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In these unquiet times it is impossible to say from what quarter a second letter will be dated-perhaps from the Greek islands, as even the soberest talk seriously of war.
LAST WEEKS AT CONSTANTINOPLE.
Negative answer of the Porte to the demands of the allied powers
-Doubtful results of this interference-Proposed withdrawal to Greece-Arrival of an American friend-Means of communication with America—Temporary embargo—Final DepartureServile custom on passing the Seraglio_The heir apparentState of the city-Previous excursion up the Bosphorus and through the Valley of Sweet Waters--A sight of the SultanDeath of my associate.
Constantinople, Aug. 31, 1827. I am writing, I know not but my last letter from this place. After a season of anxious suspense, a negative answer has to-day been received from the Divan, to the demands of the three Allied Powers. What these demands are you will already have fully learned. Russia, England and France insist that hostilities shall cease between Turkey and her Greek subjects; that Greece, a country whose limits are hereafter to be fixed, shall constitute a tributary province, and that its governor shall be nominated by the Porte, but that in other respects it shall be independent. The first feeling throughout Christendom on hearing of this interference will doubtless be one of great joy. That it
will quench the smoking ruins of the Morea, and save from utter destruction the few who are still struggling for liberty, seems almost certain. That in consequence also, Greece, the sun of whose hopes had almost sunk in the horizon, may yet become an independent state, and thus a wide door be opened there for the unrestrained influence of the gospel, is in the highest degree probable. Yet there is a more numerous portion of the Greeks who will still be left behind in Turkey. Whether these, and the Armenian and Jewish people, may not lose more than the former will gain, admits of a question. The Turks themselves, whose prejudices against Christianity to say the least had begun to slumber, can hardly be expected to embrace the truth more readily, when it is sustained by the sword. If then war should be the consequence, (in the prospect of which, millions of the disciples of the Prince of Peace will exult,) how little is the probability to human appearance, that His kingdom which is not of this world,” will be advanced. Perhaps Christians are too prone to look with approbation on the worst exhibitions of evil passions from a perversion of the sentiment, “ The wrath of men shall praise the Lord.” While we rejoice greatly in results springing from actions which we would not ourselves perform, is there not something of the spirit, “ Let us do evil that good may come ??! The most High does indeed rule among the nations, but let us pray that He may draw them with cords of love, rather than chastise them with a rod of iron. How much more must our Father in Heaven rejoice to see a sinner brought to repentance by his goodness than destroyed by his frown!
As serious disturbances, if not open hostilities will doubtless soon be the result of this threatening interference, I feel it my duty to improve the first opportunity of going forth to the islands of the Archipelago, and afterwards perhaps to the Morea. I have accordingly spoken for a passage to Syra, an island which is quite central to the commerce of Greece, and from which I can communicate very readily with Malta and Smyrna.
The immediate occasion of my coming into town rather abruptly, was the arrival of Mr. Jones, an old College friend. Mr. J. is teacher of Mathematics, and I believe acting chaplain on board the Constitution frigate.* It has been but once since my arrival in this this vicinity, that I have enjoyed the sight of a countryman. You can readily conceive bow exhilarating were the tidings which Nicholas brought in the morning from the coffee house-*H19ɛ ēvas Auspuzavós ú rõlos oog grwpisa. Mas yrwpisɛ ; Načoxɛ xúpiε. IIov švpioxetac ; Kovuarai xatw.--" There has come an American who knows you." Knows me? - Yes, Sir.” Where is he to be found ? “ He is asleep below.” At first I concluded that it mu it be my fellow laborer, Mr. Gridley, but when I ascertained that it was Mr. J. on a short visit to the city, I resolved at once to anticipate the time of my breaking up from the island, and accompany him in his daily rambles. We have taken lodgings with my former bostess, now removed near the palace of the Prussian Ambassador. In case of any sudden disturbances it is our intention to flee thither for protection. This seems preferable to throwing ourselves with the other English proteges under the wing of the Dutch Embassy. Both of them would be equally ready to afford an asylum to American citizens, but the Dutch Ambassador from his peculiar intimacy with the English, would have it less in his power. Besides I have received from the Secretary of the Prussian Embassy a very friendly offer of his services, in case I should stand in need of them. I became acquainted with this gentleman while he was spending some of the earlier summer weeks in Prinkipos, for the benefit of his health. As a protestant, a man of letters, and the agent of a nation on terms of friendship with ours, he has in several ways very obligingly interested himself in my welfare.
* Those who are desirous of a more full account of Constantinople and the events of this interesting crisis, will read with interest the “Sketches of Naval Life” &c. by the same gentleman,
Sept. 2.—The city still continues tranquil, but I see no reason for altering my plan of going to Greece. Any considerable success, or even efforts in making known the gospel here at the present time, would in the opinion of Mr. Leeves, throw serious obstacles in the way of circulating the scriptures. Such interruption would be matter of deep regret while the work is still going on widely. While we may, let us 6 sow by the side of all waters.” What years may intervene before the christian population will again be suffered, as now, freely to supply themselves with the 6 written word,” is known only in the counsels of the most High.
Sept. 12.—'Though I am on the point of sailing for the Grecian Islands, I find a moment to date my letter from the capital of the Turkish empire. I do assure you that yours of January last, though received only a few days since, was truly welcome. A drenching rain had driven me under the shelter of a sail, for the cab
in was not large enough to tempt me below. I opened the package, and soon forgot the disagreeables around me. Shut out as I had been so long from American intelligence, I felt the force of that comparison, 6 as cold water to the thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.” You will not wonder at the delay of the parcel, when I tell you, that after visiting Genoa, Malta .and Smyrna, it went on towards India, as far at least as Cappadocia. This latter journey, it made in company with some letters of Mr. Gridley. Ordinarily, our most direct communication with America, is by the semi-monthly post over land to Vienna and England. By this route, through the politeness of Mr. Canning's secretary, I first saw the President's message. Even from Smyrna, this would sometimes be most direct, but the want of correspondents in Austria and England, together with the expense, would deter one from frequent letters. My usual channel of conveyance has been by way of Smyrna, to which city we have a post twice a month, and in case of urgency, indeed, four times. Thence to Boston, vessels are sailing every month or two.
Sept. 14.-I have now been for some days on board a small Greek vessel under Russian colors, waiting a passage to Andros and Syra. At length, the long expected firman for our departure has arrived. The sickness of the Reis Effendi, has been the alleged reason for a delay so much beyond the usual time. It is however the general opinion, that this temporary embargo, has had its origin in the still unsettled state of public affairs. Vessels wishing to pass either the Dardanelles or Bosphorus, are at all times required to submit to a troublesome detention of two Vol. I.