Page:The Works of Lord Byron (ed. Coleridge, Prothero) - Volume 2.djvu/241

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are very regularly attended; and the poor are taught without the church of Turkey being put into peril. I believe the system is not yet printed (though there is such a thing as a Turkish press, and books printed on the late military institution of the Nizam Gedidd);[1] nor have I heard whether the Mufti and the Mollas have subscribed, or the Caimacan and the Tefterdar taken the alarm, for fear the ingenuous youth of the turban should be taught not to "pray to God their way." The Greeks also—a kind of Eastern Irish papists—have a college of their own at Maynooth,—no, at Haivali; where the heterodox receive much the same kind of countenance from the Ottoman as the Catholic college from the English legislature. Who shall then affirm that the Turks are ignorant bigots, when they thus evince the exact proportion of Christian charity which is tolerated in the most prosperous and orthodox of all possible kingdoms? But though they allow all this, they will not suffer the Greeks to participate in their privileges: no, let them fight their battles, and pay their haratch (taxes), be drubbed in this world, and damned in the next. And shall we then emancipate our Irish Helots? Mahomet forbid! We should then be bad Mussulmans, and worse Christians: at present we unite the best of both—jesuitical faith, and something not much inferior to Turkish toleration.


Amongst an enslaved people, obliged to have recourse to foreign presses even for their books of religion, it is less to be wondered at that we find so few publications on general subjects than that we find any at all. The whole number of the Greeks, scattered up and down the Turkish empire and elsewhere, may amount, at most, to three millions; and yet, for so scanty a number, it is impossible to discover any nation with so great a proportion of books and their authors as the Greeks of the present century. "Aye," but say the generous advocates of oppression, who, while they assert

  1. [The "Nizam Gedidd," or new ordinance, which aimed at remodelling the Turkish army on a quasi-European system, was promulgated by Selim III. in 1808.

    A "mufti" is an expounder, a "molla" or "mollah" a superior judge, of the sacred Moslem law. The "tefterdars" or "defterdars" were provincial registrars and treasurers under the supreme defterdar, or Chancellor of the Exchequer.]