LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism
John Bowring, Edward Blaquiere, William Fletcher
Lord Byron in Greece.
Westminster Review  Vol. 2  (July 1824)  225-62.
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Produced by CATH



JULY, 1824.

Art. XII.—The Deformed Transformed; a drama. By the Right Hon. Lord Byron. 2nd Ed. London J. and H. L. Hunt, 1824. 8vo.

This then is the last work we are to expect from the pen of this great poet. He closed the notice prefixed to it by saying that ‘the rest may hereafter appear’—that doubt is settled for ever. We had proposed some observations on this eccentric drama, and upon his writings in general, when the news of the noble author’s decease reached us. We turn from the cold analysis we had made of his poetic powers with a changed heart, and view the work, which we had meditated with complacency, now with feelings little short of disgust.—We shall defer the task of critical dissection to some more distant moment, and seek such consolation as we may find for a loss, which we share with the world in general, in tracing, as well as we are able from the materials before us, the last scenes of Byron’s life; over which his generous connexion with the cause of liberty in Greece throws a glorious though a melancholy lustre—

Where is that which is at peace? From the star
To the winding worm, all life is motion: and
In life commotion is the extremest point
Of life. The planet wheels till it becomes
A comet, and destroying as it sweeps
The stars, goes out. The poor worm winds its way,
Living upon the death of other things,
But still, like them, must live and die, the subject
Of something which has made it live and die.
He must obey what all obey, the rule
Of fixed Necessity: against her edict
Rebellion prospers not.
D. T. Part I. Sc. 2.
Henry Southern, Charaacter of Lord Byron

The motives which induced lord Byron to leave Italy and join the Greeks struggling for emancipation from the yoke of their ignorant and cruel oppressors, are of so obvious a nature, that it is scarcely worth while to allude to them. It was in Greece that his high poetical faculties had been first most powerfully developed; and they who know the delight attendant, even in a very inferior degree, upon this intellectual process, will know how to appreciate the tender associations which, “soft as the memory of buried love,” cling to the scenes and the persons that have first stimulated the dormant genius. Greece, a land of the most venerable and illustrious history, of a peculiarly grand and beautiful scenery, inhabited by various races of the most wild and picturesque manners, was to him the land of excitement,—never-cloying, never-wearying, ever-changing excitement:—such must necessarily have been the chosen and favourite spot
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of a man of powerful and original intellect, of quick and sensible feelings, of a restless and untameable spirit, of warm affections, of various information,—and, above all, of one satiated and disgusted with the formality, hypocrisy, and sameness of daily life. Dwelling upon that country, as it is clear from all lord Byron’s writings he did, with the fondest solicitude, and being, as he was well known to be, an ardent though perhaps not a very systematic lover of freedom, we may be certain that he was no unconcerned spectator of its recent revolution: and as soon as it appeared to him that his presence might be useful, he prepared to visit once more the shores of Greece. The imagination of Lord Byron, however, was the subject and servant of his reason—in this instance he did not act, and perhaps never did, under the influence of the delusions of a wild enthusiasm, by which poets, very erroneously as regards great poets, are supposed to be generally led. It was not until after very serious deliberation of the advantages to be derived from this step, and after acquiring all possible information on the subject, that he determined on it; and in this as in every other act regarding this expedition, as we shall find, proved himself a wise and practical philanthropist. Like all men educated as he had been, lord Byron too often probably obeyed the dictates of impulse, and threw up the reins to passions which he had never been taught the necessity of governing; but the world are under a grievous mistake if they fancy that lord Byron embarked for Greece with the ignorant ardour of a schoolboy, or the flighty fanaticism of a crusader. It appeared to him that there was a good chance of his being useful in a country which he loved—a field of honourable distinction was open to him, and doubtless he expected to derive no mean gratification from witnessing so singular and instructive a spectacle as the emancipation of Greece.—A glorious career apparently presented itself, and he determined to try the event. When he had made up his mind to leave Italy for Greece, he wrote from Genoa to one of his most intimate
friends, and constant companions, then at Rome, saying, “T——, you must have heard I am going to Greece; why do you not come to me? I am at last determined—Greece is the only place I ever was contented in—I am serious—and did not write before, as I might have given you a journey for nothing:—they all say I can be of great use in Greece. I do not know how, nor do they, but at all events let us try!” He had, says this friend, who knew him well, become ambitious of a name as distinguished for deeds, as it was already by his writings. It was but a short time before his decease, that he composed one of the most beautiful and touching of his songs on his 36th birth-day, which remarkably
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proves the birth of this new passion. One stanza runs as follows:

If thou regret thy youth, why live?
The land of honourable death
Is here—Up to the field, and give
Away thy breath—
Awake not Greece—She is awake,
Awake my spirit!—

Lord Byron embarked from Leghorn and arrived in Cephalonia in the early part of August, 1823, attended by a suite of six or seven friends in an English vessel (the Hercules, captain Scott), which he had hired for the express purpose of taking him to Greece. His lordship had never seen any of the volcanic mountains, and for this purpose the vessel deviated from its regular course in order to pass the island of Stromboli. The vessel lay off this place a whole night in the hopes of witnessing the usual phenomena, when, for the first time within the memory of man, the volcano emitted no fire—the disappointed poet was obliged to proceed in no good humour with the fabled forge of Vulcan. lord Byron was an eager and constant observer of nature, and generally spent the principal part of the night in solitary contemplation of the objects that present themselves in a sea voyage. “For many a joy could he from night’s soft presence glean.” He was far above any affectation of poetical ecstasy, but his whole works demonstrate the sincere delight he took in feeding his imagination with the glories of the material world. Marine imagery is more characteristic of his writings than those of any other poet, and it was to the Mediterranean and its sunny shores that he was indebted for it all.

——as the stately vessel glided slow
Beneath the shadow of that ancient mount,
He watched the billows’ melancholy flow,
And, sunk albeit in thought as he was wont,
More placid seem’d his eye, and smooth his pallid front.

It was a point of the greatest importance to determine on the particular part of Greece to which his lordship should direct his course—the country was afflicted by intestine divisions, and lord Byron thought that if he wished to serve it, he must keep aloof from faction. The different parties had their different seats of influence, and to choose a residence, if not in fact, was in appearance to choose a party. In a country where communication is impeded by natural obstacles and unassisted by civilized regulations, which had scarcely succeeded in expelling a barbarian master, and where the clashing interests of contending factions often make it advantageous to
228Lord Byron in Greece
conceal the truth, the extreme difficulty of procuring accurate information may be easily supposed. It, therefore, became necessary to make some stay in a place which might serve as a convenient post of observation, and from which assistance could be rendered where it appeared to be most needed. Cephalonia was fixed upon; where lord Byron was extremely well received by the English civil and military authorities, who, generally speaking, seemed well inclined to further the objects of his visit to Greece. Anxious, however, to avoid involving the government of the island in any difficulty respecting himself, or for some other cause, he remained on board the vessel until further intelligence could be procured.

At the time of lord Byron’s arrival in the Ionian Islands, Greece, though even then an intelligent observer could scarcely entertain a doubt of her ultimate success, was in a most unsettled state. The third campaign had commenced, and had already been marked by several instances of distinguished success. Odysseus and Niketas had already effectually harassed and dispersed the two armies of Yusuff Pasha, and Mustapha Pasha, who had entered Eastern Greece, by the passes of Thermopylæ. Corinth, still held by the Turks, was reduced to the greatest extremities—and, indeed, surrendered in the course of the autumn.—The Morea might almost be said to be thoroughly emancipated. Patras, Modon, and Coron, and the Castle of the Morea, did then and still hold out against the combined assaults of famine and the troops of the besiegers. But the ancient Peloponnesus had, at this moment, more to fear from the dissensions of its chiefs, than the efforts of the enemy—they had absolutely assumed something like the character of a civil war. The generals had been ordered on different services, when it appeared that the funds destined for the maintenance of their armies were already consumed in satisfying old demands for arrears. Much confusion arose, and a bloody conflict actually took place in the streets of Tripolitza, between a troop of Spartiates and another of Arcadians, the followers of rival leaders. The military chiefs, at the head of whom was the able but avaricious Colocotronis, at that time vice-president of the executive government, were jealous of the party which may be termed the civil faction. Over this party presided Mavrocordatos’ who, as a Constantinopolitan, was considered as a foreigner, and who, on account of his being a dexterous diplomatist, a good letter-writer, and a lover of intrigue, was regarded with feelings of jealousy and hatred by the rude and iron-handed generals of the Morea. Mavrocordatos was secretary for foreign affairs, and was accused of holding
Lord Byron in Greece229
correspondence with foreign Courts without the knowledge of the government, and of aiming at getting himself elected the president of the legislative body. It turned out that the actual president fled from the seat of government, and that Mavrocordatos was elected into the office. He too was soon obliged to retreat, and had just resigned the office and retired to the island of Hydra, where the civil and commercial party was strong, and where he was held in considerable estimation, when lord Byron arrived at Cephalonia.

At this moment, too, Western Greece was in a very critical situation—Mustapha, Pasha of Scutari, was advancing into Acarnania in large force, and was on the point of being resisted by the chivalrous devotion of the brave Marco Botzaris. This chief, worthy of the best days of Greece, succeeded on the 9th of August (O.S.) by his famous night-attack, in cutting off a considerable part of the Turkish army, and fell a sacrifice to his generous efforts. In spite of this check, however, the Pasha advanced and proceeded towards Anatolicon and Messolonghi; the latter place was invested by Mustapha, and the Albanian chief, Omer-Vriones, by the early part of October. The Turkish fleet had arrived in the waters of Patras about the middle of June, and continued to blockade (at least nominally) Messolonghi, and all the other ports of Western Greece, up to the arrival of lord Byron.

Previous to Marco Botzaris’ arrival at Carpenissi, the little village where he discomfited the Turks, he had heard of lord Byron’s arrival in Greece; and it is not a little remarkable that the last act he did before proceeding to the attack, was to write a warm invitation for his lordship to come to Messolonghi, offering to leave the army, and to give him a public reception in a manner suitable to the occasion and serviceable to the cause.

To all who know the circumstances of that memorable battle and the character of this heroic man, this letter cannot fail to be interesting. We will translate the part which relates to lord Byron. It is dated at the ‘piccolo villagio’ of Carpenissi on the 18 of August.

“I am delighted,” he says to a friend in Cephalonia, “with your account of lord Byron’s disposition with respect to our country. The advice you have given his lordship to direct his attention to Western Greece, has caused us the greatest satisfaction; and I feel obliged by your continued exertions in the service of our country. I am not a little pleased at his lordship’s peculiar attention to my fellow-countrymen the Suliotes, on whom he has conferred the honour of selecting them for his guards. Avail yourself of this kindness of
230Lord Byron in Greece
his lordship, and persuade him to come as speedily as possible to Messolonghi, where we will not fail to receive him with every mark of honour due to his person; and as soon as I hear of his arrival, I will leave the army here and proceed to join him with a few companions. All will soon be right; the disturbances in Roumelia are only temporary and will be easily settled. I trust you are informed of all that has occurred here—that the
Pacha of Scutari has advanced to Aspropotamos and Agrapha, and has penetrated to Carpenissi. We are going to meet him; we have possession of all the strong posts, and trust that the enemy will be properly resisted.”

Botzaris alludes to almost the first act of Lord Byron in Greece, which was the arming and provisioning of forty Suliotes whom he sent to join in the defence of Messolonghi. After the battle he transmitted bandages and medicines, of which he had brought a large store from Italy, and pecuniary succour to those who had been wounded in the battle.

He had already made a very generous offer to the government, to which he himself alludes, as well as to the dissensions in Greece, in a letter of which this is an extract: “I offered to advance a thousand dollars a month for the succour of Messolonghi, and the Suliotes under Botzaris (since kill’d); but the government have answered me through —— ——— of this island, that they wish to confer with me previously, which is in fact saying they wish me to expend my money in some other direction. I will take care that it is for the public cause, otherwise I will not advance a para. The opposition say they want to cajole me, and the party in power say the others wish to seduce me; so between the two I have a difficult part to play: however, I will have nothing to do with the factions, unless to reconcile them, if possible——”

Though strongly solicited in the most flattering manner by Count Metaxa, the Exarch of Messolonghi, and others to repair to that place, lord Byron had too reasonable a fear of falling into the hands of a party to take a decided step in his present state of information.—He determined to communicate alone, with the established government: for this purpose he despatched two of the friends who had accompanied him to Greece, Mr. Trelawney and Mr. Hamilton Browne, in order to deliver a letter from him to the government, and to collect intelligence respecting the real state of things. The extreme want of money which was at that time felt in Greece, and the knowledge that lord Byron had brought large funds with the intention of devoting them to the cause, made all parties extremely eager for his presence. He, however, yielded to none of the pressing entrea-
Lord Byron in Greece231
ties that were made to him; but after waiting undecided six weeks in his vessel he took up his residence on shore. Avoiding the capital of Cephalonia he retired to the small village of Metaxata, within five or six miles of Argostoli, where he remained all the time he was on the island. It is difficult for one unacquainted with the European reputation of lord Byron’s writings, and with the peculiar wants, and the peculiar character of the Greeks, to conceive a just idea of the sensation which his arrival created in Greece. It is impossible to read the letters which were addressed to him at this time from every quarter, and not be struck with the glorious sphere of action which presented itself, and at the same time not proportionately lament the stroke which deprived the country of his assistance before he had comparatively effected any thing of importance.

Established at Metaxata as a convenient place of observation, he resumed his usual occupations, while he kept a watchful eye on all the transactions of Greece, and carried on a very active intercourse with every part of it. Those who know Lord Byron’s character, know that he rarely resisted the impulse of his feelings, and that fortunately these impulses were generally of the most benevolent kind. As usual, the neighbourhood of his residence never ceased to experience some kind and munificent exertion of his unfailing, but by no means indiscriminate or ill applied, generosity. His physician says, that the day seemed sad and gloomy to him when he had not employed himself in some generous exertion. He provided even in Greece for many Italian families in distress, and indulged the people of the country even in paying for the religious ceremonies which they deemed essential to their success. Our informant mentions one circumstance in particular which affords some idea of the way in which he loved to be of service. While at Metaxata, the fall of a large mass of earth had buried some persons alive. He heard of the accident while at dinner, and starting up from the table, ran to the spot accompanied by his physician, who took with him a supply of medicines. The labourers, who were engaged in digging out their companions, soon became alarmed for themselves, and refused to go on, saying, they believed they had dug out all the bodies which had been covered by the ruins. lord Byron endeavoured to induce them to continue their exertions; but finding menaces in vain, he seized a spade and began to dig most zealously: at length the peasantry joined him, and they succeeded in saving two more persons from certain death. It was to Metaxata that Dr. Kennedy, a methodistical physician then residing in Cephalonia, used to resort for the purpose of instilling the importance of religious meditation and certain scrip-
232Lord Byron in Greece
tural truths into the mind of lord Byron, who had the reputation of not holding them in sufficient reverence. These conferences we are informed by an auditor of them, if not of the most instructive, were yet of a very amusing kind. The Doctor, though he is said to be an able man in this his lay profession, seldom brought his arguments to bear upon his lordship; who having the advantage in quickness of intellect, and often in the clearness of his logic, would frequently put Dr. Kennedy’s ideas in disorder by a single vigorous onset. lord Byron shewed a most remarkable acquaintance with the Bible, and by his quotations, aptly applied to the question in dispute, very often brought his antagonist to a stand; when, turning down the page, for he generally brought a little library of theology to the contest, he would promise to return to the next meeting with a full and satisfactory answer to the argument. The disputes chiefly turned upon the questions which are agitated between the different sects of Christians in England; and the audience do not seem to think, that the Doctor had the advantage; he, however, flattered himself that he had made the desired impression; for we are informed that he afterwards made particular inquiries of his lordship’s suite, into any change that might have taken place in his antagonist’s manner of thinking and acting after he had left Cephalonia. It has been said, maliciously, we think, that lord Byron merely entered into these discussions, in order to master the cant of this religious sect, as it was his intention in some
future Canto to make Don Juan a Methodist. This is a very gratuitous supposition. lord Byron had, when not irritated, the most courteous and affable manners; he carried himself towards all who had access to him with the most scrupulous delicacy, and it was quite sufficient for Dr. Kennedy to desire these interviews, to procure them.

Although some ludicrous scenes occurred, the admonitory party was treated with the utmost kindness, and full credit given to him for the purity of his intentions.

The two friends whom lord Byron had despatched to the government proceeded to the Morea, and crossed the country to Tripolitza, from which place it appeared that the two assemblies had removed to Salamis. At Tripolitza, however, they had an opportunity of seeing Colocotronis, some of the other distinguished chiefs, as well as the confidential officers of Mavrocordatos’ suite, whom he had left behind him in his precipitate retreat
Lord Byron in Greece233
from the chair of the legislative assembly. Here, consequently, they were able to collect a considerable quantity of information, and procure answers to the questions with which lord Byron had charged them; after doing which, they proceeded onwards to the place where the assembly was collecting. The queries (and they are lying before us scribbled carelessly in pencil), are of a very searching and judicious nature, and like the other extracts which we shall have to make from his correspondence, prove the aptitude of his intellect and the benevolence of his designs; the answers to them, collected with considerable care and discrimination, were complete enough to afford a very accurate idea of the state, resources, and intentions of the country. From the letters also he would be able to form a good idea of the contending factions, and the men who headed them: Colocotronis was found to be in great power; his palace was filled with armed men, like the castle of some ancient feudal chief, and a good idea of his character may be formed from the language he held. He declared, that he had told Mavrocordatos, that unless he desisted from his intrigues, he would put him on an ass and whip him out of the Morea; and that he had only been withheld from doing it by the representations of his friends, who had said that it would injure the cause. He declared his readiness to submit to a democratic government if regularly constituted; but swore that he and the other chiefs and their followers would shed the last drop of their blood, rather than submit to the intrigues of a foreigner. He himself at that time intended to proceed to the Congress at Salamis to settle the affairs of the country, and he invited Lord Byron and all the other British Phillhellenes to communicate with the general government, and to send their succours to them alone. His sentiments were shared by the other chiefs, and the name of Mavrocordatos was never mentioned with respect in the Peloponnesus, where it seemed he had lost all influence. His influence reigned in another quarter, and for that reason his suite were very solicitous that Lord Byron’s friends should proceed to Hydra, instead of to Salamis, and expressed a hope that lord Byron himself would act in the difference between the Prince and Colocotronis, not as a simple mediator, but in a decisive manner, “avec une main de fer,” as they were convinced that the former character would be useless.

The congress met at Salamis to deliberate on the most important questions—the form of the government, and the measures of the future campaign. The legislative assembly consisted of fifty, and the executive of five. Every thing is described as wearing the appearance of reality—the chiefs and people acknow-
234Lord Byron in Greece
ledging and, as far as strangers could judge, obeying the Government and its decrees. They received the agents of
lord Byron in the most friendly manner, and opened every thing to them without reserve—and enabled them to convey to him a very instructive account of the real state of affairs. Ulysses, (Odysseus) a brave and dexterous mountain-chief of great power and consummate military skill at that time, and still in command of Athens, was about to lead 5000 Albanians into Negropont, whither Mr. Trelawney agreed to accompany him as his aide-de-camp, being promised any number of men he chose under his command, and under the expectation of passing the winter there very agreeably between Turk and woodcock shooting. Colocotronis and his son, a fine, spirited young man, with all their forces, were to undertake the siege of Patras. Tombasi, the admiral of Hydra, was in command at Candia, where active warfare was expected. Staicos was to remain at Corinth, which surrendered in October, very soon after the Congress. Marco Botzari’s brother with his Suliotes, and Mavrocordatos, were to take charge of Messolonghi, which at that time (October 1823), was in a very critical state, being blockaded both by land and sea. “There have been,” says Mr. Trelawney, “thirty battles fought and won by the late Marco Botzari and his gallant tribe of Suliotes, who are shut up in Messolonghi. If it fall, Athens will be in danger, and thousands of throats cut. A few thousand dollars would provide ships to relieve it—a portion of this sum is raised”—and Mr. Trelawney adds, in a spirit worthy of him and his deceased friend, “I would coin my heart to save this key of Greece!” A report like this was sufficient to show the point where succour was most needed; and lord Byron’s determination to relieve Messolonghi was still more decidedly confirmed by a letter which he received from Mavrocordatos from Hydra (Oct. 21), in answer to one which his lordship had addressed to him on the subject of the dissensions which reigned in the government, and the Prince’s desertion of his post. In this very able and creditable letter Mavrocordatos attempts to set Lord Byron right with respect to the dissensions in the Morea, and points out with great justice that though the government may be divided, the nation is not, and that whatever at any time may have been the difference of opinion, all parties have joined hand and heart, and fought to the last extremity against the common enemy. He attributes such dissensions as do exist to the want of money; and predicts their immediate disappearance when means are found to pay the fleets and armies. He goes on to speak of lord Byron’s intentions:—

“I should do myself an injustice, my lord, if I were not to
Lord Byron in Greece235
speak to you with the frankness which you expect from me; I cannot agree with you when you say your best plan is to rest in observation. I will never advise you to run the risk of appearing to embrace the interests of a party; but all the world knows, and no one better than myself, that you are come here with the firm intention of succouring Greece—this Greece is now before you, under your eyes; you may see at the first glance which is the part in danger,—that Messolonghi is blockaded by land and by sea, that it is destitute of provisions, and on the point of falling into the hands of the Turks; who afterwards will have no difficulty in penetrating into the Morea and seizing upon its most fertile provinces, from whence it will be hard, nay, impossible to dislodge them. To carry succour to this place, to save it, is to save Greece itself. Is this declaring for a party? Is it not rather to do that which the feelings of honour and humanity dictate to us all? Influenced by these and other reasons, I never know when to leave off inviting you to come to the succour of Messolonghi.”

At this time Mavrocordatos was endeavouring to collect a fleet for the relief of Messolonghi. lord Byron’s intentions, under the circumstances to which this letter alludes, may be seen from the following extract of a letter from him, dated the 29th Oct. 1823.

“Corinth is taken—and a Turkish squadron is said to be beaten in the Archipelago—the public progress of the Greeks is considerable—but their internal dissensions still continue. On arriving at the seat of government I shall endeavour to mitigate or extinguish them—though neither is an easy task. I have remained here partly in expectation of the squadron in relief of Messolonghi, partly of Mr. Parry’s detachment, and partly to receive from Malta or Zante the sum of four hundred thousand piastres, which, at the desire of the Greek government, I have advanced for the payment of the expected squadron. The Bills are negociating, and will be cashed in a short time, as they could have been immediately in any other mart, but the miserable Ionian merchants have little money and no great credit, and are besides politically shy on this occasion, for although I had the letters of ——, one of the strongest houses of the Mediterranean, also of ——, there is no business to be done on fair terms except through English merchants; these, however, have proved both able, and willing, and upright, as usual.” He continues—

“It is my intention to proceed by sea, to Nauplia di Romania, as soon as I have managed this business—I mean the advance of the 400,000 piastres for the fleet. My time here
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has not been entirely lost; indeed you will perceive by some former documents that any advantage from my then proceeding to the Morea was doubtful. We have at last named the Deputies, and I have written a strong remonstrance on their divisions to
Mavrocordatos, which I understand was forwarded to the legislative body by the Prince.”

He did not, however, depart for the Government at the time he had expected, and conceived it necessary to address the Government again on the subject of their dissensions. The following extract is a translation of the concluding part of this very admirable letter:

“The affair of the Loan,—the expectation, so long and vainly indulged, of the arrival of the Greek fleet, and the dangers to which Messolonghi is still exposed, have detained me here, and will still detain me till some of them are removed. But when the money shall be advanced for the fleet, I will start for the Morea, not knowing, however, of what use my presence can be in the present state of things. We have heard some rumours of new dissensions—nay, of the existence of a civil war. With all my heart I desire that these reports may be false or exaggerated, for I can imagine no calamity more serious than this; and I must frankly confess, that unless union and order are confirmed, all hopes of a loan will be vain, and all the assistance which the Greeks could expect from abroad—an assistance which might be neither trifling nor worthless—will be suspended or destroyed; and what is worse, the great powers of Europe, of whom no one was an enemy to Greece, but seemed inclined to favour her in consenting to the establishment of an independent power, will be persuaded that the Greeks are unable to govern themselves, and will perhaps themselves undertake to arrange your disorders in such a way as to blast the brightest hopes you indulge, and which are indulged by your friends.

“And allow me to add, once for all, I desire the well-being of Greece and nothing else; I will do all I can to secure it; but I cannot consent—I never will consent, to the English public, or English individuals, being deceived as to the real state of Greek affairs. The rest, gentlemen, depends on you—you have fought gloriously—act honourably towards your fellow-citizens and towards the world; and then it will be no more said, as has been repeated for 2,000 years with the Roman historian, that Philopœmen was the last of the Grecians. Let not calumny itself (and it is difficult to guard against it in so difficult a struggle) compare the Turkish Pasha with the patriot Greek in peace, after you have exterminated him in war.

“30th Nov. 1823. N. B.”
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In another letter, written a few days after this, we find a circumstance mentioned which probably turned his views from the Morea to Western Greece. It must be remembered that the Suliotes were his old favourites, and that their late bravery had raised them still higher in his estimation. “The Suliotes (now in Acarnania) are very anxious that I should take them under my direction, and go over and put things to rights in the Morea, which without a force seems impracticable; and really though very reluctant, as my letters will have shown you, to take such a measure, there seems hardly any milder remedy. However, I will not do any thing rashly, and have only continued here so long in the hope of seeing things reconciled, and have done all in my power there-for. Had I gone sooner they would have forced me into one party or the other, and I doubt as much now. But we will do our best. Dec. 7. 1823.”

His lordship seems to have been too sensitive on this point, and, as we think, attached too great an importance to these dissensions. We may quote against him a sentence from a letter of one of his intimate friends.

“I am convinced if they (the Greeks) succeed in getting the loan, the liberty of Greece will be definitively founded on a firm basis. True, there is much difference of opinion existing amongst the people in authority here, as well as in every other country, and some little squabbling for place and power, but they all unite against the common enemy. Love of liberty and execration of their barbarous oppressors actuate them. What they want, to ensure success and consolidate the government is, money—money—money.”

Lord Byron in his correspondence, however, continues to allude to these unfortunate differences, and is pleasant upon the gasconading which distinguishes the Greek of this day as it did the Greek of the age of Cleon. “C—— will tell you the recent special interposition of the Gods in behalf of the Greeks, who seem to have no enemies in heaven or earth to be dreaded but their own tendency to discord among themselves. But these too, it is to be hoped, will be mitigated; and then we can take the field on the offensive, instead of being reduced to the ‘petite guerre’ of defending the same fortresses year after year, and taking a few ships, and starving out a castle, and making more fuss about them than Alexander in his cups, or Buonaparte in a bulletin. Our friends have done something in the way of the Spartans, but they have not inherited their style. Dec. 10, 1823.”

Soon after the date of this letter the long desired squadron arrived in the waters of Messolonghi; and in a letter written three days after the date of the last, (Dec. 13th.) his lordship says that
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“he momentarily expects advices from
Prince Mavrocordatos, who is on board, and has (I understand) despatches from the legislative to me; in consequence of which, after paying the squadron, I shall probably join him at sea or on shore.”

In the same light and agreeable manner in which he touches upon every subject, he proceeds to speak of the committee supplies, which had been sent out to him as its agent; an office which he had taken upon himself with great readiness, and executed with considerable judgment and discrimination.

‘The mathematical, medical, and musical preparations of the committee have arrived in good condition, abating some damage from wet, and some ditto from a portion of the letter-press being spilt in landing (I ought not to have omitted the press, but forgot it at the moment—excuse the same); they are pronounced excellent of their kind, but till we have an engineer, and a trumpeter (we have chirurgeons already), mere ‘pearls to swine,’ as the Greeks are ignorant of mathematics, and have a bad ear for our music; the maps, &c. I will put into use for them, and take care that all (with proper caution) are turned to the intended uses of the committee.’

He speaks again of the supplies, however, with more pleasantry than foresight; for the very articles which he seems to have thought thrown away, proved of remarkable service, more particularly the trumpets. The Turks are so apprehensive of the skill and well directed valour of the Franks, that even the supposed presence of a body of such troops, is sufficient to inspire a panic. The Greeks, aware of this, have frequently put their enemy in disorder by sounding these same despised bugles. The Greeks know this weak side of the Turks so well, that they sometimes consider a collection of old European hats a piece of ammunition more effectual than much heavier artillery. The sight of a hat, if well-cocked, in the occidental fashion, espied among the Greek forces, is often as terrific as the sound of a trumpet.

“The supplies of the committee are very useful, and all excellent in their kind, but occasionally hardly practical enough in the present state of Greece; for instance, the mathematical instruments are thrown away; none of the Greeks know a problem from a poker—we must conquer first, and plan afterwards. The use of the trumpets, too, may be doubted, unless Constantinople were Jericho; for the Hellenists have no ears for bugles, and you must send somebody to listen to them.” He goes on, “We will do our best; and I pray you to stir your English hearts at home to more general exertion; for my part I will stick by the cause while a plank remains which can be honourably clung to—if I quit it, it will be by the Greeks’ con-
Lord Byron in Greece239
duct—and not the holy allies, or the holier Mussulmans.” This determination never to desert the Greeks, as long as he could be of any service to them, is repeatedly expressed in his correspondence. He concludes a letter to his banker, in Cephalonia, on business, with this sentence, “I hope things here will go well, some time or other—I will stick by the cause as long as a cause exists, first or second.

Lord Byron had the more merit in the zeal and energy with which he espoused the interests of the Hellenic cause, for he had not suffered himself to be disgusted by the real state of things, when stripped of their romance by actual experience; and he was too wise to be led away by a blind enthusiasm. He seems to have been actuated, in the main, for we must not expect perfection either in lord Byron or the Greeks, by a steady desire to benefit a people who deserved the assistance and sympathy of every lover of freedom and the improvement of mankind. He speaks to this point himself; and here we may remark, as in almost every line he ever wrote, the total absence of cant, which unfortunately colours the writings and conversations of almost every man who imagines himself to live in the eye of the world. “I am happy to say that —— ——— and myself are acting in perfect harmony together: he is likely to be of great service both to the cause and to the Committee, and is publicly as well as personally, a very valuable acquisition to our party, on every account. He came up (as they all do who have not been in the country before) with some high-flown notions of the 6th form at Harrow and Eton, &c.; but col. —— and I set him to rights on those points, which was absolutely necessary to prevent disgust, or perhaps return—but now we can set our shoulders soberly to the wheel, without quarrelling with the mud which may clog it occasionally. I can assure you that col. —— and myself are as decided for the cause as any German student of them all—but, like men who have seen the country and human life, there and elsewhere, we must be permitted to view it in its truth—with its defects as well as beauties, more especially as success will remove the former—gradually—(Dec. 26, 1823.)”

Lord Byron had by this time yielded to the solicitations of Mavrocordatos, who repeatedly urged him in the most pressing manner to cross over to Messolonghi, and who offered to send, and did send, ship after ship to Cephalonia, to bring him over. He seems to have been chiefly delayed by the difficulty in procuring money for his Italian bills. His anxiety to procure supplies is a constant subject of his correspondence. “I have written,” he says, in a letter dated 13th Oct. 1823, “to our friend
240Lord Byron in Greece
D—— K——, on my own matters, desiring him to send me out all the further credits he can command (and I have a year’s income and the sale of a manor besides, he tells me, before me); for till the Greeks get their loan, it is probable I shall have to stand partly paymaster, as far as I am ‘good upon ‘Change,’ that is to say.—I pray you to repeat as much to him; and say that I must in the interim draw on Messrs. R—— most formidably—to say the truth, I do not grudge it, now the fellows have begun to fight again: and still more welcome shall they be, if they will go on—but they have had, or are to have four thousand pounds (besides some private extraordinaries for widows, orphans, refugees, and rascals of all descriptions) of mine at one ‘swoop,’ and it is to be expected the next will be at least as much more, and how can I refuse if they will fight? and especially if I should happen to be in their company? I therefore request and require, that you should apprize my trusty and trustworthy trustee and banker, and crown and sheet anchor, D—— K—— the honourable, that he prepare all monies of mine, including the purchase money of Rochdale manor, and mine income for the year a. d. 1824, to answer and anticipate any orders, or drafts of mine, for the good cause, in good and lawful money of Great Britain, &c. &c. &c. May you live a thousand years! which is 999 longer than the Spanish Cortes’ constitution.”

When the supplies were procured, and his other preparations made for departure, two Ionian vessels were hired, and embarking his horses and effects, his lordship sailed from Argostoli on the 29th of December. Anchoring at Zante the same evening, the whole of the following day was occupied in making his pecuniary arrangements with Mr. ——, and after receiving a quantity of specie on board, he proceeded towards Messolonghi. Two accidents occurred on this short passage, which might have been attended with very serious consequences. Count Gamba, an intimate friend who had accompanied his lordship from Leghorn, had been charged with the vessel in which the horses and part of the money were embarked; when off Chiarenza, a point which lies between Zante and the place of their destination, they were surprised at daylight on finding themselves under the bows of a Turkish frigate. Owing, however, to the activity displayed on board lord Byron’s vessel, and her superior sailing, she escaped, while the second was fired at, brought to, and carried into Patras. Gamba and his companions, being taken before Yusuff Pasha, fully expected to share the fate of the unfortunate men whom that sanguinary chief sacrificed last year at Prevesa, though also taken under
Lord Byron in Greece241
the Ionian flag; and their fears would most probably have been realized, had it not been for the presence of mind displayed by the Count. Aware that nothing but stratagem and effrontery could save him, he no sooner saw himself in the Pasha’s power, than assuming an air of hauteur and indifference, he accused the captain of the frigate of a scandalous breach of neutrality, in firing at and detaining a vessel under English colours, and concluded by informing Yusuff, that he might expect the vengeance of the British government in thus interrupting a nobleman who was merely on his travels, and bound to Calamos!* Whether the Turkish chief believed Gamba’s story, or being aware of the real state of the case, did not wish to proceed to extremities, he not only consented to the vessel’s release, but treated the whole party with the utmost attention, and even urged them to take a day’s shooting in the neighbourhood. Count Gamba gladly availed himself of these unexpected hospitalities, and sailing the next day, passed over to Messolonghi, where, to his great surprise, lord Byron had not yet arrived.

Owing to the wind’s becoming contrary, Lord Byron’s vessel took shelter at the Scrofes, a cluster of rocks within a few miles of Messolonghi; but as this place afforded no means of defence in the event of an attack, it was thought adviseable to remove to Dagromestre, where every preparation in their power was made, should any of the enemy’s ships pursue them.

Having remained three days at Dagromestre, the wind came round and allowed his lordship once more to set sail. On hearing what had happened, Prince Mavrocordatos despatched a gun-boat to accompany his lordship’s vessel; while a portion of the Greek squadron, stationed at Messolonghi, were also ordered to cruize in the offing, and prevent the Turkish vessels from approaching the coast. One of these coming up, the captain sent a boat on board, inviting his lordship to make the remainder of his voyage on board of his ship; this offer

* The treatment of Gamba and the crew, while on board the Turkish ship of war, was scarcely lees courteous than that which they experienced on landing. This arose from a very singular coincidence. On their first mounting the frigate’s deck, the captain gave orders to put them all in irons, and might have proceeded to further extremities, when the master of the vessel went up to him, and asked “whether he did not recollect Spiro, who had saved his life in the Black Sea 15 years before?” Upon which the Turk, looking steadfastly at him for a few moments, exclaimed—“what! can it be Spiro?” and springing forward, embraced his former deliverer with the greatest transport. This unlooked for reception was followed by a promise that every effort would be made to obtain his speedy liberation on their arrival at Patras.
242Lord Byron in Greece
was, however, declined. As if the whole voyage was destined to be ominous of some future calamity, the vessel had not proceeded many miles before she grounded on a shoal near the Scrofes, and would probably have remained there, had it not been for the activity of his lordship’s attendants, who jumped into the water and assisted to push the vessel off; whilst their master urged the captain and crew to exert themselves, instead of invoking the Saints, as is customary with Greek sailors on such occasions.* As the wind continued to blow directly against their getting to Messolonghi, the vessel was again anchored between two of the numerous islets which line this part of the coast. Several gun-boats having arrived early the following morning, despatched from Messolonghi to accompany his lordship, and assist him if required; the vessel accordingly sailed, but was forced to anchor in the evening, nor did she reach the town before the following day.

We can, however, give lord Byron’s account of his situation on the Scrofes, which we find in a hasty letter written on board the Cephaloniote vessel in which he sailed from Argostoli. “We are just arrived here (the letter is dated 31st Dec. 1823), that is, part of my people and I, with some things, &c., and which it may be as well not to specify in a letter (which has a risk of being intercepted): but Gamba, and my horses, negro, steward, and the press and all the committee things—also some eight thousand dollars of mine (but never mind, we have more left—do you understand?)† are taken by the Turkish frigate—and my party and myself in another boat, have had a narrow escape last night (being close under their stern and hailed, but we would not answer and hove away) as well as this morning.

* His lordship is described by his physician as conducting himself with admirable coolness. We will give the anecdote in his own words: “Ma nel di lui passagmarittimo una fregata Turca insegui la di lui nave, obligandola di ricoverarei dentro le Scrofes, dove per l’impeto delivend fu gettata sopra i scogli: tutti i marinari e’ l’equipaggio saltarono a terra per salvare la loro vita: Milord solo col di lui Medico Dottr. Bruno rimasero sulla nave che ognuno vedeva colare a fondo: ma dopo qualche tempo non essendosi visto che cio avveniva, le pereone fuggite a terra respinsero la nave nell’ acque: ma il tempestoso mare la ribasto una secondo volta contro i scogli, ed allora si aveva per certo che la nave coll’ illustre personaggio, una gran quantita di denari, e molti preziosi effetti per i Greci anderebbero a fondo: Tuttavia Lord Byron non si perturbo per milia, anzi disse al di lui medico che voleva gettarsi al nuoto onde raggiongere la spiaggia: ‘non abbandonate la nave finchè abbiamo forze per direggerla; allorche saremo coperti dall’ acque, allora gettatevi pure, che io vi salvo.’”
† He wished to convey that he had these 8000 dollars with him in his present awkward situation.
Lord Byron in Greece243
Here we are with snow and blowing weather, within a pretty little port enough; but whether our Turkish friends may not send in their boats and take us out (for we have no arms except two carbines and some pistols—and—I suspect—not more than four fighting people on board), is another question—especially if we remain long here—since we are blockaded out of Messolonghi by the direct entrance. You had better send my friend
George Drako, and a body of Suliotes to escort us by land or by the canals, with all convenient speed. Gamba and all on board are taken into Patras, I suppose—and we must have a turn at the Turks to get them out; but where the devil is the fleet gone? the Greek I mean, leaving us to get in without the least intimation to take heed that the Moslems were out again. Make my respects to Mavrocordatos and say, that I am here at his disposal. I am uneasy at being here, not so much on my own account, as on that of the Greek boy with me—for you know what his fate would be—and I would sooner cut him in pieces and myself, than have him taken out by those barbarians.”

Lord Byron was received at Messolonghi with the most enthusiastic demonstrations of joy: no mark of honour or welcome which the Greeks could devise was omitted. The ships anchored off the fortress fired a salute as he passed. Prince Mavrocordatos and all the authorities, with all the troops and the population collected together, met him on his landing, and accompanied him to the house which had been prepared for him, amidst the shouts of the multitude and the discharge of cannon. Nothing could exceed the eagerness with which he had been expected, except the satisfaction which was displayed on his arrival.

One of the first objects to which lord Byron naturally turned his attention was to mitigate the ferocity with which the war had been carried on. This ferocity, not only excusable in the first instance, but absolutely necessary and unavoidable, had now in a great measure effected its object. The Greeks were by this time in a condition to be merciful; and lord Byron in the most judicious manner set about producing an improvement in the system of warfare on both sides.

The very first day of his lordship’s arrival was signalized by his rescuing a Turk, who had fallen into the hands of some Greek sailors. The individual thus saved, having been clothed by his orders, was kept in the house until an opportunity occurred of sending him to Patras.*

* Inseguendo un giorno un corsaro Greco, una nave carica di Turchi, uno di essi nell’ affrettarsi ad accomodare una vela per fuggire più presto, cadde in mare, e gli riusci di portarsi a terra nuotando, ma due soldati Greci lo inseguivano per ammazzarlo; la fortuna voile che il Turco fuggisse ap-
244 Lord Byron in Greece

His lordship had not been long at Messolonghi, before an opportunity presented itself for showing his sense of Yusuff Pasha’s moderation in releasing Count Gamba. Hearing that there were four Turkish prisoners in the town, he requested that Prince Mavrocordatos would place them in his hands; this being immediately granted, they were sent to the castle of the Morea, near Patras, with the following letter addressed to the Turkish chief;

“Highness!—A vessel in which a friend and some domestics of mine were embarked, was detained a few days ago, and released by order of your Highness. I have now to thank you, not for liberating the vessel, which, as carrying a neutral flag, and being under British protection, no one Lad a right to detain, but for having treated my friends with so much kindness while they were in your hands.

“In the hope, therefore, that it may not be altogether displeasing to your Highness, I have requested the Governor of this place to release four Turkish prisoners, and he has humanely consented to do so. I lose no time, therefore, in sending them back, in order to make as early a return as I could for your courtesy on the late occasion. These prisoners are liberated without any conditions; but, should the circumstance find a place in your recollection, I venture to beg, that your Highness will treat such Greeks as may henceforth fall into your hands with humanity, more especially since the horrors of war are sufficiently great in themselves, without being aggravated by wanton cruelties on either side. “NOEL BYRON.”

Messolonghi, 23 January, 1824.”
punto nella casa d’abitazione di Milord, il quale lo accolae subito, e lo naseose: giunti i due soldati Greci, chiedono furibondi coll’ armi alia mano e colle minaccie la restituzione della loro preda che volevano sacrificare; Milord gli offire qual somma volessero per riscattare il Turco; ma i due soldati insistono, colle armi in atto di ferire, a voler il prigioniero per ammazzarlo; allora Milord rigpose, giacchè è cosi, me piuttosto ammazzerete che quel povero infelice perisca! Barbari che siete, è questo 1’esempio che date di essere Christian! come voi dite? Olà fuggite dalla mia presenza, se non volete che vi faccia pagar caro il fio della vostra barbarie.—Lo tenne seco nascosto per alquanti giorni: lo fece curare dal suo medico d’una malattia che la paura gli aveva cagionato, e poi caricatolo di doni, lo mandò a Patrasso in seno della sua famiglia. Aveva Milord pure raccolto in Messolonghi una donna Turca colla di lei figlia, che drill’ apice de la fortuna si trovavano nella più grande miseria. Fece dei ricchissimi doni alia figlia ancor bambina, ed aveva divisato di mandarla educare in Italia, il che si effettuava anche dopo la di lui morte; ma la madre e figlia Turche giunte a Zante volevano per forza andare a Prevesa, dicendo, che siccome avevano perduto in Milord il loro padre, volecano ritirarri nel lor native paete, e piangerne colà per sempre la perdita.Dr. Bruno.
Lord Byron in Greece 245

The above act was followed by another not less entitled to praise, while it proves how anxious his lordship felt to give a new turn to the system of warfare hitherto pursued. A Greek cruizer having captured a Turkish boat, in which there were a number of passengers, chiefly women and children, they were also placed in the hands of lord Byron, at his particular request: upon which a vessel was immediately hired, and the whole of them, to the number of twenty-four, sent to Prevesa, provided with every requisite for their comfort during the passage. The letter which accompanied these poor people was answered by the English consul Mr. Meyer, who thanked his lordship in the name of Beker Aga the Turkish Governor of that place, and concluded by an assurance that he would take care equal attention should be in future shown to the Greeks who became prisoners.

Another grand object with Lord Byron, and one which he never ceased to forward with the most anxious solicitude, was to reconcile the quarrels of the native Chiefs, to make them friendly and confiding to one another, and submissive to the orders of the government. He had neither time nor much opportunity before his decease to carry this point to any great extent; much good was however done; and if we may judge from a few observations we find respecting the treatment of Sisseni, a fractious chief of Gastouni, we may be certain that it was done with a wise and healing hand.

“If Sisseni is sincere, he will be treated with and well treated: if he is not, the sin and the shame may lie at his own door. One great object is, to heal these internal dissensions for the future, without exacting a too rigorous account of the past. The Prince Mavrocordatos is of the same opinion, and whoever is disposed to act fairly will be fairly dealt with. I have heard a good deal of Sisseni, but not a deal of good. However, I never judge by report, particularly in a revolution: personally I am rather obliged to him, for he has been very hospitable to all friends of mine who have passed through his district. You may therefore answer him, that any overtures for the advantage of Greece and its internal pacification will be readily and sincerely met here. I hardly think he would have ventured a deceitful proposition to me through you, because he must be sure that in such case it would be eventually exposed. At any rate, the healing of these dissensions is so important a point, that something must be risked to obtain it.”

Sisseni is the Capitano of the rich and fertile plain of Gastouni, who at first paid but a very uncertain obedience to the government; but now, observing its increase in power and apparent security, had begun to make overtures for a regular
246Lord Byron in Greece
submission to its decrees. The manners of all these oligarchs of the Morea, like those of Sisseni, are Turkish: they live surrounded by a mixture of splendour and misery, with a sort of court like those of other petty monarchs, filled with soldiers, harlots, and buffoons.

Mavrocordatos in his invitations to lord Byron, had dwelt on the importance of his lordship’s presence at Messolonghi, and
This chief lives at a village called Kutchino near the river Aspropotinna in Thrace. A portion of his property lies in the plain and the rest of it in the mountains. He possesses about 120 villages, and each of these contain upon an average about 70 families. The people of the mountains are chiefly occupied with their herds. Stonari has about 7 or 8,000 head of cattle, and his family altogether own about 500,000. They consist in horses, oxen, cows, sheep, and goats; but chiefly of the two latter. The flocks remain seven months in the mountains and the remainder of the year in the plains. The capitano lets out his cattle to herdsmen, who are bound to give him yearly for each sheep, 2 pounds of butter, 2 pounds of cheese, 2 pounds of wool and 1 piastre. Each family has from 50 to 150 head of cattle, and they generally clear a small tract of ground and cultivate it.
The plains are tolerably well cultivated. They do not belong to Stonari but are held by the cultivators. They pay 1/3 of the rent to the Turks, 1/3 to Stonari the Greek Capitani, and 1/3 for the support of his soldiers.
The peasantry live ill. They have 9 fast days in the year, every Friday and Thursday are also fast days. On other days they eat cheese, butter, and bread, and on Sundays and Festivals meat. The women are treated like slaves and perform all the hard labour. The capitani and primates pay little more respect to their wives than their vassals. When a stranger appears, the women kiss his hand, bring fine water, but do not appear at table with their lords.
The junior capitani under Stonari each receives the dues of three or four families, and each of them commands a certain number of men.
The regular soldiers under Stonari amount to 400. He could besides muster 3,000 from among his peasantry. They are paid only during three months in the year. The 1st class receive 20 piastres, the 2nd 15 piastres, and the 3rd 10 piastres per month. They live well and eat twice a day of bread and meat. They receive their rations from the persons where they dwell. They receive ammunition and hides to make shoes of from the capitani. The soldiers find their arms and clothes. They are subjected to no military discipline or punishment; they can quit their chief at pleasure. When on the march the officers of the villages must furnish the soldiers with quarters, and the owners of the houses where they lodge, must provide them with food and all they demand. If they do not they are well beaten. The troops cannot remain above three or four day in the sane village.
There is one primate in each village. The primates are under the capitani who are the princes of the country.
There are generally two or three priests in each village. They receive from 100 to 600 piastres yearly from the villagers. The people are very
Lord Byron in Greece247
had no doubt fired his imagination by the anticipations of success, and the scenes of brilliant achievement which he laid before him. “Soyez persuadé, Milord,” he says, among much of the same kind, “qu’il ne dépendra que de vous, d’assurer le sort de la Grèce. Lepante et Patras, cernes par terre et par mer, ne tarderont pas de capituler; et maitres de ces deux places, nous pouvons former des projets de l’occupation de Thessalie!” Accordingly,
lord Byron landed at Messolonghi, animated with military ardour, and became, as one of the letters from the place, dated soon after his landing, expresses it, soldier-mad. After paying the fleet, which indeed had only come out under the expectation of receiving its arrears from the loan which he promised to make to the provisional government, he set about forming a brigade of Suliotes. Five hundred of these, the bravest and most resolute of the soldiers of Greece, were taken into his pay on the 1st Jan. 1824, and an object worthy of them and their leader was not difficult to be found. The castle of Lepanto, which commands the gulf of that name, was the only fortress occupied by the Turks in Western Greece. Its position at the mouth of the gulf is one of great importance, and enables it to keep up a constant communication with Patras; and while this was the case, it was impossible to reduce it in the ordinary mode of starvation. The garrison consisted of 500 Turks, and a considerable number of Albanians; the soldiers were clamorous for their pay, and much confusion was said to reign in the place. It was understood, that the Albanians would surrender on the approach of lord Byron, and on being paid their arrears, which amounted to 23,000 dollars. In every point of view the place was of the highest importance, and the most sanguine hopes were entertained that a vigorous attack upon it would prove successful. lord Byron was raised to the highest pitch of enthusiasm, and spent his whole time in preparing for the expedition. It was first intended that a body of 2500 men should form the main body, and that lord Byron should join them with his 500 Suliotes, and with a corps of artillery under Mr. Parry, which had been raised by the Greek Committee in London. At the latter end of January, however, lord Byron was appointed by the Greek government to the sole command of all the (3000) troops destined to act against Lepanto. He mentions this circumstance
religious and fear their pastors. There are several Monasteries in Stonari’s district, but no nunneries. In the Morea there are nunneries. The Priests are rich. Justice there is severe. The Priest, the Primate, or the Capitani decide all cases arbitrarily. The wives of the soldiers remain in the villages during their husbands’ absence. They work and look after their families and flocks.
248Lord Byron in Greece
himself: “The expedition of about two thousand men is planned for an attack on Lepanto; and for reasons of policy with regard to the native Capitani, who would rather be (nominally at least) under the command of a foreigner, than one of their own body, the direction, it is said, is to be given to me. There is also another reason, which is, that if a capitulation should take place, the Mussulmans might perhaps rather have Christian faith with a Frank than with a Greek, and so be inclined to concede a point or two. These appear to be the most obvious motives for such an appointment, as far as I can conjecture; unless there be one reason more, viz. that under present circumstances, no one else (not even
Mavrocordatos himself) seems disposed to accept such a nomination—and though my desires are as far as my deserts upon this occasion, I do not decline it, being willing to do as I am bidden; and as I pay a considerable part of the clans, I may as well see what they are likely to do for their money; besides, I am tired of hearing nothing but talk.” He adds in a note, that Parry, who had been delayed, and had been long eagerly expected with his artillery and stores, had not arrived; and says, “I presume from the retardment that he is the same Parry who attempted the North Pole, and is (it may be supposed) now essaying the South.

The expedition, however, had to experience delay and disappointment from much more important causes than the non-appearance of the engineer. The Suliotes, who conceived that they had found a patron whose wealth was inexhaustible, and whose generosity was as boundless, determined to make the most of the occasion, and proceeded to make the most extravagant demands on their leader for arrears, and under other pretences. Suliotes, untameable in the field, and equally unmanageable in a town, were at this moment peculiarly disposed to be obstinate, riotous, and mercenary. They had been chiefly instrumental in preserving Messolonghi when besieged the previous autumn by the Turks, had been driven from their abodes, and the whole of their families were at this time in the town destitute of either home or sufficient supplies. Of turbulent and reckless character, they kept the place in awe; and Mavrocordatos having, unlike the other captains, no soldiers of his own, was glad to find a body of valiant mercenaries, especially if paid for out of the funds of another; and, consequently, was not disposed to treat them with harshness. Within a fortnight after lord Byron’s arrival, a burgher refusing to quarter some Suliotes who rudely demanded entrance into his house, was killed, and a riot ensued in which some lives were lost. Lord Byron’s impatient spirit could ill brook the delay of a favourite
Lord Byron in Greece249
scheme, and he saw, with the utmost chagrin, that the state of his favourite troops was such as to render any attempt to lead them out at present impracticable. The project of proceeding against Lepanto being thus suspended, at a moment when lord Byron’s enthusiasm was at its height, and when he had fully calculated on striking a blow which could not fail to be of the utmost service to the Greek cause, it is no wonder that the unlooked-for disappointment should have preyed on his spirits, and produced a degree of irritability, which, if it was not the sole cause, contributed greatly to a severe fit of epilepsy, with which he was attacked on the 15th of February. His lordship was sitting in the apartment of
colonel Stanhope, (the active and enlightened representative of the Greek Committee in Greece, who had gone out to co-operate with lord Byron,) and was talking in a jocular manner with Mr. Parry the engineer, when it was observed, from occasional and rapid changes in his countenance, that he was suffering under some strong emotion. On a sudden he complained of a weakness in one of his legs, and rose; but finding himself unable to walk, he cried out for assistance. He then fell into a state of nervous and convulsive agitation, and was placed on a bed. For some minutes his countenance was much distorted. He however quickly recovered his senses; his speech returned, and he soon appeared perfectly well, although enfeebled and exhausted by the violence of the struggle. During the fit he behaved with his usual remarkable firmness, and his efforts in contending with and attempting to master the disease are described as gigantic. In the course of the month the attack was repeated four times; the violence of the disorder at length yielded to the remedies which his physicians advised; such as bleeding, cold bathing, perfect relaxation of mind, &c., and he gradually recovered. An accident, however, happened a few days after his first illness, which was ill calculated to aid the efforts of his medical advisers. A Suliote, accompanied by the late Marco Botzaris’ little boy and another man, walked into the Seraglio—a place which before lord Byron’s arrival had been used as a sort of fortress and barrack for the Suliotes, and out of which they were ejected with great difficulty for the reception of the Committee stores, and for the occupation of the engineers, who required it for a laboratory. The sentinel on guard ordered the Suliotes to retire; which being a species of motion to which Suliotes are not accustomed, the man carelessly advanced; upon which the sergeant of the guard (a German) demanded his business, and receiving no satisfactory answer, pushed him back. These wild warriors, who will dream for years of a
250Lord Byron in Greece
blow if revenge is out of their power, are not slow to follow up a push. The Suliote struck again—the sergeant and he closed and struggled, when the Suliote drew a pistol from his belt. The sergeant wrenched it out of his hand, and blew the powder out of the pan. At this moment
Captain Sass, a Swede, seeing the fray, came up and ordered the man to be taken to the guardroom. The Suliote was then disposed to depart; and would have done so if the sergeant would have permitted him. Unfortunately, Captain Sass did not confine himself to merely giving the order for his arrest; for when the Suliote struggled to get away, Captain Sass drew his sword and struck him with the flat part of it; whereupon the enraged Greek flew upon him with a pistol in one hand, and the sabre in the other; and at the same moment nearly cut off the captain’s right arm, and shot him through the head with the pistol. Captain Sass, who was remarkable for his mild and courageous character, expired in a few minutes. The Suliote also was a man of distinguished bravery. This was a serious affair, and great apprehensions were entertained that it would not end here. The Suliotes refused to surrender the man to justice, alleging that he had been struck, which, in Suliote law, justifies all the consequences which may follow.

In a letter dated a few days after lord Byron’s first attack, to a friend in Zante, he speaks of himself as rapidly recovering:—“I am a good deal better, tho’ of course weakly; the leeches took too much blood from my temples the day after, and there was some difficulty in stopping it; but I have been up daily, and out in boats or on horseback; to-day I have taken a warm bath, and live as temperately as well can be, without any liquid but water, and without any animal food.” He then adds, “besides the four Turks sent to Patras, I have obtained the release of four-and-twenty women and children, and sent them to Prevesa, that the English Consul-general may consign them to their relatives. I did this at their own desire.” After recurring to some other subjects, the letter concludes thus:—“Matters are here a little embroiled with the Suliotes, foreigners, &c., but I still hope better tidings, and will stand by the cause so long as my health and circumstances will permit me to be supposed useful.”

Notwithstanding lord Byron’s improvement in health, his friends felt from the first that he ought to try a change of air. Messolonghi is a flat, marshy, and pestilential place, and, except for purposes of utility, never would have been selected for his residence. A gentleman of Zante wrote to him early in March, to induce him to return to that Island for a time; to his letter the following answer was received on the 10th:

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“I am extremely obliged by your offer of your country-house, as for all other kindness, in case my health should require my removal; but I cannot quit Greece while there is a chance of my being of (even supposed) utility,—there is a stake worth millions such as I am,—and while I can stand at all, I must stand by the cause. While I say this, I am aware of the difficulties, and dissensions, and defects, of the Greeks themselves; but allowance must be made for them by all reasonable people.”

It may well be supposed after so severe a fit of illness, and that in a great measure superinduced by the conduct of the troops he had taken into his pay and treated with the height of generosity, that he was in no humour to pursue his scheme against Lepanto—supposing that his state of health had been such as to bear the fatigue of a campaign in Greece. The Suliotes, however, shewed some signs of repentance, and offered to place themselves at his lordship’s disposal. They had, however, another objection to the nature of the service. In a letter which colonel Stanhope wrote to lord Byron on the 6th of March, from Athens, he tells his lordship that he had bivouacked on the 21st of February in the hut of the Prefect of the Lepanto district, who had just had a conference with the garrison of that place. This man said, that if lord Byron would march there with a considerable force, and the arrears due to the troops, the fortress would be surrendered; and colonel S. adds a pressing entreaty that lord Byron would proceed there immediately, and take advantage of this disposition on the part of the garrison. To this his lordship has appended this note:—“The Suliotes have declined marching against Lepanto, saying, that ‘they would not fight against stone walls.’ Colonel S. also knows their conduct here, in other respects lately.”—We may conclude that the expedition to Lepanto was not thought of after this time.

This same letter, which communicated to lord Byron the facility with which Lepanto might be taken, also announced the intention of Ulysses (Odysseus) to summon a Congress of chiefs at Salona, to consider of a mode of uniting more closely the interests of Eastern and Western Greece, and arranging between them some method of strict co-operation. The whole of these two districts are subordinate to their respective governments, and as the Turkish army was expected to come down, it was supposed by Odysseus that some plan of acting in concert might be hit upon, which would not only enable them to resist the enemy with greater effect, but likewise rapidly advance the progress of civilization and the authority
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of the government and constitution; Odysseus, who had the most influence in Eastern Greece, and was able to collect all the chiefs of his own district, was most desirous of prevailing upon
Mavrocordatos and Lord Byron, who were all-powerful in the opposite territory, to be present at this Congress, which he proposed to hold at Salona, a town nearly on the confines of the two departments. Two agents were sent to persuade them to join in the design, and repair to Salona. Odysseus himself first despatched Mr. Finlay; and after him captain Humphries went over to Messolonghi with all haste, by desire of colonel Stanhope. The latter succeeded. lord Byron, as may be supposed, was well disposed to the measure; but his consent was for some time held back by the Prince, who had reasons for not approving the Congress. Mavrocordatos was always averse to meeting Odysseus, a man of a very different character from himself: nor did he relish the idea of lord Byron’s quitting the seat of his government. It was, however, apparently settled that both should attend at Salona, as we learn from a letter from his lordship to colonel Stanhope, at Athens, directly accepting the invitation on the part of both; as well as from another, dated the 22nd March, to his agent, of which the following is an extract:—

“In a few days P. Mavrocordatos and myself with a considerable escort, intend to proceed to Salona at the request of Ulysses and the chiefs of Eastern Greece; and to take measures offensive and defensive for the ensuing campaign. Mavrocordatos is almost recalled by the new Government to the Morea, (to take the lead I rather think), and they have written to propose to me, to go either to the Morea with him, or to take the general direction of affairs in this quarter with General Londos, and any other I may choose to form a council. Andrea Londos is my old friend and acquaintance since we were in Greece together. It would be difficult to give a positive answer till the Salona meeting is over; but I am willing to serve them in any capacity they please, either commanding or commanded—it is much the same to me as long as I can be of any presumed use to them. Excuse haste—it is late—and I have been several hours on horseback in a country so miry after the rains, that every hundred yards brings you to a brook or ditch, of whose depth, width, colour, and contents, both my horses and their riders have brought away many tokens.”

They did not, however, set out in a few days, as it seems to have been intended. In the Government, which since lord Byron’s arrival at Messolonghi had been changed, the civil and island interest now greatly preponderated; and consequently by it a Congress of military chiefs was looked upon with some jealousy and
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most unjustly styled an unconstitutional measure.
Mavrocordatos’s views were now those of the Government; so that in addition to his private motives, he had also a public interest in withholding Lord Byron from Salona. Various pretexts were urged for delay; among others, whether a true or a pretended one is not exactly ascertained, a design of delivering up Messolonghi to the Turks was alleged against the Suliotes. But at last came lord Byron’s fatal illness, and all schemes of congresses and campaigns were for a time forgotten in the apprehensions entertained for his life, and in the subsequent lamentations over his death: the meeting took place at Salona, on the 16th of April. Mavrocordatos was not there; and lord Byron was on his death-bed.

“My master,” says Mr. Fletcher, “continued his usual custom of riding daily when the weather would permit, until the 9th of April. But on that ill-fated day he got very wet; and on his return home his lordship changed the whole of his dress; but he had been too long in his wet clothes, and the cold, of which he had complained more or less ever since we left Cephalonia, made this attack be more severely felt. Though rather feverish during the night, his lordship slept pretty well, but complained in the morning of a pain in his bones and a head-ache: this did not, however, prevent him from taking a ride in the afternoon, which I grieve to say was his last. On his return, my master said that the saddle was not perfectly dry, from being so wet the day before, and observed that he thought it had made him worse. His
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lordship was again visited by the same slow fever, and I was sorry to perceive, on the next morning, that his illness appeared to be increasing. He was very low, and complained of not having had any sleep during the night. His lordship’s appetite was also quite gone. I prepared a little arrow-root, of which he took three or four spoonfuls, saying it was very good, but could take no more. It was not till the third day, the 12th, that I began to be alarmed for my master. In all his former colds he always slept well, and was never affected by this slow fever. I therefore went to
Dr. Bruno and Mr. Millingen, the two medical attendants, and inquired minutely into every circumstance connected with my master’s present illness: both replied that there was no danger, and I might make myself perfectly easy on the subject, for all would be well in a few days.—This was on the 13th. On the following day I found my master in such a state, that I could not feel happy without supplicating that he would send to Zante for Dr. Thomas. After expressing my fears lest his lordship should get worse, he desired me to consult the doctors; which I did, and was told there was no occasion for calling in any person, as they hoped all would be well in a few days.—Here I should remark, that his lordship repeatedly said, in the course of the day, he was sure the doctors did not understand his disease; to which I answered, then, my lord, have other advice by all means.—“They tell me,” said his lordship, “that it is only a common cold, which, you know, I have had a thousand times.”—“I am sure, my Lord,” said I, “that you never had one of so serious a nature.”—“I think I never had,” was his lordship’s answer. I repeated my supplications that Dr. Thomas should be sent for, on the 15th, and was again assured that my master would be better in two or three days. After these confident assurances, I did not renew my entreaties until it was too late. With respect to the medicines that were given to my master, I could not persuade myself that those of a strong purgative nature were the best adapted for his complaint, concluding that, as he had nothing on his stomach, the only effect would be to create pain: indeed this must have been the case with a person in perfect health. The whole nourishment taken by my master, for the last eight days, consisted of a small quantity of broth at two or three different times, and two spoonfuls of arrowroot on the 18th, the day before his death. The first time I heard of there being any intention of bleeding his lordship was on the 15th, when it was proposed by Dr. Bruno, but objected to at first by my master, who asked Mr. Millingen if there was any very great reason for taking blood?—The latter replied that it might be of service, but added that it could be deferred till the next day;—and accordingly my master
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was bled in the right arm, on the evening of the 16th, and a pound of blood was taken. I observed at the time, that it had a most inflamed appearance. Dr. Bruno now began to say he had frequently urged my master to be bled, but that he always refused. A long dispute now arose about the time that had been lost, and the necessity of sending for medical assistance to Zante; upon which I was informed, for the first time, that it would be of no use, as my master would be better, or no more, before the arrival of Dr. Thomas.* His lordship continued to get worse: but Dr. Bruno said, he thought letting blood again would save his life; and I lost no time in telling my master how necessary it was to comply with the doctor’s wishes. To this he replied by saying, he feared they knew nothing about his disorder; and then, stretching out his arm, said, “Here, take my arm, and do whatever you like.” His lordship continued to get weaker; and on the 17th he was bled twice in the morning, and at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. The bleeding at both times was followed by fainting fits, and he would have fallen down more than once, had I not caught him in my arms. In order to prevent such an accident, I took care not to let his lordship stir without supporting him. On this day my master said to me twice, “I cannot sleep, and you well know I have not been able to sleep for more than a week: I know,” added his lordship, “that a man can only be a certain time without sleep, and then he must go mad, without any one being able to save him; and I would ten times sooner shoot myself than be mad, for I am not afraid of dying,—I am more fit to die than people think.” I do not, however, believe that his lordship had any apprehension of his fate till the day after, the 18th, when he said, “I fear you and
Tita will be ill by sitting up constantly night and day.” I answered, “We shall never leave your lordship till you are better.” As my master had a slight fit of deli-
* It may be right to give Dr. Bruno’s own account of this matter as the reader will remark the very extraordinary speech he attributes to his patient; a speech arguing, one would think, an attack of delirium, before which he certainly ought to have been bled:—“Una febbre inflammatoria, la quale si accrebbe di giorno in giorno, perchè non volle mai lasciarsi cavar sangue; ed essendo stato minacciato dal suo medico più volte che sarebbe certamente perito per quella febbre infiammatoria se non si lasciava trar sangue, esso gli rispondeva Voi Dottore volete farvi onore della guarigione, epperico mi dite che è grave la mia malettia; ma io non mi lassierò mai toccare il sangue: alle replicate preghiere, e minaccie dei suoi amici che sarebbe induhitamente perito se non permettera ai medici di cavargli sangue, esso diceva; se è destinato che io debba perire di questa malattia, moriro egualmente, sia che mi si cavi tutto il sangue, sia, che non me lo tocchino, eppericò on voglio cavate di sangue.
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rium on the 16th, I took care to remove the pistols and stiletto, which had hitherto been kept at his bedside in the night. On the 18th his lordship addressed me frequently, and seemed to be very much dissatisfied with his medical treatment. I then said, “Do allow me to send for Dr. Thomas;” to which he answered, “Do so, but be quick. I am sorry I did not let you do so before, as I am sure they have mistaken my disease. Write yourself, for I know they would not like to see other doctors here.” I did not lose a moment in obeying my master’s orders; and on informing Dr. Bruno and Mr. Millingen of it, they said it was very right, as they now began to be afraid themselves. On returning to my master’s room, his first words were, “Have you sent?”—“I have, my Lord,” was my answer; upon which he said, “You have done right, for I should like to know what is the matter with me.” Although his lordship did not appear to think his dissolution was so near, I could perceive he was getting weaker every hour, and he even began to have occasional fits of delirium. He afterwards said, “I now begin to think I am seriously ill; and, in case I should be taken off suddenly, I wish to give you several directions, which I hope you will be particular in seeing executed.” I answered I would, in case such an event came to pass; but expressed a hope that he would live many years to execute them much better himself than I could. To this my master replied, “No, it is now nearly over;” and then added, “I must tell you all without losing a moment!” I then said, “Shall I go, my Lord, and fetch pen, ink, and paper?”—“Oh, my God! no, you will lose too much time, and I have it not to spare, for my time is now short,” said his lordship; and immediately after, “Now, pay attention.” His lordship commenced by saying, “You will be provided for.” I begged him, however, to proceed with things of more consequence. He then continued, “Oh, my poor dear child!—my dear
Ada! My God! could I but have seen her! Give her my blessing—and my dear sister Augusta and her children;—and you will go to Lady Byron, and say tell her every thing;—you are friends with her.” His lordship appeared to be greatly affected at this moment. Here my master’s voice failed him, so that I could only catch a word at intervals; but he kept muttering something very seriously for some time, and would often raise his voice and say, “Fletcher, now if you do not execute every order which I have given you, I will torment you hereafter if possible.” Here I told his lordship, in a state of the greatest perplexity, that I had not understood a word of what he said; to which he replied, “Oh,
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my God! then all is lost, for it is now too late! Can it be possible you have not understood me?”—“No, my Lord,” said I; “but I pray you to try and inform me once more.”—“How can I?” rejoined my master; “it is now too late, and all is over!” I said, “Not our will, but God’s be done!”—and he answered, “Yes, not mine be done—but I will try—” His lordship did indeed make several efforts to speak, but could only repeat two or three words at a time—such as, “My wife! my child! my sister!—you know all—you must say all—you know my wishes:” the rest was quite unintelligible. A consultation was now held (about noon), when it was determined to administer some Peruvian bark and wine. My master had now been nine days without any sustenance whatever, except what I have already mentioned. With the exception of a few words which can only interest those to whom they were addressed, and which, if required, I shall communicate to themselves, it was impossible to understand anything his lordship said after taking the bark. He expressed a wish to sleep. I at one time asked whether I should call
Mr. Parry; to which he replied, “Yes, you may call him.” Mr. Parry desired him to compose himself. He shed tears, and apparently sunk into a slumber. Mr. Parry went away, expecting to find him refreshed on his return—but it was the commencement of the lethargy preceding his death. The last words I heard my master utter were at 6 o’clock on the evening of the 18th, when he said, “I must sleep now;” upon which he laid down never to rise again!—for he did not move hand or foot during the following twenty-four hours. His lordship appeared, however, to be in a state of suffocation at intervals, and had a frequent rattling in the throat: on these occasions I called Tita to assist me in raising his head, and I thought he seemed to get quite stiff. The rattling and choaking in the throat took place every half-hour; and we continued to raise his head whenever the fit came on, till 6 o’clock in the evening of the 19th, when I saw my master open his eyes and then shut them, but without showing any symptom of pain, or moving hand or foot. “Oh! my God!” I exclaimed, “I fear his lordship is gone!” The doctors then felt his pulse, and said, “You are right—he is gone!”’

Of lord Byron’s friends in Greece, those whom one should have wished to have been present during his last illness, were scattered about the country: colonel Stanhope was at Salona; Mr. Trelawney arrived at Messolonghi very soon after the fatal event. “With all my anxiety,” he says, in a letter written immediately after, and dated Messolonghi, “I could not get here before the third day. It was the second after having crossed
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the first great torrent, that I met some soldiers from Messolonghi: I then rode back and demanded of a stranger the news from Messolonghi; I heard nothing more than lord Byron is dead, and I passed on in gloomy silence.”—It was at his desire that
Dr. Bruno drew up his report of the examination of lord Byron’s body. This report we shall here insert, though it has been printed in the newspapers. But, partly owing to the vagueness of the original, and partly to the translator’s ignorance of anatomy, it has been hitherto perfectly unintelligible.

“1. On opening the body of lord Byron, the bones of the head were found extremely hard, exhibiting no appearance of suture, like the cranium of an octogenarian, so that the skull had the appearance of one uniform bone: there seemed to be no diploe, and the sinus frontalis was wanting.

2. The dura mater was so firmly attached to the internal parieteii of the cranium, that the reiterated attempts of two strong men were insufficient to detach it, and the vessels of that membrane were completely injected with blood. It was united from point to point by membranous bridles to the pia mater.

3. Between the pia mater and the convolutions of the brain were found many globules of air, with exudation of lymph and numerous adhesions.

4. The great falx of the dura mater was firmly attached to both hemispheres by membranous bridles; and its vessels were turgid with blood.

5. On dividing the medullary substance of the brain, the exudation of blood from the minute vessels produced specks of a bright red colour. An extravasation of about 2 oz. of bloody serum was found beneath the pons Varioli, at the base of the hemispheres; and in the two superior or lateral ventricles, a similar extravasation was discovered at the base of the cerebellum, and the usual effects of inflammation were observable throughout the cerebrum.

6. The medullary substance was in more than ordinary proportion to the corticle, and of the usual consistency. The cerebrum and the cerebellum, without the membranes, weighed 61bs. (mediche).

7. The channels or sulci of the blood-vessels on the internal surface of the cranium, were more numerous than usual, but small.

8. The lungs were perfectly healthy, but of much more than ordinary volume (gigantiselle).

9. Between the pericardium and the heart there was about an ounce of lymph, and the heart itself was of greater size than usual; but its muscular substance wag extremely flaccid.

10. The liver was much smaller than usual, as was also
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the gall-bladder, which contained air instead of bile. The intestines were of a deep bilious hue, and distended with air.

11. The kidneys were very large but healthy, and the vesica relatively small.

Judging from the observations marked 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, and 11, the physician who attended lord Byron concludes, that he might probably have recovered from his illness, had he submitted to the loss of blood which was recommended at the commencement of the disease. He thinks, however, that he can declare with tolerable certainty, from the appearances 1, 8, and 9, that his lordship could not have survived many years, on account of his habitual exposure to the causes of disease, both from his habitual mental exertion, his excessive occupation, and a constant state of indigestion.”

William Parry, Last Days of Lord Byron

From this account of the examination of the body, it is plain that lord Byron died in consequence of inflammation of the brain; at least if the appearances really were as described. The cause of the attack was clearly his exposure to wet and cold on the 9th of April. By this exposure fever was excited. His brain was predisposed to disease, as is evident from the attack of convulsion from which he was scarcely yet recovered; and the fever once produced, excited inflammation in the brain the more readily on account of the predisposition to disease which had already been manifested in that organ. That he might have been saved by early and copious bleeding, and other appropriate remedies, is certain. That his medical attendants had not, until it was too late to do any thing, any suspicion of the true nature of his disease, we are fully satisfied. Nothing is known of any intention to bleed until the 15th, that is, the 6th day of the disease, and then one of the medical attendants expresses in a very vague manner his opinion of the remedy: “it might be of service, but it could be deferred till the next day.” Could any man, who was led by the symptoms to suspect such a state of the organ as was revealed by inspection, thus speak? When Dr. Bruno, in his report, speaks of taking blood in the early stage “in grande abbondanza,” he speaks instructed by dissection. Were we to place implicit confidence in the accuracy of the report of lord Byron’s attendant, we should doubt, from all the circumstances, his having proposed, in an early stage, copious bleeding to his patient, and his lordship’s refusal to submit to the treatment. He called his complaint a cold, and said the patient would be well in a few days, and no physician would propose copious bleeding under such circumstances. It seems to us that lord Byron’s penetration discovered their hesitation, and suspected the ignorance by which it was caused, and that
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his suspicion was but too well founded. Without further evidence we should disbelieve in the total obliteration of the sutures; and we may add, that all the inferences deduced from the alleged appearances in 1, 8, 9, Sec. are absurd; they do not afford evidence enough to warrant the slightest conjecture relative to the length or the brevity of life. It is, however, but fair to add, that lord Byron always had a very decided objection to being bled; and Dr. Bruno’s own testimony, which we have already quoted, ought to have its due weight. That lord Byron should have had an insurmountable objection to bleeding is extraordinary, and it in some measure confirms what he himself used to say, that he had no fear of death, but a perfect horror of pain.

Lord Byron’s death was a severe blow to the people of Messolonghi, and they testified their sincere and deep sorrow by paying his remains all the honours their state could by any possibility invent and carry into execution. But a people, when really animated by the passion of grief, requires no teaching or marshalling into the expression of its feelings. The rude and military mode in which the inhabitants and soldiers of Messolonghi, and of other places, vented their lamentations over the body of their deceased patron and benefactor, touches the heart more deeply than the vain and empty pageantry of much more civilized states.

Immediately after the death of lord Byron, and it was instantly known, for the whole town was watching the event, Prince Mavrocordatos published the following proclamation.

Art. 1185. ‘Provisional Government of Western Greece.

‘The present day of festivity and rejoicing is turned into one of sorrow and mourning.

‘The lord Noel Byron departed this life at eleven o’clock last night, after an illness of ten days; his death being caused by an inflammatory fever. Such was the effect of his lordship’s illness on the public mind, that all classes had forgotten their usual recreations of Easter, even before the afflicting end was apprehended.

‘The loss of this illustrious individual is undoubtedly to be deplored by all Greece; but it must be more especially a subject of lamentation at Messolonghi, where his generosity has been so conspicuously displayed, and of which he had even become a citizen, with the ulterior determination of participating in all the dangers of the war.

‘Every body is acquainted with the beneficent acts of his lordship, and none can cease to hail his name, as that of a real benefactor.

‘Until, therefore, the final determination of the national go-
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vernment be known, and by virtue of the powers with which it has been pleased to invest me: I hereby decree,

‘1st. To morrow morning at daylight, 37 minute-guns shall be fired from the grand battery, being the number which corresponds with the age of the illustrious deceased.

‘2nd. All the public offices, even to the tribunals, are to remain closed for three successive days.

‘3rd. All the shops, except those in which provisions or medicines are sold, will also be shut: and it is strictly enjoined, that every species of public amusement, and other demonstrations of festivity at Easter, may be suspended.

‘4th. A general mourning will be observed for twenty one days.

‘5th. Prayers and a funeral service are to be offered up in all the churches.

‘(Signed) A. Mavrocordatos.
Given at Messolonghi, Giorgius Praidis,
this 19th day of April, 1824. Secretary.

There appears to have been considerable difficulty in fixing upon the place of interment. No directions had been left by lord Byron—and no one could speak as to the wishes he might have entertained on the point. After the embalmment, the first step was to send the body to Zante, where the authorities were to decide as to its ultimate destination. Lord Sidney Osborne, a relation of lord Byron by marriage, the Secretary of the Senate at Corfu, repaired to Zante to meet it. It was his wish, and that of some others, that his lordship should be interred in that island—a proposition which was received with indignation and most decidedly opposed by the majority of the English. By one it was proposed that his remains should have been deposited in the temple of Theseus, or in the Parthenon, at Athens; and as some importance might have been attached to the circumstance by the Greeks, and as there is something consolatory in the idea of lord Byron reposing at last in so venerable a spot, thus re-consecrating, as it were, the sacred land of the Arts and the Muses, we cannot but lament that the measure was not listened to. Ulysses sent an express to Messolonghi, to solicit that his ashes might be laid in Athens; the body had then, however, reached Zante, and it appearing to be the almost unanimous wish of the English that it should be sent to England, for public burial in Westminster Abbey or St. Paul’s, the Resident of the Island yielded; the Florida was taken up for that purpose—and the whole English public know the result.

It was not only at Messolonghi, but throughout the whole of Greece, that the death of lord Byron was felt as a calamity in
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itself and a bad omen for the future. lord Byron went to the Greeks not under the same circumstances that any other man of equal genius might have done. He had been the poet of Greece—more than any other man he had turned the attention of Europe on modern Greece. By his eloquent and spirit-stirring strains, he had himself powerfully co-operated in raising the enthusiasm of regeneration which now reigns in Greece. All this gave to his arrival there, to use the phrase of a letter written while he was expected, something like the character “of the coming of a Messiah.” Proportionate, doubtless, was the disappointment, grief, and depression, when his mission ended before he had effected any thing of importance.—Fortunately the success of Greece depends not upon the efforts of any single man. Her fortune is sure, and must be made by the force of uncontrollable circumstances: by the character of the country, by the present ignorance and the former brutality of its oppressors, by Greek ingenuity, dexterity, and perseverance, traits stamped upon them by ages of servitude, now turned with a spirit of stern revenge upon those who made such qualities necessary—by the fortunate accidents which kept a host of consummate generals in the character of bandit robbers and shepherd chiefs, watching the moment when they might assume a more generous trade, and on a larger scale revenge the wrongs of a race of mountain-warriors.—By these and a multitude of other causes which might be enumerated, the fate of Greece is certain. We repeat with the most earnest assurance to those who still doubt, and with the most intimate knowledge of all the facts which have taken place, that the ultimate independence of Greece is secure. The only question at stake is the rapidity of the events which may lead to so desirable a consummation—so desirable to those who delight in the happiness and improvement of mankind—so delightful to those who have the increased prosperity of England at heart. It is here that lord Byron might have been useful; by healing divisions, by exciting dormant energies, by ennobling and celebrating the cause, he might perhaps have accelerated the progress of Greece towards the wished-for goal. But even here, though his life was not to be spared, his death may be useful—the death-place of such a man must be in itself illustrious. The Greeks will not despair when they think how great a sacrifice has been made for them: the eyes of all Europe are turned to the spot in which he breathed his last. No man who knows that lord Byron’s name and fame were more universal than those of any other then or now existing, can be indifferent to the cause for which he spent his last energies—on which he bent his last thoughts—the cause for which he died.