LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Memoirs of the Affairs of Greece
Chapter XXXV

Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Chapter X
Chapter XI
Chapter XII
Chapter XIII
Chapter XIV
Chapter XV
Chapter XVI
Chapter XVII
Chapter XVIII
Chapter XIX
Chapter XX
Chapter XXI
Chapter XXII
Chapter XXIII
Chapter XXIV
Chapter XXV
Chapter XXVI
Chapter XXVII
Chapter XXVIII
Chapter XXIX
Chapter XXX
Chapter XXXI
Chapter XXXII
Chapter XXXIII
Chapter XXXIV
‣ Chapter XXXV
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The Author receives an invitation to become Ibrahim’s physician—Capitulation of the Greeks—Author’s application to Captain Johnstone—Conduct of that officer—Author compelled to enter Ibrahim’s service—Applications to the British government in his behalf—Is at length allowed to depart.

Anastasius informed me, that he had had a long interview with Ibrahim Pasha, who, among other things, inquired as to the numbers of killed and wounded in the fortress, and the manner in which the latter were treated. The answer of Anastasius, naturally brought the conversation upon me; and partly giving way to his national disposition to exaggeration and fondness for the marvellous, and partly dazzled at the brilliant results of modern surgery, and its superiority over the practice of mountebanks and quacks, which he had hitherto only witnessed, the Greek spoke of the English surgeon of the garrison in the most hyperbolical terms.

Ibrahim, who happened then to have dismissed his private surgeon, a Greek named Gabrina, feeling the absolute want of another, requested Anastasius to inform me, that, on the Greeks surrendering the fortress, he would retain me in his service. Struck immediately with the embarrassing situation, in which I was placed by this determination of the pasha, and aware, that if I delayed any longer, my fate was inevitable, I formed the resolution of escaping by night with a Zantiot boat; the men of which remained still
in the fortress, watching a favourable opportunity to depart, unperceived by the Turkish boats, which were constantly cruising before the mouth of the port. To animate them I gave them a written engagement, by which I bound myself to pay the sum of forty dollars on our arrival at Zante. I laid aside my Albanian dress, and, assisted by one of
Callergi’s men, who proved as bad a tailor, as he had shown himself a gunner, I put together, in the best way I could, a pair of trousers, borrowed a worn-out jacket from a sailor, and exchanged the fezi and turban for a hat. Thus equipped, I presented myself before the capitani, and informed them of the cause of my metamorphosis; and begged them, since they were on the eve of surrendering the fortress, and my services consequently no longer necessary, to allow me to embark during the night, and thus avoid the fate that awaited me, should I attempt to leave it as one of the garrison.

Iatraco, out of partiality to a colleague, pleaded so strongly in my favour, that I received the permission I sued for. The soldiers, however, apprised of my intentions, looking still on the capitulation with a suspicious eye, and judging both by their own conduct and the habitual behaviour of Mussulmen, unable to persuade themselves, that some hidden treachery was not concealed under the appearance of generosity and good faith, clamorously insisted on retaining a man, who, should the negotiations in the sequel be broken, and they obliged to defend themselves to the last, would be of essential use to the garrison. Seeing no alternative, I, of course, was compelled to submit. The boat rowed off during the night, and succeeded in escaping the vigilance of the enemy.


Owing to various causes, the European merchant-vessels did not enter the harbour before the 22d. A thousand sinister interpretations were given by the Greeks to this delay. But their anxiety was in a great measure dissipated on seeing them arrive, and especially on perceiving, shortly after, an English schooner of war enter the harbour. It was the Chanticleer, commanded by Captain Johnstone. A shipwrecked individual does not hail, with more joy, the unexpected assistance, that comes to rescue him out of his desperate position, than I experienced on seeing the British flag.

The next morning (23d), at daybreak, Ibrahim’s officers were received into the town. Mr. Romey, formerly colonel in the service of Naples, but who, after his banishment, had entered as engineer in Mehmet Ali’s service, and assumed the name of Halil Aga, accompanied them. After visiting every part of the fortress, and making an inventory of the different warlike stores and provisions, they placed themselves at the northern gate of the town; and as the Greek soldiers passed by, received their arms. Egyptian sentinels had been placed in the form of a crescent, all along the space between the north and eastern corner of the citadel, and the place of embarkation, in order to keep back the motley multitude, which had thronged from Modoh, Coron, the ships, and every part of the camp, in order to witness the humiliation of the Greeks. They all shuddered with indignation, at seeing themselves constrained to smother the desire of revenge, which they had so long fondly entertained; their cruel eyes cast wistful glances on the giaours, who thus unexpectedly escaped them; and in their different tongues of Europe, Asia, and Africa, murmured against Ibrahim; who, for-
getting the precepts of the law, not only spared these infidels, but what was more inconceivable, those very men, who, in violation of their most holy engagements, had destroyed every Mussulman, who fell into their power.

More than once did the Greek column stop, and stand mute; pondering on their helplessness, and the surrounding danger; each reading his own fears on the countenance of those next to him. A cry or ah incautious sign might in the moment have caused them all precipitately to turn back. A thousand apprehensions agitated them; every disposition, taken by the enemy, appeared to their intimidated and suspicious imaginations, pregnant with danger and treachery. The crescent, formed by the troops, was intended the more easily to cut off their retreat, when the whole garrison should once be out, and thus the more assuredly to butcher them. The boats, which were waiting for them, being all Turkish, might lead them on board the Egyptian ships; or, in imitation of the conduct of the Hydriots, when Neocastro was surrendered to the Greeks, land them on Sphacteria, or the small island in the middle of the harbour, there to let them die of hunger. At last, partly the reassuring words of Ibrahim, partly the confidence, the presence of the Frank naval officers, inspired them with, and, also, a determination arising from despair, induced the first to venture on. When the others, that had purposely kept back, saw that they had been led on board the appointed European vessels, they gathered courage, and, though hesitatingly, followed their example.

As I came out of the gate, following my servant, and the soldiers who carried my luggage, I was met
by the captain of the Egyptian pioneers (a Milanese, named Zuccoli), who was accompanied by one of the cavashes of the pasha. He informed me, that
Ibrahim had ordered him to signify to me, that he wished to see me, and desired me to follow him to Soliman Bey’s tent. Having ordered my servant to see my things embarked on board the English merchant-vessel, where I hoped soon to rejoin him, I pensively followed Mr. Zuccoli.

On drawing near the Greek suburb, I felt inexpressible joy at meeting Captain Johnstone, who, with two of his officers, was advancing towards the spot where the pasha presided in person over the embarkation of the Greeks. As clearly as my agitation of mind would permit, I related to him the circumstances, which brought me into the service of Greece;—stated to him the embarrassing position in which I was placed; and from which he alone could rescue me. Unwilling to remain with Ibrahim, who had now sent for me to let me again know his intention of retaining me in his service, equally disinclined, were it even in my power, to depart with the Greeks, for whom, I could not but think some snare was laid, I urgently requested him to do me the favour to take me on board his ship, and to grant me the protection, he owed me as an Englishman.

Casting a contemptuous look on my shabby dress, which contrasted so much with his splendid appearance, this officer replied to me, with an air unsuitable at any time, but more particularly, as I thought, at a season when he saw a countryman in distress; “Why, my good fellow, ’pon my word I am very sorry, I cannot do any thing for you. You know you have forfeited every claim to British protection, by engaging in the Greek service, contrary to act of parliament.
You must run the chances you have exposed yourself to, and see to get out of the scrape the best way you can.” So saying, he turned round, leaving me to my sad reflections. The simple statement of similar conduct is sufficient, and dispenses from any observations.

I was then conducted to the tent of Soliman Bey, who received me with all the rough politeness of a French trooper. He forced me to squat down round his table, and to breakfast with him. Captain Le Blanc was one of the guests; but as French, as may easily be conceived, is preferable to Arab cookery, he had brought from his ship dishes, which to one forced to live during many days on vermicelli boiled in water, seemed delicious. While we were at table, information was brought to us by Mr. Bolognim, instructor of Ibrahim’s black body-guard, that the Greeks had all embarked; but that Ibrahim had retained as prisoners Beysade Torjachi and Tetrako, in retaliation for the manner, in which Ali Pasha and his suite were detained by the Greeks at the surrender of Anapli. This flagrant breach of the capitulation made upon me a very different impression, than it appeared to produce on M. Le Blanc. Seeing him shrugging up his shoulders, and talking, while eating, not less heartily than before, on le sort de la guerre with the utmost unconcern, I concluded, that he had never taken upon himself to guarantee the punctual execution of the treaty.

The word retaliation filled my mind with apprehensions. For the precedent once admitted as lawful, the Greeks might, with as much right, have been put to the sword, in retaliation of their conduct towards the garrisons of Corinth, Monemvasia, Neocastro, and in fact all the Mussulmen who, relying on their oaths, had surrendered themselves into their
power. It is evident that the moderation of
Ibrahim, on this occasion, was entirely the result of his generosity and good pleasure, or perhaps of his policy*:—for if the European naval officers thought it no concern of theirs to protest against the undue detention of the two Greek chiefs, they might, on the same principle of neutrality, have as passively witnessed the extermination of the whole garrison.

The refusal of Captain Johnstone, the violation of the capitulation, the want of communication between the French and Austrian naval officers, the profound dislike, Ibrahim always professed to the English, the

* The observance of the capitulations of Neocastro and Old Navarino, are almost the only examples of Turkish good faith recorded in the annals of the Ottoman history. Without referring to more remote periods, it is sufficient to bring to the reader’s recollection the conduct of the grand vizier in 1714, when he reconquered Morea from the Venetians. Although the garrisons capitulated under the most favourable conditions, the Turks had not certainly against them any motives of revenge so legitimate as Ibrahim now had against the rebel rayas, who had left nothing undone, that might exasperate to the highest degree the fury of their enemy. Yet the garrisons of Corinth, Argos, Morea Castle, Modon, and Monembaria were then, in spite of the vizier’s solemn oaths, unmercifully exterminated. The behaviour of the son of Mehmet Ali, on this occasion, must appear the more extraordinary, when it is remembered, that his youth was characterized by repeated acts of the most wanton cruelty. Some pretend, that he acted in conformity with his father’s instructions; but what, I can affirm, had no less influence over his mind, was the immoderate desire, he had, of obtaining a favourable character in Europe, by giving proofs of his superiority over the rest of his nation in civilization and the art of war. Whatever impression, his conduct might produce on the public opinion, certain it is, that it did not operate on the Greeks, in the manner, he had been led to suppose. Instead of trusting to these acts of clemency, they looked upon them as means, the more easily to ensnare them. The vulgar compared him to the cat, which, unable to catch its prey, rolled itself in flour, the more successfully to deceive the mice.

hints given me by the Franks in his service, as to the danger of inflaming his irritable and savage temper, by an ill-advised refusal,—all these were well calculated to excite apprehensions the most cruel. While in this state I was led before the pasha, whose proud and fierce looks by no means reassured me. I felt myself entirely abandoned to the mercy of a barbarian, who, with all manner of apparent right, might have treated me as he thought fit; since, being a foreigner, he could except me from a capitulation, which he might say he had merely granted to Greeks. “What business had you,” said he to me through his interpreter Abro, “young Englishman, to serve revolted rayas, fighting against their masters? Legitimate or not, they have some grounds of complaint against us; but what wrong did you ever receive from Mussulmen?”—“I am a medical man,” replied I; “and as such, serve no party but that of humanity. Having studied my profession to procure myself a living, I entered the Greek service, because their offers suited me.”—“Did the Greeks pay you?” said he, “for I am told, they rather understand taking than giving?” I replied, that certainly I had not found them the most punctual of paymasters. “Well,” said he, “if it is the case that you serve humanity, you may now remain with me, who am in need of a doctor; and you may rely on finding me much more punctual in my payments than the Greeks.”

Such is the simple, unadulterated relation of the surrender of Neocastro; and of the circumstances which forced me to accept Ibrahim’s propositions, to quit the Greek service. It is an easy thing for men,
leisurely sitting by their firesides, to exclaim against my conduct on this occasion; and, strangers to the horrible state of suspense, and the thousand fearful apprehensions, an inexperienced young man cannot but feel on seeing himself in the hands of men, whose very name is used to express cruelty and barbarous caprice, on finding himself surrounded by the ministers of his wrath, who, with eyes fixed on their master, and grasping their arms, stand ready to execute the sentence hinted by his nod:—it is easy, I say, for such men to brand my name with the appellation of traitor and apostate; because I did not offer myself a victim for those, to whom the sacrifice would have been useless; and its value wholly unappreciated. The illusion, which had induced me to volunteer my services to the Greeks, was considerably impaired by the repeated demonstrations I had had of the cowardly and base manner, in which they defended their liberties. My conduct on the occasion was justified by the natural law of self-preservation, and I was obliged to yield to the storm.

But supposing, however, that the endeavours, I made, to escape before the surrender of Navarino; the embarkation of my effects before I was led before Ibrahim; the request I made to Captain Johnstone, to take me on board, did not suffice to prove the little foundation there was, for my having voluntarily entered the pasha’s service, and basely deserted, for the sake of better pay, the banner of the cross for that of the crescent; the measures, I immediately adopted, to enable me to recover my liberty, must incontestably demonstrate to every impartial judgment the falsehood of those reproofs.

On the 12th and 19th of June I wrote to Mr. Hancock at Cephalonia, a gentleman who, during my stay in that island and at Mesolonghi, had shown me
much kindness, requesting him to obtain from the local authorities a passport, without which no vessel would take me on board. It was my intention, as soon as I received it, to embark secretly. I wrote, at the same time, to my
father, who was then at Paris, and he transmitted my letter to William Hamilton, Esq., late minister of his Britannic Majesty at the court of Naples, who, in the kindest possible manner, applied immediately to Mr. Canning in my behalf, as will appear by the annexed letters.

“Argostoli, 13th July, 1825.
“My dear Sir,

It is two months since I received your letter, dated Camp at Nisi, June the 12th, and Modon, 19th ditto, but have been unable to reply to it until now; when the kindness of Captain Williams enables me to write, with some hopes of the letter finding its way to you. On receiving your letter, I immediately applied to Colonel Napier, on the subject of your request, to obtain a passport, but he said, he could not do it of his own power; but requested me to put my communication in writing, which I did accordingly, and it was sent to his excellency the Lord High Commissioner, whose pleasure on the subject has not been made known to me; but Captain Williams says he has Colonel Napier’s instruction to make inquiries concerning you.

(Signed) C. Hancock.”
“To Dr. J. Millingen,
“Fortress of Coron.”
(Copy.) “Foreign Office, September 8th, 1825.

“I am directed by Mr. Secretary Canning to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 28th ult.
requesting that the interference of his majesty’s government may be exerted in behalf of
Dr. Millingen, a British subject, who was pressed into the service of Ibrahim Pasha after the taking of Navarino.—Mr. Canning directs me to acquaint you in answer, that the fact (admitted in Dr. Millingen’s letters) of his having been found in the service of the Greeks, must preclude Mr. Canning from recommending his case to his majesty’s embassy at the Porte for interference; as the protection of his majesty’s government cannot be extended to British subjects, engaging in foreign service against an act of parliament.

“I have, &c.
(Signed) Howard De Walden.”
“To William Richard Hamilton, Esq. &c. &c.”
(Copy.) “Foreign Office, September 29th, 1825.

Mr. Secretary Canning directs me to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 23d instant, renewing your request, that his majesty’s government would interfere to procure the liberation of your son, who having engaged in the Greek service, has since been pressed into that of Ibrahim Pasha, and acquaints you that an answer on this subject has been returned to Mr. Hamilton, through whom your original application was made.

“I have, &c.
(Signed) Joseph Planta.”
“To Mr. Millingen.”

All the sanguine hopes, I had been led to build, on the success of my applications to government at home, and the British authorities in the Ionian islands, having thus been entirely overthrown, I did not, on
that account, despair of succeeding in obtaining the object of my wishes, or cease to exert myself to enable me one moment sooner to leave a service so much opposed to my feelings. On the return of
Ibrahim from his expedition in the interior of Peloponnesus, I addressed to him a petition from Coron, requesting, under pretence of ill health, permission to return home; and on my arrival at Modon renewed in person my demand. The pasha absolutely refused it; urging, that since I was unwell, he would allow me to remain at Modon, where I might recover as easily as any where else. After his departure for the siege of Mesolonghi, I profited of every opportunity to renew my instances, and engaged others who had influence over him, to interest themselves in my favour; but, instead of a satisfactory answer, I received the following note from Dr. Lardon, his private physician.

“Sotto Mesolonghi, 6 Marzo, 1826.
“Stimatissimo Signore Millingen,

Sento con rincrescimento lo sconcerto di sua salute, e m’incresce sempre più la di lei disposizione a privarci della sua pregievole persona. Inerendo intanto a’ di lei desideri, ed alla imperiosa circostanza che li produce, ho rappresentato il tutto a S. A. in quel modo che ho creduto più favorevole al di lei intento. La stima per altro di S. A. per lei concepita ha fatto sì che se ne sia alquanto doluto, e che non ne abbia per il momento data una decisiva risposta, quale però mi procurerò in una seconda occasione, e non mancherò farnela partecipe.

“Ho l’onore, &c.
Giov. Lardon.”
“Al Signore Doctore Millingen.”

The following is an extract from an answer to fresh applications for my dismissal.

Spero avrà ricevuta la risposta alle stimatissime sue speditemi, e si tranquillizi, che fra pochi giorni venendo costà con S. A. mi lusingo sarà terminato il di lei affare. La saluto, &c.

G. Lardon.”
“Patrasso, 4 Maggio, 1826.”

On Ibrahim’s return from Mesolonghi, when I appeared before him, he burst into a violent passion, and reproached me in the bitterest terms for my ingratitude towards him, after the generous manner, in which he had treated me at the surrender of Navarino. “Was I not then, according to every right of war, entirely at his disposal? Could he not then, not only send me to the bagnio, with the other Greek prisoners, but even impale me before the gates of Navarino without any one being entitled to blame him? Far from imitating the conduct, which would have been followed by every pasha in his stead, he had made me his personal surgeon, clothed me, paid me, and treated me with every mark of distinction. Yet, while carrying on the siege of Mesolonghi, application had been made to him by Captain Pechell, demanding my release, under the supposition of my being yet detained as a prisoner. Had I been treated as such? or in what European service could I have received a more ample salary?” This was not the favourable moment to observe to him, that though, nominally speaking, I was not his prisoner, yet virtually I possessed no more liberty than one, reduced to that condition; since notwithstanding my incessant demands to be allowed to quit his service, he obstinately continued to refuse me; and thus retained me against my in-
clination. I then endeavoured to avert the consequences of the resentment of a man, who, when infuriated, becomes more cruel and savage than the fiercest tiger, by attributing Captain Pechell’s solicitations in my favour, to the request, my
father had been led to make him in consequence of the reports respecting me, published in the newspapers. Persuaded, that, with the Turks, the most prudent and successful policy is to imitate their temporising system, till the decisive moment of unfolding one’s intention has arrived; I replied, that, “bound as I should ever be to him by ties of gratitude, yet as the first of all duties was filial duty, I could not but respect my father’s opinions, and comply with his wishes. As soon, therefore, as he ordered me to return near him, I trusted that he would allow me to obey.”—“Your father, I dare say, like all the English, is an admirer of the Greeks”—added Ibrahim; “but tell him to come and spend but six weeks at Anapli, and if he does not then change his ideas, and entreat you to remain with me, I am willing to forfeit my head.”

I might certainly, to this day, have been put off from month to month by Ibrahim, who, like all Turks, are averse to change a physician who has ever been intrusted with the care of his harem, had not the repeated solicitations of Lord Lansdowne, Lord Holland, and Mr. Hamilton in my favour, induced Mr. Stratford Canning to interest himself to obtain from the divan a firman, by which Ibrahim was requested to allow me to quit his service.

It was not delivered by the Zebra, before the middle of September; but as the pasha was still in the interior of the country, his chiaja would not let me go, but bade me wait till the return of his master. In compliance with his request to give him under my
signature a declaration of the motives which, on the surrender of Neocastro, induced me to remain with the Greeks, I wrote a letter to Abro, who was witness to the whole transaction, and carried on the conversation between the pasha and me; and out of it, I shall content myself with giving the following extract, where I appeal to him, in support of the veracity of what I have stated in regard to the conduct, which Captain Johnstone thought himself in duty bound to follow with regard to me on that occasion. “II n’y eut alors de la part
d’Ibrahim ni compulsion ni autre acte d’arbitraire, tant s’en faut qu’il me retint comme prisonnier; je ne scaurais pourtant dire que ce fut par pure volonté de ma part, que je consentis à ses propositions; vous qui connaissez les lois de l’honneur scaurez bien apprécier les sentiments qui agitaient alors mon ame. Lé refus que me fit alors le Capitaine Johnstone de me recevoir à son bord, et la crainte qu’on ne violat la capitulation en imitation de la conduite des Grecs dans la même circonstance deux ans auparavant, furent les motifs qui me deciderent a rester au service,” &c. &c.

As soon as Ibrahim had returned to Modon in November, I presented myself before him, and now, imboldened by the support I had in my favour, I requested him, in consideration of the letter, addressed to him in my behalf from Constantinople, to grant me the dismissal, which I had so often begged for in vain. I brought to his recollection the note, addressed by him to Captain Pechell, of which I had received a copy; and insisted, since he himself therein acknowledged that I was free, to prove it by allowing me to act as I pleased. In answer to this, I obtained from him the promise that, after the arrival of the fleet, on board of which several medical men had embarked, he would grant my demand.


As soon as the pay had been distributed to the troops, I renewed my demand; and requested his private physician to solicit an absolute, and final answer. Incensed at my obstinacy, and wounded in his pride by a report made to him, that I called it a disgrace to remain in his service, he gave instant orders, that I should be embarked before sunset, and the Chiaja Bey, a faithful interpreter of his will, sent soldiers actually to turn me out of my house. They threw my effects out of doors; and had it not been for the kindness of some French medical gentlemen, who, with their own hands, secured my property, by taking it into their houses, I should certainly have lost every thing I possessed. I precipitately embarked on board a small Austrian schooner, happy to escape any further ill treatment; and, braving tempests and pirates, I reached Smyrna in safety; where the pleasures of regained liberty, and a return to civilized life, made me soon forget the injurious treatment, I had received.