« НазадПродовжити »
prisoner; and earnest application was made to the pasta Ioannina, who was now master of bis fate, to make a pablic example of him. The pasha, however, had his reasons preferring to make a friend of his prisoner, and is said not only to have liberated bim, but to have supplied him with the means of raising a fresh band of freebooters, at the head of wloo. Ali rendered the whole country so unsafe for merchants and travellers of every description, that his fame reached Constantinople, and the Porte issued an order to the derven-pasha of Rumelia to attack and exterminate the offenders. The dervenpasha bappened to be no other than Ali's old friend, Kourt, pasha of Berat; and an amicable negotiation was entered into between the two parties, the result of which was, that Kourt accepted of Ali's services in an expedition he was about to undertake against some enemies of the state, procured bis pardon from Constantinople, and gave him a high military command at his own court. This he did not long retain : he was detected in an intrigue with the pasha's married daughter, and obliged to flee. He then entered into the service of the pasha of Negropont, and having acquired a great deal of wealth, returned once more to Tepeleni, to recommence operations on bis own private account. His first attempt was too daring for his means : he endeavoured, we are told, to take advantage of internal sedition in the great city of Argyro-Castro, and to introduce his own troops into the place; but this project did not succeed. He then fell upon the town of Libochobo, which, together with several others of small note, submitted to bis arms. The strong place of Chormovo, he contrived to take by what hardly deserves the name of stratagem; by perfidy of the most unblushing and atrocious kind. The inhabitants had been among the earliest confederates against his family, and his revenge longed to glut itself with a sacrifice. Having massacred a great multitude of the inhabitants, he sold the women and children into slavery, and razed the town to the ground. This was not enough: the most delicious morsel of vengeance remains behind. The head of a family named Prifti, particularly obnoxious to Ali, was seized by his orders; a spit was run through his body, and the wretched victim was roasted alive. By this horrid act, in which he emulated the first Crusaders, he spread a terror of his name throughout the surrounding tribes, many of whom submitted to him without resistance.
Ali was now wealthy; and from this time he began to act upon the systematic preference of bribery to force of arms. His favourite maxim is, Get money, and that will procure things. By means of bis emissaries at Constantinople, be procured a commission for attacking Selim, pasha of Delvino, whom he first cajoled, and then assassinated, seizing at the same
time his son, by whose ransom he enriched himself to boot. By - aid of large bribes, be next got himself nominated lieutenant to
a new derven-pasha of Rumelia, exchanging the trade of high
wayman for the functions of police-officer general for the district; - but, instead of attempting to clear it of banditti, he traded in li- censes, which he sold regularly to the kleftes, receiving, over
and above the price, a share of their booty. The patural consequence of this policy, was, that the country became absolutely impassable: the derven-pasha was recalled, and paid the penalty of bis head, wbile his crafty lieutenant bought himself off. In the year 1787, when war broke out between Turkey and the allied powers of Austria and Russia, Ali got bimself nominated to an important command in the army of the Grand Vizir, Usouf, un, der wbom be established bis character for military talent. His services were rewarded with the government of Triccala, in Thessaly, and the title of a pasha of two tails. During this campaign, he is suspected to have entered into a secret negotiation with Potemkin, under cover of treating for the release of his nephew, Mahmoud, which had for its object to secure to bimself the sovereignty of Epirus, when his friend should be seated , on the throne of Constantinople. His conduct on this occasion had nearly involved him in disgrace with the Porte; and be is said to have been indebted to the good offices of the French minister, før bis restoration to favour. His next manæuvre we must give in the words of his present biographer, premising, that the pasha of Ioannina was dead, and that every rival chieftain was caballing to succeed bim.
• When Ali thought affairs were ripe enough for his presence, he collected a considerable number of troops, passed the chain of Mount Pindus, and made his appearance on the plains to the north of loannina. This manæuvre caused great consternation in the city: the beys, in imminent danger, stifled their enmity towards each other, joined their forces together, and advanced to meet the invader. In a great battle which was fought at the head of the lake, they were beaten and driven back into the city by Ali, who encamped before it with his victorious troops. Not being strong enough to attempt it by storm, he employed a surer method for success. He had already gained a considerable number of adherents amongst the Greeks in the city, and especially in the district of Zagori : these by bribery and large promises he engaged to enter into his views and send a deputation to Constantinople to solicit for him the pashalic. They acted as he requested; but the opposite interest proved too strong for them at the Porte, and they were made the bearers of an order to their principal to retire immediately to his own government and disband his troops. One of the deputies, most attached to his interest, rode forward night and day, to give him early information of the failure of their mission, and on this occasion Ali executed one of those strokes of policy which have given him such advantage over the imbecility of the Ottoman
Vol. XIV, N.S. 3 с
Porte. After a short consultation with his friend, he dismissed him to return and meet the deputies, who waited a few days on the road, and then proceeded straight to Ioannina. The beys, to whom its contents had been already intimated, advanced as far as the suburbs to meet the firman. It was produced, and drawn out of its crimson case ; when each reverently applied it to his forehead, in token of submission to its dictates. It was then opened, and to the utter con, sternation of the assembly it announced Ali, pasha of Ioannina, and ordered instant submission to his authority.
• The forgery was suspected by many, but some credited it; whilst others, by timely submission, sought to gain favour with the man who they foresaw would be their ruler : in short, his partizans exerted themselves on all sides, the beys were dispirited, and whilst they were irresolute and undetermined, Åli entered the city amidst the acclamations of the populace : his chief enemies in the mean time sought their safety by flight, passing over the lake and taking refuge in the districts of Arta, Etolia, and Acarnania.
• Ali's first care was to calm the fears of all ranks ; to the people he promised protection, to the beys who remained rich offices and plunder; his friends were amply recompensed, and his enemies reconciled by his frankness and engaging affability: in the mean time he put a strong garrison into the castron or fortress, and thus acquired firm possession of the pashalic before the imposture of the firman was discovered. It was now too late to dispossess him of his acquisition : his adherents increased daily; a numerous and respectable deputation, led by Signore Alessio's father, carried a petition to Contantinople, and seconding it with bribes to a large amount ultimately prevailed in establishing his usurped dominion. Thus, according to custom, despotism succeeded to the turbulence of faction, and the people not unwillingly submitted to the change.'
Soon afterwards, Ali,! doubtless by the same potent agency gold, obtained from the Porte the important office of derven-pasha of Rumelia : whether he bad a lieutenant, is not stated, but if he had, he took good care that he should not trade in licenses to the kleftes. This office not only augmented his revenue, but gave bim an opportunity to create an influence in many provinces of the Turkish empire. His next step was to pick a quarrel with his neighbour, the pasha of Arta, and to annex his territories, as well as the whole of Acarnania, to his own dominions. Then, in order to establish a free communication between Ioannina and his native territory, be attacked and took possession of the strong post of Klissura, following it up by the reduction of Premeti, Ostanizza, and Konitza, which secure the whole course of the Voïussa, from its source in Mount Pindus to Tepeleni.
We are at a sad loss, throughout Mr. Hughes's narrative, for dates. The year 1792, however, is given as the date of Ali's first expedition against the Suliots, a warlike tribe who, in their almost impregnable mountain fastnesses, braved bis power, and did not scruple, when he was attacking some of his northern neighbours, to carry their incursions into the southern districts of his territory. According to our Author's statement, it was not, therefore, without ample provocation, and a sort of political necessity, that Ali determined upon subduing them; and worthy representatives as they might be of the ancient Greeks, fond as they were of their mountain homes, their wives, and their wild freedom, it does not appear that they were really any better than a clan of banditti. Mr. Hughes has made a very affecting story, however, of the heroic resistance by which they long succeeded in bafiling their infuriated foe. It forms the most interesting chapter in the volume. Ali was at one time during this campaign in great personal danger. A detachment of these brave mountaineers, to the number of 200, marched out with the determination to take him alive or dead, and, but for the information conveyed to Ali by a traitor, would probably bave succeeded, as the despot was at the time encamped with only his body guard at a distance from the main army. The women took an active part in the defence of the republic, and very materially contributed to the success which, in the first war, crowned the exertions of the mountain patriots. Ali was completely repulsed, with the loss of all his baggage and ammunition. The victorious Suliots pursued their enemies as far as the village of Vareatis, within seven hours of Ioannina ; and about six thousand of the Albanians are said to have been slain or taken prisoners. 'Ali himself killed • two horses in his precipitous escape, and when he arrived at his
capital, he sbut bimself up in bis harem for several days, where ' he admitted no one to his presence except a few of bis most
confidential friends.' At length, he concluded a peace with the Suliots on the degrading conditions of ceding to them possession of their acquired territory as far as Dervitziana, of restoring the seventy prisoners he had in the outset obtained by an act of the most shameless treachery, together with the son of one of their chiefs, and of paying a very large sum as a ransom for his captive troops. Tbis was in the summer of 1792. His second expedition, eight years after, was not more successful, although he had by bribery won over to his interest, Botzari, one of the Suliot leaders. The Albanians were in their repeated attacks driven back and put to rout with great slaughter, the loss in killed and prisoners far exceeding in numbers the sum total of the Suliot army. Despairing to subdue such valiant and determined enemies in open warfare, Ali turned the siege into a blockade, resolving to trust to famine and treachery; but his troops began to desert, and wbile the Suliots are said by a Parghiote historian to have lost in nine months but twenty-five men, Ali lost by defection and in various skirmishes within the same period, nearly 4000. In the desperate emergency to which the besieged were sometimes reduced, many stratagems were resorted to for procuring provisions, among wbich the contrivance of Gianni Striviniotti deserves particular mention.
• This man having received intelligence that the Turks had lately procured a large supply of cattle from the neighbouring pastures, dressed himself in his white capote and camise, and concealing himself till the shades of evening had descended, walked out on all fours from his lurking place, and mingling with the herds, entered together with them into the stalls where they were shut up. In the dead of the night he arose silently, opened the doors, unloosed the oxen, and drove them towards a party of his friends who were in waiting to receive them. The Albanians heard the noise, but were so alarmed by suspicion of an ambuscade, that they lay still
, and preferred the loss of their cattle to the danger of their lives.'
About this time, Ali was called off by orders from the Porte to lead his contingent against Paswan Oglou, and the Suliots availed themselves of his absence to lay in stores both of provisions and arms. On his return, he again had recourse to a false and treacherous proposal of peace, on the conditions of being allowed to build and garrison one tower within their district, and of their banishing of the brave Foto Tzavella from the Suliote territory, as the chief impediment in the way of tranquillity. It does not appear that the former condition was complied with ; and yet the folly and infatuation which a compliance with it would have displayed, would not have been greater than the Suliots were actually guilty of in ' requesting the secession of their
6 bravest captain, whose highest panegyric was conveyed by the insulting proposal. Ali's ambassadors on this occasion were, as usual, two traitors who had deserted their country's cause; and by dint of threats and promises they prevailed. Foto, on finding himself forsaken by his deluded followers, set fire to his dwelling, declaring that no enemy of Suli should ever cross the dwelling of the Tzavellas; he then buried his sword, and left his countrymen much in the same state,' remarks Mr. Hughes,
as the silly sheep who were persuaded by the wolves to dismiss • their guardians. After this act of folly and basebess, one really feels a diminished interest in the fate of the republie.
Whether a peace was or was not nominally concluded, or whether the Suliots were still in a state of blockade, is not very clear; but in May 1803, the Suliots made a vigorous attack upon an Albanian fortress at Villa, which served as the principal magazine for Ali's army. This they succeeded in taking, and destroyed by fire and sword nearly the whole garrison. So daring an achievement could not but inflame their implacable eneiny to the utmost height of fury. He issued proclamations calling upon every Malommedan throughout bis dominions to avenge this slaughter upon the heads of the infidels, and an immense army was again brought into the field against this