« PreviousContinue »
animated by the most ardent spirit of patriotism, was the only part of his army on which he could place full reliance. This corps was under the immediate command of Nicholas Ypsilanti, the youngest brother of Alexander.
Wladimiresco had, by this time, resolved to lay down arms, which he had taken up without any concert with the Grecian patriots, and without any zeal in their cause. He had already entered into conference with the Turks, and promised, if they would send an army, that he would join it, with the troops under his command. To prevent the discovery and punishment of this treachery by Ypsilanti, Wladimiresco drew off at his approach, and took a station at the Convent of Kotroczene, near Bucharest. An interview between him and Ypsilanti took place, which awakened the suspicions of the latter, and letters of the traitor to the Pacha of Braïlow were intercepted, which confirmed his guilt. He was arrested by Geordaki, in his headquarters, condemned to death by a court martial, at which Ypsilanti himself presided, and the sentence was carried into execution on the seventh of June. His soldiers generally embraced the cause of the revolution.
Ypsilanti now withdrew to Tergovista, with the purpose of taking the upper road to the Danube, crossing into Servia, and raising that populous province. Servian deputies had for some time before presented themselves at his head quarters, assuring him that, as soon as he should cross the Danube, their countrymen would declare for the revolution. Ypsilanti, having despatched agents to inform himself more particularly as to the state of affairs among the Servians, awaited their return; and this delay is perhaps the most obvious error committed by him, under the difficult circumstances in which he was placed. It was, however, an error on the side of prudence, inasmuch as his communications would have been cut off and his whole force left at the mercy of the Turks, had his reception in Servia been otherwise than favorable. On the other hand, a hearty coöperation, on the part of that province, would have of itself gone far to insure the success of the main movement.
While Ypsilanti thus lay seemingly inactive, the Ottoman army, under the command of the Pacha of Braïlow, took possession of Bucharest, and thence moved against the patriots, at Tergovista. On the fifteenth of June, the armies came within sight of each other for the first time. The Turkish force amounted to about thirty thousand, and that of Ypsilanti, in
cluding the troops of Wladimiresco, to eighteen thousand. The order of battle was admirable, and did credit to the military talent of the Grecian commander. Having secured the heights, Geordaki was posted on the right wing, and Caminari on the left. They were to have charged the enemy simultaneously in flank; and the success of Geordaki proves the correctness of the disposition. But Caminari Sava deserted to the Turks at the onset, Constantine Ducas, who commanded a portion of the centre, failed to obey orders, and the battle was lost. A portion of the Sacred Band had an opportunity of distinguishing itself to the greatest advantage, in the course of the day, and the captain Soutzo, the son of the Hospodar of Wallachia, who, as we have observed, was supposed to have lost his life by poison, fell one of the first victims in the cause. In consequence, however, of the extensive defection mentioned, it became necessary for Ypsilanti to retreat.
effected in good order; and as a portion of the Sacred Band, not having been called into the fire, was ready for action, the Turks, who had felt the prowess of this battalion, deemed it expedient not to press the pursuit.
It was the intention of Ypsilanti to return to Rimnic, beyond the Aluta. The gold of the Turkish Pachas, however, had prepared the way for new defections, among the WallachoMoldavian chieftains, and their army being reinforced, they began to press hard on the rear of the retreating patriots. Another action was accordingly resolved upon. On the nineteenth of June, Ypsilanti halted his army at Dragachan, near the Aluta, at the foot of an eminence; and took a position to await the approach of the enemy. The Sacred Band was placed in the centre, dressed in deep black, with a death's head and the crossed bones upon their caps. Nicholas Ypsilanti commanded them. His brother Gregory, at the head of a force of about two hundred regular cavalry, was stationed on the left wing of Nicholas, and about seven thousand troops were placed on the right and in the rear. The greater part of these, at the first sound of the trumpet, either passed over to the enemy or fled. The Sacred Band, the pride and the glory of the Greeks, whose name will be for ever recorded in her annals, basely deserted and left to combat alone against thousands of barbarous enemies, sold their lives dearly. They repulsed with crossed bayonets several charges of the Turks. Nicholas Ypsilanti, surrounded with the dead, fought almost
alone on horseback, against numerous Turks, endeavoring to take him alive, till the arrival of the captain Geordaki with a few Albanians, who drew him out of the fire, by the bridle of his horse. A small portion only of the patriots escaped from this field of blood.
Alexander Ypsilanti, with the remnant of his forces, reached Rimnic on the twentieth, and as there was no longer any possibility of success in the provinces, he disbanded his troops. Being near the frontier of Austria, he sent to demand pasports to traverse that empire, on his way to the South of Greece. The pasports were granted him, but scarcely had he set foot within the the Austrian dominions, when he was arrested, and confined, at first in the fortress of Mongatz, and afterwards banished to Theresienstadt. Having languished in this place several years, he received permission about a twelve month since to repair to Vienna, where he soon died of a slow fever, the consequence of his long and cruel confinement.
Another corps of the Hetarists, with the same sable uniform, was organized in Moldavia, under the command of George Cantacuzenus. An older brother of the same name had accompanied Demetrius Ypsilanti to the south of Greece, but after the first year of the revolution, left the country and the cause, and repaired to Dresden, where he is said to be still living. If these Cantacuzeni are the descendants of the imperial family, whose name they bear, they have certainly taken a part unworthy of those, whose ancestors, but a few centuries since, sat on the throne of Constantine the Great, and Justinian. They are more probably of Dacian descent, and, like the greater part of the Wallacho-Moldavians, really felt but little interest in the cause. At the approach of the Turkish army, George Cantacuzenus deserted the battalion under his command, and crossed the Pruth. His place was immediately filled by a brave Hetærist, named Anastasius.
Ismael Pacha, having entered Jassy on the twenty-sixth of June, with sixteen thousand men, immediately marched against the Hetærists under Anastasius, who, to the number of but four hundred, were fortifying themselves at Stinka on the Russian frontier. Here they threw up a small semicircular redoubt, with the Pruth in the rear, and two pieces of cannon at the angles. A contest commenced at break of day, with equal obstinacy on either side, but with an overwhelming superiority of numbers on the part of the Turks. The Greeks were ani61
VOL. XXVII.-NO. 61.
mated by a report, which had reached them, that Ypsilanti was marching on Adrianople, and sustained the combat till noon. By this time, the incessant discharge of the two fieldpieces had rendered them useless, the Turkish cavalry burst in, and half the brave band being already killed, the redoubt was carried by assault. The remnant of the Greeks, about to be surrounded, plunged into the Pruth and swam to the Russian side, where a large army of Russian troops was stationed, cool spectators of the conflict. Several of the fugitives, as being in the Russian service, were arrested and sent into the Crimea.
Thus terminated all organized movements, in the cause of the revolution, in the Transdanubian provinces. The Turkish armies, indeed, which had been sent to suppress the insurrection, committed such excesses, as led to a Guerilla warfare on the part of the oppressed population. This furnished the pretext for new outrages on the part of the Turks, and during the year, which elapsed after the revolt was suppressed, the unfortunate provinces were a prey to the most frightful military oppression. So extreme was the condition of the inhabitants rendered, as to produce at length the interference of Russia, demanding for the provinces the privileges stipulated by so many treaties. These demands were systematically evaded, or reluctantly and inadequately complied with, and laid the foundation for a protracted, unsatisfactory, and finally a broken negotiation, which has at length terminated in war. The first fruits of this contest, have been the occupation of the provinces by the Russians, and the organization of a provisional government under their authority. How many lives, how much suffering would have been spared, had Russia seconded the movement of Alexander Ypsilanti, and taken this step eight years ago. When the Austrian and the English cabinets are thrown open, and the causes of this delay made known, will they be found such, as to furnish a justification for this wide propagation of misery, and this waste of human blood?
We shall only observe, in conclusion, that there is but one supposition, that will vindicate the characters of Alexander Ypsilanti and his associates, from the charge of a want of judgment, approaching to fatuity. That supposition is, that they had reasonable expectations of countenance from Russia. With these expectations, it was perfectly natural to organize the revolution from the Russian frontier, downward to the South of Greece. Without it, nothing could be worse calcu
lated, than to begin the war of Grecian independence, in provinces whose population is not Greek, whose language is not Greek, who, except as Christians, have no bond of union with Greece, who habitually rely on Russian protection, and could not be expected to take a step, after Russia should disavow the cause. So obvious are these considerations, as greatly to strengthen the belief, that Ypsilanti really received (as his friends have uniformly asserted) encouragement to hope for the countenance of the Emperor Alexander.
And here we drop the subject; this not being the time nor occasion to enter on the great theme of the revolution in Southern Greece. For that, we put ourselves under the able guidance of Dr Howe, and hope to follow him, through some of its interesting scenes, in another number of our Journal.
ART. XI.-1. United States, an Article in the London Quarterly Review for January, 1828.
2. Message from the President of the United States, transmitting the Correspondence between this Government and that of Great Britain, on the subject of the Claims of the two Governments to the Territory west of the Rocky Mountains. March 15, 1828.
3. Message of the President of the United States, transmitting a Report from the Secretary of State, and the Correspondence with the Government of Great Britain, relative to the Free Navigation of the River St Lawrence. January 7, 1828.
4. Letter from the Secretary of State, transmitting, pursuant to a Resolution of the House of Representatives of the nineteenth ultimo, a Copy of the Maps and Report of the Commissioners, under the Treaty of Ghent, for ascertaining the Northern and Northwestern Boundary between the United States and Great Britain. March 18, 1828.
OUR relations with England form, and ever have formed the most important part of our foreign politics; and will continue to do so, till some great change takes place in the general political system of the world. Our origin as British colonies gives to the intercourse between the two countries, alternately