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List Of Contents | Contents of Ali Pacha, by Dumas, Pere
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future, his divining rod stopped at verse 82, chap. xix., which says,
"He doth flatter himself in vain.  He shall appear before our
tribunal naked and bare."  Ali closed the book and spat three times
into his bosom.  He was yielding to the most dire presentiments, when
a courier, arriving from the capital, informed him that all hope of
pardon was lost.

He ordered his galley to be immediately prepared, and left his
seraglio, casting a look of sadness on the beautiful gardens where
only yesterday he had received the homage of his prostrate slaves.
He bade farewell to his wives, saying that he hoped soon to return,
and descended to the shore, where the rowers received him with
acclamations.  The sail was set to a favourable breeze, and Ali,
leaving the shore he was never to see again, sailed towards Erevesa,
where he hoped to meet the Lord High Commissioner Maitland.  But the
time of prosperity had gone by, and the regard which had once been
shown him changed with his fortunes.  The interview he sought was not
granted.

The sultan now ordered a fleet to be equipped, which, after Ramadan,
was to disembark troops on the coast of Epirus, while all the
neighbouring pashas received orders to hold themselves in readiness
to march with all the troops of their respective Governments against
Ali, whose name was struck out of the list of viziers.  Pacho Bey was
named Pasha of Janina and Delvino on condition of subduing them, and
was placed in command of the whole expedition.

However, notwithstanding these orders, there was not at the beginning
of April, two months after the attempted assassination of Pacho Bey,
a single soldier ready to march on Albania.  Ramadan, that year, did
not close until the new moon of July.  Had Ali put himself boldly at
the head of the movement which was beginning to stir throughout
Greece, he might have baffled these vacillating projects, and
possibly dealt a fatal blow to the Ottoman Empire.  As far back as
1808, the Hydriotes had offered to recognise his son Veli, then
Vizier of the Morea, as their Prince, and to support him in every
way, if he would proclaim the independence of the Archipelago.  The
Moreans bore him no enmity until he refused to help them to freedom,
and would have returned to him had he consented.

On the other side, the sultan, though anxious for war, would not
spend a penny in order to wage it; and it was not easy to corrupt
some of the great vassals ordered to march at their own expense
against a man in whose downfall they had no special interest.  Nor
were the means of seduction wanting to Ali, whose wealth was
enormous; but he preferred to keep it in order to carry on the war
which he thought he could no longer escape.  He made, therefore, a
general appeal to all Albanian warriors, whatever their religion.
Mussulmans and Christians, alike attracted by the prospect of booty
and good pay, flocked to his standard in crowds.

He organised all these adventurers on the plan of the Armatous, by
companies, placing a captain of his own choice at the head of each,
and giving each company a special post to defend.  Of all possible
plans this was the best adapted to his country, where only a guerilla
warfare can be carried on, and where a large army could not subsist.

In repairing to the posts assigned to them, these troops committed
such terrible depredations that the provinces sent to Constantinople
demanding their suppression.  The Divan answered the petitioners that
it was their own business to suppress these disorders, and to induce
the Klephotes to turn their arms against Ali, who had nothing to hope
from the clemency of the Grand Seigneur.  At the same time circular
letters were addressed to the Epirotes, warning them to abandon the
cause of a rebel, and to consider the best means of freeing
themselves from a traitor, who, having long oppressed them, now
sought to draw down on their country all the terrors of war.  Ali,
who every where maintained numerous and active spies, now redoubled
his watchfulness, and not a single letter entered Epirus without
being opened and read by his agents.  As an extra precaution, the
guardians of the passes were enjoined to slay without mercy any
despatch-bearer not provided with an order signed by Ali himself; and
to send to Janina under escort any travellers wishing to enter
Epirus. These measures were specially aimed against Suleyman Pacha,
who had succeeded Veli in the government of Thessaly, and replaced
Ali himself in the office of Grand Provost of the Highways.
Suleyman's secretary was a Greek called Anagnorto, a native of
Macedonia, whose estates Ali had seized, and who had fled with his
family to escape further persecution.  He had become attached to the
court party, less for the sake of vengeance on Ali than to aid the
cause of the Greeks, for whose freedom he worked by underhand
methods.  He persuaded Suleyman Pacha that the Greeks would help him
to dethrone Ali, for whom they cherished the deepest hatred, and he
was determined that they should learn the sentence of deprivation and
excommunication fulminated against the rebel pacha.  He introduced
into the Greek translation which he was commissioned to make,
ambiguous phrases which were read by the Christians as a call to take
up arms in the cause of liberty.  In an instant, all Hellas was up in
arms.  The Mohammedans were alarmed, but the Greeks gave out that it
was in order to protect themselves and their property against the
bands of brigands which had appeared on all sides.  This was the
beginning of the Greek insurrection, and occurred in May 1820,
extending from Mount Pindus to Thermopylae.  However, the Greeks,
satisfied with having vindicated their right to bear arms in their
own defence, continued to pay their taxes, and abstained from all
hostility.

At the news of this great movement, Ali's friends advised him to turn
it to his own advantage.  "The Greeks in arms," said they, "want a
chief: offer yourself as their leader.  They hate you, it is true,
but this feeling may change.  It is only necessary to make them
believe, which is easily done, that if they will support your cause
you will embrace Christianity and give them freedom."

There was no time to lose, for matters became daily more serious.
Ali hastened to summon what he called a Grand Divan, composed of the
chiefs of both sects, Mussulmans and Christians.  There were
assembled men of widely different types, much astonished at finding
themselves in company: the venerable Gabriel, Archbishop of Janina,
and uncle of the unfortunate Euphrosyne, who had been dragged thither
by force; Abbas, the old head of the police, who had presided at the
execution of the Christian martyr; the holy bishop of Velas, still
bearing the marks of the chains with which Ali had loaded him; and
Porphyro, Archbishop of Arta, to whom the turban would have been more
becoming than the mitre.

Ashamed of the part he was obliged to play, Ali, after long
hesitation, decided on speaking, and, addressing the Christians,
"O Greeks!" he said, "examine my conduct with unprejudiced minds, and
you will see manifest proofs of the confidence and consideration
which I have ever shown you.  What pacha has ever treated you as I
have done?  Who would have treated your priests and the objects of
your worship with as much respect?  Who else would have conceded the
privileges which you enjoy? for you hold rank in my councils, and
both the police and the administration of my States are in your
hands.  I do not, however, seek to deny the evils with which I have
afflicted you; but, alas! these evils have been the result of my
enforced obedience to the cruel and perfidious orders of the Sublime
Porte.  It is to the Porte that these wrongs must be attributed, for
if my actions be attentively regarded it will be seen that I only did
harm when compelled thereto by the course of events.  Interrogate my
actions, they will speak more fully than a detailed apology.

"My position with regard to the Suliotes allowed no half-and-half
measures.  Having once broken with them, I was obliged either to
drive them from my country or to exterminate them.  I understood the
political hatred of the Ottoman Cabinet too well not to know that it
would declare war against me sooner or later, and I knew that
resistance would be impossible, if on one side I had to repel the
Ottoman aggression, and on the other to fight against the formidable
Suliotes.

"I might say the same of the Parganiotes.  You know that their town
was the haunt of my enemies, and each time that I appealed to them to
change their ways they answered only with insults and threats.  They
constantly aided the Suliotes with whom I was at war; and if at this
moment they still were occupying Parga, you would see them throw open
the gates of Epirus to the forces of the sultan.  But all this does
not prevent my being aware that my enemies blame me severely, and
indeed I also blame myself, and deplore the faults which the
difficulty of my position has entailed upon me.  Strong in my
repentance, I do not hesitate to address myself to those whom I have
most grievously wounded.  Thus I have long since recalled to my
service a great number of Suliotes, and those who have responded to
my invitation are occupying important posts near my person.  To
complete the reconciliation, I have written to those who are still in
exile, desiring them to return fearlessly to their country, and I
have certain information that this proposal has been everywhere
accepted with enthusiasm.  The Suliotes will soon return to their
ancestral houses, and, reunited under my standard, will join me in
combating the Osmanlis, our common enemies.

"As to the avarice of which I am accused, it seems easily justified
by the constant necessity I was under of satisfying the inordinate
cupidity of the Ottoman ministry, which incessantly made me pay
dearly for tranquillity.  This was a personal affair, I acknowledge,
and so also is the accumulation of treasure made in order to support
the war, which the Divan has at length declared."

Here Ali ceased, then having caused a barrel full of gold pieces to

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