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List Of Contents | Contents of Ali Pacha, by Dumas, Pere
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various adventures, and although it was now long since they had met,
he still had the reputation of being Ali's friend.  Ali prepared his
plans accordingly.  He wrote a letter to Colonel Nicole, apparently
in continuation of a regular correspondence between them, in which he
thanked the colonel for his continued affection, and besought him by
various powerful motives to surrender Parga, of which he promised him
the governorship during the rest of his life.  He took good care to
complete his treason by allowing the letter to fall into the hands of
the chief ecclesiastics of Parga, who fell head-foremost into the
trap.  Seeing that the tone of the letter was in perfect accordance
with the former friendly relations between their French governor and
the pacha, they were convinced of the former's treachery.  But the
result was not as Ali had hoped: the Parganiotes resumed their former
negotiations with the English, preferring to place their freedom in
the hands of a Christian nation rather than to fall under the rule of
a Mohammedan satrap....  The English immediately sent a messenger to
Colonel Nicole, offering honourable conditions of capitulation.  The
colonel returned a decided refusal, and threatened to blow up the
place if the inhabitants, whose intentions he guessed, made the
slightest hostile movement.  However, a few days later, the citadel
was taken at night, owing to the treachery of a woman who admitted an
English detachment; and the next day, to the general astonishment,
the British standard floated over the Acropolis of Parga.

All Greece was then profoundly stirred by a faint gleam of the dawn
of liberty, and shaken by a suppressed agitation.  The Bourbons again
reigned in France, and the Greeks built a thousand hopes on an event
which changed the basis of the whole European policy.  Above all,
they reckoned on powerful assistance from Russia.  But England had
already begun to dread anything which could increase either the
possessions or the influence of this formidable power.  Above all,
she was determined that the Ottoman Empire should remain intact, and
that the Greek navy, beginning to be formidable, must be destroyed.
With these objects in view, negotiations with Ali Pacha were resumed.
The latter was still smarting under his recent disappointment, and to
all overtures answered only, "Parga!  I must have Parga."--And the
English were compelled to yield it!

Trusting to the word of General Campbell, who had formally promised,
on its surrender, that Parga should be classed along with the seven
Ionian Isles; its grateful inhabitants were enjoying a delicious rest
after the storm, when a letter from the Lord High Commissioner,
addressed to Lieutenant-Colonel de Bosset, undeceived them, and gave
warning of the evils which were to burst on the unhappy town.

On the 25th of March, 1817, notwithstanding the solemn promise made
to the Parganiotes, when they admitted the British troops, that they
should always be on the same footing as the Ionian Isles, a treaty
was signed at Constantinople by the British Plenipotentiary, which
stipulated the complete and stipulated cession of Parga and all its
territory to, the Ottoman Empire.  Soon there arrived at Janine Sir
John Cartwright, the English Consul at Patras, to arrange for the
sale of the lands of the Parganiotes and discuss the conditions of
their emigration.  Never before had any such compact disgraced
European diplomacy, accustomed hitherto to regard Turkish
encroachments as simple sacrilege.  But Ali Pacha fascinated the
English agents, overwhelming them with favours, honours, and feasts,
carefully watching them all the while.  Their correspondence was
intercepted, and he endeavoured by means of his agents to rouse the
Parganiotes against them.  The latter lamented bitterly, and appealed
to Christian Europe, which remained deaf to their cries.  In the name
of their ancestors, they demanded the rights which had been
guaranteed them.  "They will buy our lands," they said; "have we
asked to sell them?  And even if we received their value, can gold
give us a country and the tombs of our ancestors?"

Ali Pacha invited the Lord High Commissioner of Great Britain, Sir
Thomas Maitland, to a conference at Prevesa, and complained of the
exorbitant price of 1,500,000, at which the commissioners had
estimated Parga and its territory, including private property and
church furniture.  It had been hoped that Ali's avarice would
hesitate at this high price, but he was not so easily discouraged.
He give a banquet for the Lord High Commissioner, which degenerated
into a shameless orgy.  In the midst of this drunken hilarity the
Turk and the Englishman disposed of the territory of Parga; agreeing
that a fresh estimate should be made on the spot by experts chosen by
both English and Turks.  The result of this valuation was that the
indemnity granted to the Christians was reduced by the English to the
sum of 276,075 sterling, instead of the original 500,000.  And as
Ali's agents only arrived at the sum of 56,750, a final conference
was held at Buthrotum between Ali and the Lord High Commissioner.
The latter then informed the Parganiotes that the indemnity allowed
them was irrevocably fixed at 150,000!  The transaction is a disgrace
to the egotistical and venal nation which thus allowed the life and
liberty of a people to be trifled with, a lasting blot on the honour
of England!

The Parganiotes at first could believe neither in the infamy of their
protectors nor in their own misfortune; but both were soon confirmed
by a proclamation of the Lord High Commissioner, informing them that
the pacha's army was marching to take possession of the territory
which, by May 10th, must be abandoned for ever.

The fields were then in full bearing.  In the midst of plains
ripening for a rich harvest were 80,000 square feet of olive trees,
alone estimated at two hundred thousand guineas.  The sun shone in
cloudless azure, the air was balmy with the scent of orange trees, of
pomegranates and citrons.  But the lovely country might have been
inhabited by phantoms; only hands raised to heaven and brows bent to
the dust met one's eye.  Even the very dust belonged no more to the
wretched inhabitants; they were forbidden to take a fruit or a
flower, the priests might not remove either relics or sacred images.
Church, ornaments, torches, tapers, pyxes, had by this treaty all
become Mahommedan property.  The English had sold everything, even to
the Host!  Two days more, and all must be left.  Each was silently
marking the door of the dwelling destined so soon to shelter an
enemy, with a red cross, when suddenly a terrible cry echoed from
street to street, for the Turks had been perceived on the heights
overlooking the town.  Terrified and despairing, the whole population
hastened to fall prostrate before the Virgin of Parga, the ancient
guardian of their citadel.  A mysterious voice, proceeding from the
sanctuary, reminded them that the English had, in their iniquitous
treaty, forgotten to include the ashes of those whom a happier fate
had spared the sight of the ruin of Parga.  Instantly they rushed to
the graveyards, tore open the tombs, and collected the bones and
putrefying corpses.  The beautiful olive trees were felled, an
enormous funeral pyre arose, and in the general excitement the orders
of the English chief were defied.  With naked daggers in their hands,
standing in the crimson light of the flames which were consuming the
bones of their ancestors, the people of Parga vowed to slay their
wives and children, and to kill themselves to the last man, if the
infidels dared to set foot in the town before the appointed hour.
Xenocles, the last of the Greek poets, inspired by this sublime
manifestation of despair, even as Jeremiah by the fall of Jerusalem,
improvised a hymn which expresses all the grief of the exiles, and
which the exiles interrupted by their tears and sobs.

A messenger, crossing the sea in all haste, informed the Lord High
Commissioner of the terrible threat of the Parganiotes.  He started
at once, accompanied by General Sir Frederic Adams, and landed at
Parga by the light of the funeral pyre.  He was received with
ill-concealed indignation, and with assurances that the sacrifice
would be at once consummated unless Ali's troops were held back.  The
general endeavoured to console and to reassure the unhappy people,
and then proceeded to the outposts, traversing silent streets in
which armed men stood at each door only waiting a signal before
slaying their families, and then turning their weapons against the
English and themselves.  He implored them to have patience, and they
answered by pointing to the approaching Turkish army and bidding him
hasten.  He arrived at last and commenced negotiations, and the
Turkish officers, no less uneasy than the English garrison, promised
to wait till the appointed hour.  The next day passed in mournful
silence, quiet as death, At sunset on the following day, May 9, 1819,
the English standard on the castle of Parga was hauled down, and
after a night spent in prayer and weeping, the Christians demanded
the signal of departure.

They had left their dwellings at break of day, and scattering on the
shore, endeavoured to collect some relics of their country.  Some
filled little bags with ashes withdrawn from the funeral pile; others
took handfuls of earth, while the women and children picked up
pebbles which they hid in their clothing and pressed to their bosoms,
as if fearing to be deprived of them.  Meanwhile, the ships intended
to transport them arrived, and armed English soldiers superintended
the embarkation, which the Turks hailed from afar with, ferocious
cries.  The Parganiotes were landed in Corfu, where they suffered yet
more injustice.  Under various pretexts the money promised them was
reduced and withheld, until destitution compelled them to accept the
little that was offered.  Thus closed one of the most odious
transactions which modern history has been compelled to record.

The satrap of Janina had arrived at the fulfilment of his wishes.  In

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