List Of Contents | Contents of Ali Pacha, by Dumas, Pere
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force at his back, he repaired to Trikala, the seat of his
government, where he speedily acquired great influence.

His first act of authority was to exterminate the bands of Armatolis,
or Christian militia, which infested the plain.  He laid violent
hands on all whom he caught, and drove the rest back into their
mountains, splitting them up into small bands whom he could deal with
at his pleasure.  At the same time he sent a few heads to
Constantinople, to amuse the sultan and the mob, and some money to
the ministers to gain their support.  "For," said he, "water sleeps,
but envy never does."  These steps were prudent, and whilst his
credit increased at court, order was reestablished from the defiles
of the Perrebia of Pindus to the vale of Tempe and to the pass of

These exploits of the provost-marshal, amplified by Oriental
exaggeration, justified the ideas which were entertained of the
capacity of Ali Pacha.  Impatient of celebrity, he took good care
himself to spread his fame, relating his prowess to all comers,
making presents to the sultan's officers who came into his
government, and showing travellers his palace courtyard festooned
with decapitated heads.  But what chiefly tended to consolidate his
power was the treasure which he ceaselessly amassed by every means.
He never struck for the mere pleasure of striking, and the numerous
victims of his proscriptions only perished to enrich him.  His death
sentences always fell on beys and wealthy persons whom he wished to
plunder.  In his eyes the axe was but an instrument of fortune, and
the executioner a tax-gatherer.


Having governed Thessaly in this manner during several years, Ali
found himself in a position to acquire the province of Janina, the
possession of which, by making him master of Epirus, would enable him
to crush all his enemies and to reign supreme over the three
divisions of Albania.

But before he could succeed in this, it was necessary to dispose of
the pacha already in possession.  Fortunately for Ali, the latter was
a weak and indolent man, quite incapable of struggling against so
formidable a rival; and his enemy speedily conceived and put into
execution a plan intended to bring about the fulfilment of his
desires.  He came to terms with the same Armatolians whom he had
formerly treated so harshly, and let them loose, provided with arms
and ammunition, on the country which he wished to obtain.  Soon the
whole region echoed with stories of devastation and pillage.  The
pacha, unable to repel the incursions of these mountaineers, employed
the few troops he had in oppressing the inhabitants of the plains,
who, groaning under both extortion and rapine, vainly filled the air
with their despairing cries.  Ali hoped that the Divan, which usually
judged only after the event, seeing that Epirus lay desolate, while
Thessaly flourished under his own administration, would, before long,
entrust himself with the government of both provinces, when a family
incident occurred, which for a time diverted the course of his
political manoeuvres.

For a long time his mother Kamco had suffered from an internal
cancer, the result of a life of depravity.  Feeling that her end drew
near, she despatched messenger after messenger, summoning her son to
her bedside.  He started, but arrived too late, and found only his
sister Chainitza mourning over the body of their mother, who had
expired in her arms an hour previously.  Breathing unutterable rage
and pronouncing horrible imprecations against Heaven, Kamco had
commanded her children, under pain of her dying curse, to carry out
her last wishes faithfully.  After having long given way to their
grief, Ali and Chainitza read together the document which contained
these commands.  It ordained some special assassinations, mentioned
sundry villages which, some day; were to be given to the flames, but
ordered them most especially, as soon as possible, to exterminate the
inhabitants of Kormovo and Kardiki, from whom she had endured the
last horrors of slavery.

Then, after advising her children to remain united, to enrich their
soldiers, and to count as nothing people who were useless to them,
Kamco ended by commanding them to send in her name a pilgrim to
Mecca, who should deposit an offering on the tomb of the Prophet for
the repose of her soul.  Having perused these last injunctions, Ali
and Chainitza joined hands, and over the inanimate remains of their
departed mother swore to accomplish her dying behests.

The pilgrimage came first under consideration.  Now a pilgrim can
only be sent as proxy to Mecca, or offerings be made at the tomb of
Medina, at the expense of legitimately acquired property duly sold
for the purpose.  The brother and sister made a careful examination
of the family estates, and after long hunting, thought they had found
the correct thing in a small property of about fifteen hundred francs
income, inherited from their great-grandfather, founder of the
Tepel-Enian dynasty.  But further investigations disclosed that even
this last resource had been forcibly taken from a Christian, and the
idea of a pious pilgrimage and a sacred offering had to be given up.
They then agreed to atone for the impossibility of expiation by the
grandeur of their vengeance, and swore to pursue without ceasing and
to destroy without mercy all enemies of their family.

The best mode of carrying out this terrible and self-given pledge was
that Ali should resume his plans of aggrandizement exactly where he
had left them.  He succeeded in acquiring the pachalik of Janina,
which was granted him by the Porte under the title of "arpalik," or
conquest.  It was an old custom, natural to the warlike habits of the
Turks, to bestow the Government provinces or towns affecting to
despise the authority of the Grand Seigneur on whomsoever succeeded
in controlling them, and Janina occupied this position.  It was
principally inhabited by Albanians, who had an enthusiastic
admiration for anarchy, dignified by them with the name of "Liberty,"
and who thought themselves independent in proportion to the
disturbance they succeeded in making.  Each lived retired as if in a
mountain castle, and only went out in order to participate in the
quarrels of his faction in the forum.  As for the pachas, they were
relegated to the old castle on the lake, and there was no difficulty
in obtaining their recall.

Consequently there was a general outcry at the news of Ali Pacha's
nomination, and it was unanimously agreed that a man whose character
and power were alike dreaded must not be admitted within the walls of
Janina.  Ali, not choosing to risk his forces in an open battle with
a warlike population, and preferring a slower and safer way to a
short and dangerous one, began by pillaging the villages and farms
belonging to his most powerful opponents.  His tactics succeeded, and
the very persons who had been foremost in vowing hatred to the son of
Kamco and who had sworn most loudly that they would die rather than
submit to the tyrant, seeing their property daily ravaged, and
impending ruin if hostilities continued, applied themselves to
procure peace.  Messengers were sent secretly to Ali, offering to
admit him into Janina if he would undertake to respect the lives and
property of his new allies.  Ali promised whatever they asked, and
entered the town by night.  His first proceeding was to appear before
the cadi, whom he compelled to register and proclaim his firmans of

In the same year in which he arrived at this dignity, really the
desire and object of Ali's whole life, occurred also the death of the
Sultan Abdul Hamid, whose two sons, Mustapha and Mahmoud, were
confined in the Old Seraglio.  This change of rulers, however, made
no difference to Ali; the peaceful Selim, exchanging the prison to
which his nephews were now relegated, for the throne of their father,
confirmed the Pacha of Janina in the titles, offices, and privileges
which had been conferred on him.

Established in his position by this double investiture, Ali applied
himself to the definite settlement of his claims.  He was now fifty
years of age, and was at the height of his intellectual development:
experience had been his teacher, and the lesson of no single event
had been lost upon him.  An uncultivated but just and penetrating
mind enabled him to comprehend facts, analyse causes, and anticipate
results; and as his heart never interfered with the deductions of his
rough intelligence, he had by a sort of logical sequence formulated
an inflexible plan of action.  This man, wholly ignorant, not only of
the ideas of history but also of the great names of Europe, had
succeeded in divining, and as a natural consequence of his active and
practical character, in also realising Macchiavelli, as is amply
shown in the expansion of his greatness and the exercise of his
power.  Without faith in God, despising men, loving and thinking only
of himself, distrusting all around him, audacious in design,
immovable in resolution, inexorable in execution, merciless in
vengeance, by turns insolent, humble, violent, or supple according to
circumstances, always and entirely logical in his egotism, he is
Cesar Borgia reborn as a Mussulman; he is the incarnate ideal of
Florentine policy, the Italian prince converted into a satrap.

Age had as yet in no way impaired Ali's strength and activity, and
nothing prevented his profiting by the advantages of his position.
Already possessing great riches, which every day saw increasing under
his management, he maintained a large body of warlike and devoted
troops, he united the offices of Pacha of two tails of Janina, of
Toparch of Thessaly, and of Provost Marshal of the Highway.  As
influential aids both to his reputation for general ability and the
terror of his' arms, and his authority as ruler, there stood by his
side two sons, Mouktar and Veli, offspring of his wife Emineh, both
fully grown and carefully educated in the principles of their father.

Ali's first care, once master of Janina, was to annihilate the beys

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