protected by omnipotence.
After the capture of Alkucho, the unconquerable hero retired to Dargo, whither the Russians, intoxicated with their late success, soon directed their march. Dargo is situated in the midst of steep rocks, on the top of a mountain, towards which there is no approach, except by tortuous defiles and immense forests. Schamyl, bent on revenge, gave orders to the Circassians not to fire a single gun as long as the expeditionary force of General Grabbe was on the march. Then, when the whole troop was completely within his power, he poured down upon it a host of mountaineers from all sides like a torrent. The Russians, hemmed in both before and behind, and furiously attacked in the flank, were nearly all slain. Never was there a more frightful carnage. General Grabbe, who had counted upon a brilliant victory, with great difficulty escaped, accompanied by a few cossacks. As a mark of the autocrat's displeasure, he was superseded in the command by General Gurko, who was more cautious, but equally unsuccessful. Before the Russians had time to recover from their disaster, Schamyl invaded Awaria, which was allied with Russia, besieged a Russian garrison there, and reduced it by famine to surrender at discretion. Some troops had been sent to its relief but Schamyl, getting information of their approach, waylaid them and slaughtered every man.
Warned by these disasters, the Czar increased his army, and sent General Kluke to Awaria with a force three times as great as that of Schamyl. Scarcely had he arrived there before Schamyl gave him battle and immediately defeated him. He then pursued him in his flight, overcame him again, and at last drove him to take refuge in the fortress of Chunsach. The warlike prophet was just on the point of taking the place, when General Dolgoroucki arrived with fresh forces. Though he had fought almost incessantly for three months he did not refuse battle. His men rushed upon the enemy like lions, drove them back, and were all but victorious, when they were attacked in the rear, and were obliged to face two armies. Schamyl now performed prodigies. Seeing himself shut in by fire and sword on all sides, he rushed at the head of his men upon a Russian square, threw it into disorder, and made his way through it. The Russians were saved from entire destruction, but many were lost. Schamyl returned, ravaged Awaria, and made prisoners of all the inhabitants. Some weeks afterwards he boldly laid siege to another fortress, occupied by two Russian generals. Thus he blockaded the remains of two armies which had been sent against him one after the other, and Russia was obliged to despatch a third to deliver them.
Our limits will not permit us to pursue the biography of this remarkable hero to any greater length. Suffice it to say, he is as great a legislator and governor as he is a warrior. For eight-and-twenty years he has maintained an unequal but successful struggle against the Russian autocrat. At the head of a mere handful of men he has completely kept him at bay.
Schamyl is of middle height ; his hair is of a bright blond colour; his eyes flash brilliantly from beneath thick, black eyebrows; and his beard is almost white. Notwithstanding his indefatigable activity, he is remarkably abstemious, eats moderately, drinks nothing but water, and sleeps only a few hours.
Such, then, is Schamyl, such the mountaineers of the Caucasus; such the relation between them and Russia at the commencement of the war. A struggle between the Turks and Russians in Asia was inevitable, whether the Caucasians sided with the former, or remained neutral; for the Asiatic boundary between the two empires is not less than 400 miles in extent, in the irregular line from Batoum to Mount Ararat. This celebrated mountain forms the meeting-point of the empires—the Russian, Turkish, and Persian; and from thence to the Black Sea at Batoum, the Russianised countries of Georgia, Imerita, and Mingrelia, confront the rugged regions of Asiatic Turkey.
The effective force of the Turkish army in Asia, at the commencement of the war, amounted to about 36,000 foot, 4000 horse, and 100 guns. During the autumn, 24,000 Bashi-Bazouks and other irregulars joined the army; and, in addition, a fresh levy was ordered in Syria and Anatolia. Two-thirds of these troops were encamped at Kars, under Abdi Pasha; the greater half of the third part was at Batoum, under Selim Pasha; and the remainder in the vicinity of Bayazid, under another Selim Pasha.
At the same time, the strength of the Russian army of the Caucasus, as it was called, was powerful, and numbered about 80,000 men; but it was scattered over a vast extent of territory, which it was called upon to defend. One portion of duty was to defend the frontier-line running along the base of the mountains, from the Black Sea to the Caspian; another, to occupy the ports and fortified posts of the Crimea; a third, to maintain the forts on the north-east of the Black Sea, such as Anapa and Soudjuk Kale; a fourth, in the protection of the great military road over the Caucasus from Vladikaukus to Tiflis; a fifth, in watching the movements of Schamyl up in the mountains; and a sixth, in guarding the frontier-line on the southern base of the Caucasus. These duties left but a small force to repel any hostile attack on the part of the Turks;—at most, about 25,000 men, disposed in five positions—viz. 10,000 men at Gumri; a smaller portion in the Upper Koor valley; a third part in the province of Gouriel; a fourth, on the main road from Erivan to Bayazid; while the fifth was kept as a disposable reserve at Tiflis.
The officers connected with the Turkish army in Asia were composed of a number of foreigners from various countries—Hungarians, Poles, Italians, and others; some, no doubt, possessed of those qualifications requisite for stations of military authority, whilst others might be deficient of the necessary talent. But the system adopted by the Turkish government in appointing officers to posts of military responsibility was very bad; for favouritism characterized the appointments in too many instances.
At the time when the sultan declared war against Russia, the year 1853 was far advanced, and little chance occurred for hostilities in Asia. Klapka asserts that the Turkish commander should have guarded his army against partial losses, by remaining strictly on the defensive in respect to the Russian main army opposite Kars; and should have struck a well planned and rapid blow against Erivan, in Russian Armenia, as a means of obtaining the aid of the inhabitants of the Lower Koor, who are always ready to act against the Muscovites. Abdi Pasha adopted one of these plans, but neglected the other; he posted part of his army as a corps of observation near Ears, and placed the rest in winter-quarters at Erzeroum as a reserve. He received orders from Constantinople, however, to commence an active attack, leaving to his own judgment the selection of place and circumstances.
All around this neighbourhood is a region of rugged mountains. The pashalic of Erzeroum is the most important in Asia Minor, extending over a population of 800,000 souls, distributed in 1500 villages and a few large towns. The chief city itself, Erzeroum, is roundly estimated to contain 40,000 inhabitants, besides the garrison, of which number 30,000 are Osmanlis; for here, as in Asiatic Turkey, the real Turks are found mostly in the towns, while the villages are chiefly inhabited by Armenians, or other Christian natives.
Kars and Tiflis are north-east of Erzeroum ; Erivan and Bayazid are nearly east; and Trebizond northwest. From Erzeroum to Trebizond it is 180 miles; from Kars to Erzeroum, 150; and from Tiflis to Erzeroum, 250 miles.
While Abdi Pasha was executing the operations intrusted to him, Zarif Mustapha Pasha, governor of the province of Erzeroum, collected a body of Bashi-Bazouks, crossed from Ardahan into the district of Akhaltsik (Akhiska), and impetuously attacked a small body of Russians there posted. The Russians retreated, shut themselves up in the fortress of Akhaltsik, and were there besieged by Mustapha, aided by an additional body of troops sent to him. In the mean time, the main Turkish army crossed the frontier near the river Arpachai, and established a camp upon Russian ground, as a base for an offensive movement against Gumri. The last-named fortress is an important defence for the city of Tiflis, the capital of Georgia, and was well looked to by the Russians during the war. At first, the plan of Abdi Pasha seemed likely to be attended with some success; but he was without a siege-train; the winter set in with great severity, and his Bashi-Bazouks had devastated the country all around, rendering the labours of the Turkish commissariat exceedingly difficult. He was obliged to retreat from Gumri to Kars; the Russians followed him, overtook his army about midway between the two towns, at a place called Gedikler, and utterly routed them. The Russians, deeming a further advance imprudent, retreated to Gumri, where they fortified and provisioned themselves for the winter, while the Turks similarly retreated to winter at Kars. This was not the only discomfiture experienced by the Turks. While Abdi Pasha was thus sustaining a defeat at Gedikler, Zarif Mustapha Pasha was equally unfortunate at Akhaltsik; the Russian garrison of this place, receiving an augmentation of force under General Andronikoff, was enabled to attack and defeat the Turks who were besieging the fortress, and to drive them over the frontier back to Ardahan. These twofold defeats, at Gedikler and Akhaltsik, depressed the Turkish troops, annoyed the government, and led to the deposition of Abdi Pasha. The Turks in Asia Minor had no Omar Pasha among them, and were nor well commanded.
There were two circumstances occurred to render these successes less advantageous to the Russians than they otherwise might have been. A heavy fall of snow, presaging the immediate approach of stern winter, put an end to any further operations near Kars ; while Schamyl, at a time when the Russians were encaged in another direction, suddenly descended from his mountains to the plains of Georgia at the head of 16,000 horse, fired 200 small villages, and carried away as hostages several Russian ladies, who were residing in their country-houses near Tiflis. The Russians, to expel these intruders, found themselves called upon to confine their attention during the winter mainly to the vicinity of Tiflis and Gumri.
Trebizond is situated on the Black Sea. It was a colony of Sinope, and was founded by the Milesians. It is famous in history as the resting-place of the ten thousand Greeks after their famous retreat. They remained a month. They ate some honey in the neighbourhood, from which many of the soldiers died; and Tournefort, the celebrated traveller, explains this by mentioning the poisonous plants which the bees fed on. The Romans took possession of this town during the war with Mithridates. It became a free town. About two hundred and fifty years before Christ it was a large and opulent place, but was then plundered by the Scythians. It did not recover until the reign of Justinian, who restored it to its old grandeur. It is now called Trabezar by the Turks. Its present population is said to be about forty thousand. Its castle is remarkable. It possesses a bazaar, beautiful marble baths, and a temple of Apollo, now a Greek church.
As a seaport, Trebizond is next to Odessa, in the Black Sea, and has a regular communication by steamer with Constantinople. It is to a certain degree picturesquely situated.
As the spring of 1854 advanced, the Turks strengthened themselves at Kars, and the Russians at Gumri. Reinforcements were received by both—more especially the Turks; but the sultan's forces unfortunately suffered in consequence of the wrangles between the officers ; the Poles were in many cases jealous of the Hungarians, and the Osmanlis jealous of both. Had not the Russians been doubtful concerning the intentions of the vacillating court of Persia, an attack on the Turkish positions would in all probability have been made in spring; but, distrusting their own safety , they postponed their advance.
The first hostile encounter in the year was a small affair. Towards the end of April, about 3000 Cossacks and Russian infantry, with a battery of guns, left Gumri, crossed the river Arpachai, and attacked an outpost of Bashi Bazouks at the village of Engene; they killed a few, took a few more prisoners, and then returned to Gumri. During April and May, the Turks at Kars were regularly drilled, to fit them for an evidently approaching conflict with the Russians. In this necessary work, however, the best arrangements were certainly not made. None of the European officers were regimentally employed; they were appointed to the staff headed by Guyon, and were employed as inspectors of artillery practice, instructors in cavalry movements, and overseers of the commissariat; these services were valuable, in so far as the jealousy of the Turkish pashas permitted their development; but even then the troops lost the benefit of the aid that might have been derived from the Hungarian generals in all that related to regimental drilling. The army at Kars having at that time reached 25,000, Guyon advised a march across the river Arpachai, to be followed by the seizure of Erivan; and the troops were themselves eager to advance to action; but Guyon was outvoted by the Osmanli pashas at the council of war, and nothing was done. This council was held on the 18th of May; and the few Englishmen who were then with the army were forcibly struck with the contrast between the men and their leaders, in all that related to courage, activity, and honesty. The sultan indeed, throughout the war, was inefficiently supported by his generals, except in a few instances.
Kars, thus likely to be the scene of the contest between the opposing forces, was at one period the capital of a petty Armenian kingdom of the same name; but it had fallen greatly in importance, and at the breaking out of the war, it was scarcely known to Europe. Merchants stopped there, on their road to and from Persia; but it was a poor, dull place; and hence the inhabitants, about 15,000 in number, became greatly excited when their town was occupied by the Turkish army. The inhabitants suffered before the troops advanced towards Gumri in October 1850; they suffered still more after the disastrous defeat; and the ensuing winter and spring brought them little relief, for the pashas want to seize all the humble stores of the shopkeepers and peasants, leaving the question of payment in a very unsettled state. The town is commanded by an extensive castle, built while the Genoese were possessed of this district; the castle, now nearly crumbled into ruins, stands perched on a rocky hill, at the foot of which flows the little river Karschai. This hill is, however, overtopped by one still higher, on the opposite side of the river, the Kara-dagh or Black mountain; and when prince Paskevitch attacked Kars in a former war, he obtained control both over the town and the castle by occupying this higher hill with a few guns. One of the duties which the Turks undertook in the spring of 1854 was to crown this Kara-dagh with defences, which Guyon recommended should consist of eight redoubts, carrying 48 guns. The whole of the adult males of Kars were forced to assist in constructing these earthworks, which by degrees assumed formidable proportions.
Gumri, in possession of the Russians, had been rendered much stronger than Kars; having as many as 150 mounted cannon, many of them casemated. The distance between Kars and Gumri is less than twelve leagues; and the Russians, by means of spies, knew perfectly well what was transpiring at Kars, while the indolent Turkish commander at Kars made no efforts to gain a knowledge of what was taking place at Gumri. Many of the emissaries sent by or to Schamyl to concert measures with the pasha, were intercepted by the Russians; and Zarif Mustapha, the Turkish commander, continued in ignorance even of the proceedings of Selim Pasha at Batoum. In the month of June, the opposing armies drew nearer to each other. In the preceding month 500 Russians, with four field-pieces had crossed the Arpachai into the Turkish territory, pitched their tents, and threw up a field-work, indicating an intention on the part of Prince Bebutoff to begin hostilities. On the 9th of June four regiments of the Russian cavalry, one of infantry, and fifteen guns, left Gumri, and took up a position at Technitz, on the Arpachai; here they encountered a body of Bashi-Bazouks, under the Hungarian Kmeti, when a skirmish ensued, followed by the retreat of both parties to their different camps.
It was, however, high time that active operations should be commenced; for the bullet and the sword would have been less destructive to the Turks, than the ravages of disease to which they were exposed. From November 1853 to June 1864 the Ottoman army in and around Ears had been reduced 10,000 men by typhus, hunger, cold, and other privations, most of which might have been avoided, if the pashas had been in possession of a moderate amount of skill and honesty. The Russian army did not fare much better. Two Regiments of the sixth corps d'armee had been nine months marching from Moscow to Gumri, over the Caucasus, amid sore privations ; and even those quartered near Tiflis had been swept off in large numbers by disease. At a council of war, held at Kars, General Guyon propounded a well-skilled plan for an attack on the Russians, which, had it been adopted by the incapable Zarif Mustapha, would, in all probability, have been attended with complete success. But he had not the penetration requisite to appreciate the advantages of such a plan; and an army of 30,000 was allowed to remain discontented and inactive; now suffering as much from the intolerable heat, as it had before endured from rigorous cold. Mr. Duncan, a writer on this part of the campaign, asserts that, had Guyon and Kmeti been permitted to command the army, within two months Tiflis would have been captured, and the Russian forces cut to pieces, or driven out of Georgia, across the Caucasus; so much larger was the Turkish army at this time at Kars, than that of the Russian force at Gumri. The Ottomans now numbered 40,000, with 120 pieces of artillery; while it was believed that the Russian force did not much exceed 20,000.
At the beginning of July, the garrison of Gumri, 15,000 strong, sallied forth under Prince Bebutoff, crossed the Arpachai, and took up positions near the valley of Kurekdere and Ingedere, at about one hour's march only from Sobattan and Hadgi-Velikoi, at that time occupied by the Turkish outposts. There is a small mountain near the two villages; and this mountain the Russians began immediately to fortify. On the 3rd, Zarif Mustapha, vacillating between many plans suggested by his pashas, moved his army from Kars to Hadgi-Velikoi, and traced out an encampment. Here he was soon joined by Kerim Pasha, who brought the Turkish left wing from Ardahan, while Bebutoff in like manner received reinforcements which raised his army to 28,000; insomuch that there were now assembled nearly 70,000 Russian and Turkish troops, in the vicinity of the four villages above named. The Turks formed two camps, with Bashi-Bazouks in the van and on the flanks, and the cavalry and artillery in the centre. The advanced camp or division was placed under Kerim Pasha, while Zarif Mustapha himself took the command of the rear division. The Turks had a small mountain in front of them, like as the Russians; and these two mountains were occupied as observatories by the staffs of the respective armies.
The incompetent Turkish commander at length resolved on an attack. On the 12th, he left his position, and advanced to within two miles of the Russian encampment. The Russians also advanced, and formed in order of battle. Kmeti began to skirmish with his Bashi-Bazouks, while the cavalry manoeuvred to the flanks, and the artillery advanced to the front. Just at this moment a storm broke forth, with a violence hardly known before in that district; the ground was speedily converted into a deep morass; the Russians retreated to their encampment, and Zarif Muatapha ordered a similar retreat. This unexpected event greatly disappointed the Turkish troops; they had braced themselves up to a bold and soldierly achievement, and there can hardly be a doubt that they would have acquitted themselves well if their efforts had been well directed by their commander. Many wet, stormy days succeeded, and the Turks became disheartened, while Zarif exhibited the utmost bewilderment in attempting to decide whether to advance or to do nothing. !From the moment when the advance of the army from Kars was made, the unruly Kurds who inhabit the mountain districts began to make predatory excursions; the roads between Trebizond, Erzeroum, and Kars were rendered unsafe and the unhappy villagers suffered greatly.
General Kmeti, with his Bashi-Bazouks, during the night of the 16th, made a very spirited attack on the extreme flank of the Russians. Dividing his horsemen into three columns, he got to their rear without detection, and then advanced silently to Baindir, a village near Gumri, defended by a body of Cossacks and Georgian militia. At day-break, one column attacked the village ; one assailed the redoubts manned by the Russians, while a third remained in reserve. The Bashi-Bazouks completely routed the enemy, taken thus suddenly by surprise; but the main Russian army now approached; and Kmeti and his active troops succeeded in returning by another route to the Turkish camp, and bringing in five prisoners, and 400 sheep. This daring act greatly delighted the Turks. Kmeti had offered to capture Gumri itself, with his Bashi-Bazouks, but his timid commander would not permit him to make the attempt.
On the 22nd, another night attack was planned by the Hungarian, to which Zarif Mustapha promised the aid of the regular troops. Shortly before daybreak Kmeti charged with his Bashi-Bazouks at the centre of the Russian camp, and penetrated into the very tents of the enemy, capturing the first line of outposts. Speedily was he surrounded by the whole Russian army, and then it was that he looked for support from the regulars.' But where were these ? Zarif Mustapha, as usual —timid, irresolute, incompetent—did nothing; no regulars appeared, although ardent and eager to be engaged ; and Kmeti had no resource but to cut his way back to the Turkish camp, losing many by the way, and burning with indignation at the unworthy treatment which he had received from his commander. The Bashi-Bazouks, under this heroic man, had shown themselves susceptible of orderly discipline; they had, indeed, acted as a light cavalry of an efficient kind, far better than Omar Pasha had been able to obtain for his Danubian campaign; and bitterly they lamented that the mushir of the army of Asia was utterly unequal to the duties of his high command. Little wonder that many of these primitive irregulars disbanded, and returned to their homes.
August arrived, and with it a conviction that unless the Turkish commander speedily attempted something definite, his army would melt away or become disorganised. On the 6th, a night-attack was resolved upon; Kerim Pasha to command the right division, Vely Pasha the left, and the mushir himself to superintend both—or to spoil both, as the case might be. Guyon marked out the plan of the attack; but his plan was not practically carried out.
On Sunday the 6th of August, was fought a battle which covered Zarif Mustapha with disgrace, and undid all that the Turks had effected in Asia, whether much or little, during the year 1854.
In the dead of the night, the Turks left their encampment and began the march. The first mistake made manifest was, that the right division reached the enemy long before the left could come up to its support, in obedience to a stupid order by Zarif that the left should halt two hours, that daylight might assist its progress. The consequence was, that when the Russians—who were to have been taken by a night-surprise—saw that the right division was thus isolated, they at once concentrated all their troops upon it, and commenced active proceedings before the left could arrive. The Turkish forces comprised 12 battalions of Arabistan infantry, 20 of Anatolian, 16 of redif, and 2 of rifles—making 20,000 infantry; together with 3700 cavalry, 1300 artillery, and 78 guns. The Russians counted 20 battalions of infantry, 26 squadrons of dragoons, 4000 irregular cavalry, and 800 artillery, with 64 guns. Each army consisted of about 25,000 men; but the Turks had also 8000 or 10,000 Bashi-Bazouks, who were, however, not engaged in this battle. If Guyon's plan had been followed, the two divisions of Turks would have attacked the Russians simultaneously, while a third Turkish corps would have obtained possession of the heights which commanded the enemy's encampment. But Zarif Mustapka ruined the scheme, and comfortably smoked his chibouque while the right division was about to be attacked by nearly the whole Russian force. This division, under Kerim Pasha, numbered about 10,000 men. The artillery opened fire on both sides. The Russian infantry advanced, but were repelled by the Turks. The Russian dragoons then bore down at high speed, and with a loud cheer rushed upon the Turks, who, seized with a panic, turned and fled, leaving their artillery unprotected. This artillery then bore a series of terrific attacks from the dragoons; both sides behaved courageously, and the fire was murderous. The Russian infantry made a second attack in large force against the battalions of redif, who then witnessed fire for the first time; the result was disastrous, for the redif turned and fled wildly towards Kars. The more disciplined Turkish troops seemed to have been chiefly in the left division, unfortunately absent when most wanted. Meanwhile, the dragoons, after repeated attacks, captured the guns, the Turkish artillerymen remaining steadfast until nearly the last man was cut off. The dragoons, previously almost maddened with drink, then rushed indiscriminately at infantry, cavalry, and artillery; and the Turks, completely paralysed by the impetuosity of the onslaught, gave way in all quarters; the cavalry fled, the infantry were mowed down, the artillery, horses were shot, and the guns were captured. All the efforts of Kerim Pasha to reform his division were vain. By this time the left division had arrived, and opened a vigorous cannonade on the Russians. For a time the tide turned. Kmeti attacked the Russian infantry vigorously; Tahir Pasha poured in a terrible fire from the artillery under his command; and Guyon bore down with 4000 cavalry on the Russian masses which began to waver. This was the critical moment —fatally critical for the Turks. The cavalry, coming suddenly upon a Russian infantry regiment at a spot where none was expected, were seized with so resistless a terror, that they fled panic-stricken, leaving Guyon alone with his personal staff. These cowardly horsemen communicated a panic to the Bashi-Bazouks, who in their turn threw the infantry into such inextricable confusion that the generals lost command over them. All fled together in wild confusion towards Kars, pursued by the grapeshot of the Russian artillery and the sabres of the dragoons.
Thus ended the disastrous battle of Kurekdere. The Turks lost 3500 in killed and wounded, and 2000 prisoners; while the Russians acknowledged a loss of more than 3000 in killed and wounded. The Russian dragoons and the Turkish artillery greatly distinguished themselves. Had the Turkish cavalry possessed any soldierly qualities, they might have redeemed even the disasters occasioned by Zarif Mustapha' s folly; but they and the untried redifs ruined all. The Russian officers were brave throughout, heading their men in all the charges, insomuch that no less than 111 of their number were killed or wounded; whereas the Osmanli officers lurked in coward fashion in rear of their troops, with very few exceptions. Bitter must have been the anger of Kmeti and Guyon to witness such conduct. Kerim Pasha, second in command, was one among the small number of exceptions; he was a brave old man, and exerted himself indefatigably to keep up the courage of his troops. The defeat was most complete; for not only did the Turks lose 5000 to 6000 men, but 6000 more fled in dismay to their homes after the battle, while the remaining moiety returned towards Kars in a state of the utmost disorganisation.
Before closing our notice of this disastrous Turkish campaign in Asia in 1854, we will briefly allude to the proceedings of the subsidiary forces in other parts of Armenia and Georgia.
Selim Pasha, who commanded the Turks in the neighbourhood of Batoum, sent forward on the 9th of June, 3000 Bashi-Bazouks and half a battalion of regulars, to attack two redoubts about twenty miles from Orzugheti, on the road to Kutais. The Turks were ignorant of the numbers and position of the Russians, and were defeated with great loss. A still more serious defeat followed Selim's army near Orzugheti on the 16th, when the Turks lost about 2000 men. Selim was forced to retreat to Churuksu; and the victorious Russian commander was able to spare troops to swell the main army at Gumri. Another attack upon Selim, between the 18th and 19th, produced some success to the Russian arms, but not of much importance. Selim Pasha was summoned to Constantinople, to answer for his ill-luck, and was succeeded by Mustapha Pasha, who had distinguished himself at Oltenitza, under Omar Pasha.
There were some minor operations took place at Ardahan; but these principally consisted of skirmishing. At Bayazid, however, near the frontier line of Mount Ararat, the Turks met with a serious defeat. The Turks, 5000 in number, were commanded by Selim Pasha (not the unlucky Selim at Batoum); and, as they were weak, Selim was recommended not to make any attack on the Russians, but to retreat on Kars or Erzeroum, if pressed by the Russians. This advice he neglected: and, having gone to meet a Russian force of 8000, under General Wrangel, Selim encountered a total defeat, leaving 1600 dead, wounded, and prisoners. It is astonishing how the Russian generals can have the effrontery to practise deceptions, so egregiously in exaggerating the number of their opponents, when sending their accounts forth to meet the public eye. Wrangel stated that the Turks were 16,000; and that 3000 were left dead on the field.
Schamyl's name has been but little mentioned in this section. The mountain-warrior was not engaged in any regular actions; but there is no doubt but he continually influenced and perplexed the movements of the Russians; and, had he earlier been supplied with arms and ammunition by the Allies, there can be no question that he might have given a different turn to the campaign. During the summer, Schamyl frequently threatened Tiflis, and so distracted the attention of the Russians, that if Guyon had commanded at Kars instead of Zarif, the Turks would almost for certain have fought a winning campaign.
When the disasters of August arrived, it was unquestionably Schamyl who prevented the Russians from following up their advantage. He threatened Tiflis with 16,000 men; and Prince Bebutoff was forced to send back a large portion of his army from Gumri to repel this attack. On the 1st of September —with part of his force at Akhalgori; part at Gori, on the river Koor; and part at Mycht, near Tiflis— Schamyl surprised and beat off the Russians, took much booty and many prisoners of high rank, and rendered it imperative that Bebutoff should suspend all further operations in Armenia. Advantages were gained by the Lesghian chieftain also at Pekhalon, Tavi, Childi, Alaza, Eavaril, Kaktala, and other places whose names are scarcely to be met with on the maps, over the Russians generals Wrangel and Tchartchatz. In short, Schamyl, although his name appears in a flitting, meteor-like way, assisted the Turks more effectually than their English and French allies had up to this time done. The Emperor Napoleon sent him 12,000 muskets in September; but those muskets would have rendered better service if despatched earlier.
The year 1854 closed in Asia in this manner. The Turks, utterly broken and disorganised at the battle of Kurekdere, could do nothing more than remain on the defensive at Kars; while the Russians, afraid of Schamyl and his mountaineers, durst not advance westwards of Gumri lest they should be attacked. Kars and Gumri remained the head-quarters of the two armies at the end of the year, as they had been at the beginning; but the Turks had been weakened in the directions of Bayazid and Ardahan, while the Russians had become masters of the roads between Turkey and Persia.
The chief cause of the disastrous result of the Turkish arms in the Asiatic campaign of 1854, is to be attributed in a great measure to the want of skill and energy in their chief officers ; for the troops, when properly led, have, on more than one occasion, displayed instances of courage and bravery excelled by few. Mr. Duncan, a gentleman whose judgment on the merits of the Ottoman troops is to be relied on, thus speaks of the rank and file of the Turkish force:—"The causes that have largely contributed to weigh down the existing virtuous elements in the Ottoman army, are the corruption and incapacity that prevail among its higher ranks, and the disgraceful ignorance which distinguishes its subaltern officers. The Turkish private soldier, if well directed, is capable of great deeds; but the corps of officers and non-commissioned officers are alike inefficient and unsusceptible of improvement. Promotion by merit alone is unheard of in the Ottoman service. The subaltern ranks are filled by the personal slaves or domestics of the pashas ; and such commissions are often the wages of disgrace. Promotion to the superior ranks is obtainable only by bribery or intrigue; the grade of colonel or pasha is purchased by the highest bidder; who subsequently recovers the sum he has disbursed, by defrauding his regiment, or robbing the government. The simplest military rules are ignored by the officers, who are often withdrawn from a civil appointment to occupy a high military position. This was the case with the commander-in-chief of the army of Anatolia, Zarif Mustapha Pasha."
General Williams, an English officer of engineers, was appointed British Military-Commissioner to the Turkish army in Asia. As a sort of authoritative adviser in military matters, he might possibly have exerted some influence over Zarif; but he did not reach Kars until September, when the mischief had been already achieved. He was a man who knew well the Turks and the Turkish language, and was much liked among them; on this account, his presence a month or two earlier would have been especially valuable. But in this appointment, as in many other particulars, the movements of the Allies were tardy.
We must now direct the attention of the reader to what was occurring in some portions of European Turkey. Russian agents were at work in Bulgaria, Servia, Bosnia, Turkish Croatia, Herzegovina, and Montenegro ; and by intrigue and stratagem were endeavouring to Russianize the feelings of the people, and wean them from their attachment to the Ottoman power. The principal actors in this drama were priests connected with the Greek Church; and their object was in a great measure to promote discord among the different religious sects which were spread over these provinces.
In Bulgaria the inhabitants mostly profess the Greek faith; and the priests of the villages abundantly showed during the campaign that they were heart and hand with the czar. Russian emissaries, both lay and clerical, represented to the simple Bulgarians that the Emperor Nicholas was their great protector, and would avenge the harsh usage they had received from the Osmanlis in past ages. Happily the success of Omar Pasha, and the presence of the Allies at Varna, prevented Russia from fomenting an insurrection in Bulgaria.
Proceeding westward from Bulgaria, we come to Servia, which is now nearly as free as a tributary state can be. At the commencement of the war Russian intrigue was busy in Servia; emissaries endeavoured to embroil the Servians with the sultan; but there was a spirit of nationality manifested. Servia refused to permit a Turkish army to traverse the province on its way from Bosnia to Widdin; she warded off the entrance of an Austrian army; and she had a sufficient insight into the nature of Russian protection, to keep her guard against the mischievous intrigues of the czar. Servia continued unmolested.
In Bosnia and Turkish Croatia, Austrian intrigue is more predominant than Russian; there being a preponderance of adherents to the Roman Catholic faith over those of the Greek Church. But as each of these sects are unfavourable to Islamism the efforts of each were employed in fomenting discontent to Turkish power. But nothing occurred of a serious nature.
In Montenegro, however, matters assumed a more threatening aspect. There were frequent collisions between those who braved and those who defended the Turkish authority; but the Turks succeeded in repelling the Montenegrins. The vladika, in March, issued a proclamation, calling upon all the mountaineers to declare whether they would join him in a hostile attack upon Turkey, " to shed their blood for the Holy Cross, orthodox faith, and their country" —language precisely similar to that used at the same time by the czar and his generals. 4000 men came forward in a crusading spirit; and 20,000 armed men, in all, were ready to join in any pressing exigency. Various plans were arranged; but Austria interfered, and put stop to further proceeding.
A brief allusion to the attack on the Turkish borders will close this chapter. Many of our readers will know that previous to 1827, Greece was tributary to Turkey; in that year however it was formed into an independent state; Otho, the younger son of the king of Bavaria, being appointed to reign over the newly-formed kingdom. At the formation of the new state, many Greeks were spread abroad in various Turkish provinces ; and, of course, these Greeks remained subject to Ottoman rule. Discontent and dissatisfaction were engendered and fostered amongst these parties by the emissaries of Russia; and matters went so far in 1854 as to establish secret societies for the purpose of devising plans for the avowed object of fomenting a revolt, and depriving Turkey of all authority over those professing the faith of the Greek Church. It was manifest that the young king, Otho, secretly encouraged these proceedings of the disaffected, and that matters were assuming a very serious aspect. The Turkish government became uneasy; and the governments of England and France began to bestir themselves in the matter. A small English and Turkish flotilla sailed from Constantinople to the Gulf of Volo, to watch the movements in Thessaly; while Admiral Dundas sent a few ships to the Gulf of Arta, to protect Prevesa and other parts of the coast of Epirus. The two gulfs here named mark, respectively, the east and west termini of the boundary-line between the two kingdoms. Ships, however, could render little aid to the towns and villages in the interior. The insurgents obtained possession of the defile of Pente Pegadia, on the only road from Janina to Arta; and hence the Turkish pasha of the former place experienced more difficulty in sending any reinforcements to Arta, which was one of the foci of the insurrection. In the port of Arta itself, a Greek gun-boat sank the Turkish guard-ship, before the English vessels arrived. An action took place near Arta, on 23d February, in which the insurgents defeated the Turks; and hence the latter, although retaining tha citadel of Arta, lost possession of the town.
Matter had now armed at a pitch too serious for the Turkish government to remain longer quiet. Until the month of March, the Turkish charge d'affaires, Nesset Bey, remained at Athens, complaining and protesting in vain against the proceedings of the Greek government. He demanded on the part of his court, the prosecution of those who had crossed the frontier, should they ever return within it; and the exercise of control over one or two newspapers, which systematically promulgated the most violent doctrines respecting the extermination of the Osmanlis and their religion. The king refused his assent; the Porte withdrew its representative from Athens about the end of March; the charge d'affaires of Greece was withdrawn from Constantinople; and diplomatic relations ceased between the two countries. One consequence of this series of events was most disastrous. Turkey contains a vast number of Greeks, and the Porte ordered the departure of such of their number as were subjects of the king of Greece. Constantinople itself contained at that time 25,000 or 30,000 of such Greeks, who had sore reason to deplore the weak folly of their sovereign. They were all ordered to quit Turkey within a specified time. A resident at Constantinople, in April, said that every steamer which left that city for the Archipelago was crowded with human beings, so thickly wedged together that to walk the decks was impossible. Most of these wretched creatures had been reduced to the depths of poverty; and when thrown ashore, friendless and destitute, in Greece, three-fourths of the men went to swell the ranks of the Thessalian insurgents, or took to their old trade of piracy in the AEgean.
A Turkish force of 1700 men, under Fuad Effendi Bent direct from Constantinople, met with the insurgents at Peta, near to Arta, and utterly defeated them. A mass of correspondence was seized, which plainly proved the complicity of the Greek government in the insurrection. After the defeat at Peta, many of the insurgents returned home, panic-struck; and, though partial success attended the efforts of the insurgents in other places, yet their endeavours as a whole were futile.
In the middle of May, the English and French governments determined to send a combined military force of 6000 or 7000 men, to be placed under the command of the French General, Torey. This force was to proceed to the Pireus, the port of Athens, to take possession of that port, and to remain there until the infatuated king should see his error. This had the desired effect. The king awoke from his dream; acknowledged his error; and everything was conceded to Turkey and her Allies.