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Southern Europe: Spain; Portugal; Italy; Greece. page 2

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In May, 1898, at the time when an illustrious British statesman lay dying at Hawarden Castle - the man revered by all good Italians as a champion of the cause of freedom in Italy - there was a violent outbreak of the revolutionary spirit of socialism, republicanism, and anarchy in Milan, Naples, Leghorn, and other Italian towns. Revolt 'iad been long expected by those who were best acquainted with the misery due to taxation which made salt, an absolute necessary with vegetable diet, a luxury unattainable by the poorer peasantry, and which mulcted of a large part of their wages men earning only from 15 francs to 4 francs per day, in support of an ambitious policy of rivalry with European states of vastly superior resources. Discontent was at last, under a great rise in the price of bread, turned into the madness of starvation and despair. At Milan the populace and the troops engaged in a conflict marked by the erection of barricades, the use of artillery, and the slaughter of some hundreds of men. A state of siege was declared, and tranquillity was only restored when there were 40,000 troops in possession of the city. At Naples the crowd of rioters and the troops fought hand to hand, and streets were strewn with dead and wounded men. Like tumult occurred at Florence and other towns of Tuscany. Most of Italy was for a time in a state of suspended constitutional freedom, under military law, and the noble structure erected by the valour of Garibaldi and the genius of Cavour was seriously endangered through long-continued misrule. It was made clear to all impartial observers and true friends of Italy that immediate reform, including vigilant economy, the stern punishment of defaulters, and the contraction of costly armaments, could alone save the country from anarchy and dismemberment.

As regards the Papacy in the 19th century, the loss of temporal power has been attended by a great gain of spiritual influence, Pius VII., restored to his rule of the Papal States in 1814, held power till his death in 1823, combining a conciliatory temper with a bigoted and inflexible policy in ecclesiastical affairs. Simple in tastes, devout, benevolent, he was a wise and moderate ruler, who, nevertheless, dealt energetically with brigandage and the secret societies. Under Leo XII. (1823-29), Pius VIII. (1829-30), and Gregory XVI. (1831-46), the Catholic revival was greatly promoted by the purity of life exhibited in the holders of the Papal chair. A spirit of zeal and of loyalty to the Holy See was displayed alike by Catholic clergy and laity in all quarters, and in France eminent men, Montalembert, Lamennais, and their school, sought to combine a new liberalism of thought with complete submission to the teachings of the head of the Church. Pius IX. (1846-78), who was Pope for a longer period than any of his predecessors, has been already seen in his brief career as a political reformer. After his restoration to power by French troops, he made a new departure, as regarded England, in refounding the hierarchy of Catholic bishops, headed by the able and cultured Cardinal Wiseman as archbishop of Westminster. Pio Nono, in 1854, issued the famous Bull defining, as -Catholic dogma, the "Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary." Ten years later, his Catholic zeal caused him to issue an encyclical letter with a Syllabus specially condemning certain erroneous beliefs of the day. The annexation of most of the Papal territory by Victor Emmanuel in 1860 made Pius IX. a fervid foe of the Italian kingdom, and his feeling was from time to time displayed in hot denunciations whose tone was in strange contrast to his really mild and benevolent disposition. In July, 1870, the famous Vatican Council, attended by prelates from all parts of the world, decreed the doctrine of "Papal Infallibility," rejected by a small minority of the bishops, and by a considerable and enlightened part of the laity, forming the body known as "Old Catholics." On the occupation of Rome by the Italian government in September, 1870, and the cessation of the temporal power of the Papacy, Pius IX. aroused the sympathy of the Catholic world by his assumption of the character of a martyr, or, at least, a "confessor," as "the prisoner of the Vatican." He was always treated with the utmost courtesy and forbearance by the Italian government, but he issued constant letters of appeal to his devoted Catholic followers in foreign countries, and was consoled by the visits of crowds of "pilgrims," and by liberal contributions of "Peter's pence" and costly presents in various forms. It should be observed to his credit that he refused to accept the large pension voted to him by the Italian Parliament. A month before his death in February, 1878, he sent the Papal benediction to that politically erring son of the Church, Victor Emmanuel, as he lay dying. His successor, Cardinal Pecci, assuming the title of Leo XIII., still, after 20 years (in 1898), at a very advanced age, fills the Papal See in a statesmanlike manner which has won for him general respect and esteem. It was his wise diplomacy which, in Germany, effected a compromise concerning the anti-Catholic laws. In 1888, after a report from his special envoy to Ireland, Leo issued a circular to the Irish bishops condemning the practice of "boycotting," and the movement against payment of rent known as "the Plan of Campaign." The Irish Catholic laity, devoted followers as they are of the Pope in spiritual matters, paid no heed whatever to his injunctions in affairs regarded by them as purely social and political. In 1891 an encyclical letter to the Catholic bishops propounded principles which should be observed in dealing with contests of the day between workers and capitalists.

The regeneration of Greece is one of the most interesting facts of modern European history. After the conquest of Peloponnesus by the Turks in 1715, a revival of Greek influence came in the appointment of Greeks to many posts of importance under the Ottoman government, and the establishment of schools in all parts of Greece through the aid of wealthy and enlightened patriots. Towards the end of the 18th century, premature armed efforts for independence were crushed with the usual Turkish barbarity, but a great impression was made by the heroic valour displayed by the Suliotes of Epirus, a race of mixed Hellenic and Albanian origin. In a community comprising less than 600 families, dwelling in hamlets among the mountains, the women and boys fought like brave athletic men, a remnant only escaping, in 1803, to the Ionian Islands. The French Revolution gave a new impulse to the rising spirit of Greek nationality, and the admirable scholar Adamantios Corai's (or Koraes) not only fostered this spirit, but was the first to purify the modern Greek language and reduce it to fixed rules, and to bring home to the modern Greeks a knowledge of the ancient literature. At the same time, among the islands of the AEgean, arose the nucleus of the naval force which played so glorious a part in the war of liberation. All classes of the Greek world - the priests, the scholars, the merchants, the mountaineers, the peasantry, and the large maritime population - were united in aspirations for freedom, and they had many foreign sympathisers, especially in France and in the British Isles, where attention to Greek claims was strongly aroused by the magnificent poetry of Lord Byron. The hour for revolt came in April, 1821, when the patriots of the Morea (Peloponnesus) rose in arms, and a six-years' struggle began under the leadership of such heroes as Marcos Bozzaris, who fell fighting at the head of a Suliote force in 1823; Alexander Mauro-cordatos (Mavrocordato), the resolute defender of Missolonghi in 1822-23; Constantine Kanaris, the dashing seaman who twice, in 1822, blew up a Turkish admiral's ship, and in August, 1824, burnt a large frigate and some transports with Turkish troops on board; Theodores Kolokotronis, a modern Ulysses, inexhaustible in stratagems, fearless in perils, rich in popular and humorous eloquence; Andreas Miaulis, the chief naval commander, "an iron man who never smiled and never wept," of great valour and skill. The contest was marked by deeds of heroism and cruelty unsurpassed in modern times. In many actions thousands of Turks were beaten-by only hundreds of Greeks, but the Ottoman government was continually able to place great bodies of men in the field, ably led, in the latter part of the war, by Ibrahim Pasha, son of Mehemet AM, Pasha of Egypt. In 1821 many thousands of Greeks were murdered at Constantinople, Adrianople, Thessalonica, Smyrna, and other, towns. In 1822 the beautiful and fertile island of Chios was desolated by the Turks with the most savage barbarity and the utmost horrors of bestial criminality, involving the slaughter of 25,000 men, women, and children, the selling of nearly double that number into slavery, and the reduction of a smiling garden to a desert of ruin.

In 1823 Lord Byron joined the Greek patriots, and aided them with money and counsel until his premature death at Missolonghi in April, 1824, as he was about to take the field at the head of a corps of Suliotes of his own raising. Many victories were won by the little Greek navy, whose commanders struck terror into the foe by their use of fireships. In 1825 Ibrahim Pasha landed in Peloponnesus with a large well-trained army. The Greeks resisted with a valour that reminded men of the days of Leonidas, and a crisis, came in the siege of Missolonghi, defended by 5,000 men and attacked by 20,000 Turks, supported by a powerful fleet. Many assaults were repulsed in the course of five months, and many valiant sorties did great damage to the besiegers. In January, 1826, the Turkish commander was joined by Ibrahim with the reinforcement of 10,000 excellent troops and a strong artillery, but a summons to surrender was treated by the Missolonghi men with contempt. Half the fortress was in ruins, and famine and disease alone had carried off 1,500 of the people. The arrival of a Greek squadron under Miaulis broke the blockade, and allowed two months' provisions to be introduced. Further assaults were repulsed, and the place was then again reduced to extremities by famine in which the inhabitants consumed seaweed and their shoe-leather softened by a little oil. The streets, strewn with ruins due to bombardment, showed men women, and children lying dead or dying from pestilence and hunger. In this desperate condition of affairs, a sortie of all the people was arranged, with all the able-bodied men and women, the' latter armed and in men's dress, taking the lead, the mothers carrying a sword in the right hand, and their infants on the left arm, or slung on their backs. Then were to come the old men, women, and children, with a military guard in the rear. A few decrepit persons were to remain in the town. The plan was betrayed, and the advance-guard found vast masses of Turks and Egyptians ready to receive them. Most were driven back into the town, and the Greeks fought all night in every street and house, and finally blew up the magazine with a large body of the enemy. Missolonghi was thus captured as a blackened heap of ruins. About 1,800 men and women had effected their escape in the sortie; 3,000 people lay dead in the town. After the fall of Missolonghi, followed by the bombardment and capture of Athens, and the failure of attempts to drive the Turks out of Attica, the Greek cause was in a desperate condition, with all continental Greece in Turkish possession, and Peloponnesus ravaged by Ibrahim Pasha with the deliberate purpose of extirpating the whole Greek population and replacing them by Egyptians and Arabs. At last, however, some of the European Powers resolved to interfere. The fall of Missolonghi had aroused general sympathy, and the great British statesman George Canning, becoming Premier in February, 1827, induced France and Russia, in July, to join this country in a demand for an armistice. The fleets of the three countries were sent to the Peloponnesus, and there on October 20th, 1827, two months after Canning's death, an accidental collision brought the battle of Navarino, in which the Turkish and Egyptian fleets were destroyed by the British, French, and Russian ships. The Turkish government even then refused to grant an armistice, and the war continued. In the autumn of 1829 defeats of the Turks by fresh Greek and by French forces freed continental Greece, but the country was really saved by the success of Russia in war against Turkey, who acknowledged the independence of Greece in 1830.

In May, 1832, a new kingdom of Greece was recognised by the Treaty of London, under the rule of Otho, son of the king of Bavaria, the Greek territory including the mainland south of the Gulfs of Pagasaa and Ambrakia, with Peloponnesus, Euboea, and the Cyclades islands, while Thessaly, Epirus, Macedonia, and Crete were still left under Turkish rule. The Greek monarch, in a reign of over 30 years, did nothing to satisfy the reasonable demands or the ambitious dreams of his subjects. The system of rule was tyrannical and corrupt, and public offices were rilled by royal favourites and flatterers. In 1843 a rebellion forced Otho to grant a constitutional form of government, but he remained unpopular, and a general movement forced his abdication in October, 1862. In March, 1863, the throne was accepted by Prince George of Denmark, brother of the lady who had just become Princess of Wales. In the following year Greek territory was increased by the Ionian Islands, the "protectorate" of which was renounced by Great Britain. That Power has, on several occasions, usefully employed her influence in preventing the little state from entering into conflict with Turkey, chiefly in connection with chronic rebellion in Candia, or Crete, due to Ottoman misrule, and to the desire of most of the Cretan population for union with Greece. The country has not made the progress hoped for by her friends, and has wasted, on ambitious aims, for expansion of her borders at Turkey's expense, the energies which would have been better employed in developing the natural resources of the region under her legitimate control. In 1881 the kingdom received a substantial increase of territory in Thessaly and part of Epirus, a benefit largely due to the British government, which induced some of the Powers to join her in compelling Turkey to act in accordance with suggestions made in the Treaty of Berlin in 1878. The depressed condition of the country 20 years later, in 1898, was due to her suicidal folly in connection with the eternal Cretan question. Another Cretan revolt, carried on in 1896-97, caused the dispatch of the fleets of the Powers to the coasts of the island, with an order to Greece to withdraw troops which had been permitted to invade it. In March, 1897, the Greek government, refusing compliance, prepared for war with Turkey, and in April irregular forces crossed the frontier, followed by the Greek army. The conflict which ensued had the inevitable result foreseen by all intelligent and cool-headed observers. The invaders, ill-provided and badly led, were promptly overwhelmed by superior forces ably commanded, and, after a complete victory at the Miluna Pass, the Turks occupied Larissa on April 25th. Volo surrendered on the following day, and the general result was not affected by some repulses of Turkish forces early in May. Pharsala was occupied, and on May 20th the Sultan granted an armistice sorely needed by his opponents. After much negotiation, terms of peace, with the consent of the Powers, were settled in September, 1897, Greece being compelled to pay, as a penalty for her rashness, a war-indemnity of ^4,000,000 sterling, and to accept a rectification of the Thessalian frontier which put the chief points of strategical importance in possession of Turkey, along with a foothold on the southern bank of the river Peneus. The finances of Greece were placed, until the full payment of the indemnity, under the control of the Powers.

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Pictures for Southern Europe: Spain; Portugal; Italy; Greece. page 2

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