LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism
[John Gibson Lockhart]
The Last Days of Lord Byron.
Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine  Vol. 18  No. 103  (August 1825)  137-55.
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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No. CIII. AUGUST, 1825. Vol. XVIII.


We opened this volume with no very sanguine expectations either of instruction or of amusement. Medwin, Gamba, Dallas, had all published, and had all disappointed us most grievously. The last-named gentleman betrayed, in his own style of writing, the unpleasant fact, that he was an extremely dull person. The weakness, the puerile imbecility of Count Gamba’s mind, was at once made manifest in the same manner; and everybody was satisfied that however fair, candid, and sincere their intentions, such men never could, by any chance, have comprehended the real character of Lord Byron. The lieutenant of light dragoons came out of the business with a still worse grace. He certainly proved himself to be a blockhead by his mode of writing; but he exposed himself to (at least) the suspicion of worse things than this, by the matter of his book. He exhibited himself between the horns of a woeful enough dilemma—either I have falsified Lord Byron’s table-talk, or I have betrayed his confidence. There was no tertium quid. Between these two stools he must, and he did, fall to the ground. At the same time, it is only justice to Captain Medwin to concede, that the admitted fact of his mere stupidity is capable, in our charitable eyes, of accounting for much the greater part, perhaps even the whole, of his offences. A great fool has seldom—very seldom indeed—a good memory; and a very egregious fool is, of course, a bad judge of what may, and what may not, be with honour and propriety revealed to the public, in regard to the private conversation of an illustrious character, whom the said very egregious fool ought never, on any pretence whatever, to have been permitted to approach on terms of anything like familiarity. With respect to a fourth author, who had also touched on the same subject, Colonel Leicester Stanhope, we shall, for the present, only observe, that his book was a fourth disappointment. In a word, to end where we began, we expected little from the appearance of a fifth Philo-Byron, in the person of Mr William Parry.

Nevertheless, we have been exceedingly interested by the perusal of the volume before us: Nor shall we deny that part of our satisfaction arises from the strong confirmation which this plain sailor’s facts afford to the propriety of these views of Lord Byron’s general character, and, above all, of his demeanour and conduct during his last and fatal stay in Greece, which

* The Last Days of Lord Byron. By William Parry. London; Knight and Lacey.
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we ourselves laid before our readers some months ago;*—views which, we have reason to believe, the majority of our readers were pleased to receive at the time with a considerable portion of favour.

This Mr Parry is, as we have said, a plain man, or, to use a favourite phrase of his own, “a doing man.” He had been not merely a fire-eater, but what is called a Fire-master, in our navy, and had, through a long life, served in such a way as to secure a high character for bravery, honesty, and intelligence and skill in his profession. He attracted the notice of Mr Gordon of Cairness, whose generous services in the cause of Greece must be well known to every reader, and was requested to spend some time with him at his seat in Aberdeenshire, in order to consider and draw up plans for supplying the Greeks with a train of field artillery arranged and served on the English model. Mr Gordon was much pleased with Parry’s thorough knowledge of the subject, and with the manliness of his personal behaviour. It being calculated that, for L.10,500, an useful and efficient corps of artillery could be organized in Greece, Mr Gordon sent Parry to wait upon the Greek Committee in London, with the estimates, which he accompanied with the munificent offer to take upon himself one-third of the whole expense, provided the Committee would defray the remainder. Mr Gordon also declared his willingness to repair once more to Greece, there to superintend Parry in the formation of the brigade, and to attend it in the field in whatever capacity he might be supposed best fitted to serve tile corps and the cause.

The Greek committee, for reasons best known to themselves, declined Mr Gordon’s proposals. They, however, set about an artillery corps on a much smaller scale, and at last sent out, under Parry’s care, munitions of various sorts, and a small body of English artizans, who were expected to be of much service in equipping the guns, carriages, &c. in Greece. These men and stores Mr Parry entreated the committee to send direct to Greece by a fast sailing vessel. The committee grudged this expense, and embarked all on board a common heavy-laden merchantman, which had to touch first at Malta, and then at Corfu. There was great risk here, because, had any one betrayed the secret, that English artizans and munitions of war were on board the ship, the authorities at either of these islands must have detained them. Accordingly Parry was obliged to bribe his own workmen in both ports, and encountered a variety of very unpleasing things, that might all have been avoided by the plan he himself had proposed. Worst of all, a great deal of time was lost:—Not less than four months, the most important of the year, were needlessly lost. However, after all this trouble and delay, the ship at last touched the shore of Greece at Dragomestri. Two days after, Parry received orders to debark his men and stores, and send them by boats to Missolonghi. To that place he accordingly proceeded without delay. He arrived there the 7th of February, 1823—about fourteen months before Lord Byron died.

He spent these months in continual intercourse with Lord Byron. Lord Byron was the colonel of the artillery corps—Parry the major. Lord Byron treated him with the utmost frankness and kindness from beginning to end. Parry nursed him on his deathbed: It was to him that Byron made the last effort towards explaining his dying wishes. In a word, the plain honest sense of this sailor—his practical knowledge, and scorn of theoretical notions of all sorts—his manly temper—his utter superiority to all personal fears and annoyances—these good qualities, with whatever humbler matters allied, seem to have effectually gained for Parry Lord Byron’s respect and friendship.

This man now tells his story of what he saw and heard of Lord Byron’s behaviour and conversation while in Greece. He makes no ridiculous professions of accuracy. He plainly says, the idea of noting down what Lord Byron was pleased to say to him in private conversation never once entered his head. But he adds, and who can doubt it, that finding himself thrown into close contact of this sort with a man of Lord Byron’s extraordinary genius and celebrity, whatever things of any importance were said by Lord Byron did make a strong, an indelible impression on his mind. And, with-

* See the article “Lord Byron,” at the beginning of No. XCVII. of this Magazine.
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out pretending to give the words—unless when there is something very striking indeed about them—he does profess himself able and determined to give the substance.
We need, indeed, but little of such professions, to make us believe, that the conversations which he relates did substantially take place between him and Lord Byron. They carry the stamp of authenticity upon their front. The man that said these things was a man of exquisite talent—of extraordinary reach and compass of reflection—of high education and surpassing genius. This is enough for us. Mr Parry is an excellent person in his own way, but he is plainly as incapable of inventing these things, as if he had written himself down on his title-page, “Author of Ahasuerus, a Poem.”

Our readers may free themselves from any apprehensions that we are about to bestow all our tediousness on the affairs-general of Greece. Nothing is farther from our thoughts. We are by no means sure that we thoroughly understand that subject in its breadth and in its details ourselves, nor, if we were, should we think of giving forth our views under the form of a review of Mr Parry’s volume—a volume which owes almost the whole of its value to the light it throws on the personal character of our great departed poet.

To no inconsiderable extent, however, Lord Byron’s personal character is illustrated by the facts which Parry brings out in regard to the general state of Greece during the period of his intercourse with him. The same facts, we are sorry to see and to say, tend to darken others of our countrymen quite as much as to illustrate and adorn the reputation of Byron. We shall merely give, in a single paragraph, what appears to us to be the result as to the one side and the other.

Lord Byron went to Greece, because the Committee-people from England, and Mavrocardato from Greece, had written to him the most pressing letters, assuring him that his presence there would be of the most incalculable service to the Greek cause. He delayed his departure from time to time, alleging that he could be of no use to Greece unless her rival factions would coalesce. Blacquiere assured him, that his appearance would be the signal for unanimity; and he at length passed into the Levant. Even there he lingered for a considerable time, anxious to make it felt that the Greeks, by composing their internal feuds, might purchase his presence, and the command of his resources. He was at last worn out with this delay, and in an evil day and an evil hour he placed himself upon the soil of the Morea.

He was soon convinced that the animosities of the Greek parties were almost hopeless of cure; this, in part, he had looked to; but he found another thing, for which undoubtedly he had been entirely and completely unprepared. He found that the Greek Committee in London, although they had all along professed themselves willing to trust everything to him, if he would but repair to Greece, continued to acknowledge another agent, over whom he could exert no control there, who assumed, and was permitted to assume command, equal at least to what he could exert, over the money, arms, men, &c., transmitted from England to Greece.

This agent was the Honourable Colonel Stanhope, a crack-brained enthusiast of the regular Bentham breed—an officer who considered, and at all times declared, it to be the proudest recollection of his life, that he had had a hand in setting up a free press at Calcutta—and who, soldier though he was, evidently thought nothing of the military means necessary for the emancipation of Greece, compared with the opportunities afforded to him by the Greek insurrection, of trying, or rather of exemplifying upon a new and virgin soil, the efficacy of the thousand grand panaceas for all the evils of human character, laws, and government, which have germinated from the fertile brain of Jeremy Bentham. This man’s absurdity of conduct throughout the whole business, absolutely passes the bounds of imagination; and, indeed, it seems impossible to reconcile it with any notions of sanity.

Nevertheless, here was this Colonel Stanhope protected, cherished, and approved in all his views by the parent Committee of London—allowed to do whatever he pleased—and making continual use of this precious privilege, by doing whatever a cunning fiend might have been expected to suggest, for the purpose of
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ruining the cause he had undertaken to serve. From the beginning
Byron saw through the quackery of this gentleman, who, while a Turkish fleet was hovering on the coast, and a Turkish army on the frontiers, was thinking of little but lithographic presses, and weekly newspapers, and Lancasterian schools, and Missionaries! In vain did Byron tell him that very few Greeks could read a newspaper, and that if they could, the soil ought to be freed ere an ignorant populace were tempted to confound their brains with the jarring theories of western politicians and statists. In vain did he tell him that the Greek populace were profoundly under the influence of their priests, and that any attempts to interfere with the old management of religious and educational concerns then, could not possibly have any effect but that of irritating the clergy, and detaching them from the revolutionary side. In vain did he conjure him to lay aside all his “leading articles,” or, to use the Colonel’s own phrase, his “strong articles”—his gimcrack contrivances of panopticon schools, &c. &c., and-to bend his mind to drilling and disciplining the Greek soldiers. The Colonel was “the favourite son of Bentham,” and he remained true to his sect.

He did at last succeed in publishing his paper, and in one of the very first numbers of it he put forth a flaming address to the Hungarians, calling on them to imitate the example of Greece, and rise against the government of Austria. Byron, we all know, hated the Austrian government as cordially as Stanhope could do, but he was not such a driveller as to wish to see the Greeks forcing that gigantic member of the Holy Alliance into immediate and open hostility. His constant endeavour was to make the Greek cause stand by itself—as a thing entirely unconnected with the political squabbles of Western Europe—as the cause not of a Christian people dissatisfied with particular points in a Christian government, but of an European and a Christian people degraded by remaining under the iron yoke of a misbelieving Tartar tyranny, and endeavouring to shake off that oppression. We confess that it would have required no ordinary tact to keep the two matters quite separate under almost any circumstances;—but the Stanhopes, the Blacquieres, the Bowrings, &c. &c, did all that in them lay to render that which was so obviously desirable, not difficult merely, but impossible. Stanhope, in his Gazette, called on Hungary to rebel against Austria. In his letters to the Greek Committee, since published, he everywhere writes as a hater of monarchy in the abstract—the very notion of a King in Greece was wormwood to him—he insultingly rebuked Mr Parry himself for giving Mavrocordato the style of Prince. This British officer, wearing our King’s coat, and pocketing his pay, appears, even before he had arrived in Greece, (and this from the evidence of his own letters,) to have engaged himself, and at least endeavoured to engage Mr Bowring, in skulking intrigues against the British government of the Ionian Islands. In a word, his letters, his gazettes, and every one step of his conduct, teemed, to use the most compassionate language, with the merest visionary craziness of Jerry-benthamism.

Mavrocardato was, and is, universally admitted to be the most accomplished of the Greek statesmen, and he was at this period the President of the Provisionary Government; yet this agent of the Greek committee rates Major Parry, for giving Mavrocordato the title by which he had always been distinguished, and which Lord Byron, nay, even Sir Thomas Maitland, never thought of refusing him. But this was not all. He openly took part with the faction opposed to Mavrocordato and the existing Greek government; and why? Why, because Mavrocordato, a man of sense and education, who has travelled in Western Europe, and speaks her languages, and has read her books, was thoroughly aware of the unfitness of a free press for Greece in her actual condition, and accordingly discountenanced the setting up of a paper at Missolonghi; whereas Odysseus, a robber captain, in arms in reality against the Greek government as much as against the Turks, had no objections to let Stanhope print as many papers as he liked in Athens, which city the said Odysseus refused, according to the language of Colonel Stanhope’s own eulogy, “to surrender to a weak government;” in other words, was keeping possession of, in opposition to the authorities which
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he had the year before sworn to obey—the very authorities, too, be it observed, under which alone Colonel Stanhope was at the time acting. Odysseus knew that his wild barbarians could no more read a Greek newspaper than they could fly over Olympus, and therefore he cared not what Stanhope printed, so he and his people got, through Stanhope’s means, a part of the loans transmitted from England, for the support of the Greek government and cause.

Lord Byron, then, had to contend first with the unutterable slowness, indecision, and greediness of Mavrocordato and the governing primates; secondly, with the barbarian violence of the robber captains, who had, in fact, joined the Greek cause only for the sake of plunder and free quarters; thirdly, with the actual presence of the Suliotes, who were as bloody as the one of these great factions, and as greedy as the other; and fourthly and lastly, with the eternal folly of Colonel Stanhope and the Greek Committee, who seem to have throughout the whole of this affair done every one thing which they ought not to have done, and neglected every one thing which they ought to have done. Nobody suspects Colonel Stanhope of being any more than a fool in this or in any other matter. We are sorry to say, that some of the other Gentlemen Philhellenes must be content to make considerable explanations ere we hold them entitled to sit down under no heavier suspicions.

The result of this miserable state of things was, that Lord Byron’s naturally irritable, but long and admirably restrained temperament, at last exhausted itself. His nerves gave way. He was “worried to death,” in Parry’s homely phrase. The disease of such a mind soon tells upon the clay that environs it; and our immortal poet fell a sacrifice in the very prime and glory of his manhood, to the too ready zeal with which he had committed himself in this desperate cause—a cause which must continue to be, to all real purposes, desperate, until Greece learns to unite her own energies—and to exert them all in total independence of the brainless heads, and not very heavy purses, of the soi-disant Greek Committee of London.

We hope this little precis may be sufficient to make our readers under-stand the specimens of Mr Parry’s book, which we are now about to lay before them; and we shall make these with considerable freedom, because we perceive that the public, justly tired of a long sequence of silly and idle publications about Lord Byron, are at present rather slow to believe that any new volume, which professes to treat of his concerns, can possess legitimate claims upon their notice. The volume before us has accordingly, in so far as we can judge, attracted comparatively but little attention; and this it is precisely our business to set right.

We shall, of course, endeavour as much as possible, to adhere to Lord Byron. He, his personal character, is our present subject; and we confess that that is a subject about which we feel ourselves, at this moment, much more interested than the success, or non-success, of the Greek cause. That cause was originally a high and a holy source of interest to every educated European: but it has fallen into such miserable hands, that we can scarcely think of it now without heart-sickness. Besides, it has cost England Byron, at seven-and-thirty!

Our first extract shall describe Parry’s first interview with Byron. It took place within a few hours after his arrival at Missolonghi.—

“I was somewhat impatient to see Lord Byron, and readily accepted this offer. Two of our men, who had arrived in the first boat, had already seen him, and had told me, with great warmth, of his kind and condescending behaviour. He had seemed, they said, overjoyed to see some of his countrymen; he told them he was glad they had arrived in safety, and behaved to them in the most hospitable and friendly manner. This cheered my spirits, which were much depressed by severe fatigue, and the information I had received from Colonel Stanhope, that he had no money at his command. Without this it was impossible for me to carry on the service, and I felt abashed and ashamed to come before Lord Byron for the first time in the character of a beggar. He was a nobleman, a stranger, and a man of exalted genius. I had understood I might be of service to him and to Greece, but, on the contrary, I found myself immediately obliged, that I might be enabled even to subsist my men, to have recourse to him for pecuniary aid.

“It was under these mingled feelings of regret and expectation, that I had my first interview with Lord Byron. In five
142The Last Days of Lord Byron.
minutes after
Colonel Stanhope had introduced me, every disagreeable thought had vanished; so kind, so cheering, so friendly was his lordship’s reception of me, that I soon forgot every unpleasant feeling. He gave me his hand, and cordially welcomed me to Greece. ‘He would have been glad,’ he said, ‘to have seen me before; he had long expected me, and now that I was come, with a valuable class of men, and some useful stores, he had hopes that something might be done.’ This was highly flattering to me, and I soon felt a part of that pleasure which beamed from his lordship’s countenance.

“On getting somewhat more at ease, I had time to look about me, and notice the room in which I was. The walls were covered with the insignia of Lord Byron’s occupations. They were hung round with weapons, like an armoury, and supplied with books. Swords of various descriptions and manufacture, rifle-guns and pistols, carbines and daggers, were within reach, on every side of the room. His books were placed over them on shelves, and were not quite so accessible. I afterwards thought, when I came to know more of the man and the country, that this arrangement was a type of his opinion concerning it. He was not one of those who thought the Greeks needed education before obtaining freedom. As I can now interpret the language, there was legibly written on the walls.—‘Give Greece arms and independence, and then learning; I am here to serve her, but I will serve her first with my steel, and afterwards with my pen.’

Lord Byron was sitting on a kind of mattress, but elevated by a cushion that occupied only a part of it, and made his seat higher than the rest. He was dressed in a blue surtout coat and loose trowsers, and wore a foraging-cap. He was attended by an Italian servant, Tita, and a young Greek, of the name of Luca, of a moat prepossessing appearance. Count Gamba, too, came in and out of the room, and Fletcher, his servant, was occasionally in attendance. His lordship desired me to sit down beside him: his conversation very soon became animated, and then his countenance appeared even more prepossessing than at first.

“He began to rally me on the length of my voyage, and told me he had supposed I meant to vie with my namesake, and that I was gone to explore the South Pole instead of coming to Greece. My arrival at length, he added, had taken a load off his mind, and he would not com-plain, if he at last saw Greece flourishing and successful. ‘Why,’ he asked, observing that I did not share his satisfaction, ‘was I not as well pleased as he was?’ Then, with a hint at my sailor habits, he said he knew I wanted refreshment, and sent Tita to bring me some brandy and water. This, however, had not all the effect his lordship wished, and he still rallied me on my dissatisfied appearance, bade me be at home, and explain to him why I was not contented.

“I told his lordship, that I felt my situation very irksome; that I had come to render assistance to the Greeks, and found myself, on the instant of my arrival, obliged to ask him for assistance; that his lordship’s kindness, and what he had said to me, had heightened my regret, and that if he had received me haughtily and proudly, I should have had less objection to trouble him; ‘for,’ I added, ‘Colonel Stanhope informs me that he has no funds to assist me, and has recommended me to ask your lordship for money.’ On hearing this, he rose, twirled himself round on his heel, (which I afterwards found was a common, though not a graceful practice, of his,) and said, ‘Is that all?—I was afraid it was something else. Do not let that give you any uneasiness; you have only to tell me ail your wants, for I like candour, and, as far as I can, I will assist you.’ When his lordship rose, I observed that he was somewhat lame, but his bust appeared perfectly and beautifully formed. After a few moments reflection, he again took his seat, and said he would take some brandy and water with me, on condition that I should tell him all the news in England, and give him all the information in my power.

“I accordingly endeavoured to recollect all the events of any importance which had occurred, or of which I had heard before leaving England; I told him of the proceedings of the Committee, and of everything which I thought would be interesting. * * *

“My first interview with Lord Byron lasted nearly three hours, and his lordship repaid my candour, and the information I had given him, by explaining to me how much he had been harassed and disappointed since his arrival in Greece. Of these subjects, I shall hereafter have more to say, and shall enter more into details; I shall therefore now only observe, that his lordship, when speaking on these topics, displayed a great degree of sensibility, not to say irritation,—that his countenance changed rapidly, and expressed great anxiety. He seemed al-
The Last Days of Lord Byron.143
most to despair of success, but said he would see the contest out. There was then a pallidness in his face, and knitting of his brows, that indicated both weakness and vexation. I have since thought, that his fate was sealed before my arrival in Greece; and that even then he was, so to speak, on his death-bed.”

The next passage we shall quote describes Byron’s domestic habits in Missolonghi:

Lord Byron had taken a small corps of Suliotes into his own pay, and kept them about him as a body guard. They consisted altogether of fifty-six men, and of these a certain number were always on duty. A large outer room in his lordship’s house was appropriated to them, and their carbines were suspended against the walls. Like other soldiers, they found various means to amuse themselves when on guard. While some were walking about, discoursing violently and eagerly, with animated gestures, others were lying or sitting on the floor playing at cards.

“In this room, and among these rude soldiers, Lord Byron was accustomed to walk a great deal, particularly in wet weather. On such occasions he was almost always accompanied by his favourite dog Lyon, who was perhaps his dearest and most affectionate friend. They were, indeed, very seldom separated. Riding or walking, sitting or standing, Lyon was his constant attendant. He can scarcely be said to have forsaken him even in his sleep. Every evening did he go to see that his master was safe before he lay down himself, and then he took his station close to his door, a guard certainly as faithful, though not so efficient, as Lord Byron’s corps of Suliotes. This valuable and affectionate animal was brought to England after Lord Byron’s death, and is now, I believe, in the possession of Mrs Leigh, his lordship’s sister.

“With Lyon, Lord Byron was accustomed not only to associate, but to commune very much and very often. His most usual phrase was, ‘Lyon, you are no rogue, Lyon;’ or ‘Lyon,’ his lordship would say, ‘thou art an honest fellow, Lyon.’ The dog’s eyes sparkled, and his tail swept the floor, as he sat with his haunches on the ground. ‘Thou art more faithful than men, Lyon; I trust thee more.’ Lyon sprang up, and barked and bounded round his master, as much as to say, ‘You may trust me, I will watch actively on every side.’—‘Lyon, I love thee, thou art my faithful dog!’ and Lyon jumped and kissed his master’s hand, as an acknowledgment of his homage. In this sort of mingled talk and gambol Lord Byron passed a good deal of time, and seemed more contented, more calmly self-satisfied, on such occasions, than almost on any other. In conversation and in company he was animated and brilliant, but with Lyon and in stillness he was pleased and perfectly happy.”

* * * *

“He always rose at nine o’clock, or a little later, and breakfasted about ten. This meal consisted of tea without either milk or sugar, dry toast, and watercresses. During his breakfast I generally waited on him to make any reports which were necessary, and take his orders for the labours of the day. When this business was settled, I retired to give the necessary directions to the different officers, and returned so as to be back by eleven o’clock, or a quarter before. His lordship then inspected the accounts, and, in conjunction with his secretary, checked and audited every item in a business-like manner.

“If the weather permitted, he afterwards rode out; if it did not, he used to amuse himself by shooting at a mark with pistols. Though his hand trembled much, his aim was sure, and he could hit an egg four times out of five at the distance of ten or twelve yards.

“It was at this period of the day also, if he did not ride out, that he was generally visited by Prince Mavrocordato and the Primates. If he rode out, the latter visited him towards three or four o’clock, and the former came later in the evening, like one of his private friends. His rides were seldom extended beyond two hours, as he then returned and dined.

“The reader may form an idea of the fever of which Lord Byron died, when I mention his food. He ate very sparingly, and what he did eat was neither nourishing, nor heating, nor blood-making food. He very rarely touched flesh, ate very little fish, used neither spices nor sauces, and dined principally of dried toast, vegetables, and cheese. He drank a very small quantity of wine or cider; but indulged in the use of no spirituous liquors. He took nothing of any consequence during the remainder of the day; and I verily believe, as far as his own personal consumption was concerned, there was not a single Greek soldier in the garrison who did not eat more, and more luxuriously, than this tenderly brought-up, and long-indulged English gentleman and nobleman. He who had fed only on the richest viands of the most luxuriant parts
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of Europe, whose palate had been tickled, from his earliest days, with the choicest wines, now, at the call of humanity and freedom, submitted to live on the coarsest and meanest fare. He was ready, like some general of old Rome, to share the privations of the meanest soldier; and he showed, both by what he submitted to, and by the dangers he braved, that his love of liberty, and of the good cause of mankind, was not limited to writing a few words in their favour, from a comfortable well-warmed library; or to sending from a table, smoking with all the superfluities of French cookery, a small check on his banker. The propriety and utility of some of his measures may possibly admit of a doubt, as in fact they have been censured; but of the purity of his intentions, and the intenseness of his zeal, the dangers he encountered, the privations he submitted to, the time and money he bestowed, and the life he forfeited, there are such proofs as no other man in this age and country has given.

“After his dinner Lord Byron attended the drilling of the officers of his corps in an outer apartment of his own dwelling. Here again he set an admirable example. He submitted to be drilled with them, and went through all those exercises it was proper for them to learn. When these were finished, he very often played a game of single-stick, or indulged in some other severe muscular exertion. He then retired for the evening, and conversed with friends, or employed himself, using the little assistance I was able to give him, studying military tactics. At eleven o’clock I left him, and I was generally the last person he saw except his servants, and then he retired, not however to sleep, but to study. Till nearly four o’clock every morning he was continually engaged reading or writing, and rarely slept more than five hours; getting up again, as I have already said, at nine o’clock. In this manner did Lord Byron pass nearly every day of the time I had the pleasure of knowing him.”

The following little paragraphs are assuredly worth quoting. They relate to incidents which occurred only a few days before Byron was confined to his couch:—

“When the news arrived from England on April the 9th, of the loan for the Greeks having been negotiated in London, Lord Byron also received several private letters, which brought him favourable accounts of his daughter. Whenever he spoke of her, it was with delight to think he was a father, or with a strong feeling of melancholy, at recollecting that her infantine and most endearing embraces were denied to his love. The pleasant intelligence which he had received concerning her, gave a fresh stimulus to his mind, I may almost say revived for a moment a spirit that was already faint and weary, and slumbering in the arms of death.”

* * * *

“Whether the following little anecdote may be regarded as a proof of the respect in which Lord Byron was held by the people, or only of the natural kindness of the peasantry, I will not decide; but as a mere specimen of their manner, it seems worth mentioning.

“He returned one day from his ride more than usually pleased. An interesting countrywoman, with a fine family, had come out of her cottage, and presented him with a curd cheese and some honey, and could not be persuaded to accept of payment for it. ‘I have felt,’ he said, ‘more pleasure this day, and at this circumstance, than for a long time past.’ Then describing to me where he had seen her, he ordered me to find her out, and make her a present in return. ‘The peasantry,’ he said, ‘are by far the most kind, humane, and honest part of the population; they redeem the character of their countrymen. The other classes are so debased by slavery; accustomed, like all slaves, never to speak truth, but only what will please their masters, that they cannot be trusted. Greece would not be worth saving but for the peasantry.’ Lord Byron then sat down to his cheese, and insisted on our partaking of his fare. A bottle of porter was sent for and broached, that we might join Byron in drinking health and happiness to the kind family which had procured him so great a pleasure.

“One of the sentiments constantly uppermost in Lord Byron’s mind, and affording decisive evidence how deeply be felt his own disappointment, was caution in not lending himself to deceive others. Over and over again did he, in our conversations, dwell on the necessity of telling the people of England the truth as to Greece; over and over again did he condemn the works which had been published on the state of Greece. Lying, hypocritical publications he was accustomed to call them, deceiving both the Greeks and the English. To tell the truth on everything relating to Greece, was one of his most frequent exhortations. It was his opinion, that without English assistance, more particularly as to mo-
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ney, the Greeks could not succeed; and he knew that if the English public were once imposed on to a considerable amount, no assistance could afterwards be expected, and Greece would either return under the Turkish yoke, fall under the sceptre of some other barbarian power, or remain for many years the prey of discord and anarchy. While the loan was negotiating, and after it was contracted for, he frequently congratulated himself that he had never written a single line to induce his countrymen to subscribe to it; and that they must hold him perfectly guiltless, should they afterwards lose their money, of having in any way contributed to delude them. ‘I hope,’ he was accustomed to say, ‘this government which has enough on its hands, will behave so as not to injure its credit. I have not in any way encouraged the people of England to lend their money. I don’t understand loan-jobbing, and I should make a sorry appearance in writing home lying reports.*”

* * * *

Lord Byron had a black groom with him in Greece, an American by birth, to whom he was very partial.† He always insisted on this man’s calling him Massa, whenever he spoke to him. On one occasion, the groom met with two women of his own complexion, who had been slaves to the Turks, and liberated, but had been left almost to starve when the Greeks had risen on their tyrants. Being of the same colour was a bond of sympathy between them and the groom, and he applied to me to give both these women quarters in the seraglio. I granted the application, and mentioned it to Lord Byron, who laughed at the gallantry of his groom, and ordered that he should be brought before him at ten o’clock the next day, to answer for his presumption in making such an application.

“At ten o’clock accordingly he attended his master, with great trembling and fear, but stuttered so when he attempted to speak, that he could not make himself understood; Lord Byron endeavouring, almost in vain, to preserve his gravity, reproved him severely for his presumption. Blacky, stuttered a thousand excuses, and was ready to do anything to appease his Massa’s anger. His great yellow eyes wide open, he trembling from head to foot, his wandering and stuttering excuses, his visible dread, all tended to provoke laughter, and Lord Byron, fearing his own dignity would be hove overboard, told him to hold his tongue, and listen to his sentence. I was commanded to enter it in his memorandum-book, and then he pronounced in a solemn tone of voice, while Blacky stood aghast, expecting some severe punishment, the following doom:—‘My determination is, that the children born of these black women, of which you may be the father, shall be my property, and I will maintain them. What say you?’ ‘Go—Go—God bless you, Massa, may you live great while,’ stuttered out the groom, and sallied forth to tell the good news to the two distressed women.

Lord Byron was a remarkably sincere and frank man, and harboured no thought concerning another he did not express to him. Whatever he had to say of or against any man, that he said on the first opportunity openly, and to his face. Neither could he bear concealment in others. If one person were to speak of a third party in his presence, he would be sure to repeat it the first time the two opponents were in presence of one another. This was a habit of which his acquaintance were well aware, and it spared Lord Byron the trouble of listening to a mob of idle and degrading calumnies. He probably expected by it, to teach others that sincerity he prized so highly; at the same time, he was not insensible to pleasure, at seeing the confusion of the party exposed.”

Mr Parry thus describes the interview which he had with Byron on the
* “This cautious conduct may perhaps excite some suspicions in the minds of those who hare subscribed to the Greek loan; or who are now holders of Greek bonds. Lord Byron, even when his existence was of such material service in assisting the Greeks, concluded, I suppose, that the chances for the payment either of the principal or the interest of the loan were not great, and therefore he congratulated himself that he had been in no wise instrumental in persuading, by any sort of representations, the people of this country to lend their money to the Greeks. Since Lord Byron’s death, however, though they have met with some terrible disasters, their government seems to have triumphed over its domestic opponents, and to be now more than ever in a fair way of uniting all the Greeks in the pursuit of the one great object. The Turkish power also is evidently growing weaker, and cannot sustain even against this feeble opponent a protracted contest. When we see the ill-organised state of Turkey, the anarchy of its councils, the discontent of its soldiers, and the rebellion of its chiefs, our wonder is rather excited that so much time should have elapsed before the Greeks have completely achieved their independence, than that they should have struggled so long. This is partly explained. by the division among their chiefs; and by circumstances not to the honour of some individuals in our country.”
† “This man died in London a short time back.”
146The Last Days of Lord Byron.
evening after he was taken on the 10th of April, 1824.

“It was seven o’clock in the evening when I saw him, and then I took a chair at his request, and sat down by his bedside, and remained till ten o’clock. He sat up in his bed, and was then calm and collected. He talked with me on a variety of subjects connected with himself and his family; he spoke of his intentions as to Greece, his plans for the campaign, and what he should ultimately do for that country. He spoke to me about my own adventures. He spoke of death also with great composure, and though he did not believe his end was so very near, there was something about him so serious and so firm, so resigned and composed, so different from anything I had ever before seen in him, that my mind misgave me, and at times foreboded his speedy dissolution.

“‘Parry,’ he said, when I first went to him, ‘I have much wished to see you to-day. I have had most strange feelings, but my head is now better; I have no gloomy thoughts, and no idea but that I shall recover. I am perfectly collected, I am sure I am in my senses, but a melancholy will creep over me at times.’ The mention of the subject brought the melancholy topics back, and a few exclamations shewed what occupied Lord Byron’s mind when he was left in silence and solitude. ‘My wife! My Ada! My country! the situation of this place, my removal impossible, and perhaps death, all combine to make me sad. Since I have been ill, I have given to all my plans much serious consideration. You shall go on at your leisure preparing for building the schooner, and when other things are done, we will put the last hand to this work, by a visit to America.* To reflect on this has been a pleasure to me, and has turned my mind from ungrateful thoughts. When I left Italy I had time on board the brig to give full scope to memory and reflection. It was then I came to that resolution I have already informed you of. I am convinced of the happiness of domestic life. No man on earth respects a virtuous woman more than I do, and the prospect of retirement in England with my wife and Ada, gives me an idea of happiness I have never experienced before. Retirement will be everything to me, for heretofore my life has been like the ocean in a storm.’

“Then adverting to his more immediate attendants, he said, ‘I have closely observed to-day the conduct of all around me. Tita is an admirable fellow; he has not been out of the house for several days. Bruno is an excellent young man, and very skilful, but I am afraid he is too much agitated. I wish you to be as much about me as possible, you may prevent me being jaded to death, and when I recover I assure you I shall adopt a different mode of living. They must have misinformed you when they told you I was asleep. I have not slept, and I can’t imagine why they should tell you I was asleep.

“‘You have no conception of the unaccountable thoughts which come into my mind when the fever attacks me. I fancy myself a Jew, a Mahomedan, and a Christian of every profession of faith. Eternity and space are before me; but on this subject, thank God, I am happy and at ease. The thought of living eternally, of again reviving, is a great pleasure. Christianity is the purest and most liberal religion in the world, but the numerous teachers who are continually worrying mankind with their denunciations and their doctrines, are the greatest enemies of religion. I have read with more attention than half of them the book of Christianity, and I admire the liberal and truly charitable principles which Christ has laid down. There are questions connected with this subject, which none but Almighty God can solve. Time and space who can conceive—none but God, on him I rely.’”

These passages cannot, we think, fail to gratify our readers. The view they give of Lord Byron’s kind, natural temper, frank and engaging manners, and noble self-possession in the midst of all the irritations of disease and disgust, must go far we think to convince the most sceptical, that the epithet of Satanic was not the happiest which a contemporary poet might have applied to the author of Child Harold. But we have no wish to resume a subject which we have already discussed at some length—
“Let them blush now who never blush’d before,
And those who have blush’d, let them blush the more.”
We proceed to give a few extracts from the part of
Parry’s book, in which Lord Byron’s conversation is described. First, hear Byron himself on the Greek Committee and their agents.

* This was in connexion with his Lordship’s views as to Greece, stated in another place. The object was to get the Americans to acknowledge the government and independence of Greece.
The Last Days of Lord Byron. 147

“‘I conceive,’ he added, ‘“that I have been already grossly ill-treated by the committee. In Italy, Mr Blaquiere, their agent, informed me that every requisite supply would be forwarded with all dispatch. I was disposed to come to Greece, but I hastened my departure in consequence of earnest solicitations. No time was to be lost, I was told; and Mr Blaquiere, instead of waiting on me at his return from Greece, left a paltry note, which gave no information whatever. If I ever meet with him, I shall not fail to mention my surprise at his conduct; but it has been all of a piece. I wish the acting committee had had some of the trouble which has fallen on me since my arrival here; they would have been more prompt in their proceedings, and would have known better what the country stood in need of. They would not have delayed the supplies a day; and they would not have sent out German officers, poor fellows, to starve at Missolonghi, but for my assistance. I am a plain man, and cannot comprehend the use of printing presses to a people who do not read. Here the committee have sent supplies of maps, I suppose, that I may teach the young mountaineers geography. Here are bugle-horns, without bugle-men, and it is a chance if we can find any body in Greece to blow them. Books are sent to a people who want guns; they ask for a sword, and the Committee give them the lever of a printing press. Heavens! one would think the Committee meant to inculcate patience and submission, and to condemn resistance. Some materials for constructing fortifications they have sent, but they have chosen their people so ill, that the work is deserted, and not one para have they sent to procure other labourers.

“‘Their secretary, Mr Bowring, was disposed, I believe, to claim the privileges of an acquaintance with me. He wrote me a long letter, about the classic land of freedom, the birth-place of the arts, the cradle of genius, the habitation of the gods, the heaven of poets, and a great many such fine things. I was obliged to answer him, and I scrawled some nonsense in reply to his nonsense; but I fancy I shall get no more such epistles. “When I came to the conclusion of the poetry part of my letter, I wrote, ‘so much for blarney, now for business.’ I have not since heard in the same strain from Mr Bowring.

“‘Here, too, is the chief agent of the Committee, Colonel Stanhope, organizing the whole country. He leaves nothing untouched, from the general government to the schools for children. He has a plan for organizing the military force, for establishing posts, for regulating the administration of justice, for making Mr Bentham the apostle of the Greeks, and for whipping little boys in the newest and most approved mode. He is for doing all this without a reference to any body, or any thing; complains bitterly of a want of practical statesmen in Greece, and would be glad, I believe, to impart a large supply of Mr Bentham’s books and scholars. Mavrocordato he openly beards, as if the Prince knew nothing of Greece, and was quite incapable of forming a correct opinion of its interests. At the same time, he has no funds to carry all his projects into execution. He is a mere schemer and talker, more of a saint than a soldier; and with a great deal of pretended plainness, a mere politician, and no patriot.

“‘His printer and publisher, Dr Meyler, is a German adventurer, who is quite in a rage with the quakers, for sending medicines to Greece. He knows nothing of the Greek or the English language; and if he did, who would buy his paper? The Greeks have no money, and will not read newspapers for ages to come. There is no communication with different parts of the country; there is no means of receiving any news; and no means of sending it, when got. Stanhope begins at the wrong end, and from observing that, in our wealthy and civilized country, rapid communication is one means of improvement, he wants to establish posts—mail-carts, I believe is his object, among a people who have no food. Communication, though a cause of increased wealth and increased civilization, is the result of a certain degree of both; and he would have it without the means. He is like all political jobbers, who mistake the accessories of civilization for its cause; they think if they only hoist the colours of freedom, they will immediately transform a crazy water-logged bark into a proud man-of-war. Stanhope, I believe, wants discussion in Greece—pure abstract discussion; as if he were ignorant, that in a country where there are one hundred times as many readers, proportionally, as in Greece, where the people have been readers of newspapers for a century, and read them every day, they care nothing about his favourite discussion, and will not listen either to Mr Bentham’s, or any other person’s logic. I have subscribed to his paper, to get rid of Stanhope’s importunities.

“‘I thought Colonel Stanhope, being a soldier, would have shewn himself dif-
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ferently. He ought to know what a notion like Greece needs for its defence, and being on the acting Committee, he should have told them that arms, and the materials for carrying on war, were what the Greeks required. The country once cleared of the enemy, the land would he cultivated, commerce would increase, and if a good government were established, knowledge and improvement of every kind, even including a multitude of journals, would speedily follow. But Stanhope, I repeat, is beginning at the wrong end, and expects by introducing some of the signs of wealth and knowledge, to make the people rich and intelligent. He might as well expect to give them the opulence of London, by establishing a Long’s Hotel in this swamp; or to make the women adopt all our fashions, by setting up a man-milliner’s shop.

“‘Gordon was a much wiser and more practical man than Stanhope. Stanhope has brought with him Nabob airs from Hindustan; and while he cajoles the people, wishes to govern them. He would be delighted, could he become administrator of the revenue, or resident at the court of the Greek republic. Gordon has been in Greece, and expended a large sum of money here. He bought his experience, and knows the country. His plan was the one to have acted on; but his noble offer seems so far to have surpassed the notions and expectations of the Committee, that it staggered them. They had done nothing like it, and could not credit this generosity and enthusiasm in another. All their deeds have been only talk and foolery. Had their whole property been at stake in Greece, they would have shewn more zeal. Mr Gordon’s offer would have been promptly acceded to; we should have had, by this time, an army regularly organized of three thousand men, Lepanto would have been taken, and Greece secured. Well, well, I’ll have my revenge: talk of subjects for Don Juan, this Greek business, its disasters and mismanagement, have furnished me with matter for a hundred cantos. Jeremy Bentham and his scholar, Colonel Stanhope, shall be two of my heroes.’”

The following is a most important passage indeed. In it we have Lord Byron detailing, in a manner the sincerity of which it is impossible to doubt, his own views concerning the ultimate prospects of Greece; and surely the exposition is such, that it could have come from no mind in which sense, wisdom, and genius, were not equally inherent. It is the only thing upon the subject that we have ever been able to think worth a second reading.

“‘The cause of Greece,’ said Lord Byron, ‘naturally excites our sympathy. The very name of the country is associated in our minds with all that is exalted in virtue, or delightful in art. From it we have derived our knowledge, and under the guiding hand of its wisdom, did modern Europe make its first tottering and feeble steps towards civilization. In every mind at all embued with knowledge, she is regarded with the affection of a parent. Her people are Christians contending against Turks, and slaves struggling to be free. There never was a cause which, in this outline view of the matter, had such strong and commanding claims on the sympathy of the people of all Europe, and particularly of the people of England. But we must not at the same time forget what is the present state of the Greek population.

“‘We must not forget, though we speak of Greece and the Greeks, that there is no distinct country and no distinct people. There is no country, except the Islands, with a strongly-marked boundary separating it from other countries, either by physical properties, or by the manners and language of the people, which we can properly call Greece. The boundaries of ancient Greece are not the boundaries of modern Greece, or of the countries inhabited by those to whom we give the name of Greeks. The different tribes of men, also, to whom we give this one general name, seem to have little or nothing in common more than the same faith and the same hatred of the Turks, their oppressors. There is the wily money-making Greek of the islands, the debased, intriguing, and corrupted Greek of the towns on the continent, and there is the hardy Greek peasant, whose good qualities are the redeeming virtues of the whole population. Under their chiefs and primates, under their captains and magistrates, they are now divided by more local jealousies, and more local distinctions, than in the days of their ancient glory, when Greece had no enemies but Greeks. We must not suppose under our name of Greeks, an entire, united, and single people, kept apart from all others by strongly-marked geographical or moral distinctions. On the contrary, those who are now contending for freedom, arc a mixed race of various tribes of men, having different apparent interests, and different opinions. Many of them differ from and hate one another, more
The Last Days of Lord Byron.149
even than they differ from and hate the Turks, to whose maxims of government and manners some of them, particularly the primates, are much attached. It is quite erroneous, therefore, to suppose under the name of Greece, one country, or under the name of Greeks, one people.

“‘The people whom we have come to assist have also the name of insurgents, and however just their cause, or enlightened their own view of the principles on which they contend, they must and will be considered by the government of Europe as insurgents, with all the disadvantages belonging to the name, till they are completely successful. At the beginning of the insurrection, all the Turks in authority, and their adherents, were indiscriminately massacred, their property plundered, and their power, wherever the insurrection was successful, annihilated. Their places of worship were destroyed; the storks, a bird they reverence with a sort of idolatry, were everywhere shot, that no remembrance except hatred of the Turkish name, should exist in the country. Such acts are the natural consequences of long-suffering, particularly among men who have some traditional knowledge of the high renown of their ancestors; but they have not contributed to soften the Greek character; nor has the plunder of their masters failed to sow for the time the seeds of dissension and ambition among themselves. The insurrection was literally a slave breaking his chains on the head of his oppressor; but in escaping from bondage, the Greeks acted without a plan. There was no system of insurrection organized, and the people, after the first flushing of their hatred was over, were easily stirred up to animosity against each other, and they fell again under the dominion of some ambitious chiefs, who had before been either the soldiers or the civil agents of the Pachas. They now want all the energy and the unity derived from an organized system of government, taming some of the passions, and directing others to the public good. Time will bring such a system; for a whole nation can profit by no other teacher. A system of government must and will arise suitable to the knowledge and the wants of the people, and the relations which now exist among the different classes of them.

“‘I do not mean to say that they are not to profit by the experience of other people; on the contrary, I would have them acquire all the knowledge they con, but they cannot be a book-learned people for ages;—they cannot for ages have that knowledge and that equality amongst them which are found in Europe, and therefore I would not recommend them to follow implicitly any system of government now established in the world, or to square their institutions by the theoretical forms of any constitution. I am still so much attached to the constitution of England personally, that were it to be attacked,—were any attempts made by any faction or party at home to put down its ancient and honourable aristocracy, I would be one of the first to uphold their cause with my life and fortune. At the same time I would not recommend that constitution to another country. It is the duty of every honourable man to assist every nation and every individual, as far as he can, in obtaining rational freedom, but before we can do this we must know in what freedom consists.

“‘In the United States of America there is more practical freedom, and a form of government both abstractedly better and more suited to the situation of the Greeks than any other model I know of. From what I have already said of the different interests and divisions which prevail in Greece, it is to me plain that no other government will suit it so well as a federation. I will not say a federation of republics, but a federation of states, each of these states having that particular form of government most suitable to the present situation and wishes of its people. There is no abstract form of government which we can call good. I wont say with Pope, that “whate’er is best administered is best;” but I will say, that every government derives its efficiency as well as its power from the people. Despotism cannot exist where they are not sluggish, inert, insensible to political rights, and careless of anything but animal enjoyment. Neither can freedom flourish where they confide implicitly in one class of men, and where they are not one and all watchful to protect themselves, and prevent both individual and general encroachment.

“‘In the Islands and on the Continent wealth and power are very differently distributed, and the governments are conducted on different principles. It would be absurd, therefore, and perhaps impossible, to give the Islands and the Continent the same sort of government. I say, therefore, the Grecian confederation must be one of states, and not of republics. Any attempt of an individual, or of any one state, to gain supremacy, will bring on civil war and destruction. At the same time the federation might
150The Last Days of Lord Byron.
have a head like the United States of America. Each state might be represented in a congress, and a president elected every four years in succession, from one of the three or four great divisions of the whole federation. The Morea might choose the first president; the second might be elected by the Islands; Western Greece might select the third; and should Candia be united with Greece, which is necessary for the permanent independence of the whole, its inhabitants should in their turn elect a fourth president. On some plan of this kind a federation of the States of Greece might be formed, and it would be recommended to the Greeks by bearing some faint resemblance to the federation of their glorious ancestors; but any attempt to introduce one uniform system of government in every part of the country, however excellent in principle, will only embroil the different classes, generating anarchy, and ending in slavery.

“‘No system of government in any part of Greece can be permanent, which does not leave in the hands of the peasantry the chief part of the political power. They are warmly attached to their country, and they arc the best portion of the people. Under a government in the least degree equitable, they must increase rapidly both in numbers and wealth; and unless they are now placed, in a political point of view, on an equality with other classes, it will soon be necessary to oppress them. They are not now sensible of their own importance, but they soon will be under a Greek government, and they can only be retained in obedience by gaining over their affections.

“‘Though the situation and climate of Greece are admirable, it has been impossible for the country to prosper under the yoke of the Turks. Their idleness, ignorance, oppression, and hostility to improvement, have nearly excluded the Greeks from any participation in the general progress of civilization. Where they have had the least opportunity of gaining either knowledge or wealth, they have eagerly embraced it. The inhabitants of the Islands are much better informed than those of the Continent, and they are the most skilful as well as the boldest seamen, and the most acute traders, to be found in the whole course of the Mediterranean. The people are naturally as intelligent as their ancestors, but they have been debased and brutified by the tyrannical government of the Turks. Now there is some hope of their living under a better system, they will soon become both industrious and enterprising. Not only will they be more happy and flourishing as a nation, but having within them the elements of improvement, they must increase in power as the Turkish empire decays. There are numerous tribes in Asia connected with them by language and manners, which would be incorporated with them in their progress, and they might extend European civilization through the ancient empire of Cyrus and Xerxes, till they again met on the borders of Hindostan with those people, who held out to them the right hand of fellowship in their first struggles for freedom and independence. This is what Greece might do, what in fact she formerly did. Not that I want to see the Greeks gaining power by conquest, they have territory enough; but, us I have said, the divisions among her different tribes, the want of unity in their views, the discord of her chieftains, are now so great, that I am afraid all we can rationally hope for is, that by dint of hard fighting against the Turks in summer, and quarrelling among themselves in winter, they may preserve a troublesome sort of national independence, till the Turkish empire crumbles into ruins. They may then have a chance of forming a distinguished province of some one of those mighty European monarchies which seem destined gradually to supplant the despotisms of Asia with a more regular and milder despotism.

“‘The Greek chiefs taken collectively,’ said Lord Byron, ‘are a very respectable body of men. With one of them (Londa,) I am particularly acquainted. I stopped at his house for some time when I was formerly in Greece, and he would not accept of a parra for the trouble and expense I put him to. He presented me also with a very pretty horse at my departure. (This I shall not forget.) The only chiefs who are particularly suspected of ambitious views are Colocotroni and Ulysses. Colocotroni, I am informed, was a Captain in the Greek light infantry in the Ionian Islands; and at the commencement of the Greek contest, went over to the Morea with a number of adventurers. Whilst there was Turkish property to plunder, and whilst he could exact supplies from the poor peasantry, his force was respectably kept up. Of himself he has taken good care, having forwarded to the Islands, for his own private use, all the plunder he has been able to amass. He is said to have acquired great wealth. Except the power this may give him, and it will keep him afloat for some time, he will soon exhaust his resources. The peasantry are
The Last Days of Lord Byron.151
now bare; he has swept their houses cleaner than ever the Turks did; and his mercenary followers, finding they can get nothing more under his standard, will soon leave him. Mark my word, Napoli di Romania will soon be evacuated by him; and either the Greek cause will not flourish, or he will fail.

“‘Ulysses is suspected by the Greek government. A short time back two messengers were sent to him with orders from the government, and he put them both to death. He has been a robber, and was brought up in the service of Ali Pacha; both which circumstances excite suspicion. These difficulties will probably be surmounted when the government gets funds, for it is quite true in Greece, that he who has money has power. I have experienced this since my arrival, and have had offers that would surprise you were I to tell you of them, and which would turn the head of any man less satiated than I am, and more desirous of possessing power than of contributing to freedom and happiness.

“‘To all these offers, and to every application made to me, which had a tendency to provoke disputes or increase discord, I have always replied, I came here to serve Greece; agree among yourselves for the good of your country, and whatever is your united resolve, and whatever the government commands, I shall be ready to support with my fortune and my sword. I am here to act against the external enemies and tyrants of Greece, and will not take part with any faction in the country. We who come here to fight for Greece, have no right to meddle with its internal affairs, or dictate to the people and government; since I have been here, I have seen and felt quite enough to try the temper of any man, but I will remain here, while there is a gleam of hope.

“‘Much is expected from the loan, and I know that without money it is impossible to succeed; but I am apprehensive this foreign assistance will be looked on by each of the chiefs as a prize to be obtained by contention, and may lead to a civil war. The government, which has contracted for the loan, looks with no favourable eye on Colocotroni and Ulysses, and yet they are, probably, two of the bravest and most skilful of the military chieftains. I have advised Mavrocordato to recommend the government to supply these chiefs with money, but to keep them as short as possible. I have also recommended him, and if this advice is followed much good may be effected, immediately on the receipt of the loan to pay up the arrears of the troops, particularly of the Sulliots, and to take care that their families are provided for. They are the best mountain-soldiers in Greece, and perhaps in the world; but they are without a country, and without a home. I know that an offer has been made to restore them to their former country if they will forsake the Greek cause; and I see no means of firmly attaching them to it, but to pay them regularly, and, by providing for their families, to secure hostages for their continued services.

“‘Mr Canning may do much for Greece: I hope he will continue in office. He is a clever man, and has an opportunity, beyond all his predecessors, of effecting great things. The ball is at his feet, but he must keep a high hand, and neither swerve to the right nor left. South America will give him an opportunity of acting on sound principles: on this point he will not be shackled. The
“‘I should have left this part of the subject in the obscurity of the text, had I not seen it stated in the ‘London Magazine,’ I think, that Lord Byron had a bad motive for his exertions in the cause of Greece. It is insinuated that he was actuated by the vulgar ambition of a conqueror, and wished to be something like a king in Greece. No insinuation was ever more unfounded. He had offers of this kind made to him, but he refused. With his pecuniary resources, such is the mercenary disposition of the Greeks, it was, I am persuaded, only necessary for him to have devoted his fortune to the purpose, and he could have formed an army that would have incorporated in it all that was brave and ambitious in Greece. No single chieftain could have resisted; and all of them would have been obliged, because they could not trust one another, to join their forces with his. The whole of the Suliotes were completely at his bock. He could have commanded and procured the assassination of any man in Greece, for a sum too trifling to mention. The task would nave been full of danger undoubtedly, but what attempt to gain such power is not? It was not however beyond his abilities, had his inclination inclined him to undertake it. He was too certain of commanding the respect of mankind by his admirable talents, to hunt after their admiration by any kind of vulgar atrocity. He never wished to possess political power in Greece, though he fought for her freedom; and he might have been the head man of the country, had he chosen to oppose the government.
“That he was sensible of his power, is quite evident from what he frequently said to me. ‘Any man who had money,’ he said, ‘may arrogate consequence to himself. What prevents me, if I were so minded, from forming a large military force in Greece? I might send to England and procure a set of veteran practical non-commissioned officers and practical mechanics, by whose means, and my own resources, I could set many things in motion. If I had only men to teach the Greeks some of the necessary arts, and were able to supply their want of warlike stores, I could find plenty of men: and an army might be at my command. The fortifications I could repair so as to make them secure against all attacks. The navy I could set afloat, and, if I liked, have my own way in Greece; but I repeat I came here to serve the Greeks on their own conditions, and in their own way, and I will not swerve while life remains, from this intention.”’
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great mechanical power of England, her vast ingenuity, gives him the control of the world; but the very existence of England’s superiority hangs on the balance of his decision. This minister bears all the responsibility. With respect to Greece it is different. The Turkish empire is our barrier against the power of Russia. The Greeks, should they gain their independence, will have quite sufficient territory in the Morea, Western Greece, and the islands.

“‘It will take a century to come to change their character. Canning, I have no doubt, will proceed with caution—he can act strictly honourably to the Turks. I have no enmity to the Turks individually—they are quite as good as the Greeks: I am displeased to hear them called barbarians. They are charitable to the poor, and very humane to animals. Their curse is the system of their government, and their religion or superstition.”

Our readers must turn to Mr Parry’s own page for a great deal more of Lord Byron’s table talk. They will find many sound English sentiments, even in regard to the English politics of the day—they will find views as to America equally just and liberal—they will find the most contemptuous allusions to the soi-disant liberals with whom Lord Byron had come into personal contact, such as old Cartwright, Leigh Hunt, &c.; and upon every occasion an open avowal of the deepest respect for the aristocracy of Britain, which these poor creatures have spent their lives in endeavouring to overthrow.

Of all this, and also of the affecting narrative which Mr Parry gives of Lord Byron’s last days, strictly so called, we shall quote nothing. The main outline of his illness is already sufficiently before the public; and these new details are so painful, that though we do not wish not to have read them, we certainly shall never torture ourselves with reading them again. The spectacle of youth, and rank, and genius, meeting with calm resolution the approach of death, under external circumstances of the most cheerless description, may afford a lesson to us all! But Mr Parry has painted this scene with far too rude a pencil; and, indeed, the print which he has inserted of Byron on his miserable bed, and almost in the agonies of death, attended by Parry himself and Tita, ought to be omitted in every future edition. It is obviously a got-up thing—a mere eyetrap—and for one person whose diseased taste it pleases, will undoubtedly disgust a thousand who ought to be acquainted with this book.

In order that our article may terminate pleasantly, we have reserved wherewithal to wind it up, Parry’s description of an interview which he had with the personage whom Colonel Stanhope mentions as “the finest genius of the most enlightened age, the immortal Bentham.” We shall give the sailor’s rough sketch of the Patriarch without note or comment—in truth it needs none; and, we have no doubt, posterity will not disdain to hang it up alongside of the more professional performance of that other fine genius of our enlightened century—the immortal Hazlitt—in his noble gallery of portraits, entitled “The Spirit of The Age.”

Lord Byron asked me, in the course of my conversations, did I know Mr Bentham? I said I had seen him previously to my leaving England; that he had invited me to dine with him, and had been with me to see the preparations for the expedition. He had behaved very civilly to me, I said, but I thought him a little flighty. Lord Byron eagerly asked me in what way, and I told him. At hearing my account his lordship laughed most immoderately, and made me repeat it over and over again. He declared, when he had fished out every little circumstance, he would not have lost it for a thousand guineas. I shall here relate this little occurrence, not out of any disrespect for Mr Bentham, but because he is a great man, and the world are very fond of hearing of great men. Moreover, Lord Byron has been somewhat censured, chiefly, I think, for not having a most profound respect for Mr Bentham; and the following little story goes at least to prove, that some of this philosopher’s peculiarities might very naturally excite the laughter of the poet. Mr Bentham is said also to have a great wish for celebrity, and he will not, therefore, be displeased by my sounding another note to his fame, which may, perchance, convey it where it has not yet readied.

“Shortly before I left London for Greece, Mr Bowring, the honorary secretary to the Greek Committee, informed me, that Mr Jeremy Bentham wished to see the stores and materials preparing for the Greeks, and that he had done me the honour of asking me to break-
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fast with him some day, that I might afterwards conduct him to see the guns, &c.

“‘Who the devil is Mr Bentham?’ was my rough reply, ‘I never heard of him before.’ Many of my readers may still be in the same state of ignorance, and it will be acceptable to them, I hope, to hear of the philosopher.

“‘Mr Bentham,’ said Mr Bowring, ‘is one of the greatest men of the age, and for the honour now offered to you I waited many a long day; I believe for more than two years.’

“‘Great or little, I never heard of him before; but if he wants to see me, why I’ll go.’

“It was accordingly arranged that I should visit Mr Bentham, and that Mr Bowring should see him to fix the time, and then inform me. In a day or two afterwards I received a note from the honorary secretary, to say I was to breakfast with Mr Bentham on Saturday. It happened that I lived at a distance from town, and having heard something of the primitive manner of living and early hours of philosophers, I arranged with my wife over-night, that I would get up very early on the Saturday morning, that I might not keep Mr Bentham waiting. Accordingly I arose with the dawn, dressed myself in haste, and brushed off for Queen’s Square, Westminster, as hard as my legs could carry me. On reaching the Strand, fearing I might be late, being rather corpulent, and not being willing to go into the presence of so very great a man, as I understood Mr Jeremy Bentham to be, puffing and blowing, I took a hackney coach, and drove up to his door about eight o’clock. I found a servant girl afoot, and told her I came to breakfast with Mr Bentham by appointment.

“She ushered me in, and introduced me to two young men, who looked no more like philosophers, however, than my own children. I thought they might be Mr Bentham’s sons, but this I understood was a mistake. I shewed them the note I had received from Mr Bowring, and they told me Mr Bentham did not breakfast till three o’clock. This surprised me very much, but they told me I might breakfast with them; which I did, though I was not much flattered by the honour of sitting down with Mr Bentham’s clerks, when I was invited by their master. Poor Mr Bowring, thought I, he must be a meek spirited young man if it was for this he waited so impatiently.

“I supposed the philosopher himself did not get up till noon, as he did not breakfast till so late; but in this I was also mistaken. About ten o’clock I was summoned to his presence, and mustered up all my courage and all my ideas for the meeting. His appearance struck me forcibly. His white thin locks, cut straight in the fashion of the Quakers, and hanging, or rather floating, on his shoulders; his garments something of their colour and cut, and his frame rather square and muscular, with no exuberance of flesh, made up a singular looking, and not an inelegant old man. He welcomed me with a few hurried words, but without any ceremony, and then conducted me into several rooms, to shew me his ammunition and materials of war. One very large room was nearly filled with books, and another with unbound works, which I understood were the philosopher’s own compositions. The former, he said, furnished him his supplies; and there was a great deal of labour required to read so many volumes.

“I said inadvertently, ‘I suppose you have quite forgotten what is said in the first, before you read the last.’ Mr Bentham, however, took this in good part, and taking hold of my arm, said we would proceed on our journey. Accordingly, off we set, accompanied by one of his young men, carrying a portfolio, to keep, I suppose, a log of our proceedings.

“We went through a small garden, and passing out of a gate, I found we were in Saint James’s Park. Here I noticed that Mr Bentham had a very snug dwelling, with many accommodations, and such a garden as belongs in London only to the first nobility. But for his neighbours, I thought (for he has a barrack of soldiers on one side of his premises,) I should envy him his garden more than his great reputation. On looking at him, I could not but admire his hale, and even venerable appearance. I understood he was seventy-three years of age, and therefore I concluded we should have a quiet comfortable walk. Very much to my surprise, however, we had scarcely got into the park when he let go my arm, and set off trotting like a Highland messenger. The park was crowded, and the people, one and all, seemed to stare at the old man; but, heedless of all this, he trotted on, his white locks floating in the wind, as if he were not seen by a single human being.

“As soon as I could recover from my surprise, I asked the young man, ‘Is Mr Bentham flighty?’ pointing to my head.—‘O, no, it’s his way,’ was the hurried answer; ‘he thinks it good for his health, but I must run after him,’ and off set the
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youth in chase of the philosopher. I must not lose my companions, thought I, and off I set also. Of course, the eyes of every human being in the park were fixed on the running veteran and his pursuers. There was Jerry a-head, then came his clerk and his portfolio, and I being a heavier sailer than either, was bringing up the rear.

“What the people might think, I dont know, but it seemed to me a very strange scene, and I was not much delighted at being made such an object of attraction. Mr Bentham’s activity surprised me, and I never overtook him, or came near him, till we reached the Horse-Guards, where his speed was checked by the Blues drawn up in array. Here we threaded in amongst horses and men till we escaped at the other gate into Whitehall. I now thought the crowded streets would prevent any more racing, but several times he escaped from us, and trotted off, compelling us to trot after him till we reached Mr Galloway’s manufactory in Smithfield. Here he exulted in his activity, and inquired particularly if I had ever seen a man at his time of life so active. I could not possibly answer, No, while I was almost breathless with the exertion of following him through the crowded streets.

“After seeing at Mr Galloway’s manufactory not only the things which had been prepared for the Greeks, but his other engines and machines, we proceeded to another manufactory at the foot of Southwark Bridge, where our brigade of guns stood ready mounted. When Mr Bentham had satisfied his curiosity here also, and I had given him every information in my power, we set off to return to his house, that he might breakfast. I endeavoured to persuade him to take a hackney-coach, but in vain. We got on tolerably well, and without any adventures, tragical or comical, till we arrived at Fleet Street. We crossed from Fleet Market over towards Mr Waithman’s shop, and here, letting go my arm, he quitted the foot-pavement, and set off again in one of his vagaries up Fleet Street; his clerk again set off after him, and I again followed. The race here excited universal attention. The perambulating ladies, who are always in great numbers about that part of the town, and ready to laugh at any kind of oddity, and catch hold of every simpleton, stood and stared at, or followed the venerable philosopher. One of them, well known to all the neighbourhood by the appellation of the City Barge, given to her on account of her extraordinary bulk, was coming with a consort full sail down Fleet Street, but whenever they saw the flight of Mr Jeremy Bentham, they hove too, tacked, and followed to witness the fun, or share the prize. I was heartily ashamed of participating in this scene, and supposed that everybody would take me for a mad doctor, the young man for my assistant, and Mr Bentham for my patient, just broke adrift from his keepers.

“Fortunately, the chase did not continue long. Mr Bentham hove too abreast of Carlile’s shop, and stood for a little time to admire the books and portraits hanging in the window. At length one of them arrested his attention more particularly. ‘Ah, ah!’ said he, in a hurried indistinct tone, ‘there it is—there it is,’ pointing to a portrait which I afterwards found was that of the illustrious Jeremy himself.

“Soon after this, I invented an excuse to quit Mr Bentham and his man, promising to go to Queen Square to dine. I was not, however, to be again taken in by the philosopher’s meal hours; so, laying in a stock of provisions, I went at his dining hour, half past ten o’clock, and supped with him. We had a great deal of conversation, particularly about mechanical subjects, and the art of war. I found the old gentleman as lively with his tongue as with his feet, and passed a very pleasant evening, which ended by my pointing out, at his request, a plan for playing his organ by the steam of his tea-kettle. This little history gave Lord Byron a great deal of pleasure; he very often laughed as I told it; he laughed much at its conclusion, and he frequently bade me repeat what he called Jerry Bentham’s Cruize.

“In the course of the conversation at Mr Bentham’s, he enquired of me if I had ever visited America in my travels? I said, ‘Yes; I had resided there for some time.’—‘Have you read Miss Wright’s book on that country?—’ ‘Yes.’—‘What do you think of it; does it give a good description of America?’ Here I committed another fault. ‘She knows no more of America,’ I replied, ‘than a cow does of a case of instruments.’ Such a reply was a complete damper to Mr Bentham’s eloquence on the subject. No two men could well be more opposed to each other than we were, and our whole conversation consisted in this sort of cross-firing. Opposition appeared to be something Mr Bentham was not accustomed to, and my blunt manner gave it still more the zest of novelty. He laughed, and rambled to some other subject, to get another such a damper. In my talk there was much want of knowledge and of tact. No man acquainted with party
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feelings, or with that sort of minor literary history which is so much the topic of conversation, I am told, among literary people, could have been guilty of my blunder. He would have known that Miss Wright spoke what Mr Jeremy Bentham and his friends wished to be true, and that she was, in an especial manner, a favourite of his. It was not till I was informed of these things, by
Lord Byron, I believe, that I discovered how very rude I had been, and how much reason Mr Bentham would have to find fault with my want of manners.”

The whole of this is, we think, quite delightful. Indeed, the absurdity of the scene is touched with so light and knowing a hand, that we are in hopes the volume which we now dismiss is not to be the labor supremus of our literary Fire-master.