« ElőzőTovább »
We had to pay seventeen pounds each for our fare. for a journey usually of little more than four days, a somewhat exorbitant price. I have called my visit to Athens fortunate, and with good reason. Just before I arrived, revolu. o tionary and republican Athens was considered unsafe; and within a month of my leaving the country fresh disturbances had broken out on the 2nd of July, in which the soldiers of the divided garrison fought against each other; and bullets were again flying through the streets. And yet, throughout my stay of four days in the country, I had met with nothing disagreeable to me, excepting only the episode of the baggage guard at the Isthmus of Corinth. But assuredly all I saw of the unsettled state of affairs, and of the disorganization of the army, confirmed me in the opinion that I had long ago given to my friends in Cephalonia, that it would have been madness in the British Government to send Prince Alfred to be King of Greece, unless he were accompanied by an army of at least 5,000 Englishmen. But such was the desire to have that prince at their head, that I do not believe, that such a condition would at the time have caused any difficulties, except from the jealousies of France and the intrigues of Russia. The present new King of the Hellenes has trusted himself, without a Danish or English soldier, in the midst of the Greeks. It is to be hoped that the
THE GREEKS SHOULD CHERISH THEIR NEW KING. 243
latter will never cause him to regret the bold step which his Majesty has taken. This should be a point of honor with the nation under all the circumstances. Moreover, the Greeks should never forget that it is the Queen of England and her ministers who prevailed upon King George to incur the great risk of mounting, amidst the whirl of revolution, the throne of a half civilized country. Let them remember, also, that their sovereign is brotherin-law, not only to the future King of England, but also to the beloved Prince Alfred.
Finally, may the Greeks realize the hopes—faint though they be—of their friends, and falsify the predictions—very confident though they be—of their enemies. May they learn also, that their true friends are not, as they too readily believe, those who flatter their vices and follies, but those who point them out in a loving spirit, and with a sincere wish to see them eradicated, as the surest means of regenerating the nation, and of realizing its fondest legitimate aspirations.
Return to Corfu-Great Change of Opinions—Destruction of the Fortifications —The Ionian Money Contributions—The Demolitions commenced—Un. charitable Greek Wish—A needlessly lost Opportunity—Four English Soldiers Drowned—A Sergeant hanged for Murder—Removal of Guns and Military Stores—The best Explosion—Visit to Pantaleone Pass—A Peasant Anti-Unionist—School of Lascarato—A Prophet honoured at last in his own Country—The Archbishop loses his Knockers—Proceedings of the thirteenth Parliament—Speech of Aristotle Walaoriti—His Tribute to the “Good Inglis”—The Days of Chivalry not over—The Lunette Battery, Wido —Destruction of the Round Tower—The King signs, the Keep is blown up —Acquaintance with Sir G. Marcoran—Paper-hunting—An Officer killed by an Olive Tree—The last of the Paper Hunts—Retreat of his Highness the President—Absurd Reports, Streets flowing with Blood—Anniversary of the Greek Revolution—Isolation of Great Britain—Death of Dandolo—Invasion of Britain by the Corcyraeans—Ionian Commission's Visit to Athens Poem of Aristotle Walaoriti—The Aqueduct of Sir F. Adams—The last of the Explosions—The Protectorate lingers too long on the Scene.
As the reader has probably inferred from the concluding sentences of the last chapter, the author never expected to return to the Ionian Islands, after his departure from them in the summer of 1863. Who, indeed, could then have imagined that nearly a year would have elapsed before the actual cession of the Septinsular State had become a matter of history? It was generally supposed that everything would have been settled by the close of 1863, and I therefore prepared at once
RETURN TO CORFU—GREAT CHANGE OF OPINIONS. 245
my long projected work for publication. But time rolled on, and the Protectorate, though doomed to be abolished, continued to protract its lingering existence. It became my duty to return to Corfu, and to defer my publication to a time when it could not possibly embarrass the British Government, whether at home or abroad. Meantime, before I left England, my work was already in type up to the end of the twelfth chapter of the second volume. I consider this explanation necessary in case of any apparent discrepancies of opinions and statements; though I trust that these, if they exist at all, are of a very trifling nature. On the 25th February 1864, I arrived at Corfu from Ancona; after a very agreeable journey through France and Italy, including ten days at Florence. I arrived in the midst of the carnival. Every afternoon the streets and esplanade were crowded with promenaders many of them in masks and dominoes. Nevertheless there was not much real gaiety. For in my absence a great change had taken place in the feelings and sentiments of the Ionian people; and also of the Greek race generally. The neutralization of the Islands by an European treaty had given great offence, and had also lessened the value of the present we were making to the King of the Hellenes, a monarch set up by England. But a far greater indignation arose at the announcement, that, without consulting the
Ionians in the least, the fortifications of Corfu and Vido were to be destroyed before the cession of the Islands. In the conditions laid before the Assembly in October 1863, by Sir Henry Storks, nothing had been said either of neutralization, or of the destruction of the works. It is a pity that the blow was not softened at the time, by any expressions of regret on the part of the Protectorate that it had been compelled to yield to the demands of the Great Powers, Russia, France, and especially Austria. It is true that the original cruel intention was subsequently very greatly modified. The strong and beautiful citadel, though shorn of guns has been otherwise left untouched; and Fort Neuf has lost only a small portion of its works. Even the complete
destruction of Fort Abraham was an injury more apparent than real. For in the event of a siege
the English themselves would have found it very difficult to defend all the works of Corfu ; and any other nation not having the command of the sea would have required from seven to ten thousand men to make a good defence. Moreover, it is only quite lately that Fort Abraham has been restored
and enlarged by the English, who have now only
undone their own recent work. But the greatest humiliation inflicted on the Ionians was the destruction of the strong and extensive fortifications of Vido, one mile from the citadel of Corfu. These measures brought to a climax the unpopu