Appendix E: Primary Contemporary Documents Recording the Views of those Who Opposed the Greek Revolution

© 2022 William St Clair, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

The selection helps to explain the existential nature of the crisis as it appeared to the main opponents of the Revolution, including the Ottoman leadership and the Orthodox Patriarchate, and how they communicated their concerns to others.

1. Lord Strangford, British Ambassador, to Foreign Secretary Lord Londonderry, 25 May 18221

Sent soon after the outbreak of the Revolution and the putting to death of the Patriarch and of other ecclesiastics (said by the Ottoman authorities to have been discovered liaising with the revolutionaries), the outbreak of inter-community violence in many regions, and the judicial killings and enslavements in Chios and elsewhere.

‘… The unfortunate inhabitants have paid with their lives, the price of their ill-advised rebellion. The only persons who have been spared are the women and children, who have been sold as slaves. Hundreds of them were daily arriving at Smyrna, at the date of my last letters from that place, and some ship-loads of these unhappy victims reached this place during the last week.

All the hostages (with the exception of Five Catholics) who were confined in the Castle of Scio have been put to death. It appears that four of these men were sent by the Turkish Commanders to their Countrymen with an offer of Pardon to such of them as should lay down their Arms. Instead of executing this Commission, they joined the Insurgents, and availing themselves of the local knowledge acquired during their residence in the Castle, were the leaders of the attack against it. The fury of the Garrison was not to be restrained, and the remainder of the Hostages were instantly hanged.

The Merchants of Smyrna sent an express to me and to the French ambassador, with a request that we would exert our efforts to save the five Catholic Prisoners who remained in the Castle, and whom the Pasha promised to respite for Twenty-Five days until orders could be received from Constantinople. We were so fortunate as to succeed in our application, and a Chiaus [state messenger or emissary] was dispatched with a firman on Sunday last, authorizing the Pasha to pardon the individuals in question.

I wish I could say that I had been equally successful with respect to the unfortunate Captives who have been sent here from Chios. I sent M. Chabert2 with a friendly message to Gianib Effendi on the subject, begging him to consider the unfavourable effect which would be produced on the public mind in Europe by the severities which the Porte was exercising against innocent and helpless persons, who had taken no part in the rebellion, and who seemed to be rather entitled to the pity, than to be considered as objects of the Vengeance of the government.

Gianib Effendi received my application without any sign of impatience, but in reply, he made some observations which he appeared to think quite unanswerable and on which he dwelt with the utmost complacency. He said that the Captives taken at Chios, were condemned to slavery by the Mussulman Laws and Religion — which not only permitted, but enjoined such a disposal of the wives and children of their Enemies — that without having the plea of Law or Religion, the Christian Powers of Europe had for ages tolerated Slavery — not because their Messiah commanded it, but because it was a source of gain — that it was true, England had abolished it, but that it was only of late years that we had found out that it was wrong — and that half of Europe still differed from our opinion on the subject — that if those Powers had so long endured the constant practice of the Turkish Nation, and had not uttered a word in reprobation of it for nearly Four Hundred Years, it would indeed be singular if they were now to call in question the right of the Mussulman Government and Nation to do that which they had done from time immemorial, and which was, at present, more than ever justified by the cruel and atrocious conduct of the Greek Rebels, who, far from making Captives, spared neither women nor children. He added, that though he gave me full credit for the friendly spirit which had dictated my advice, he requested me to remember that the Porte was an independent Government — that she had a right to act as she pleased towards her own subjects, except where Treaties interfered, and that the Mussulman nation would pursue and maintain its own Laws and usages without caring for the opinions of other States, which had no right to meddle with them — that even Russia had never attempted to force Turkey to abolish Slavery — and that some time ago, when there was a long and vehement discussion between the Two Courts respecting some Circassian Slaves, the utmost to which Russia pretended was, that those Slaves should be free from the moment they landed in the Russian Territory — without seeking to impose upon Turkey the general principle that she was not entitled to make slaves of her own subjects whenever she chose to do so. “Slavery,” continued Gianib Effendi, “is a mode of punishment — and it might just as well be said that we had not the right to inflict the punishment of death, or that of the bastinado, upon offenders, as that the Powers of Europe are to find fault with us because we make Captives of the Families of those who are trying every means to destroy our Empire. Why do not the Christian Sovereigns interfere to prevent the Emperor of Russia from sending his subjects into Siberia? Because they know very well what answer they would receive! Thus there is one law of humanity for Turkey and another for Russia!”

The same arguments were employed by Gianib Effendi to the Prussian Dragoman.’

2. Institution of Slavery: The Fate of the Women and Boys Captured at the Fall of Missolonghi by the Ottoman and Egyptian forces in 1826

Extract from a despatch from the British Consul-General in Alexandria in Egypt, undated, sent with Stratford

Canning’s letter of 30 September 1826.3

‘The slaves brought here are not sent over by Ibrahim Pasha, nor in anyway is it a traffick in which our Pasha or his Son interferes — By the Turkish Law all Christian prisoners become slaves not of the Chief in command but of their actual captors. This is a distinction very necessary to be held in view — they are not prisoners of the State as in Europe, but Slaves of those into whose hands they fall. Every Soldier that takes a prisoner does with him or her as he pleases.

Thus the disposition of the Slaves here has depended upon the caprice of the Captors. Many have been sold before they have arrived here, and the greater part I suspect to persons who bring them over to Egypt on speculation.

The whole number that has been brought over during the war may amount to about three thousand, boys, women and children. Of these I should say nearly one half has been purchased and provided for by the Europeans, Levantine and Greek Christians, established in Egypt, the greatest facility having been also afforded to us by the local Government in their purchase. In some cases the Pasha has himself contributed money for their ransom. — This happened particularly in the case of a number brought over about three years back before the prohibitory regulations were well known by an Ionian Captain.4 At my request the owner was compelled by the Pasha to sell them to us and as the sum he asked was greater than what we could conveniently raise at the time the Pasha himself rather than force the man to lower his demand generously paid the difference.

Many have been liberated by the Turkish Grandees also out of a compassionate motive to render a service to their workmen or Gardeners, that are in general Greeks, who may have discovered or pretended to discover relations among the unfortunate prisoners; And in these cases the above mentioned Grandees have invariably paid to the owners their value.

The Albanese builders employed here have likewise liberated great numbers and married them. Our Ionian subjects in like manner as well as all classes of Europeans have been exceedingly generous in their contributions towards this laudable object. The persons thus liberated remain with their own consent as domestics in the several families and many have been sent back to their friends. Those that are sold to Christians are in general such as obstinately persevere in their native faith — Many noble examples have been given of even children offering their heads to be cut off rather than change their faith.

All those who consent to become Mahomedans remain as slaves with the Turks. The Bey here may have about twenty in his harem and the subGovernor, Belal Aga, two. Ibrahim Pasha has not to my knowledge sent over a slave. Some of the old women difficult to dispose of suffer great hardships. If not got rid of soon they are sent about to the different fairs for sale, and some I know have been found away as far as Angola and hence doubtless to the more distant provinces of Africa as also by the way of the Red Sea to Jidda.

It must be still remembered that this is not a particular feature of the present war. It is the same course precisely that has been pursued by Mahomedans in every war they have carried on since the time of Mahomet with Christians. People who submit become Rayahs,5 those who resist become slaves. Nor let it be supposed that it has been in the power of the Pasha as yet to effect, in this respect, a change.

It has been only by a strict conformity with certain of those deeply rooted prejudices of his Subjects that he has been able to effect so much, were he to attempt any alteration with the respect to the right of property in Christian prisoners it would only produce I fear the massacre of those who are now saved.’

3. A Local Account

Among primary sources recently discovered is a manuscript in the University of Marburg that contains an account by Mîr Yusuf el-Moravî, a native of Nauplia, survivor of an agreement involving the Acropolis of Nauplia, in whose negotiation he participated, which was followed by a massacre and expulsion. Composed not later than 1823, the account by Mîr Yusuf el-Moravî broadly matches the main features of Staehelin’s Thucydidean reconstruction discussed in Chapter 10, notably in the claims that inter-community relations before the Revolution had been amicable. One feature in the account by Mîr Yusuf el-Moravî is the absence on either side of the language and rhetorics of nationalism.6

4. Report of his Meeting with Reschid, Then the Ottoman Seraskier (Commander-in-Chief) in Mainland Greece, in a Letter from William Meyer, British Consul-General in Preveza, to the Secretary to the British High Commissioner in the Ionian Islands, 12 April 18287

‘Sir, In referring to my preceding letters to the 6th Inst, I have the honor to acquaint you for the information of His Excellency, His Majesty’s Lord High Commissioner, that the Roumely Valesy and Seraskier, Reschid Mehmet Pacha, arrived here from Joannina and Arta at 6½ P.M. on the 10th Inst. His Highness was attended only by a small suite and accompanied by Veli Bey Yatzi. About an hour after his arrival, while the Vice Consul was on his way to the Serraglio, to deliver a complimentary message on my part on the occasion, he was met by an Officer of Rank sent by His Highness to request me to wait on him. I had the satisfaction to find His Highness in tolerably good health, but evidently labouring under considerable anxiety of mind. After the usual ceremonies of my reception, which were of the most friendly kind, His Highness in the presence of one [of] his Officers and of his Chief Secretary and Interpreter, Mr Michelaki Trikalinò, dwelt at some length on the antient friendship between Great Britain and the Ottoman Porte, and then remarked on the peculiar modifications which their friendly relations had undergone in consequence of the extraordinary course of events, and which had led to the Treaty of Intervention of the Allied Courts in respect to the affairs of Greece;8 and while rendering full justice to the sincerity of their views, he strongly vindicated the course of Policy pursued by his own Government. His Highness then referred to the Dispatch, which he had received from His Excellency Count Guilleminot9 on the 7th Inst and which was transmitted from hence to Arta under the circumstances reported in my letter to you of that date by the French Man of War Schooner ‘L’Artesienne.’ His Highness expressed in the most flattering terms the very great satisfaction, which he had derived from that most friendly and important communication, but added, ‘His Excellency our friend the Ambassador of France, has imposed on me a task of the heaviest responsibility, and the peculiar circumstances of the case have obliged me to defer sending an answer until I had an opportunity of communicating with you in regard to those circumstances.’ I replied by thanking His Highness for such a mark of his confidence, as he had expressed his intention of honoring me with, but added that I believed His Highness from his sentiments of personal regard, was induced to think I was invested with a Public Character and with Official Powers far greater than those which I had the honor to hold. His Highness observed that he considered circumstances as sometimes fully justifying the assumption of an extraordinary intervention; and he was pleased to think that what he should request of me would not in anywise exceed the limit of a proper discretion. His Highness then seemed anxious to enter upon the essential points of his subject: but again expatiated upon various preliminary arguments connected with the inalienable Rights and with the Interest of the Empire, and recognized by Treaties with the Powers in Amity and Alliance with the Porte.

His Highness then entered into various arguments tending to shew the absolute impracticability of the Porte’s acceding to the Treaty of Intervention, as it is now framed,10 inasmuch as its acceptance would be tantamount to a dissolution of the Empire, looking to the principles of its Theocratical Constitution, and to the peculiar composition and situation of its Provinces in Europe at this time. But I understood His Highness to intimate, that an adjustement founded on several of its provisions might be effected, in a manner to satisfy the wishes of the Allied Powers, and the interests of the Parties concerned.

At this part of His Highness’ discourse, the Local Authorities, the Turkish Clergy, the Cadi, the Officers of the Garrison were announced as having been in waiting a considerable time, and as the hour of the night (it being Ramazan) rendered their reception indispensable, they were admitted. These ceremonies occupied above an hour, when the Dinner Service was announced, and at His Highness particular request I took my seat at the Table, being the only person besides His Highness. On taking my leave at 11 P.M. and on arriving at the Consular Residence, my Guard informed me that His Highness’ Chief Secretary abovementioned had desired him to inform me that, he wished to wait on me at the time of my return home, and that if it were at too late an hour, that he would call on me early the next morning. Having immediately sent to apprize him that I was ready to receive him, Mr Michelaki came and continued in conversation with me for nearly two hours. He informed me that he had been directed by His Highness to communicate with me on the important subjects which His Highness had opened to me in the early part of the evening and which, indeed, he added was the immediate motive of His Highness visit to Prevesa at this time, and that he would set out on his return to Joannina the next day. The Secretary repeated the great satisfaction, which His Highness the Seraskier had felt at the communication, which he had received from His Excellency Count Guilleminot from Corfu, that it was his most ardent wish to give the most convincing proof of the value he attached to it, as well by the prompt measures which he was desirous of taking on the occasion in respect to His Highness own Government, as with respect to His Excellency Count Guilleminot at Corfu. But a very serious impediment for the moment prevented his acting as he desired with regards to his communications with Count Guilleminot; namely the want of powers from his own Government to enter into a direct correspondence with His Excellency’s Dispatch. Yet feeling thoroughly impressed with the motives of sincere friendship, which suggested those propositions and the paramount importance of losing no time in acting upon them, His Highness felt most truly anxious of devising some mode of proceeding on the occasion; and the mode which had occurred to him as particularly eligible and at the same time perfectly consonant to His Excellency Count Guilleminot’s motives and feelings at this great conjuncture was if possible, to give His Excellency the meeting at some point of the coast near Corfu. His Highness considered that the paramount motives, which actuated Count Guilleminot in addressing his valuable communication to him would be of themselves sufficient to overrule any ordinary objection, which might present itself to His Excellency to defer their meeting. His Highness as I understood proposed that it should be a confidential meeting. He proposed Parga11 as the point of rendezvous; and said that to that place, or any other point of the coast, which Count Guilleminot might fix, he would immediately repair, on receiving notice of His Excellency’s determination to honor him with the meeting, which he so anxiously solicited. It appears that the Seraskier deems it indispensable to have a convenient opportunity of discussing certain points of the arrangement proposed by the Treaty, and he entertains a full persuasion of being able to promote, in an essential degree, the great object at issue by means of the confidential conference now proposed, and the result of which it would be his first duty to communicate immediately to his Government at Constantinople, and to press the acceptance of it with the entire weight of his influence: adding that if any point might still remain unadjusted with His Excellency, that he would himself proceed to Constantinople, to obtain the immediate decision of it, inasmuch as His Highness has a power reserved under his orders of repairing to the Capital in the event of any extraordinary emergency arising to render such a step necessary. His Highness uninterrupted personal and local experience in the affairs of these Provinces, which have been the seat of his Government and Military Operations for the last Eight Years, must he conceives give to his opinion on the question a decisive weight: and in this manner he trusts the objects of the Allies Friendly Courts would be brought to a satisfactory termination.

From what I could perceive it appears that the Porte has determined on giving, of its own free act, a Charter of Rights and Privileges to the Greek Provinces, grounded on the Principles of the Treaty of Intervention: and that the Charter would be immediately promulgated by the Porte after the few points to be discussed in the confidential interview now proposed, had been agreed on by mutual consent.

It appears also, on the other hand that the voluntary accession of the Sultan to the Treaty as it now exists, is deemed to be morally impracticable. Such an act of accession in the judgement of the Sultan and of the Musulman Nation is held by them to be tantamount to a virtual abdication or surrender of the Sovereignty of the Sultan; that the Treaty in its present shape if [word not read] to be tantamount to proclaiming the Mussulman People conquered, and the Empire dismembered; that it can never, therefore, be accepted in its present shape; that they have themselves deliberately resolved to perish in the defence of their rights rather than accede to it: and that very deep laid plans have been regularly formed to act on this resolve, and which if a fatal necessity should require their being acted on, would inevitably involve in one indiscriminate carnage the population of these devoted Countries.

The Secretary and Interpreter indicated at the same time how fatally these plans were likely to operate against the populous portions of the Great Nation distributed over the Empire, unless some suitable plan of settlement for the revolted Provinces should be devised, with the view to avert such unspeakable calamities: and that the disposition of the Porte to concede the Charter of Rights above alluded to, might afford the means of averting them.

The arrival of the Greek Ambassador in Arta from Constantinople on the 5th Inst, on a pacific Mission into the Greek Provinces, as reported in my letter of the 6th Inst, is thought to be a preliminary step of the Porte towards the Promulgation of the Charter in question. And here it occurs to me to mention, that those Commissioners have been since joined in Arta by the two Archbishops of Jannina and of Larissa, and by the Bishop of Agrapha, and on this part of the subject I beg leave to refer to the Inclosure N° 1 dated Arta 5th–6th April. The Secretary assured me that the Seraskier and Roumely Valesy felt confident, if he could meet His Excellency Count Guilleminot, in the confidential manner suggested, the general plan of the Pacification would be essentially promoted and secured.

After dwelling on these topics with great earnestness, the Secretary withdrew, requesting on the part of His Highness the favor of my cooperation in becoming the channel of communicating these views and proposals on His Highness’ part to His Excellency Count Guilleminot: and he added that he trusted His Highness would have the satisfaction of obtaining my acquiescence in his earnest solicitations to that effect.

The following day (the 11th Inst) His Highness sent at 4 o’clock P.M. to request I would wait on him. Monsr Robert, the new Consular Agent of France, had been previously engaged with His Highness. I found myself soon after alone with His Highness and his Secretary. The Seraskier was still labouring under deep anxiety of mind. He then entreated me by the antient friendship, which had always subsisted between England and the Porte, to enter with him into a discussion of the Topics, which he would mention, and to assist him in his consultations on this occasion. Having begged leave to repeat to His Highness in reply to these fresh marks of his confidence, the observations which I had made to him on the preceding evening, as the limited powers with which I was vested, His Highness then directed his Secretary and Interpreter to state the particulars of the Dispatch of His Excellency Count Guilleminot, and after professing his fullest sense of the sincere friendship manifested by that most important communication, His Highness said that the only means then in his power of giving effect to the views of the Ambassador was that, His Highness should have the benefit of a personal confidential conference with His Excellency in a meeting at some point of the coast near Corfu, as had been before explained to me by his Secretary. The substance of His Highness’ answer was then communicated to me, expressing his very sincere acknowledgments for the valuable communication, which had been made to him, and stating the cause which prevented His Highness from entering into a direct correspondence on the subject; and referring His Excellency for a further explanation on this point to the communications, which Monsr Robert and Mr Meyer would send to Corfu by the same opportunity.

His Highness then entered into a detailed review of the Greek Revolt which from a popular conspiracy had, owing to the extraordinary succours extended to the Greek Insurgents in such an unprecedented manner by Foreign Nations, been productive of such fatal calamities, and had finally assumed a character threatening to involve the greatest Nations of the Earth, now at Peace, in catastrophes of the most extensive and aweful description recorded in History. His Highness in repeating and confirming what His Secretary had stated to me on the preceding night, as I have already had the honor to detail, assured me in the most solemn manner, that the Sultan and the Mussulman Nation felt the most conscientious convention of the absolute inadmissibility on their parts of the propositions of the Treaty as it now exists; that those propositions in several respects are directly repugnant to their conscience; subversive of their Religion and Laws; and incompatible with their honor; and that in the event of its being imposed on them by force, they had deliberately resolved on offering up the whole Nation as a sacrifice to such an overruling destiny; that they would begin by destroying their Women and their Children, and would then perish swords in hand against their foes, wheresoever it might be their lot to encounter them! I deem it proper to observe here that as far as my own observation extends, the deadly purposes of this desperate resolution have for some time past become the almost exclusive subject of the Mussulmans’ thoughts. A sort of maniacal disorder appears to have commenced among them. To avert such calamities and horrors (as may perhaps, only be paralleled by those recorded of the Jewish Nation in their final struggle against the Roman Power) His Highness declared his determination and desire to exert now every effort in his power, in the hope of opening some suitable course to conciliate the objects of the Allied Courts: and His Highness certainly seemed to entertain a confident expectation of atchieving this salutary work, if he could have the benefit of obtaining the confidential meeting he proposes with His Excellency Count Guilleminot.

It may be here remarked that His Highness received in Arta on the 8th Inst a Tartar with voluminous Dispatches from the Porte, who left Constantinople about the 25th March, as referred to in the Inclosure N° 2 dated Arta the 8th Inst and it seems likely from the tenour of His Highness’ language to me on certain points, that he has received some important instructions, for promoting an arrangement under certain modifications of the Treaty: and a part of these modifications is referred to in the Inclosure N° 1. The Seraskier also remarked how much the settlement might be facilitated by the friendly Courts sending a Declaration on their parts into the Greek Provinces, with a view to repress the high pretentions, which have been excited by the Treaty.

His Highness seemed finally to be convinced that the time was arrived for putting an end to the actual ruinous state of things by adopting a suitable and reasonable arrangement calculated to satisfy the wishes of all the Parties: and expresses his readiness to cooperate to the extent of his means towards that salutary end. His Highness seems certainly to anticipate a very favourable result, if he could obtain the meeting in question with His Excellency Count Guilleminot as he proposes to effect thro’ these representations, which I have the honor to forward, in conjunction with Monsr Robert, by this opportunity. His Highness would himself make a rapid journey to Constantinople, in furtherance of the general object, with a view perhaps to remove those illusions, which may still deceive the views of the Porte as to its remaining resources in these Provinces, and which the Seraskier Pacha is aware are such as to render unavailing any further operations except those merely intended for immediate defence, in the event of any attack being directed against them.

This morning early the Secretary of His Highness delivered me the letter, which I have the honor to inclose herewith, addressed to His Excellency Count Guilleminot.

At 8 o’clock A.M. His Highness reimbarked here on his return to Joannina, it being his intention to celebrate there the Festival of ‘Bairam’ on the 15th Inst: and I understand that a Tartar would be immediately dispatched to Constantinople on the subject of the most important communication received from His Excellency Count Guilleminot.

In rendering this account of my proceedings adopted with the Seraskier and Roumely Valesy, at His Highness’ particular instance and desire, and in complying with his requests on the occasion, His Excellency the Lord High Commissioner will not consider, I trust, that I have deviated from the line of conduct, which it might have been the wish of His Majesty’s Government that I should have followed under similar extraordinary circumstances.

I have the honor to be, Sir, Your most obedient and humble Servant [Signed] William Meyer, Consul General’

5. Letter from the Patriarch of Constantinople Urging the Insurgents to Return to Obedience to the Sultan

From a letter of Lord Strangford to Foreign Secretary Lord Londonderry, 11 February 1822, sent at a time when the Ottoman state was gathering a large force to defeat the insurgency.12

‘… I venture to hope that Your Lordship will not disapprove of my having acceded to the patriarch’s wishes, by availing myself of every opportunity which has hitherto occurred, for forwarding these letters to their several destinations. I persuade myself that Your Lordship will be of opinion that this measure is calculated to serve the cause of peace and humanity, and that at the moment when the Turkish government is collecting all its means to act decisively against the Morea, it would be a deed of kindness towards its deluded inhabitants, to give them this last chance of escaping the perils which menace them, by embracing the counsels and listening to the remonstrances of their spiritual chief. The patriarch informed M. Chabert (whom I sent to wait on him two or three days ago) that this measure had taken place with the consent of the Porte, but that the latter did not wish to appear in it, and was desirous that it should seem to originate exclusively with the head of the Greek Church …’

i. The Patriarch to Strangford

‘Sir, After giving you our benediction and asking the state of your health, We have to inform you that, pursuant to our paternal and ecclesiastical duty, We have prepared circular letters for the Morea, and all the islands of the Archipelago, directed to such of the inhabitants of the said places as profess the Greek religion. We therein represent to them, on the part of God as well as on that of the Human race, that by their mad perseverance in Revolt, they are losing their rights and sacrificing their happiness; and we exhort them to repentance. We paternally advise and invite them to cast away without fear, the arms which are employed to their ruin, to re-enter into their former and ancient condition of subjects, and to accept the mercy and pardon His I. Majesty our August Sovereign, offers them.

It is important that our packets, containing those paternal exhortations which our Zeal suggested us to give them, and the assurances of the generosity and magnanimity of His Imp.l Majesty towards His subjects, should reach them safely. But the only means we can employ to that purpose, is to beg His Excellency the Ambassador of H.B. Majesty to be pleased to forward our letters to their destination; he having the means of doing it with safety.

We wish therefore to know whether His Excellency will have the goodness to comply with our request, and beg you will give us an answer for our satisfaction.

We remain &c., Constantinople 19/31 Jan.y 1822, signed Eugenius (L.S.) Patriarch of Constantinople.13

ii. Translation of an Encyclical Letter Written by the Patriarch and Sent to ‘the Inhabitants of the Morea and also to all the islands where the Greeks of our religion reside, whether of the first, second or third Class’

‘We proclaim that to every one is known the divine Providence which governs all things and by which was instituted all royal Authority & supremacy, which form the source whence proceeds that happy arrangement and tranquillity in respect to all its people & subjects, and through which our Lord God has favoured us with that discernment and reason to distinguish good from evil, so advantageous and useful for the human race; so that whatever a King performs & executes, is settled and ordained by Divine Providence, the Hand of the Lord God is in the heart of a King, ‘as the Prophet says/and every act, whether good or bad, of any of his creatures is in the presence of God Himself, whose station and functions in this world are represented in the person of a King — and therefore inasmuch as a subject, obedient to his Master, is worthy of praise, soon the contrary are the disobedient culpable in the sight of Divine Providence.

And we see and read in every History that those who have shewn themselves refractory towards their rulers, have not only been duly punished by the exercise of Royal Power and involved in general ruin, but have also been visited with divine chastisement — (for thus God says in the Gospel, I ordain sovereigns on earth, and every one must obey them, as if I myself were there) — In conformity also with the example of our Lord Jesus Christ given to us during his mortal life by his excellent conduct towards all the world, and those heavenly doctrines and evangelical precepts which he has bequeathed to us, no one is allowed to interfere in affairs of State and political Government; but he has ordered us to submit and to remain quiet under the dominion of Kings — And also according to the maxim that it is our absolute duty to surrender every homage and obedience to Royal Authority, as to every thing that is connected with the Lord our Saviour, every one ought to behave himself with that dutiful respect towards that high Dignity thus instituted by Divine Providence, & not to affect those honours and glories which are not so decreed by the Lord God; thus every one should acknowledge his King, thus appointed by God; he should love and protect all those who are obedient to his sway — and also punish, by every means, the perverse who would obstruct his rightful authority, as belonging to royal Prerogative–

This then to make you comprehend the Divine Providence, how well it combines both Spiritual and Temporal advantages, we will refer you to our ecclesiastical and political History in which our Saviour took on himself the form of Man — In past times, what troubles did not our religion suffer? What tragical events have we not endured (according to our ancient chronicles)? such as make every one shudder — . But after a dreadful tempest, behold a certain and delightful calm — and all those who were dispersed during the storm, reach a secure and pleasant harbour — In like manner has divine Providence commended and enjoined us to live under the protection and government of the Sublime Ottoman Porte — and by the Virtue of its Power passed away all those storms, & all those perils which threatened our Faith — and after so many ages we now find ourselves in a Port of Peace and Tranquillity — in the midst of every enjoyment, where we are favoured with all our Magnificent Churches, with every convenience and comfort; allowed our Te Deum, our Schools and Colleges, various trades and every sort of Commerce; where our Character is respected, and our property and effects protected, and where honours and favours, such as no other Nation under its Government ever obtained, are bestowed on us.

In fine, you, inhabitants of the Morea and all the Inhabitants of the Islands of the Archipelago, subjects of the Sultan, ought to be more quiet and obedient, in a spirit of submission and due subjection, and evince every proof of humility, (as the divine Law directs,) both as Christians and men, under the authority of political administration and control. But Alas! Alas! by treading under foot, and destroying every law, both divine and human; by casting off all evangelical and apostolical duties, and exhibiting an ingratitude equal to that of the traitor Judas, you have presumed to take up arms in your heads and to raise the standard of rebellion — and even money; contrary to all the ordinances and injunctions of our Saviour, the celestial King; roused by a lust and ambition quite diabolical, you have launched into revolt and disobedience, such as the Devil inspired into the minds of our first Parents in Paradise — and in short, with the same insatiate fury and the same devilish desires — whilst the Church of God was at Peace & all was quiet — sorrow and grief have come on the human race — and particularly on you yourselves, thus labouring to attain misery on misery, present & future, and to clothe your innocent wives and children in garments of mourning and lamentation, because, imprimis, you have as your Enemy, Divine Providence, with all its heavenly powers and punishments to chasten those who are the organ of rebellion; and, secondly our most Puissant Monarch & Sovereign.

Secure, therefore, if you are true Christian, and if, indeed, you possess a drop of Christianity in you, secure, I say, the pity, the kind philanthropy and generosity of our most compassionate, just and humane Sovereign–

Although his Highness, from the first day that the accursed flame of rebellion burst forth, might have adopted every act of violence and done deeds of the utmost cruelty, but, whereas his usual habits are those of mercy and humanity, he has merely chastised, as he was bound to do, those who were the Heads of the revolution; and for those who remained tranquil and neutral in their character of rayas, he has done every thing to ensure safety and repose; and doubly merciful and gracious is he to those who implore forgiveness for the past he receives with all attention, promising them the certainty of their Lives in peace and security — the same as to us inhabitants of Constantinople and other parts, where we enjoy the same religion and fruits of obedience, favoured by his philanthropic protection, covered by the Shade of his Tree — and performing our devotions and Te Deum in all manner of Tranquillity just as before; and at the Festival of the Glorious Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, which by divine assistance, and the humanity of our King and ruler, we were enabled to perform in all peace, every one was employed in his respective duty and office, according to his rank, and without any alarm or fear of alarm, thus maintaining on our part the sacred rights and royal ordinances and commands, as usual–

Such conduct and holy offices we expected to hear as having been pursued also by you — and that you had acknowledged the delusion into which you had been betrayed, and the danger in which you are now placed, aware that the noble and gracious mind of our benignant Master is the same as heretofore, and that you may attain very easily his mercy, protection & pardon, as soon as you shall have changed your conduct. But as a long time has elapsed, without us having seen or heard of, any step towards amendment, such as we had hoped, we have determined to testify our paternal solicitude, and influenced by our heartfelt grief and love to notify to you all our ecclesiastical and paternal advice and evangelical admonitions, so that we may not, thro’ our silence, be guilty of any spiritual Sin, by disregarding your spiritual liberty and salvation.

Therefore, Brother-Christians, and my sons, of our Church, you who live in the Morea and the islands of the Archipelago, as well those who sail on the Sea, as those who dwell on land, and, in brief, you all who are thus in error and have embraced the accursed plague of rebellion, throw away those arms from your hands — listen to my fatherly voice which proceeds from my paternal Affection — return to yourselves — cast away from your thoughts the diabolical attempt of revolt — cast away, I repeat, those arms, the cause of your destruction — return to obedience and submission — ask forgiveness of the Lord God, our Saviour, in order to regain the love and protection of the Sultan, by such celestial intercession — Behold, this is the favourable moment and time to acquire it; behold the moment and time of Forgiveness! Change your opinions — desire not the annihilation and destruction of your country, and the cruel slavery of your innocent wives and children — Feel for yourselves, your country, your children, your property; and what is more, think of your souls, and that Jesus Christ himself shed his own blood on the cross for our Salvation — Secure and confident as we are in the mercy and compassion of our beneficent Sovereign, and in the protection and kind intentions of our most illustrious Masters, for which we have not sufficient words to express our gratitude, and for which we are in duty bound to pray, day and night, to heaven for the continuance of His Highness’s Health, and that his Empire may ever be powerful and invincible, in saecula saeculorum — and as we are also bound to sacrifice ourselves for the good of Christianity, and acting on such firm foundations & expectations, we pledge ourselves for you all & every one, individually, on our very souls, promising and assuring you all, that as soon as the spiritual evidence of your submission shall appear, at that moment, the happy results and proofs of humanity shall also come forth for your advantage and comfort, on the part of His Highness, our glorious Sovereign; because as he feels and knows how to punish the refractory, I can safely aver, he doubly recognizes the duties of Sympathy, tenderness and mercy, towards all those who confess their transgression and then beg for forgiveness–

For the love of our Lord God, then, make all the haste — send us petitions for pardon, signed, and accompanied also by two or three persons from every town — and, for the second time, we assure you, petitioners, collectively and individually, that not the least harm will happen to you — and should any ensue, let it all fall on our spiritual responsibility — We will be answerable to the divine tribunal for the least blood that shall be spilt after this exhortation sent to you all with our heads & signatures, so very confident and secure are we in the clemency His Highness cherishes towards his subjects — Thus anticipating the time we signify to you all, that we have performed our fatherly duty — Should the contrary happen, (which we hope not) and should you still tread under foot and despise our paternal counsels, giving no credit to the forgiveness of his Highness, nor to the laws divine and ecclesiastical, and you should remain firm and resolute in the course of revolt (sign, that you have neither fear of God, nor shame before man, nor any kind of feeling for your innocent wives and children and country and property may the guilt and responsibility be on yourselves — Behold the hour, when the sword is at hand, at the very root of the tree! Royal wrath and the Angel of Death! Bad as you are, your end will be worse — you will call down celestial anger on your heads — and the Imperial Troops, by land and by sea, will be against you — you will carry fire and sword into your Country — and then will forgiveness be unattainable) Then will you all be made contemptible, and become a tale of ridicule to the world, thro’ your own madness; in a temporal State dishonoured — and in a spiritual Sense, whelmed in an infinite and diabolical Abyss.

Therefore, for the love of Christ, act in conformity with our paternal Advice — then will you suffer no harm — nothing — not a drop of Blood will be shed–

This we announce to you all — & to this we affix our Signature.’

6. Patriarch’s Encyclical Letter, c.June 1827, at Almost the Same Time as the Three Powers Were Concluding the Treaty of London Agreeing to Resort to Military Force.

Translated from a French version translated from the Greek.14

‘To the Orthodox residents of the Peloponnese and the islands of the Archipelago, indigenous and foreigners, Priests and Laymen, young and old, to each and everyone of whatever condition they are, salvation, peace and mercy in our Lord! The Church of God loving mother of Orthodox Christians has never missed and still does not miss to work in various ways for the salvation of his children, especially when they go astray — it prays — It exhorts — It condemns; by all means within its reach it works for the public and private good, ensuring the safeguarding of the spiritual doctrines, and reproving the wickedness of some to free all from perdition.

It is common knowledge that the evil spirit had succeeded by its ruses and by its abominable suggestions in rousing the inhabitants of places that you occupy. The Church from the first moment hastened to issue circular letters, addressed to Rebels to urge all to keep back within the bounds of duty and of sincere submission, and comply with the precepts of religion. It relied on his spiritual strength and flattered itself that its hope would never be disappointed but that it will succeed in defeating the insurgency, work of the Devil, and bring back the Rebels within the bounds of duty and their primitive condition as Rayas, and presaged to them the misfortunes and calamities that the event has produced. — Finally in the Peloponnese, in the districts of Attica, Boeotia and in several other places of Rumelia, some Orthodox Greek Captains, some Primates and other Christians have finally abandoned the Diabolic path of rebellion, having long ago recognized, as a result of our blame and our exhortation contained in the said letters, the spiritual and temporal damage which resulted to them because of their perseverance in the revolt, and how the very name of revolt had rendered them abominable and hateful to the eyes of God and men alike.

They resumed their [true] selves and, repenting of their excess, they entered the life of obedience and subjection by trusting the mercy of His Highness Mehemmed Reschid Pasha, Governor of Rumelia, and in return they got forgiveness and mercy by recovering their status of Rayas due to which they now live in the most stable tranquillity and rest. This conduct has also satisfied us and has deserved the forgiveness and indulgence of the Church. And that is why we too by opening our spiritual arms embrace them to our bosom and give them our paternal blessing in the name of the Holy Spirit, imploring the Creator himself to forgive and to bless them.

Driven by their instances we have assured the Government of His Highness of the sincerity of their return and their submission and of their perseverance in the duty to their last breath. But alas! until when, inhabitants of the Peloponnese and the White [Aegean] Sea will you persist in your impious temerity and in your insane conduct, losing sight of the precepts of the Gospel the many benefits of which you have been filled by our common nurse the Sublime Porte you have trampled the commandments of religion and the Apostolic admonitions despising the doctrines of submission and obedience to temporal Powers, which are included in these words of the Apostle ‘Be subject for the love of God to all kinds of rulers, as well to the King as to the Sovereign, as well to the Governors as to people sent on his part to punish those who do wrong and to treat favourably those who do well — and elsewhere: that everyone should obey the Powers &c.’

You have surrendered yourself to your chimera and your cruelty has caused the ruin of your wives and your innocent children and that will be your total ruin; what you have been unable to accomplish so far, do you think you could achieve it in the future. It is only you who do not realise how your enterprise is foolish, and that it will lead at last result to dissolution, anarchy and disbelief that Satan strives to make win, and which will draw gratuitously on your heads the wrath of the Church, the curses of the world, and the just vengeance of the Sovereign for having, on one hand, despised the confidence due to the Ottoman Government and, on the other, trampled the divine precepts, the Sacred Law and the Canons. But as our Ecclesiastical duties impose on us an obligation to talk, and because your salvation is important to us, and to remind you the many benefits that you have got from the inexhaustible source of clemency of the Sublime Porte, we are writing these letters and we send them by our St Archpriest very honoured brother beloved in Jesus Christ, our collaborator in the work of salvation, to engage you in the name of the Holy Spirit — while recollecting the benefits that our nation has always enjoyed under the protective shadow of the Sublime Porte, tranquillity, honour, credit and freedom of worship that It has always given us — in showing him a sincere repentance for the past, in getting back to obedience and to your old status as Raya, and in abandoning the idle fancy that has led you both in the Peloponnese and in the Islands of the Archipelago where the Orthodox faith is professed, and in showing your propensity without suspicion and without any doubts, to enter into the saving path of obedience. Be sure that at the early symptoms of a true return and sincere and genuine repentance, that tender mother, the Sublime Porte, will embrace you and warm you up in his arms, and will draw extensively in the source of its mercy, rich in blessings and favours towards you, and will bury in eternal oblivion everything that the evil spirit led you to commit, in the same way as its natural compassion and philanthropic sympathy made it act towards the inhabitants of the District, whom we mentioned above, who dropped the infernal project of rebellion and who submitted themselves to the Sublime Porte, such as Greek Captains, Primates and other Christians, and got back in the circle of Rayalik, and in this way they are now living in ease and most perfect tranquillity. For its part the common mother of the faithful, the Church of Jesus Christ, will withdraw the anathemas she threw against you and will grant you forgiveness if you listen to and implement the advice that She gives you and if you do not keep being deaf to the voice that calls you to Her. But if instead you continue to be ungrateful and insensitive to the goodness and the benefits of the Sublime Porte, if you reject our fatherly advice your iniquity will weigh on your neck and you will wail in your disaster when there will be no more means to expiate either spiritually or temporally. Raise your eyes to God then! try as there is still time to get, through genuine repentance, the clemency of the Sovereign and to make him favourable through prompt submission, and you will get the blessing of the Church and eternal happiness.


1 Kew FO 78/108, opposite 72 to opposite 75.

2 Oriental Secretary at the British and French Embassies, perhaps the same man as dragoman Jaubert mentioned in Chapter 5.

3 Kew FO 78/145, 85.

4 That is, by a ship flying the flag of the British Protectorate of the Ionian Islands that was able to call on the resources of the British state, including the consuls and Navy. It is understandable that the British were afraid of the adverse publicity if it emerged that they were benefitting from the trade in enslaved Greeks. It is also understandable that after Independence, they did not wish to remember that some Greeks of the Ionian Islands had actively participated in the trade.

5 Protected non-Muslims who acknowledge the authority of the Sultan.

6 Discussed, with plentiful references to other modern work, by Laiou, Sophia, ‘The Greek Revolution in the Morea According to the Description of an Ottoman Official’, in Pizanias, Petros, ed., The Greek Revolution of 1821: A European Event (Istanbul 2011), pp. 241–55.

7 Kew FO 78/168, 65. An extract from the report of the meeting, along with a letter from Reschid to Meyer of 29 April 1829 was printed by Gunning, 85 and 84.

8 The Treaty of London of 7 July 1827 made by the three powers.

9 The representative of France.

10 The Treaty of Constantinople of 1827, discussed in Chapter 18.

11 A town on the mainland, an enclave of the Ionian Islands protectorate that had been evacuated by the British in 1819 in order to make it easier for the defence of the islands to undertaken by naval forces.

12 The two patriarchal documents transcribed here are in the tradition of pre-Revolution encyclicals of which an example from 1819 is referred to in Chapter 3.

13 Kew FO 78/106, 144.

14 Kew FO 352/17 B, part 6, 30.

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