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.of February last, in which the following passage is worthy of note,
being a part of M. de Chateaubriand's report of what was said to
him by the Emperor Alexander at Verona. As the French min-
ister informs us that he took down the Emperor's words in writ-
ing at the time, there can be little doubt of their accuracy.



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460 Letter to Pope -Pius VTf.

4 There can no longer be such ft thing, 9 says the Russian Emperor,
•as an English, French, Russian, Prussian, or Austrian policy ; there
Is henceforth but one policy, which, for the safety of alt, ftbould be
adopted both by people and kings. It was for me the first to show
myself convinced of the principles, on which I founded the alliance.
An occasion offered itself, the rising in Greece. Nothing certainly
seemed more for my interests, for the interests of my people, no
thing more acceptable to my country than a religious war with
Turkey, but I have thought I perceived in the troubles of the Morea,
the sign of revolution ; and I have held back. * * *. Providence has
not put under my command 800,000 soldiers to satisfy my ambition,
but to protect religion, morality, and justice, and to secure the preva-
lence of those principles of order on which human society rests. 9

Such was the doctrine, which gave the tone oh ^Grecian affairs
to the deliberations at Verona. It is superfluous to observe that
liberty to appear at Verona was refused to the Count Metaxa.

We have entered into this detail, which we trust our readers
will not think too secular for our work, because we esteem the
present struggle in Greece of the last moment in fts connection
with the cause of Christian truth ; because the doings of a body
of kings and emperors styling itself the ( holy alliance,' de-
serve the attention of those interested in the progress of public
opinion in matters of religion, and because we think there is an
inconsistency in the professions of this alliance and their con-
duct on this occasion, which ought to be exposed, with all the
respect due to the high station of the parties ; but with all the
plainness due to truth and Christianity;

The possessions of the Turks on the continent of Europe are
computed by the best geographers to contain from nine to ten
millions of inhabitants, of whom five millions are Christians of
the Greek church* The different islands of the ArcfttpelagO
contain a Christian population of about 500,000, or did contain
it, before the catastrophe of Scio turned the most populous of
those isles into a desert. The Turkish dominions on the conti-
nent of Asia contain; about two millions of Greek christians,
large bodies of whom are daily driven by the outrages of the
Turkish soldiery to emigrate to those parts of "Greece, which
are in the power of the patriots. The number of Greeks in
Russia, Austria, the Ionian islands, and Italy is considerable ; and
of these as a great portion have been driven from Greece, by
the insecurity 6f property in that country, so it is probable that
the greater part of them would return thither, were a free gtf-
rernment of laws established. But admitting,* for the sake of ar-
gument, that any free state, which could, by possibility, be erect-
ed in Greece, as it might comprehend a portion only of the
European continental provinces, a part of the islands only, zttd



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Letter to Pop* Pirn VS. tit



qo portion perhaps of the Asiatic domains of Turkey, mil fc*
;eJy toen "



likely to embrace only one half of the Gr
world* This would still give an amount of nearly/wr «utii*u» ;
a third more than the American population, w hen oar indepen-
dence was declared. Moreover as nineteen twentieths of the
soil of Greece are chimed and occapied hy Turkish fords, their
expulsion weald throw open a very wide domain, calculated to
produce the same eflect on the progress of population io Greece,
as the like caasedoes on the progress of population in America.
The Grecian struggle, than, is a straggle to erect a free Chris-
tian state of fear millions of Christians, under circumstances like*
ly to favour their *eiy rapid increase. Socha struggle we main-
tain to be most momentous in its connexion wkh the dafusion
of civilization and of Christianity, in the common wars of
Europe, neither Christianity nor civilisation is at 6tafce, to any
considerable degree* Though all great national measures tear
ultimately apon them, it does not often happen that humanity or
religion is very deeply concerned to turn the scale one way
rather than the other. But in this struggle, if the Greets pre-
vail, a free Christian government is established in the part of
Europe most favorable to national growth and prosperity. In
saying this we have advanced a proposition, which words at
length may illustrate, but to which nothing can add importance.
Is is all important. The experience of the world has shown
that, at the present day, civilization cannot exist without Chris-
tianity. Greece herself certainly proves this and more than
this ; it proves that Christianity cannot exercise its natural effect
on man unless it enjoy at least a toleration. This has never been
enjoyed by the Christians in Turkey; for any Turk suspected
of adopting Christianity forfeited his life. The government of
the country has been anti-christian, and what has been the ef-
fect ? General barbarity; the absence of many of the improve-
ments of life, no roads, no letter-post, no printing-offices, no se-
cure investment of property, no public buildings, no prosperity
in any great national interest. In short we all know what sort
of a state Turkey is, and it requires but a slight effort -of tbe
imagination to conceive what it might be, under a free Christian
government.

Considering the destiny of nations as too complicated and *
vast an interest for private benevolence to engage in, we are not
ready enough to consider the amount of good or evil to be done
or avoided, on a national scale. Did any of our missionaries write
us home that by the divine blessing on their efforts, they had
converted a whole village, in a Mahometan or Hindoo state ; that
it was a thriving and prosperous village, we should think it was



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462 LtUtr to Pop* Pim Vtt.

Jlorious tidings* Were we informed of a certain village, where a
Christian population was miserably oppressed, by a handful of
insolent pagan or Mahometan lords, who heaped them with op-
pression and their religion with indignity, but that there was
good hope that the powerful intercession of some respectable
Christian government might procure to the victims the privilege
of dwelling alone, in the quiet enjoyment of their faith, and in
the pursuit of its attendant blessings, every nerve in Christendom
would be strained in the cause. But here we have not a village,
but a nation, a whole country, once a flourishing one and now
involved in a war of extermination, with a barbarous Mahome-
tan power! Where, we ask, in any but the primitive annals of
missionary or Christian effort has such an interest been at
stake ? We may here quote the words of Count Metaxa in bis
letter to the late Pope named at the head of our article.

'For four centuries the Greek nation has been exposed to the
most cruel sufferings. All that is most barbarous and inhuman has
been devised against the Greeks. The name of Raya, by which
the Greek subjects of the Porte are officially designated, signifies a
person against whom the sentence of death has been pronounced. In
this fact alone the character of the Mahometan despotism may be re-
cognized. At every hour of the day the Greek christian is remind-
ed of his slavery. 9

The Caralch, or capitation paid by the Greeks is avowedly
the ransom of their forfeited lives..

The spectacle presented by the Turkish empire to the eye of
the European, and the history of the political relations of the
European states with the Ottoman Porte, are truly astonishing.
It so happens, that the states of western Europe, which on
all sides form the frontier, or approach the nearest by sea to
Turkey, present the least favorable specimen of European civi-
lization, and yet bow great is the contrast between them and
the provinces of Turkey. Russia on the north, Austria on the
west and south, and Italy on the south west, certainly are not the
countries, where the state of society in Europe is on its best
footing, and yet what a frightful contrast strikes the traveller in
crossing eVen their frontiers and entering Turkey. On the one
side of the line, he witnesses a government despotic, perhaps,
in one country, weak in another, but in all exercising substan-
tially an equal justice toward all the subjects, and united to then*
by the ties of language, descent, and religion. On the other
side of this line, he sees a horde of Tartarian savages, encamp-
ed in the towns and traversing the villages of a conquered people,
and exercising upon them, at every hour of the day, the most
lawless cruelties. Here be beholds the roads crowded with wag-



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Letter to Pope Pius Vlt. 46$

ens, with stage coaches, with traders, with travellers, with mer-
chandise passing from the fairs, with fabrics or products of the soil
transported to them ; while a populous village is found at eve-
ry furlong on the highway. Cross the line ; the climate is still
the same, the soil grows not barren ; on the contrary, as you pro-
ceed, the natural advantages multiply, the summers lengthen,
the vine and the olive are at home, the perfume of the orange
tree is borne upon the breeze, and the laurel hangs its lofty head
by the way side, under the weight of its splendid flower?. But
a curse is still on the land. No roads are found to traverse it,
and nothing but a sorry pathway conducts you through it. The
wheels of the husbandman's vehicle have left no traces on the
soil, the plough has neverturned up its surface. You are ready
to forgive the want of thrift, by thinking you are really in an un-
inhabited land. But soon you will meet an assemblage of low
cabins, scarcely raised above the level of the clay, of which
they are built, and a few care worn drooping men going out from
these to a little patch of stinted wheat. When you have reach-
ed what is called a town, you find it composed of buildings scarce
superior to the* village cabins, but overlooked 1>y one palace,
built in barbaric splendor ; above, the residence of the tyrant ;. be-
low, the prison house of his more immediate victims. The slen-
der white towers, which rise around it, the only beautiful things
of man's workmanship in sight, are not, as in the land you have
left, the spires of christian churches, but the minarets of a false,
cruel, bloody, faith ; and the ghastly head, which you see near them
on a pike, belonged perhaps to some christian priest, the vic-
tim of the barbarity or the caprice of the despot. This is no ro-
mantic contrast ; it neither flatters the condition of society in
Christendom, nor vilifies it in the greater part of European Tur-
key. It is a true picture of the difference between a barbarous
and a civilized, between a christian and an anti-christian coun-
try. It truly shows the influence of an uncivilized Mahome-
tan despotism, palsying industry, dispiriting enterprize. confining
the thoughts of man to the day's food, and blasting a fertile
province. This then, it will be confessed, is a most afflicting
phenomenon. Is it the result of necessity ? must it needs be
so? was it so from the beginning ?

On the contrary, this same country was that which, beginning
at a period beyond the reach of history, existed in independence
and glory for a thousand years, and exhibited to the world a pic-
ture of as much perfection, as man in a state of heathenism can
attain. It is a country, which was then a garden of plenty, a
nursery of men, whose exploits excite our enthusiam after a lapse
of so many ages, the abode of the geniuses first quoted, when we



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464 Ulkr t* Pope Pw VII.

are asked what great things human reason has done* ft is »
country even now, of which tb^ greater part of the population pro-
fess that religion, which has carried civilisation and with it im-
provement into the remotest corners of the earth, and who, even
under the iron yoke of despotism, have given signal, proofs of
aptitude, enterprise and skill ; who, though they dare not. plough
the earth, have ploughed the sea with greatest success, sod who
apare nothing in the education of their children, though there is
no cause of honour and usefulness open before them*

What then enables their masters to hold them in slavery ? h the
Turkish power as compact and solid as it is despotic ? Far fromit
Jt is universally known to be a disorganized and superannuated
government, strpnfe merely against a disarmed population, and
mighty in the numerical force of barbarous thousands* Why
then do not the neighbouring christian powers, England who in
.the Ionian islands approaches within six. miles of the continent of
Greece, and Austria and Russia, who have each a frontier of hun-
dreds of miles on Turkey, why do not these christian, civilized
•powers say at once, that this state of things shall stop ; that the
Turks shall give up their conquests in Greece, some of which
they have held but little more than a century ? — It might have
been answered, three years ago, that this would be an un-
asked interference. That reply cannot now be made* The
christian, the civilized portion, and the great numerical majority
of European Turkey, is in arms. They have for three years
gallantly withstood the barbarous hordes of Asia minor and of
.Syria, and the fleets of the Algerine and Tunisian Robbers*
.They have formed a free government, and administered it suc-
cessfully for two years, over the most important provinces of
Greece and many of the islands. This new government invokes
.the aid of the christian powers* It, is a lawful government, for
.it emanates from the people rising against a foreign conquering
power, who have no title but force ; — a power which supposed
necessity alone has induced the states of Christendom to tolerate;
and which has never governed itself, by the Christian laws of
nations. How can the Christian powers excuse themselves for
npt interfering? It is but eight years since they sat in Congress
at Vienna, and regulated the government of almost every state
: of Europe, dismembering two or three kingdoms, and erecting
two or three others, because they thought that the peace and or-
der of Europe required it* It is three years, since they sent
their armies into Naples and Piedoyaat; and they have not yet
^evacuated Spain ; with the internal state of all which countries
the continental powers thought it their duty to interfere. We
.are not arguing as politicians against the , principles of the holy



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Letter to Pope Pitt* VII. 465

ahifthceffctriw* afe arguing as men and CHristiaas, t^wv their
principles. We safe whether the whole cause of humanity, of
oinrilizationyef Christianity in Greece, which has been sacrificed,
outraged* and oppressed by the* Turkish government, is not
object enough for their interference ? b not Mahometatmm as
bad as Jacobinism 2 Are not the Turks as bad as the Carbmati?
Was tfee revolutionary constitution of Spain and Naples worse
than the Turkish system of government ? And was not the Tur-
kish system of government imposed on Greece by military force ;
the circumstance which formed the great argument of the allied
powers against the constitution of Spain ? — We repeat, we speak
now entirely on the principles of the allied powers. We are
not TOiataintBg the lawfulness of the Neapolitan revelatioi, of
the Spanish revolution, or of the South American revolution ;
ihe&e' a%, we confess, were against the authority of civilhted,
Christian, kindred governments. — But surely, But surely, the
CVecfan revolution ; — the population of A country against its
strange conquerors, civilization against barbarism, and Christian!-
if against JMahometanism ; this is not such a revolution as the
alliance is leagued to destroy. The Emperor Alexander says
truly that he is placed, by Providence, at the head of 800,000
strimers, and that he is responsible for the manner, in which he
discharges this momentous, this awful trust. Our poor pages"
Will never meet his imperial' eye, nor that even of the humblest
of Mis counsellors. If fliey could, we would sdy : u Providence
has fodeed* put into your hands a military force, by whfcb you
can sway the fete of Europe. Ih the face of Europe and of the
world, you haver assumed this trust, as laid upon you by heaven.
Tbu have" calferf the kings of the earth around you, and formed
With them * covenant; to uphold the principles of the 'Christian
faith.* *t fte Christians or Greece are rioW calling tb you for
aid. A most piercing cry is daily coming up' to yob, front the
Oldest abodes of Christianity. The disciples of Jesus Christ,
affer three or four Centuries df barbarous; merciless oppression
frottt the chief anti-cHristiari government, are asking for sdccour
in their hourly prayers to that God, whose nriightiest agent on
earth, ydu declare Yourself truly to be. — It is in your power now
to act as you shall choose'; to give the triumph to the crescent or
the cross. If with your 800,000 christian soldiers you'allbw the
false prophet to establish his despotism* no one on earth can
gainsay you* Yet ft few years oirly will 5 pass, when you and
your myriads will be called to account before God and in pre-
sence 'or his son, for the 'manner in which you have discharged
one of the greatest trtists, ever" committed to one man; If
if heighten the obsetfrest itiditldbaPs condemnailofn, that ktiow*
)ftm Stries—VoL K 59



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466 Bancroft's Poena.

fag his lord's will he neglected to do it, bow solemnly does ft
port you, after confessing yourself the depository of an unresisted
and unequalled power ; after having used that power to control
the aflairs of so many nations ; to be most conscientiously assur-
ed, that in refusing to exercise it in the cause of your Christian
brethren in Greece, you are actuated by no worldly policy, no
measures of state, but really and truly by the sacred principles
you profess* 9



AKTICLE XVI.

Poems. By George Bancroft. Cambridge, 1923. pp. 77.

It may seem to be departing a little from our usual province
to offer any account of a volume of miscellaneous poetry. Thit
little book, however, has claims on us, both on account of the
author and its own merits. We have a right, if it is not a kind
of duty, to take particular interest in the literary efforts of those
who belong to the clerical profession : and besides, the produc-
tion before us partakes so much of a religious character that no-
thing can b6 better suited to , our pages than some extracts
from it.

The longest piece in the collection is ' Rome,' a poem recit-
ed at Cambridge, on the last anniversary of the society Phi Beta
Kappa. Its truly classical taste and spirit obtained for it foil
soccess with the cultivated audience, which that occasion always
assembles ; and it was this success, probably, that induced the
author to go to his port folio, and choose out, from what he had
written at different times while abroad, a few sketches of foreign
scenery and home feelings, to accompany his " Pictures of Rome"
before the public. A preface in verse describes the emotions of
a very young man, just leaving the endearments of home ; now
crossing the sea, that is no longer to separate him from that old
world, of which he has read and dreamed so much ; and now
setting his foot for the first time on a strange land. This intro-
duces very aptly several small pieces, written as occasions sug-
gested in Switzerland and Italy : and the main poem conclude*
both the book, and the poet's pilgrimage.

The weary pilgrim to his home returns ;
For Freedom's air, for western climes be burns :
Where dwell the brave, the generous and the free,
O ! there is Rome*: — no other Rome for me. p. 77.

Thus there is a unity given to the work, though made up
of imall and disconnected materials, which adds not inconeidei**



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Bancroft's Poems. 467

Wy to on* interest in reading it It is well planned, and^as the
•everal parts of it judiciously disposed* If it does not abound
with the most sparkling offering? of the Muse, it jet displays the
graces of a remarkably easy versification, and has much of that
rare felicity of expression, which marks a refined taste. We
•peak of these in general, as its most conspicuous and distinguish-
ing traits : but do not mean that the more eminent beauties of
poetry are never attained. We are mistaken if there is no sub-
limity in the lines at -Chamouny,' which are supposed to be
spoken by the Genius of the Arveyron. We have room but for
a few of them :

Where the monarch of hills rears his head to the skies,
And around him his ministers emulous rise,
. Where the pine on the precipice laughs at the wind,
And Dru's haughty peak leaves the Eagle behind ;

There the deep seas of ice hide in azure my source,
And there in the bosom of earth is my course ;
Through the workshop (?) of nature unhindered I flow,
Mid her crystals of rock, and her crystals of snow.

5 Tis there I have founded my castle's bright halls ;
Its roof is of ice, and of ice its blue walls ;
The Lauwine hath lent me his sheets for my doors ;
With crystals and agates inlaid are my floors.

Though my roof melts away in the sun's summer blaze,
On the halls of my palace shall man never gaze ;
For I call on the mountains to hide where I dwell,
And the avalanche tumbles and covers me well. p. 9.

There is a lively imagination also at sport in ' The Fairy of
the Wengern Alp, 9 from which we quote the following passages :
Some hearkened to their mistress 9 call ;
Some sported mid the heaps of snow ;
Some glided with the waterfall ;
Some sat above it's glittering bow,

Seeming o'er nature's works to muse ;-»-
And some their little limbs arrayed ;
Tfyese dew-drops for their mirror use;
Of light and air their robes are made..

And others bent with serious look
To prove the new made crystal's light ;
While earth's dark substance others took,
And changed the mass to diamonds bright.



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4M Bancrofts Peems:

I saw the home of every wiwl ;

And where the ocean's base is laid ; ^ -

And where the earthquake sleeps confined,

Till Destiny demands its aid :

And where from magazines of snow
The mighty rivers foaming well ;
And more than mortals e'er can know,
And more than fairy's tongue can tell.

What we love best, however, to praise in this volume is the
moral beauty of it; its pure, affectionate and devout spirit.
This offers us a better unity than that of subject ; and we will
venture to add, at the hazard of a smile from those who admire
only passionate or gorgeous poetry,— -is a more satisfying excel-
lence than brilliant imagery, or the dark penciling, however skil-
fully performed, of what is wildest in men's experiences and
hearts* There is a calm strain of feeling and contemplation
flowing through, which, though not much calculated tp excite
the mind, has its own charm with it ; and will perhaps please as
long as the tones of more stirring compositions* The reader
may here look in vain, it may well be, for any thing to astonish
or enchant him. There are no appeals to his lose tor the glar-
ing or the marvellous. There is no throwing -out of uncommon
thoughts. There are no strained flights, no burning words. The
sentiments are throughout natural and simply expressed, without
agitation, or metaphysics. But if he can be satisfied with
thoughts such as evidently came without much seeking, and feel-
ings such as spring up of their own accord in good hearts, con-
veyed in language rather chaste and dear than lofty, be will pot
find himself poorly entertained. If he is very fastidious, he will
perhaps wish that the author had kept himself ipore out of sigjbt \
out then if he is reasonable, he will also consider the work as it
it, a so^t of poetical journal, in which the young traveller could
not well have done otherwise. The spirit of these poems is so
uniform, and the style so equally sustained, that we might select
passages from every part of the volume, which would justify the
encomiums now passed. We have room, feowever, for only
one more extract.

MIDNIGHT AT THE FOUNTAIN OF TJIEVI.

The midnight stars are gleaming o'er me ;
The Virgin's waters dash before me,



Online LibraryNoah WorcesterThe Christian disciple and theological review → online text (page 53 of 55)