England and the Orleans Monarchy

By Major John Hall | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
MEHEMET ALI

SCARCELY had the withdrawal of the French troops from Belgium been effected, than grave news was received from the east. At Konieh, in Asia Minor, on December 21, 1832, Ibrahim Pasha, the son of Mehemet Ali, the rebellious viceroy of Egypt, was reported to have inflicted so signal a defeat upon the Turkish army, as to place it beyond the Sultan's power to resist his advance to the shores of the Bosphorus. The dissolution of the Ottoman Empire, with all the fearful complications which it would entail, appeared to be upon the point of taking place.

The Sultan, Mahmud II., had always been keenly alive to the necessity of remedying the decrepit condition of his Empire. But only a Peter the Great could have eradicated effectually the many evils from which Turkey was suffering, and Mahmud was merely an Oriental despot. All through his reign, however, he set himself resolutely to destroy the almost independent power which some of his Pashas had begun to assume over the provinces which they governed. He imposed the European dress upon his ministers and officials, he introduced the French system of drill into his army, and he exterminated the janissaries, when they rebelled against his innovations. Even at a time of profound peace reforms of this superficial character could have effected little real improvement. Under the actual conditions under which they were

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