Ali Pacha HTML version

Chapter 7
The French commander Nicole, surnamed the "Pilgrim," on account of a journey
he had once made to Mecca, had spent six months at Janina with a brigade of
artillery which General Marmont, then commanding in the Illyrian provinces, had
for a time placed at Ali's disposal. The old officer had acquired the esteem and
friendship of the pacha, whose leisure he had often amused by stories of his
campaigns and various adventures, and although it was now long since they had
met, he still had the reputation of being Ali's friend. Ali prepared his plans
accordingly. He wrote a letter to Colonel Nicole, apparently in continuation of a
regular correspondence between them, in which he thanked the colonel for his
continued affection, and besought him by various powerful motives to surrender
Parga, of which he promised him the governorship during the rest of his life. He
took good care to complete his treason by allowing the letter to fall into the hands
of the chief ecclesiastics of Parga, who fell head-foremost into the trap. Seeing
that the tone of the letter was in perfect accordance with the former friendly
relations between their French governor and the pacha, they were convinced of
the former's treachery. But the result was not as Ali had hoped: the Parganiotes
resumed their former negotiations with the English, preferring to place their
freedom in the hands of a Christian nation rather than to fall under the rule of a
Mohammedan satrap.... The English immediately sent a messenger to Colonel
Nicole, offering honourable conditions of capitulation. The colonel returned a
decided refusal, and threatened to blow up the place if the inhabitants, whose
intentions he guessed, made the slightest hostile movement. However, a few
days later, the citadel was taken at night, owing to the treachery of a woman who
admitted an English detachment; and the next day, to the general astonishment,
the British standard floated over the Acropolis of Parga.
All Greece was then profoundly stirred by a faint gleam of the dawn of liberty,
and shaken by a suppressed agitation. The Bourbons again reigned in France,
and the Greeks built a thousand hopes on an event which changed the basis of
the whole European policy. Above all, they reckoned on powerful assistance from
Russia. But England had already begun to dread anything which could increase
either the possessions or the influence of this formidable power. Above all, she
was determined that the Ottoman Empire should remain intact, and that the
Greek navy, beginning to be formidable, must be destroyed. With these objects
in view, negotiations with Ali Pacha were resumed. The latter was still smarting
under his recent disappointment, and to all overtures answered only, "Parga! I
must have Parga."--And the English were compelled to yield it!
Trusting to the word of General Campbell, who had formally promised, on its
surrender, that Parga should be classed along with the seven Ionian Isles; its
grateful inhabitants were enjoying a delicious rest after the storm, when a letter
from the Lord High Commissioner, addressed to Lieutenant-Colonel de Bosset,