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however, that the Vizier's inquiries had more reference to the means of power than utility. Any reported improvement in the construction of the implements of war excited his utmost cupidity. He has quite a passion for weapons of all sorts, and they are found in profusion, and many of them of curious construction and beautiful decoration, in every part of the Seraglio to which the Doctor was admitted.
His will is not only the supreme but the sole law in his dominions; and he imposes on himself the onerous duty of legislating and judging in each individual case of the innumerable petitions brought before him. When our Author saw him in the exercise of this office, his manner indicated the closest attention to the business, and a rapid and decisive judgement. If he is described as the grand actuating and controlling principle in all his subjects, it must be understood that he actuates them not merely in the mass, but almost individually; no other potentate, probably, having a direct personal knowledge of so many of the units that compose his collective myriads and millions.
· The disposition to manage personally all his affairs, is a striking feature in the character of Ali Pasha, and influences all the concerns of his government. From it is derived that unity of system which extends through his dominions, which renders him individually an object of almost mysterious dread to his subjects, and makes his power formidable to his neighbours, and to the integrity of the Turkish empire. His ministers are such in the humblest sense of the word. In his relation with the great powers of Europe it does not appear that he depends on any counsel but his own; and in the internal concerns of the country, it seems as if there were no will, impulse, or action, but from him. The physician Metaxa well illustrated this by saying that there was a cord tied round every individual in his dominions, longer or shorter, more or less fine; but every one of which cords went to him, and was held in his hand. He added, what I knew from my own observation to be true, that the rudest peasant of Albania, or the meanest page in his Seraglio, would better obtain either favours or justice, by coming directly to Ali Pasha himself, than through any circuitous channel of ministers or favourites. "It may
further be noticed, that not an individual about him knows equally well as Ali, all the localities of his dominions, the habits, or even persons, of his subjects, and the other circumstances which are important to the execution of justice. Almost every Albanian has been in his presence, either as a soldier, or in some other capacity; and there are few of mature age whose names or persons do not come within his recollection.'
The daily and indefatigable assiduity with which he works through his complicated mass of business, corresponds well to the ambitious courage with which he takes it upon
him. 6 He rises * commonly before six, and his officers and secretaries are ex
pected to be with him at this hour;' and as late as nine in the evening Dr. Holland sometimes found him with several secretaries on the ground before him, and listening to the details of their respective departments
Notwithstanding his severe and systematic exertion, and notwithstanding what might be supposed to be the right policy for the effect of over-awing the popular mind,' he frequently
descends to a sort of convivial intercourse with the Greeks as ' well as Turks of his capital, and accepts of invitations to dinner,
or evening entertainments, when these are proffered to him.' He brings with him some of his ministers, and the master of the house invites as many as he pleases of his own friends. He has so little of the stupid intolerance common to Mahomedans, that, says: Dr. H. in regarding those around him, his con• sideration obviously is, not the religion of the man, but whether he can be of service to any of his views.'
• I have seen a Christian, a Turkish, and a Jewish secretary, sitting on the ground before him at the same moment, an instance of the principle that is carried throughout every branch of his government. In Albania especially, the Christian and Mussulman population are virtually on the same footing as to political liberty; all indeed slaves, but the former not oppressed, as elsewhere in Turkey, by those subordinate agencies of tyranny which render more grating the chain that binds them. It may fairly be said that under this government all religions find an ample toleration.'
Every reader will coincide with Dr. H. in his judgement, that on the whole the government of Ali, stern, inquisitorial, and severe as it is, is nevertheless a very great advantage to the country, as contrasted with the state of robbery, of divided and conflicting tyrannies, and of utter barbarous confusion, from which his strong hand has rescued it; and holds it, but without the slightest particle of disinterested care for the welfare of the people for their own sake. His scheining mind seems to have thought very little of any plans for the radical improvement of the tribes he has coerced into the form of a state. They are welcome to all the rudeness, ignorance, and ferocity, that may comport with a religious performance of their tributary and military duty towards His Highness. There is no cultivating, moralizing process, to give a chance, that after his demise, any corrected sense of self-interest, any love of peace, any progress in quiet and useful arts, will retain in order the unmodified, uncombined materials of his body politic. The prevention of a relapse into a barbarous anarchy, must depend on the strength of the mind that is to become the central and pervading power, when that which now reigns shall become extinct. And since there can be no such thing as a much prolonged succession of such vigorous spirits, such of Ali's savages as hate the yoke under which they bend, may at least anticipate for their posterity, that the happy times of lawless adventure will yet return; though it is possible the acknowledged bravery of one of his elder sons, or the policy of the other, may in the first instance maintain the domination which he has established --if indeed they do not (a very possible case) set themselves in haste to destroy it, in a rivalry and conflict of ambition.
We hardly need say that Dr. H.'s moral estimate of this extraordinary personage is bad, in many points emphatically so. He is capable of the most atrocious cruelty, and of a longcherished coolly-matured revenge, a revenge which can wreak itself in destruction on the most innocent relatives and connexions of the offender. Nor is any son of Belial capable of working with a deeper artifice and treachery.
• Whatever be the external testimony of the moment, no man feels secure beneath his power; or even it may be said, what I know frong my own observation, that an unusual fairness of aspect is often the source of the greatest terror to those concerned. To cozen with a form of fair words seems at once the habit and delight of the man. It is said to be a principle with him never to allow any one to go discontented from his presence, and I have heard, in illustration of this, that it is not uncommon for him to adopt a peculiar kindness of manner to those whom he has determined to sacrifice; the unhappy victim. quits him, satisfied and secure, and a few minutes after his head is severed from his body. With the same temper of mind, and with the same artifice of manner, he is enabled often to allure into his
power, those of his enemies, who, for the moment, have escaped his vengeance. In such cases, no pledge arrests his hand, or can save the offender from destruction.'
Ali's proposal and request that our Author would direct his route through Thessaly, in order that Veli Pasha, his son, might have the benefit of his medical advice, fell in sufficiently with his own inclinations to induce his compliance, though he must encounter the wintry rigours of part of the ridge of Pindus, the snowy splendours of which he had often admired as the grandest part of the picturesque panorama of Ioannina. The route did not lie over the most elevated part of the range; nor was there, though the time was rather too late in the year, any really formidable degree of danger. Yet tracts só rugged and wild, ascents so laborious, and a temperature, in the highest region, so inclement, were enough to constitute the journey an enterprise. There were, however, most romantic and sublime scenes to repay the toil; and whatever was possible in the way of facilities and accommodation, was certain not to be wanting to friends of Ali, who sent with the travellers a trusty and most efficient Tartar conductor and purveyor, armed with a peremptory mandate to all local magistrates and officers, not to fail, at their peril, in any proper attention to the English Milordoi, a term of
which the sound is not more curious than the appearance as set forth in Greek characters. We transcribe the description of the most elevated and difficult stage of this alpine track.
• It seemed as if the further progress of the ascent were utterly impracticable, and we looked upwards with astonishment at an impending promontory of rock, which at this time was nearly 1000 feet above us, but which the Tartar explained to be one point in our route to the summit of the mountain. Our ascent thither was rendered possible only by long detours, to avoid the numerous precipices which appeared on each side of our track; yet notwithstanding the circuitous direction of the road, the declivity was such, that we had much difficulty in urging our horses to continue their progress. In winter this part of the passage of the mountain is often wholly impracticable; and even when there is only a small quantity of snow on the ridge, the ascent becomes so dangerous that guides are necessary to the security of the traveller. A violent wind is almost equally dreaded in traversing these lofty regions : sweeping through the deep hollows and recesses of the mountain, it forms whirlwinds so strong and impetuous, that the passage, even if possible, becomes extremely dangerous. We were fortunate in avoiding both these difficulties.'
The summit is so perfectly marked, that the ridge is finished in an edge scarcely a yard in width ; and the same wedge-like ' form of this vast mountain-chain appears to be continued far
toward the north. From the lofty desolation of this line of rock, where, says the Dr. “the inspiration of Apollo and the Muses, the deities of Pindus, must be powerful indeed which could produce a stanza on a winter's day, though the view hence might well suggest the subject of a thousand, he descended into the beautiful valley of the Salympria, the ancient Peneus; which soon brought him to one of the most remarkable spectacles seen in all his peregrinations, the rocks of Meteora, surmounted with monasteries. The description is considerably in detail, and in a very high degree interesting. A number of rocks, insulated and perpendicular, standing up like towers or enormous columns, of the height of from one to three hundred feet, sustain on their summits, ancient monastic structures, built, in some of the instances, to the very edge of the crown of the rock, so that the wall carries upward, so to speak, the continuity of the face of rock.
· Four of the monasteries actually occupy the whole summit of the insulated rocks on which they stand ; a perpendicular precipice descending from every side of the buildings into the deep-wooded hollows. The only access to these aerial prisons is by ropes, or by ladders firmly fixed to the rock, in those places where its surface affords any points of suspension ; and these lad rs, in some instances, connected with artificial subterranean tunnels, which give a passage of easier ascent to the buildings above. The monastery, called by distinction, the Meteora, which is the largest of the number, stands
in the remarkable situation just described, and is accessible only in this method. Still more extraordinary is the position of another of these buildings. It is situated on a narrow rectangular pillar of rock, apparently about 120 feet in height; the summit of which is so limited in extent, that the walls of the monastery seem on every side to have the same plane of elevation as the perpendicular faces of the rock.'
• The number of monasteries at Meteora, is said to have been formerly twenty-four; but at present, owing partly to the wearing away of the rocks on which they stood, partly to the decay of the buildings themselves, only ten of these remain. Aios Stephanos, which we visited, is among the most extraordinary of the number; its height is upwards of 180 feet.'
After describing the peculiar and most striking scene formed by this group, or grove, of aspiring and convent-crowned rocks, as combined with the various openings to the sublime distant landscape, he comes to the story of his apotheosis, of which we should be glad to transcribe a larger portion than our limits can fairly admit.
• A small wooden shed projected beyond the plane of the cliff, from which a rope, passing over a pulley at the top, descended to the foot of the rock. Our Tartar shouted loudly to a man who looked down, ordering him to receive us into the monastery; but at this time the monks were engaged in their chapel, and it was ten minutes before we could receive an answer to his order, and our request. At length we saw a thicker rope coming down from the pulley, and attached to the end of it a small rope net. The net reached the ground; our Tartar and a peasant spread it open, covered the lower part with an Albanese. capote, and my friend and I seated ourselves upon this slender vehicle. As we began to ascend, our weight drew close the upper aperture of the net, and we lay crouching together, scarcely able, and little willing, to stir either hand or foot. We rose with considerable rapidity; and the projection of the shed and pulley beyond the line of the cliff, was sufficient to secure against injury by striking upon the rock. Yet the ascent had something in it that was formidable, and the impression it made was very different from that of the descent into a mine, where the depth is not seen. Here we were absolutely suspended in the air, our only support was the thin cordage of a net, and we were even ignorant of the machinery, whether secure or not, which was thus drawing us rapidly upwards. We finished the ascent, however, which is 156 feet, in safety, and in less than three minutes. When opposite the door of the woodenshed, several monks and other people appeared, who dragged the net into the apartment, and released us. We found, on looking round us, that these men had been employed in working the windlass ; and in observing some of their feeble and decayed figures, it was impossible to suppose that the danger of our ascent had been one of appearance alone. Our servant Demetrius, meanwhile, had been making a still more difficult progress upwards, by ladders fitted to the ledges of the rock, conducting to a subterranean passage, which opens out in the middle of the monastery.