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mitigated by the interposition of a liberal and enlightened sovereign. Upon what ground Mr. Keppel formed such expectations as these, expectations which we venture to say no other wellinformed man in England had cherished for a moment, we are at a loss to conjecture. Far are we therefore from being surprised, that upon examining the state of Turkey with his own eyes, he found that he had been previously filling his brain with mere visions. We believe that in the following observations he gives a very true, though a lamentable summary, of the actual condition of that once powerful empire.
"On my arrival in the Turkish capital, the streets were yet reeking with the blood of three thousand of her citizens, who, insulted in their religious prejudices, and oppressed by additional burdens, had been put to death for expressing their dissatisfaction against the Sultan and the existing order of things.
The first I saw of the Turkish army was in a disordered retreat from a victorious enemy, to whom they had abandoned, almost without firing a shot, their mountain passes and the former capital of their empire.
* This remnant of the army consisted of a few boys, too young to bear the fatigues of a campaign, to which, rather than to the sword of the enemy, so many thousands of their comrades had fallen a sacrifice, their former national spirit completely broken, and their feelings in favour of the conquerors. The officers, raised from the lowest situations, ignorant, inefficient, and, by the proscribing laws against the admission of Europeans into their ranks, debarred the means of obtaining improvement. Without a staff, without a commissariat, and without the necessary equipment of an army in the field. The Balcan untenable even in the hands of a European army; and the few barriers which the nature of the ground presented, not made available.
Commerce, instead of prospering, weighed down by the insecurity of life and property; by the banishment of one of the wealthiest, and nearly the only people well affected towards the government; by the neglect of those advantages of position which this country possesses; by the unnatural fluctuations of the exchange ; by the debasement of the coin; by unjust prosecutions ; by numerous and grievous monopolies, of which the Sultan himself is the great promoter.
• The same evils pressing equally heavily on agriculture, besides one yet more ruinous than them all. On the European side of the Bosphorus, the greater portion of the inhabitants swept away by the calamities of war, those that remain, with arms in their hands, ready to act with the invaders. On the Asiatic side, nearly a whole population forcibly dragged from their homes to recruit an army which has ceased to exist; the remainder either in open rebellion, or only waiting for the opportunity to be so.
• These circumstances came within my personal observation; but if we look beyond my track, the prospect of Turkish affairs will be scarcely less gloomy.
• To begin with Europe. The Pasha of Scutari, whose movements when I was at Adrianople excited so much suspicion, shortly after removed all doubts of his intention, by hoisting the standard of rebellion.
• The Servians and Bosniacks are, as well as the Bulgarians and Rou
meliots, ripe for revolt. The two fertile provinces of Wallachia and Moldavia, from which the Sultan derived his ships and his treasure, are in the hands of the Russians. The Greeks are in the possession of a great portion of Greece, and their independence is acknowledged by the Sultan; an act which, for reasons before assigned, will very probably hurl him from his throne.
• In Africa, we find that the tributary kingdom of Algiers has ceased to form part of the Turkish dominions; and that Egypt is worse than lost, the breach between Ali the Pasha and Mahmoud the Sultan being farther widened by the unsuccessful attempt of the powerless monarch to possess himself of the head of his mighty subject.
* In Asia the affairs of Mahmoud are in no better condition.
• While Count Diebitsch was marching one Russian army through the European provinces of Turkey, having hardly any obstacles but those of climate to encounter, Count Paskevitch was conducting another through the Asiatic dominions of the Sultan. Instead of being opposed as an invader, he was hailed as a deliverer. I was informed, on very credible authority, that the conquest of Armenia was achieved at the loss of ten men killed and forty wounded. As the Russian general advanced, the pashas vied with each other in tendering their submission. The Pasha of Bagdad begged for Russian troops to garrison his town; and the Pasha of Erzeroon has accepted office under the enemy of his country.
* From the foregoing remarks, it will be perceived that the difficulties of Mahmoud are tenfold greater than those against which Peter had to contend. Let us now consider whether there is a proportionate superiority of intellect in the Turkish Sovereign to meet these difficulties.
• It is not my intention to recapitulate the instances of Mahmoud's incapacity which are scattered over this work. I shall add a few more observations, to justify the assumption that the character of the present Sultan is very far from coming up to the exaggerated notions that have been formed and promulgated respecting it.
It is currently asserted that Mahmoud is very much addicted to strong drink. This accomplishment he is said to have learned from his barber. His favourite beverage consists of strong liqueurs. The orders for many of his most violent acts are supposed to have been given while under the influence of spirits. This preference to liqueurs is because they contain the greatest quantity of excitement in the smallest space.
• Fickleness is a point in his character that may be very fairly assumed. When his cavalry regiment was first established, he was in the habit of superintending its manoeuvres for several hours every day: at the period of my departure from Constantinople, eleven months had elapsed since he had seen the regiment under arms. This propensity is also shewn in the building of palaces, and deserting them as soon as finished. Numerous examples of this expensive folly now line each shore of the Bosphorus. The same feeling is indicated by the constant changing of his own and his troops' dress. It is this latter attempt at conforming to European customs that appears to have misled so many Englishmen into the belief of his beneficialr eform. The European costume of the soldier is the first thing that strikes the eye of the new-comer. He perceives that it is an innovation, and assumes it to be an improvement, and hence he is disposed to give the Sultan credit for conduct which is not warranted by his acts; indeed,
this innovation was the last that ought to have been attempted : it was an invasion of his people's prejudices, the infliction of a deep wound on their pride, and was one that could lead to no good result. It was, moreover, singularly ill-timed, being at a moment when every exertion was requisite to meet the crisis of an approaching war.
· The great measure that distinguishes this reign is the extinction of the janizaries; but I am informed, by those who had a good opportunity of judging, that this was principally effected by the chief of the Tropijees (gunners); between which corps and the janizaries there had long existed a mortal feud. I hear that it was with the greatest difficulty Mahmoud could be persuaded to allow them to attempt what he had so much at heart to effect.'--Vol. ii. pp. 406_-413.
As Russia is likely to be employed for some years in the western parts of Europe, it is probable that Turkey will enjoy repose for a sufficient length of time to enable her to recover from the many disasters which she has lately experienced. But whether the misfortunes and unpopularity of the Sultan will lead to his dethronement, or whether in spite of them he shall succeed in civilizing his subjects and bringing them nearer, in all things, to the European standard, are still questions, the solution of which it will be exceedingly interesting to observe. Our hopes are that Greece may
be regenerated, and, in time, filled with an intelligent and hardy race of men, who might ultimately drive back the Mahometans to their Asiatic fastnesses, and renew the empire of the cross åt Constantinople.
ART. III.-Oxford. A Poem. By Robert Montgomery, of Linc. Coll.
Oxon. 12mo. pp. 258. Oxford: Collingwood. London: Whittaker
and Co. Edinburgh: Blackwood. 1831. So! So! The puffers of Mr. Montgomery's poetry, the heralds of his fame, the idolaters of his divine genius are beginning to blush for their folly! They really have paused upon this volume! They were “reluctant to throw a shadow upon the youthful talent whence it has sprung," that is to say, to acknowledge that they have themselves hitherto been too friendly and too foolish in their praises. They have thought it necessary to give the matter some consi
is deration,” for the first time as it would seem, and the conclusion to which they have come is most remarkable. They “are bound by truth” (a novel ingredient in their canons of criticism) “ to say, that they do not think this poem worthy of the author !" Their admissions do not end here. After beginning with terms of censure as gentle as possible, one of these chroniclers of his poetic glories goes on to declare against him in the following alternating sentences of peace and war, in which self-love is seen casting a longing retrospect upon faded panegyrics, and at the same time trembling before the frowns of public opinion, which can no longer be deluded with impunity. “There is a mediocrity running through the whole,
which shews that the subject rarely or never touched the imagination of the writer; and there are a number of faults, not redeemed by a like number of the wonted merits which have hitherto, not only excited hopes, but displayed existing genius, in Mr. Montgomery's compositions. As an accession to his fame, therefore, we hold Oxford' to be a failure; though it exhibits a mind yearning after the good and great, and teaches us to esteem the individual, while we regret to withhold our praise from the poet.” Such is the language of the Literary Gazette of the 19th of March, a journal which has for some years been lauding Mr. Montgomery, and other equally conceited writers, to the highest heaven of renown; and which now at length begins to find that, in order to preserve its own existence, it must cease to be the auctioneer of the booksellers.
We have never despaired of the cause of sound literature, although we must take leave to remark, that we have often been amazed at the confidence, to use a lenient expression, with which the praises of that same journal have been appended by certain publishers to the advertisements of their books. We do not mean to say that we were astonished at seeing them convert into an instrument for the sale of their publications, a Gazette that professed to be an impartial guide to the current literature of the day. To abstain from making the most of their own property would be a species of sacrifice, which cannot reasonably be expected from persons, whose ideas of literature are exclusively of a commercial character. But what we have been truly surprised at is this, that a journal written as the Literary Gazette usually is, in a style that is quite disgraceful to the age in which we live, should not only have been quoted by intelligent booksellers as an authority in the way of criticism, but that it should have actually exercised for any length of time, in these days of general education, a degree of influence unknown to any of its hebdomadal rivals, and against which not one of these has yet contended with success. In order to justify our charge we shall turn over a pile of that publication for the present year, which now lies before us, and shall transcribe from it at random a few sentences, which will prove that the person who has written them, whoever he may be, is utterly unqualified to sit in judgment upon English composition. We go to this task with the less remorse, because, far from entertaining any personal hostility to the Editor of the Literary Gazette, we, on the contrary, think of him with feelings of unaffected esteem, as we know him to be a gentleman of the most amiable character. Besides, he can have no just objection to being tried by his own rule, which he has thus laid down, p. 38:-"And if the author does take upon himself to criticise the works of others, he should be careful that his work should be free from the offences which he attributes to theirs," a rule neither very happily nor very correctly expressed. Mere violations of syntax, such as those which are contained in the following sentences, we shall not notice, as so many examples of this fault
crowd upon us, that if we were to quote them all, they would occupy many pages of our journal.
“In our last number we could only allude to this volume, and the elaborate and philosophical nature of its contents prevent us from doing much more just now."-p. 21.
“ There seems to us no sufficient grounds for calling him an unkind son.-p. 194.
“The present work surpasses his (Mr. Alcock's) former publications, and deserves to be placed amongst the best which has lately appeared on the nature and treatment of diseases."-p. 185.
“ But the details of his history warrant the supposition that, neither his own interest, nor personal advancement were the motives of his courting the favour of the king by seconding his views.”-p. 225.
To correct the syntax of the Gazette would be, indeed, an endless labour. What does the reader think of a critic, who thus pronounces an opinion upon a certain novel ?
“Not an historical romance after Sir Walter Scott, only enacted in modern days; but rather · chronicles scandaleuse' like those of Comines, and like those chronicles, with nothing of what is commonly called scandal in them."-p. 38.
. Passing over the bad English and the worse French of this sentence, we ask whether the critic does not say in the same breath, that the book is scandalous and not scandalous? Captain Crowe's Memoirs, after furnishing six columns of extract, are dismissed with the following beautiful sentence :
“But all our readers now sabby as much of dis Captain Crowe as ebery dog in kingston' did, or at least as we can make them sabby; and so we must hold no more palaver. !!!”-p. 66.
Such is the language of a critical publication, calling itself a“Journal of the Belles Lettres" ! The same critic, after pronouncing an eulogium on Becker's German Grammar, says :
“The difficulty of rendering the sense of German terminology into English is the chief obstacle, which had to be overcome, and we think it has been surmounted as far as possible.”—p. 71.
In what English dictionary is the word terminology to be found ? What does it mean? Does it mean the science of language, or of boundaries? If the former, what is meant by the “sense of German terminology.'!?
One should think that an author criticising his own work would be able, in his own Gazette, to explain himself in language at least unambiguous. We admit at once the modesty of his apology. “Our only resource is to state the truth candidly, and leave the truth to the judgment of our readers. We feel confident in their confidence, and in having deserved it; and therefore need only state that these criticisms emanate from the pen of a gentleman intrusted with the department of our Journal to which they belong; that the editor has such entire reliance upon his impartiality and