ships, three frigates, more soon to follow: on board there are arms and munitions of war; but unhappily only 500 soldiers. Admiral-in- Chief (not yet come up) is Alexei Orlof, a brother of Lover Gregory's, an extremely worthless seaman and man. Has under him 'many Danes, a good few English too,'--especially Three English Officers, whom we shall hear of, when Alexei and they come up. Meanwhile, on the Peloponnesian coast are modern Spartans, to the number of 15,000, all sitting ready, expecting the Russian advent: these rose duly; got Russian muskets, cartridges,--only two Russian Officers:--and attacked the Turks with considerable fury or voracity, but with no success of the least solidity. Were foiled here, driven out there; in fine, were utterly beaten, Russians and they: lost Tripolizza, by surprise; whereupon (April 19th) the Russians withdrew to their Fleet; and the Affair of Greece was at an end. [Hermann, v. 621.] It had lasted (28th February-19th April) seven weeks and a day. The Russians retired to their Fleet, with little loss; and rode at their ease again, in Navarino Bay. But the 15,000 modern Spartans had nothing to retire to,--these had to retire into extinction, expulsion and the throat of Moslem vengeance, which was frightfully bloody and inexorable on them.
"Greece having failed, the Russian Fleet, now in complete tale, made for Turkey, for Constantinople itself. 'Into the very Dardanelles' they say they will go; an Englishman among them-- Captain Elphinstone, a dashing seaman, if perhaps rather noisy, whom Rulhiere is not blind to--has been heard to declare, at least in his cups: 'Dardanelles impossible? Pshaw, I will do it, as easily as drink this glass of wine!' Alexei Orlof is a Sham- Admiral; but under him are real Sea-Officers, one or two.
"In the Turkish Fleet, it seems, there is an Ex-Algerine, Hassan Bey, of some capacity in sea-matters; but he is not in chief command, only in second; and can accomplish nothing. The Turkish Fleet, numerous but rotten, retires daily,--through the famed Cyclades, and Isles of Greece, Paros, Naxos, apocalyptic Patmos, on to Scio (old Chios of the wines); and on July 5th takes refuge behind Scio, between Scio and the Coast of Smyrna, in Tchesme Bay. 'Safe here!' thinks the chief Turk Admiral. 'Very far from safe!' remonstrates Hassan; though to no purpose. And privately puts the question to himself, 'Have these Giaours a real Admiral among them, or, like us, only a sham one?'"
TCHESME BAY, 7th JULY, 1770. "Nothing can be more imaginary than Alexei Orlof as an Admiral: but he has a Captain Elphinstone, a Captain Gregg, a Lieutenant Dugdale; and these determine to burn poor Hassan and his whole Fleet in Tchesme here:--and do it totally, night of July 7th; with one single fireship; Dugdale steering it; Gregg behind him, to support with broadsides; Elphinstone ruling and contriving, still farther to rear; helpless Turk Fleet able to make no debate whatever. Such a blaze of conflagration on the helpless Turks as shone over all the world --one of Rulhiere's finest fire-works, with little shot;--the light of which was still dazzling mankind while the Interview at Neustadt took place. Turk Fleet, fifteen ships, nine frigates and above 8,000 men, gone to gases and to black cinders,--Hassan hardly escaping with I forget how many score of wounds and bruises. [Hermann, v. 623.]
"'Now for the Dardanelles,' said Elphinstone: (bombard Constantinople, starve it,--to death, or to what terms you will!' 'Cannot be done; too dangerous; impossible!' answered the sham Admiral, quite in a tremor, they say;--which at length filled the measure of Elphinstone's disgusts with such a Fleet and Admiral. Indignant Elphinstone withdrew to his own ship, 'Adieu, Sham- Admiral!'--sailed with his own ship, through the impossible Dardanelles (Turk batteries firing one huge block of granite at him, which missed; then needing about forty minutes to load again); feat as easy to Elphinstone as this glass of wine. In sight of Constantinople, Elphinstone, furthermore, called for his tea; took his tea on deck, under flourishing of all his drums and all his trumpets: tea done, sailed out again scathless; instantly threw up his command,--and at Petersburg, soon after, in taking leave of the Czarina, signified to her, in language perhaps too plain, or perhaps only too painfully true, some Naval facts which were not welcome in that high quarter." [Rulhiere, iii. 476-509.] This remarkable Elphinstone I take to be some junior or irregular Balmerino scion; but could never much hear of him except in RULHIERE, where, on vague, somewhat theatrical terms, he figures as above.
"AUGUST 1st, Romanzow has a 'Battle of Kaghul,' so they call it; though it is a 'Slaughtery' or SCHLACHTEREI, rather than a 'Slaught' or SCHLACHT, say my German friends. Kaghul is not a specific place, but a longish river, a branch of the Pruth; under screen of which the Grand Turk Army, 100,000 strong, with 100,000 Tartars as second line, has finally taken position, and fortified itself with earthworks and abundant cannon. AUGUST 1st, 1770, Romanzow, after study and advising, feels prepared for this Grand Army and its earthworks: with a select 20,000, under select captains, Romanzow, after nightfall, bursts in upon it, simultaneously on three different points; and gains, gratis or nearly so, such a victory as was never heard of before. The Turks, on their earthworks, had 140 cannons; these the Turk gunners fired off two times, and fled, leaving them for Romanzow's uses. The Turk cavalry then tried if they could not make some attempt at charging; found they could not; whirled back upon their infantry; set it also whirling: and in a word, the whole 200,000 whirled, without blow struck; and it was a universal panic rout, and delirious stampede of flight, which never paused (the very garrisons emptying themselves, and joining in it) till it got across the Donau again, and drew breath there, not to rally or stand, but to run rather slower. And had left Wallachia, Bessarabia, Dniester river, Donau river, swept clear of Turks; all Romanzow's henceforth. To such astonishment of an invincible Grand Turk, and of his Moslem Populations, fallen on such a set of Giaours ["ALLAH KERIM, And cannot we abolish them, then?" Not we THEM, it would appear!],--as every reader can imagine." Which shall suffice every reader here in regard to the Turk War, and what concern he has in the extremely brutish phenomenon.
Tchesme fell out July 7th; Elphinstone has hardly done his tea in the Dardanelles, when (August 1st) this of Kaghul follows: both would be fresh news blazing in every head while the Dialogues between Friedrich and Kaunitz were going on. For they "had many dialogues," Friedrich says; "and one of the days" (probably September 6th) was mainly devoted to Politics, to deep private Colloquy with Kaunitz. Of which, and of the great things that followed out of it, I will now give, from Friedrich's own hand, the one entirely credible account I have anywhere met with in writing.
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