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List Of Contents | Contents of Ali Pacha, by Dumas, Pere
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be emptied on the floor, he continued:

"Behold a part of the treasure I have preserved with so much care,
and which has been specially obtained from the Turks, our common
enemies: it is yours.  I am now more than ever delighted at being the
friend of the Greeks.  Their bravery is a sure earnest of victory,
and we will shortly re-establish the Greek Empire, and drive the
Osmanlis across the Bosphorus.  O bishops and priests of Issa the
prophet! bless the arms of the Christians, your children.  O
primates!  I call upon you to defend your rights, and to rule justly
the brave nation associated with my interests."

This discourse produced very different impressions on the Christian
priests and archons.  Some replied only by raising looks of despair
to Heaven, others murmured their adhesion.  A great number remained
uncertain, not knowing what to decide.  The Mirdite chief, he who had
refused to slaughter the Kardikiotes, declared that neither he nor
any Skipetar of the Latin communion would bear arms against their
legitimate sovereign the sultan.  But his words were drowned by cries
of "Long live Ali Pasha!  Long live the restorer of liberty!" uttered
by some chiefs of adventurers and brigands.




CHAPTER IX

Yet next day, May 24th, 1820, Ali addressed a circular letter to his
brothers the Christians, announcing that in future he would consider
them as his most faithful subjects, and that henceforth he remitted
the taxes paid to his own family.  He wound up by asking for
soldiers, but the Greeks having learnt the instability of his
promises, remained deaf to his invitations.  At the same time he sent
messengers to the Montenegrins and the Servians, inciting them to
revolt, and organised insurrections in Wallachia and Moldavia to the
very environs of Constantinople.

Whilst the Ottoman vassals assembled only in small numbers and very
slowly under their respective standards, every day there collected
round the castle of Janina whole companies of Toxidae, of Tapazetae,
and of Chamidae; so that Ali, knowing that Ismail Pacho Bey had
boasted that he could arrive in sight of Janina without firing a gun,
said in his turn that he would not treat with the Porte until he and
his troops should be within eight leagues of Constantinople.

He had fortified and supplied with munitions of war Ochrida, Avlone,
Cannia, Berat, Cleisoura, Premiti, the port of Panormus,
Santi-Quaranta, Buthrotum, Delvino, Argyro-Castron, Tepelen, Parga,
Prevesa, Sderli, Paramythia, Arta, the post of the Five Wells, Janina
and its castles.  These places contained four hundred and twenty
cannons of all sizes, for the most part in bronze, mounted on
siege-carriages, and seventy mortars.  Besides these, there were in
the castle by the lake, independently of the guns in position, forty
field-pieces, sixty mountain guns, a number of Congreve rockets,
formerly given him by the English, and an enormous quantity of
munitions of war.  Finally, he endeavoured to establish a line of
semaphores between Janina and Prevesa, in order to have prompt news
of the Turkish fleet, which was expected to appear on this coast.

Ali, whose strength seemed to increase with age, saw to everything
and appeared everywhere; sometimes in a litter borne by his
Albanians, sometimes in a carriage raised into a kind of platform,
but it was more frequently on horseback that he appeared among his
labourers.  Often he sat on the bastions in the midst of the
batteries, and conversed familiarly with those who surrounded him.
He narrated the successes formerly obtained against the sultan by
Kara Bazaklia, Vizier of Scodra, who, like himself, had been attained
with the sentence of deprivation and excommunication; recounting how
the rebel pacha, shut up in his citadel with seventy-two warriors,
had seen collapse at his feet the united forces of four great
provinces of the Ottoman Empire, commanded by twenty-two pachas, who
were almost entirely annihilated in one day by the Guegues.  He
reminded them also, of the brilliant victory gained by Passevend
Oglon, Pacha of Widdin, of quite recent memory, which is celebrated
in the warlike songs of the Klephts of Roumelia.

Almost simultaneously, Ali's sons, Mouktar and Veli, arrived at
Janina.  Veli had been obliged, or thought himself obliged, to
evacuate Lepanto by superior forces, and brought only discouraging
news, especially as to the wavering fidelity of the Turks.  Mouktar,
on the contrary, who had just made a tour of inspection in the
Musache, had only noticed favourable dispositions, and deluded
himself with the idea that the Chaonians, who had taken up arms, had
done so in order to aid his father.  He was curiously mistaken, for
these tribes hated Ali with a hatred all the deeper for being
compelled to conceal it, and were only in arms in order to repel
aggression.

The advice given by the sons to their father as to the manner of
treating the Mohammedans differed widely in accordance with their
respective opinions.  Consequently a violent quarrel arose between
them, ostensibly on account of this dispute, but in reality on the
subject of their father's inheritance, which both equally coveted.
Ali had brought all his treasure to Janina, and thenceforth neither
son would leave the neighbourhood of so excellent a father.  They
overwhelmed him with marks of affection, and vowed that the one had
left Lepanto, and the other Berat, only in order to share his danger.
Ali was by no means duped by these protestations, of which he divined
the motive only too well, and though he had never loved his sons, he
suffered cruelly in discovering that he was not beloved by them.

Soon he had other troubles to endure.  One of his gunners
assassinated a servant of Vela's, and Ali ordered the murderer to be
punished, but when the sentence was to be carried out the whole corps
of artillery mutinied.  In order to save appearances, the pacha was
compelled to allow them to ask for the pardon of the criminal whom he
dared not punish.  This incident showed him that his authority was no
longer paramount, and he began to doubt the fidelity of his soldiers.
The arrival of the Ottoman fleet further enlightened him to his true
position.  Mussulman and Christian alike, all the inhabitants of
Northern Albania, who had hitherto concealed their disaffection under
an exaggerated semblance of devotion, now hastened to make their
submission to the sultan.  The Turks, continuing their success, laid
siege to Parga, which was held by Mehemet, Veli's eldest son.  He was
prepared to make a good defence, but was betrayed by his troops, who
opened the gates of the town, and he was compelled to surrender at
discretion.  He was handed over to the commander of the naval forces,
by whom he was well treated, being assigned the best cabin in the
admiral's ship and given a brilliant suite.  He was assured that the
sultan, whose only quarrel was with his grandfather, would show him
favour, and would even deal mercifully with Ali, who, with his
treasures, would merely be sent to an important province in Asia
Minor.  He was induced to write in this strain to his family and
friends in order to induce them to lay down their arms.

The fall of Parga made a great impression on the Epirotes, who valued
its possession far above its real importance.  Ali rent his garments
and cursed the days of his former good fortune, during which he had
neither known how to moderate his resentment nor to foresee the
possibility of any change of fortune.

The fall of Parga was succeeded by that of Arta of Mongliana, where
was situated Ali's country house, and of the post of the Five Wells.
Then came a yet more overwhelming piece of news Omar Brionis, whom
Ali, having formerly despoiled of its wealth, had none the less,
recently appointed general-in-chief, had gone over to the enemy with
all his troops!

Ali then decided on carrying out a project he had formed in case of
necessity, namely, on destroying the town of Janina, which would
afford shelter to the enemy and a point of attack against the
fortresses in which he was entrenched.  When this resolution was
known, the inhabitants thought only of saving themselves and their
property from the ruin from which nothing could save their country.
But most of them were only preparing to depart, when Ali gave leave
to the Albanian soldiers yet faithful to him to sack the town.

The place was immediately invaded by an unbridled soldiery.  The
Metropolitan church, where Greeks and Turks alike deposited their
gold, jewels, and merchandise, even as did the Greeks of old in the
temples of the gods, became the first object of pillage.  Nothing was
respected.  The cupboards containing sacred vestments were broken
open, so were the tombs of the archbishops, in which were interred
reliquaries adorned with precious stones; and the altar itself was
defiled with the blood of ruffians who fought for chalices and silver
crosses.

The town presented an equally terrible spectacle; neither Christians
nor Mussulmans were spared, and the women's apartments, forcibly
entered, were given up to violence.  Some of the more courageous
citizens endeavoured to defend their houses arid families against
these bandits, and the clash of arms mingled with cries and groans.
All at on e the roar of a terrible explosion rose above the other
sounds, and a hail of bombs, shells, grenade's, and rockets carried
devastation and fire into the different quarters of the town, which
soon presented the spectacle of an immense conflagration.  Ali,
seated on the great platform of the castle by the lake, which seemed
to vomit fire like a volcano, directed the bombardment, pointing out
the places which must be burnt.  Churches, mosques, libraries,
bazaars, houses, all were destroyed, and the only thing spared by the
flames was the gallows, which remained standing in the midst of the
ruins.

Of the thirty thousand persons who inhabited Janina a few hours
previously, perhaps one half had escaped.  But these had not fled
many leagues before they encountered the outposts of the Otto man
army, which, instead of helping or protecting them, fell upon them,

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