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Ali deserted by his French Allies–Sends an Envoy to the Conference at
Tilsit—Seven Islands conceded to the French-Ali endeavours to gain Parga, but fails—His impolitic Revenge-Admits an English Agent to a Conference-Assists the English in making Peace with Turkey, and publicly espouses the British Interests—Expulsion of the French from five of the seven Islands—Ali takes Berat-Endeavours to gain possession of Santa Maura and Parga, but fails-Makes a Gain both of the English and the French-Conquers the Tzamouriot Beys-Subdues Kimarra– Mission of Mr. G. Foresti as English Envoy to IoanninaAli
escapes the Danger of a powerful Invasion by the French Troops from Dalmatia and Corfu— Avlona taken and Ibrahim Pasha made Prisoner-Ali attacks Gardiki, conquers it, and massacres the Inhabitants—Murders the Pasha of Delvino--Takes Measures preparatory to putting Ibrahim to death—The Porte sends an Officer to inquire into his Conduct — Ali's Cunning-His Treatment of the French ConsulAlarmed at the Conduct of the Porte- Averts the Storm-Endeavours to bribe General Denzelot and Mr. Pouqueville to surrender up Parga to his Arms— Failing in this Attempt he attacks it with his Troops Defeated before the City-Parga surrenders itself to English Protection—Subsequent Transactions relative to its History and final Delivery into the Hands of its inveterate Foe-Summary of Ali's Character Views regarding his Successor, fc. fc.
WHEN the armistice was concluded between Russia and France, Ali was still occupied in prosecuting the siege of Santa Maura and
THE SEVEN ISLANDS CONCEDED TO THE FRENCH.
forming schemes for the extension of his power. But
that event taking place, his French allies withdrew from the contest, and left him to his own resources. A Turk either has, or pretends to have, no notion of this etiquette and delicacy of conduct; Ali therefore affected great surprise at what he termed a base desertion, discovered traits of extreme ill humour, and spread the most extraordinary rumours and alarms throughout Albania, being almost thrown off the balance of that equilibrium which it was still necessary for him to sustain. He however dispatched a messenger to the congress at Tilsit, endeavouring to gain by negotiation what he had failed to take by force. His envoy had formerly been in the service of Bonaparte himself. Ho was originally an Italian friar, and chief inquisitor at Malta, from whence he accompanied the French army to Egypt, as interpreter of languages : on his return to Europe, after the battle of the Nile, he was taken by a Turkish privateer, and sent as a present to Ali Pasha at Ioannina : there he met with a call to the Mahometan faith, into which he was admitted under the name of Mahmet; he insinuated himself into the good graces of a beautiful young Turkish damsel whom he married, and of his sovereign whom he served with such zeal in various negotiations that he was now appointed ambassador and plenipotentiary at this important conference. Here, however, his eloquence was of no avail, and he returned to Ioannina, announcing the cession of the Septinsular republic to the dominion of France.
As soon as this cession was made, and the arrival of Cæsar Berthier as governor-general made known, Ali thought it a favourable opportunity of attempting to gain possession of Parga. With that view he sent his second minister of state, Sechrì Effendi, to Corfu, accompanied by the schoolmaster Psalida, who urged his demands with so many plausible pretexts, and supported his claims so adroitly from the tenor of that treaty which he had himself so shamefully violated, that Berthier, who had received orders from Bonaparte to humour
ALIS IMPOLITIC REVENGE.
the vizir, and concede to him any reasonable request, was upon the point of surrendering up the place. Just at this time a deputation arrived from Parga to counteract the wiles of their inveterate adversary, and so forcibly did these patriots display his insidious arts, their own long attachment and connexion with the Ionian government, and their unshaken determination to shed the last drop of their blood in defence of their independence, that even Berthier was moved to compassion, and felt his soul animated by certain feelings of generous enthusiasm. He entered heartily into the cause of the Parghiotes, and exerted himself so effectually with the French emperor, that the city and territory were taken under protection, and definitively annexed to the Ionian government.
Ali's ambassadors returning with the purpose of their mission uneffected, excited in his mind a strong feeling of hatred against the French interests ; at present however he did not dare to break with them ; but it is scarcely possible that he should long remain amicable with any power that possesses the Ionian islands.
. Soon after the failure of these negotiations, he took an opportunity of retaliating in a manner not quite consistent with his interests. The authorities in Corfu became so distressed for money, owing to a strict blockade by the English fleet, that they sent a deputation to the vizir requesting him to accommodate them with a loan. His refusal was accompanied with a haughty intimation, that the pasha of Ioannina was neither a banker nor a merchant. Now if Ali had not thus permitted his feelings of hatred or avarice to counteract his schemes of policy, he would have rather doubled the sum required, and made the French his debtors to as large an amount as possible: then a prohibition of supplies, aided by the English blockade, would soon have upset French philanthropy, and Parga would have been transferred to him as a redemption of the debt. Instead of this he irritated them by every method in his power, imposing enormous duties upon the corn and cattle exported from Albania, and demanding the money to be paid in advance.
HE ADMITS AN ENGLISH AGENT TO A CONFERENCE.
At length, Berthier, incensed in his turn, declared his intention of forcing Ali to restore the other three continental dependencies, and Butrinto first, that being situated exactly opposite Corfu, at the narrowest part of the channel, and called the key of the island which itself is styled the gate of the Adriatic. Had the French general at this time acted with promptitude, he might have taken the place with 500 men ; but he delayed till the vizir had thrown a garrison into it of 6000 Albanians, and the opportunity was lost. Ali then openly defied all attempts, and in addition to his hatred, conceived a contempt for his adversary. Lest the French should attempt to recover Prevesa, he moved his army from Playa into that place, and completed the sum of its misfortunes. In the autumn of 1808, a British agent was dispatched to hold a conference with him at this place, and take advantage of the growing inclination which he daily felt towards the English, whose naval power he foresaw would prove the greatest obstacle, or the best auxiliary to his future designs. Our envoy landed, and was met at midnight by Ali, upon the ruins of Nicopolis. There they concerted their plan of operations, and parted before the morning dawned. This secrecy was adopted to keep all knowledge of the fact from the French consul, whom the vizir had invited that day to a rural fête near Vonizza, on the gulf of Arta. He there left his guest in the midst of amusements : a swift-sailing boat conveyed him across the gulf, where a horse was in readiness, upon which he mounted and galloped towards the plain.
Ali now became actively engaged in close correspondence with the commanders of our fleet, for the purpose of bringing about that peace between Turkey and Great Britain, which Sir A. Paget endeavoured in vain to negotiate. Mr. Adair, who arrived at the Dardanelles in the latter end of 1808, had just opened a communication with the Turkish Divan, when the insurrection of the janissaries, and the death of the Vizir Mustafà Bairactar threw every thing into confusion. Our minister was upon the point of quitting his station in despair, but Ali,
PUBLICLY ESPOUSES THE BRITISH INTERESTS.
who is suspected, and I believe not without reason, of having assisted in fomenting this insurrection, as well as that of the Nizam Djedid under Sultan Selim*, wrote instantly to Mr. Adair, and earnestly requested him to wait the event. His advice was followed; his interest had grcat weight in the Divan, and in a short time the peace was concluded. During this negotiation Ali took advantage of the opportunity it afforded of attempting to engage Mr. Adair in a promise of co-operating with him in the reduction of Parga : that gentleman, however, not only contrived to elude so disgraceful a compact, but very adroitly prevented the vizir from attempting it alone and unassisted.
As soon as preliminaries of peace were signed, Ali dispatched an envoy named Seid Achmet Effendi to England, to enhance as much as possible the services rendered by his master to the British cabinet. These indeed were considered so important, that by way of acknowledgment a very fine park of artillery, with several hundreds of the newly-invented Congreve's rockets, were sent him on board a transport: Major Leake, who had the care of this artillery, was ordered to remain, to teach his Albanian troops the use of it, and to act as English resident.
Ali now publicly espoused the interests of Great Britain ; opened his ports to our merchants or cruisers, and granted supplies on the most liberal terms for our navy, and the armies in Spain and Portugal. Availing himself of the importance which this new alliance gave him, as well as the co-operation of our blockading squadron, which prevented the French or Russians from furnishing his enemies with any species of assistance, he began to attack them in good earnest. Another event soon occurred, in the autumn of 1809, which gave addi
* His motive is evident. The Nizam Djedid, as well as the regulations of Mustafà Bairactar, were calculated to infuse new vigour and energy into the Turkish state, by reforming the army, abolishing the janissaries, and introducing European improvements into all branches of the government. The old system of things is much more agreeable to a rebellious pasha, who sets up a sovereignty independent of the Porte.