LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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A Narrative of Lord Byron’s Last Journey to Greece
Chapter II

Chapter I
‣ Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
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Arrival of Colonel Stanhope—The Pacha of Scutari retires from the siege of Anatolico—Dissensions amongst the Greeks of the Morea—Lord Byron addresses a public letter to the legislative body, and a private letter to Prince Mavrocordato—Arrival of the Greek fleet and of Mavrocordato—Lord Byron sends a message to the Prince—Arrival of two Greek vessels off the harbour of Argostoli, with letters from the Prince and the Greek government to Lord Byron—Lord Byron embarks, and sails from Cephalonia—Arrives at Zante—Sails for Missolonghi—Is separated from Count Gamba—The latter, with part of Lord Byron’s household, taken by a Turkish frigate, and conveyed to the Castle of the Morea—His release and arrival at Missolonghi, where Lord Byron also arrives—His joyful reception—Account of his dangerous voyage there—Departure of the Hydriote fleet—State of Greece—Lord Byron’s political conduct in that country—His intended enterprise against Lepanto—He takes five hundred Suliotes into his pay—Forms an artillery brigade—Establishes a Greek newspaper.

About this same time, the middle of November, the Honourable Colonel L. Stan-
hope arrived, in company with two envoys of the German committees. He came from Ancona, deputed by the London committee to act with
Lord Byron: he was the bearer of the best news from Europe. The interest in favour of the Greeks had risen to enthusiasm, particularly in England: every exertion was making for a loan, and, apparently, only the Greek deputies were wanting to conclude it.

News from Greece now informed us that the Pacha of Scutari had abandoned Anatolico, and that the Turkish army had fled precipitately; whether through fear of the approaching winter, through want of provisions, or on account of divisions amongst the commanders, was not known: the first and the latter conjectures were the most probable. From the Morea, we heard that the legislative body had de-
clared against the executive, that open violence had been resorted to by the latter, and that the factions had already come to blows. It was melancholy, indeed, that the fond hopes of the Christian world should be thus frustrated in such a favourable juncture by the petty dissensions and selfish views of a few chiefs, and after so many heroic exertions. But previous to fresh hostilities, and whilst succours were collecting abroad, it was the duty of the true friends of Greece to unite in settling these discords; and such was the resolution of
Lord Byron.

As Lord Byron had been declared the representative of the English and German committees, or, more properly speaking, of all Europeans interested in the Greek cause, it was judged proper that he should address a public letter to the general government of Greece, demonstrating how
their fatal dissensions prevented them from taking advantage of so many favourable opportunities. Averse as he was to every appearance of ostentation and charlatanism, he thought that such a letter might nevertheless be of some utility; and this he considered sufficient. He likewise wrote to
Mavrocordato. Too great publicity could not be given to these letters; and Colonel Stanhope offering to be the bearer of them, he in a few days set out for Zante.

I here give an extract from a letter from Lord Byron to the executive and legislative bodies of the Greek nation:

“Cephalonia, Nov. 30, 1823.

“The affair of the loan, the expectation so long and vainly indulged of the arrival of the Greek fleet, and the danger to which Missolonghi 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 pray 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 established, all hopes of a loan will be vain; and all the assistance which the Greeks could expect from abroad—an assistance 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 to favour her establishment of an independent power, will be persuaded that the Greeks are unable to govern themselves, and will, perhaps, themselves undertake to settle your disorders in such a way, as to blast the brightest hopes of yourselves and of 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 that the English public, or English individuals, should be 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; then it will no more be said, as it has been said for two thousand years, with the Roman historian, that Philopœmen was the last of the Grecians. Let not calumny itself (and it is difficult, I own, to guard against it in so arduous a struggle) compare the patriot Greek, when resting from his
labours, to the Turkish Pacha, whom his victories have exterminated.

“I pray you to accept these my sentiments as a sincere proof of my attachment to your real interests; and to believe that I am, and always shall be,

“Your, &c.
(Signed) “N. B.”

On the same occasion, Lord Byron wrote to Prince Mavrocordato a letter in Italian, which he consigned to the care of Colonel Stanhope:

“Cefalonia, 2d Decembre, 1823.

“La presente sarà recapitata a V. A. dall’ onorévole Colonello Stanhope, figlio del Maggior-Generale Conte di Arrington, &c. Egli è arrivato da Londra in cinquanta giorni, dopo aver visitato tutti i comitati di Germania, ed è incaricato al nostro comitato ad operare in mia compagnia alla liberazione della Grecia. Io credo che il suo nome e la sua missione lo raccomanderanno abastanza all’ A. V. senza che gli abbisognino altre raccomandazioni da uno straniero, quantunque sia un tale, che rispetta ed ammira con l’Europa intera il coraggio, i talenti, e sopratutto la probità del Principe Mavrocordato.


“Duolmi oltremodo in udire che le discordie continuino sempre in Grecia, e in un momento in cui ella protrebbe trionfare da ogni parte, come ha trionfato in alcune.

“La Grecia è posta fra tre partiti: o riconquistare la libertà, o divenire uno dipendenza dei sovrani Europei, o tornare uno provincia Turca: non ha che a sciegliere fra questi tre. Ma la guerra civile non parmi strada che agli ultimi due. Se invidia la sorte della Valachia e della Crimea, può ottenerla domani; se quella dell’ Italia, postdomani; ma se vuol diventare la vera Grecia, libera per sempre e independente, conviene che si determini oggi, o non avrà più tempo mai più.

“Sono con tutto rispetto
“Dell’ A. V. devoto servo,
N. B.

“P. S. Vostra Altezza saprà già come io ho cercato di sodiffare alla richieste del governo Greco per quanto era nel poter mio; ma vorrei che questa flotta sì lungo tempo aspettata e sempre in vano arivasse, o almeno fosse in strada: e sopratutto che L. A. Vostra si acostasse a queste parti, o sulla flotta con missione publica, o in qualche altro modo.”

“Cephalonia, 2d Dec. 1823.

“The present will be put into your hands by Colonel
Stanhope, son of Major-General the Earl of Harrington, &c. &c. He has arrived from London in fifty days, after having visited all the committees of Germany. He is charged by our committee to act in concert with me for the liberation of Greece. I conceive that his name and his mission will be a sufficient recommendation, without the necessity of any other from a foreigner, although one who, in common with all Europe, respects and admires the courage, the talents, and, above all, the probity of Prince Mavrocordato.

“I am very uneasy at hearing that the dissensions of Greece still continue, and at a moment when she might triumph over every thing in general, as she has already triumphed in part. Greece is, at present, placed between three measures: either to re-conquer her liberty, to become a dependence of the sovereigns of Europe, or to return to a Turkish province. She has the choice only of these three alternatives. Civil war is but a road which leads to the two latter. If she is desirous of the fate of Walachia and the Crimea, she may obtain it to-morrow; if of that of Italy, the day after; but if she wishes to become truly Greece, free and independent, she must resolve to-day, or she will never again have the opportunity.

“I am, with due respect,
“Your Highness’s obedient servant,
“N. B.

“P. S. Your Highness will already have known that I have sought to fulfil the wishes of the Greek government, as much as it lay in my power to do so: but I
should wish that the fleet, so long and so vainly expected, were arrived, or, at least, that it were on the way; and especially that your Highness should approach those parts, either on board the fleet, with a public mission, or in some other manner.”

Such were the sentiments and the wishes of Lord Byron in this important crisis.

At last the long-expected fleet arrived. Mavrocordato was aboard. Between Ithaca and Cephalonia they fell in with a Turkish corvette from Prevesa, with a considerable sum of money and some Turks of distinction, amongst whom was a nephew of Yussuff himself. The money had been sent to the Pacha for the payment of sixteen months’ arrears due to the garrisons of Patras and of the other three fortresses, who had long been loud in their complaints. The corvette, attacked by the superior forces of the Greeks, defended itself desperately, and would not surrender. In the end, it was wrecked on the coast
of Ithaca. The Greeks, urged on by the heat of the action, and by the hope of booty, broke the neutrality of the Ionian Islands, and gave rise to various complaints and remonstrances.

The Greek squadron afterwards cast anchor off Missolonghi, where Mavrocordato was received with enthusiasm, in gratitude for the memorable services he had rendered the year preceding. He was intrusted with full powers to organise western Greece. The Turkish squadron of fifteen vessels, brigs, corvettes, and two large frigates, was shut up in the gulf of Lepanto.

Lord Byron immediately despatched a boat with Signior Praidi, to inform Mavrocordato that the loan requested of him by the government was ready, and that he would either go aboard the Greek fleet, or come to Missolonghi, in order to have a
conference with him.
Colonel Stanhope, who was still at Zante, immediately set out for Missolonghi.

The weather was unfavourable and stormy. In a few days a Speziot brig, the Leonidas, cast anchor in the port of Argostoli, under pretence of procuring water. The Commandant would not allow it to remain in port more than twenty-four hours, and forbade any communication with the land. Permission was, however, given to deliver any letters: he had none; nor was Praidi aboard. The captain informed Lord Byron, by letter, that he was ordered by his admiral to attend his Lordship’s orders. We were waiting for an answer by our messenger: the Leonidas continued sailing off the port; and two days afterwards we saw from our village of Metaxata another brig, which arrived, having on board Signior Praidi and some Greek officers, bringing letters
Mavrocordato and Colonel Stanhope, who requested him to come to Missolonghi, where his presence was of the utmost importance*. A letter likewise from the Legislative Body solicited him to co-operate with Mavrocordato in the organisation of western Greece. One of the brigs was to return to Missolonghi, the other to convoy, or to receive Lord Byron on board, if he should prefer it. But Lord Byron declined the offer, and preferred hiring vessels for himself.

It was now the 26th of December. A boat was hired for part of the baggage; a light, fast-sailing vessel, called a Mistico, for Lord Byron and his suite; and a larger vessel for the rest of the baggage, horses, &c. &c.

* Extracts from these letters are given in the Appendix.


In less than twelve hours every thing was ready, and we were on board; but contrary winds detained us for two days. Lord Byron lodged with his banker, Mr. Hancock, and passed the greater part of the day in company with the English authorities of the island.

The wind becoming fair, on the 28th of December, at 3 p. m. we set sail, he in the Mistico, myself in the larger vessel. On the 29th in the morning, we were at Zante. We passed the day in transacting business with Mr. Barff, and sent on board a considerable sum of money.

The Commandant, Dr. Thomas, and others, called on Lord Byron, but he declined an invitation to the Commandant’s house. We took our ship’s papers for Calamo, one of the smaller of the Ionian islands, near the coast of Roumelia. Towards six in the
evening we set sail for Missolonghi, without the slightest suspicion that the Turkish fleet could have left the Gulf of Lepanto. We knew that the Greeks were anchored before Missolonghi, nearly at the entrance of the Gulf, and we expected to fall in with the Leonidas, or some other Greek vessel, either in search of, or waiting for us.

We sailed together till after ten at night; the wind favourable—a clear sky, the air fresh but not sharp.—Our sailors sang alternately patriotic songs, monotonous indeed, but to persons in our situation extremely touching, and we took part in them. We were all, but Lord Byron particularly, in excellent spirits. The Mistico sailed the fastest. When the waves divided us, and our voices could no longer reach each other, we made signals by firing pistols and carabines—“To-morrow we meet at Missolonghi—to-morrow.” Thus, full of con-
fidence and spirits, we sailed along. At twelve, we were out of sight.

The wind freshened towards three o’clock in the morning; my captain, Spiro Valsamarchi, of Cephalonia, was afraid of sailing any further in the dark on account of the shallows.

We again proceeded at five; at half past six it was daylight, and we found ourselves near the insulated rocks which are seen in front of the shallows of Missolonghi. A little before us to the right, a large vessel was perceived coming slowly towards us: at first it was thought to be one of the Greek fleet, but it was too large: we then believed it an Imperial frigate. In outward form and appearance it was superior to a Turkish ship; nor was it like an English nor an American. How could a Turkish vessel be alone, and there? It veered towards
us: we hoisted the Ionian flag, they the Ottoman. How great was our astonishment! the captain and sailors were amazed—almost in despair. What was to be done?—Fly?—there was no time; and then, if we were caught, it would be worse. In the mean time, the Turks approached, and called the captain aboard. The poor fellow gave himself up for lost. “What shall I say?” I replied, “Say what your papers declare, that you are freighted by travellers for Calamo—leave the rest to me: for God’s sake, no schemes, no contradictions.” “—But we have left Calamo behind.”—“Well, then, the night, the wind will be a sufficient plea.” We put our captain on board the frigate: we began to think what we had to make us suspicious characters—several servants, five horses, dogs; a few guns for sporting, and some money; all under my protection. I prepared my story:—“I am a traveller; I am going to
Calamo, to join an English nobleman, to whom most of the things on board belong; thence, to set out on our travels whenever the unfortunate disturbances should permit us:” and this agreed with our papers, and partly with the truth. I had a packet of letters, containing all
Lord Byron’s correspondence with the Greek chiefs. Without delay, I then tied fifty pounds of shot to the package, and told a servant to stand in readiness behind the sail, and, immediately on seeing a boat move off, to fling it overboard. A Turk got into the boat; the servant, thinking he was coming towards us, dropped the package into the sea. As it turned out, there was no necessity for this step; but as he had done so, I was no longer in fear, either for myself or for the suite. With resolution and firmness, rather than by false pretences, I thought I could get off safely, and especially as I hajd to deal with barbarians. I now only felt ap-
prehensions for Lord Byron, whose fate I did not know: he had with him more money, a great number of arms, and some Greeks, not Ionians. A small vessel was seen near one of the rocks, called Scrofes, apparently taking refuge there. I thought it was the Mistico, and I felt tranquil: a frigate could not approach it.

Three sails now appeared at a distance, on the side of Zante. A great shout was raised in the frigate, for the Turks took them for the Greeks, and made sail towards the Gulf, ordering us, with noise and threats, to follow. Another frigate was then descried farther off in the Gulf, and also the rest of the Turkish fleet.

Proceeding towards Patras, our captain showed himself on the poop of the frigate, and hailed us aloud, and told us to be cheerful. We cried out, that he stood more in need of consolation than we; but his
exclamation had greatly comforted our crew. We afterwards learnt, that when
Spiro first came on board he was received by the Turkish captain with his drawn sword. The Turks thought our bombard was a fireship, and our poor Greek heard the order—“Cut off his head, and sink the ship!” It was a trying moment. The captain asked him, in a threatening tone, whether he was not going to Missolonghi? He had not the power to say “no;”—but, on a sudden, fear seems to have opened his eyes, and permitted him to recognise, in the person of the Turkish captain, one whom he had before seen. “What!” said he, “are you going to take away the life of him who saved your life? Don’t you recollect Spiro Valsamarchi, whom you saw in the Black Sea?”

“Is it possible,” said the Turk—“you Spiro?” He embraced the trembling Greek, took him into his cabin, showed
the utmost solicitude on his behalf, and frequently, when we were afterwards together, took the opportunity of testifying his gratitude to his old deliverer, who, it seems, had saved the Turk, his brother, and eight others, from shipwreck in a merchant vessel, to the no small hazard of his own life.

We cast anchor under Patras, about four p. m., in the midst of fourteen Turkish vessels. The captain of the frigate immediately went to the Seraskier; and, passing by, told me that, on his return, he should wish to see me.

In about an hour I went, and with me Sig. Zambelli, his Lordship’s superintendant of the household, and three servants. I was allowed to have two, to take care of the horses. Knowing that presents are a good introduction, particularly to a Turk, I carried with me a telescope, and some
bottles of rum and porter. The captain, whose name was Zachirià, received me with courtesy, and willingly accepted my trifling gifts, but seemed to fear lest he should not be able to make a traffic of them*. His interpreter and his pilot was a Roman by birth, whom he called Captain Francesco, and who, apparently, had escaped from the galleys of Civita Vecchia. He asked me whence I came, whither I was going, and what I had on board? Trusting that
Spiro had obeyed my orders, I replied accordingly. But Captain Francesco vauntingly said, that Spiro had confessed that we were going to Missolonghi. Spiro wanted to deny this with fresh explanations. “What have I,” I answered with firmness—“what have I to do with what he said? I neither know nor care about his story—my papers speak plainly enough. His vessel, hired by

* For some additional account of this circumstance, see the notes in the Appendix.

me, is now mine, and I best know whether I am bound to Calamo or Missolonghi. The night—the wind—may have driven him out of his course. Another vessel, with a friend, is there waiting for me; and if you thus treat me, in violation of every law, you must answer for it to the Ionian government.” They said, they had seen the Mistico pass close to them in the dark. Captain Francesco did not appear satisfied with my explanation, and was unwilling to relinquish the large portion of the booty which he expected. But the Turk interposed: he excused the contradictions of Spiro on the score of fear: he was sorry, he said, to be obliged to detain us, as his crew had heard the answer of Spiro; but told us to be cheerful, and offered us soup and coffee. Then it was that he entered into conversation about Spiro—“that he was a good man—that he owed his life to him—that he considered
himself fortunate in having an opportunity to return a small part of his debt, for he never could sufficiently repay him.” At supper, the Turk began to thank
Mahomet, who had again conducted him safely into port. To-morrow, he said, we should enter the Gulf, and then he would recommend me to Yussuff Pacha, an excellent man and his particular friend; and he added, that I ought even to complain of his (Zachirià’s) conduct, for having stopped me in my way to Calamo, beyond the line of blockade. He only requested me to bear testimony to his having had the boldness to advance all alone so far beyond the mouth of the Gulf. This recommendation, said he, would be worth 500,000 piastres to him at Constantinople. He made me a present of a handsome Turkish pipe, and appeared solicitous of rendering his hospitality acceptable to us. We entered port in the morning, and after mid-day I was landed
in the ship’s boat at the castle of the Morea, near which my vessel cast anchor. The fleet was moored on the opposite side of the Gulf, under Lepanto.

I immediately went to the English Consulate. Mr. Green was at Zante, but I found his agent, Sig. Romanelli, an Ionian Greek, who received us in a polite manner, and appeared to take up our cause with warmth. The Pacha was then in his seraglio, but would see me the next day; and, in the mean time, I was allowed to go on board my vessel. I asked permission to shoot along the shore, for there was a fine line of coast. The vice-consul sent two Janissaries with me. Arriving at the foot of a hill, my guards would not ascend, for fear of the Greeks, who were masters of the mountains, and frequently came down to carry off the sheep. The Turks never ventured there; for the Greeks, hiding at night in the bushes, robbed and
killed the Turks when driving out their flocks in the morning. Two days afterwards I myself witnessed one of these freebootings. But I despised the prudence of my guards. Thus I stood in danger of being way-laid by the Greeks for a Turk, and of being hanged by the Turks for a Greek.

In the morning I had an interview with the Pacha, who willingly accepted some woodcocks of me. He received me in his divan, seated, or rather lying, on a sofa, smoking, as were likewise four or five officers, or counsellors, seated round him. After coffee and pipes, the examination began. I answered him as I had before answered Zachirià: I deplored the turbulent state of the country, which made travelling, our favourite passion, so difficult. To comply with the request of my hospitable captain, I blamed him for capturing us out of the line of blockade, and ex-
tolled his temerity in advancing so far alone.

The Pacha seemed much pleased with the bravery of his captain, and congratulated me on my good fortune in falling into their hands rather than into those of the infidels. He spoke Turkish to his secretary, and the latter addressed me in Greek. He questioned me about the corvette destroyed by the Hydriots, on the coast of Ithaca. I related the fact to him. The corvette was his property; the money on board was to pay the troops; and it was his nephew who had been killed. I did not perceive the slightest emotion in his countenance. He asked me what Sir Thomas Maitland had thought of it; and if he would not revenge so great an insult offered to the English by those rascally pirates. I replied, that Sir Thomas was highly incensed at the infraction of the neutrality.
He desired me to be told that he could not comprehend how the English felt such interest for those wretches. He promised my immediate liberation; and, thanking me for the information I had given him, said that I could not have my papers till the following day, as the Seraskier was anchored under Nepacto (Lepanto).

It was now Thursday, the 1st of January, 1824, but neither that day nor the day after did the papers come. I passed my time shooting, without any guards; nor did I meet with any molestation. I was informed, on Saturday morning, that my papers were to be found at the consulate. I went there at eight o’clock. The Pacha sent for the consul, and kept him above three hours. I was not without apprehension, as letters had arrived for the Pacha from Zante, where I knew he had many spies. I at last got them; but, the
wind not being favourable, I did not sail till four next morning, the 4th of January.

At noon we reached the port of Missolonghi, which is situated several miles from the town, on account of the shallows. Five Speziot brigs of war lay at anchor: they saluted us with several discharges of cannon; and I set out to Missolonghi in a Speziot boat. The wonder and joy of the whole town on seeing me safe, with all my charge, is inexpressible: but how much greater was my surprise when I heard that Lord Byron was not arrived, but was expected from Dragomestri. On the morning of the fifth, we were informed that he had passed the night aboard his vessel, in the port. At eleven, a. m. he arrived at Missolonghi.

It is here that my journal regularly begins: the first part was sunk with my
other papers. I shall therefore make my extracts as they came from my pen on the spot.
Lord Byron’s arrival was welcomed with salvos of artillery, firing of muskets, and wild music. Crowds of soldiery, and citizens of every rank, sex, and age, were assembled on the shore to testify their delight. Hope and content were pictured in every countenance. His Lordship landed in a Speziot boat, dressed in a red uniform. He was in excellent health, and appeared moved by the scene. I met him as he disembarked, and in a few minutes we entered the house prepared for him—the same in which Colonel Stanhope resided. The Colonel and Prince Mavrocordato, with a long suite of European and Greek officers, received him at the door.

I cannot easily describe the emotions which such a scene excited: I could scarcely refrain from tears; whether moved by the
noise and signs of joy and delight, I know not; or whether from gladness that we now met each other safe on the Grecian soil, after encountering, in the space of a few days, so many dangers.

Lord Byron had escaped from equal perils. Parting company with us on the night of the 31st of December, his vessel came close up to the Turkish frigate, about two in the morning. The Greeks, by the appearance of it, and the sudden shout raised by the Turks, who took the Mistico for a fireship, perceiving the enemy, were enabled, under favour of the night and silence, to save themselves among the rocks of the Scrofes. They saw us taken and conducted to Patras. Not deeming it prudent to pursue their course towards Missolonghi, they steered for Petala, finding which port open and unsafe, they retired to
Dragomestri*. There the primates and officers of the place visited Lord Byron, offering him every possible succour. He sent off two messengers; one to Missolonghi, another to Zante†. To the former place he wished to go by land, but the mountains were impassable. Mavrocordato sent him five gun-boats, and a brig of war (the Leonidas), under the command of
Praidi, and a Mr. Hesketh, a young Englishman, in the Greek service. On the 4th of January, steering for Missolonghi, he was overtaken by a violent storm, which threw him among the rocks. The sailors leaped on them, and got the vessel off unhurt. A second gust of wind drove them on again with greater violence. The sailors then, losing all hope of saving the vessel, began to think of their own safety. But Lord Byron

* A small sea-port town on the coast of Acarnania.

† See the Appendix.

persuaded them to remain; and by his firmness, and no small share of nautical skill, got them out of danger, and thus saved the vessel and several lives, with 25,000 dollars, the greater part in specie. He arrived late in the port of Missolonghi, and landed in the morning, as related*.

After eight days of such fatigue, he had scarcely time to refresh himself, and converse with Mavrocordato, and his friends and countrymen, before he was assailed by the tumultuous visits of the primates and chiefs. These latter, not content with

* He had not pulled off his clothes since leaving Cephalonia; had slept upon the deck, and had purposely exposed himself to privations, which he thought would harden his constitution, and enable him to bear the fatigues of a campaign. He swam for half an hour on the 1st of January. When at Dragomestri, he composed the rough sketch of a Suliote war song, which has been found amongst his papers, but is not very easy to decipher. He wrote a letter to Colonel Stanhope, which has already appeared, and is given in the Appendix.

coming all together, each had a suite of twenty or thirty, and not unfrequently fifty soldiers. It was difficult to make them understand that he would fix certain hours to receive them, and that the rest of the day was allotted to business or domestic affairs. Their visits began at seven o’clock, and the greater part of them were without any object. This is one of the most insupportable annoyances to which a man of influence and consideration is exposed in the East. I have seen
Lord Byron bear all with great patience; Colonel Stanhope with still greater; but in this respect no man is to be compared to the indefatigable Mavrocordato.

When we arrived at Missolonghi, nine Hydriot brigs, impatient or hopeless of being paid, had already set out for their own country; and five Speziots were with difficulty induced to remain; and, to si-
lence their threats of following the example of their companions,
Mavrocordato was forced to borrow 500 dollars, under the guarantee of Colonel Stanhope, that they should be repaid from the 200,000 piastres of Lord Byron. All the chieftains of western Greece, that is, of all the mountainous districts occupied by the Greeks, from the plains of Arta on the one side to the territories of Salona on the other, were now collected at Missolonghi in a general assembly, together with a great many of the primates of the same countries. Mavrocordato had been named governor-general of the province, and president of the assembly. More than 5000 armed men had followed that chief, and were in the town. The first object of the assembly was the organisation of the military force of the province, the division of the districts under their respective captains, and of the troops in each district; the assignment of the soldiers’
pay, and the establishment of the national constitution and a regular form of government in that part of Greece.

Another object of Mavrocordato and his chiefs was the attack of Nepacto; which, if successful, they thought, would bring about the surrender of the castles of the Morea and Patras. Notwithstanding the retreat of the Hydriots, it was hoped that the Speziot vessels, with two fireships, would keep the Turkish squadron in check, if not drive it from the Gulf.

These efforts were, it is true, to be made not without many obstacles. The chieftains were not all of them well inclined to Mavrocordato; the soldiers were scarcely paid, or even fed at all by the regular government; and so great was the apprehension of disturbances, quarrels, and even of a civil war, that without the influence of
Mavrocordato, and the presence of
Lord Byron, with his pecuniary succours, the worst consequences might be feared, even although the Turkish armies had retreated from the siege of Anatolicò and Missolonghi.

After the departure of the Captain Pacha from the eastern shores of Greece, and that of the Pacha of Scutari from Missolonghi, there was no fear of their return until the next spring. The Peloponnesus, with the exception of the castles of the Morea and of Patras, of Modon and of Covon, was in the hands of the Greeks; so was the northern shore of the Gulf of Lepanto, with the exception of the two castles. Bœotia and Attica were entirely in the power of the Greeks, together with the isthmus of Corinth. But the discord of the Greeks amongst themselves had now
began to assume a most inauspicious aspect. The whole year, during which by law the executive body was to exist, had not expired; but their inertness and their rapacity had, not only in the islands, but in the Morea, so raised public opinion against them, that the legislative body resolved upon the energetic measure of dispossessing them at once of their power. This they did, alleging that the constitution had been infringed by the late men in power; and they elected a new executive, at the head of which they placed
George Conturiottis, one of the most zealous, respectable, and richest patriots in Greece. The former executive body, however, would not tamely submit to this measure, but, gathering round them some of those who had profited by their exertions, they seized on several strong places, and openly resisted the government.


Such was the state of affairs when Lord Byron arrived in Greece. His situation was one of extreme delicacy and difficulty: his own dignity, and the true interest of Greece, forbade him to mix himself up with any party; and he at once perceived that if by such a conduct he could finally reconcile the factions, he would play a part the most glorious that a stranger could attempt to perform.

Intrigues and underhand practices, however political, and perhaps useful in some degree they might have been, were contrary to the dignity of his station, and incompatible with his high character. Now it was that we all saw the advantage derived from his protracted residence in the Ionian Islands: there he had opportunities of knowing others, and of becoming known himself. His influence had increased amongst all parties; and how sel-
dom has it happened, that a similar opportunity has been afforded to an independent and disinterested stranger of exercising so beneficent and powerful an influence for the salvation of an oppressed people.

The legislative body, which was the truly national party, acquired force every day. In conjunction with all the best patriots and the friends of Greece, he directed therefore all his efforts to the establishment of the government, and to the peaceful submission of the factions. In short, he made such dispositions, as might turn to the best account the first supplies of the expected loan, and might secure the organisation of a government capable of resisting all the attacks of the enemy during the next year; and at the same time, lay the foundations of those institutions which might confirm the freedom and independence of Greece.


This was the aim of Lord Byron; to this were directed all his actions; and in spite of obstacles and difficulties, he was on the point of accomplishing this noble project, when he sunk under the blow that proved so calamitous to Greece, to his friends, and to the world.

The winter, however, admitted only of preparations for future enterprise—nothing could be done except by re-organising western Greece, and by attempting the capture of Lepanto. It would be superfluous to repeat here the advantages which would be derived from this exploit; one of the most material of which would be the employment of an idle and expensive soldiery, and the acquirement of fresh courage and mutual confidence. The chieftains appeared very eager to undertake this enterprise under the orders of Lord Byron; and Mavrocordato was persuaded
that their irregular troops would more willingly obey him than any Greek, or any other foreigner. Lord Byron had no pretensions to military skill; but courage and energy are perhaps more useful than science for the conduct of undisciplined forces; besides which, there was no want of expert officers, although occasions had as yet never or seldom called them forth: add also, that in respect to pecuniary resources, Lord Byron contributed from his own purse more than the whole government put together. Thus the peril, and the difficulty, and the sacrifices would fall to the share of Lord Byron; of this he was aware, and this determined him to accept the conduct of the undertaking.

Lord Byron, after much experience, had convinced himself that the first want of Greece was a strong national government; but he felt that such a government could
not subsist, unless means were found to put into circulation the great natural resources of the country; hence, his anxiety for the loan; and hence his unceasing efforts whilst that measure was in preparation, to raise the public spirit, and to organise the requisite government. The enterprise against Lepanto, and all the other occupations on which we saw him intent at Missolonghi, were only of a secondary interest, although momentous in themselves, and tended only to his great object. Two officers, an Englishman and a German, proceeded to the examination of the fortifications of Lepanto. A few determined troops might take it by surprise or assault; the city might easily be cannonaded: besides this, we were aware that the Albanese garrison, which had not been paid for sixteen months, was discontented, and would willingly surrender, if secure of a reward, and of a safe retreat to Prevesa. They
would confide for this treatment on the word of an Englishman. A blockade would be useless whilst the sea was open, and whilst we were unprovided with a battering train. We had, indeed, some heavy cannon at Missolonghi; but they were in bad condition, and, if we could have transported them across the mountains, we had still another want to supply, for where were our cannoneers? As to an assault or a surprise, we could not trust to the quality of our troops—excellent, indeed, for a mountain war, but unpractised in the other requisites of a soldier.

Mr. Parry was expected every day; and it was given out for certain, that he brought with him a supply of Congreve rockets, or, at least, the articles for manufacturing them immediately. The most exaggerated rumours, the offspring of Greek boasting and Turkish ignorance, increased the im-
portance of these new weapons of war; and an inconsiderable number of them would most probably have answered all the purposes of terror and surprise against such antagonists.
Colonel Stanhope had already sent letters for Mr. Parry, directed to Malta and Corfu, desiring him to proceed to Missolonghi.

Whilst waiting the arrival of Mr. Parry, we were occupied with preparing our troops in the best manner possible for our expedition. The greater part of the Suliotes were in Missolonghi: some of them were in the Morea. After the death of their noble chieftain, Marco Bozzari, those who had retired to Missolonghi and Anatolico had assisted in the defence of those towns. The magistrates, their employers, were in debt to them for eight months’ pay, and they were clamorous for their dues. It should be told in their excuse, that being
without house or home, they and their families had no other means of subsistence than their wretched pay, which, however, the urgent wants of the moment rendered it impossible for the magistrates to afford them. The interest which
Lord Byron took in that warlike tribe was already known; and it was therefore wished that he should take into his service fifteen hundred of their number. Nota Bozzari, the uncle of Marco, and Mavrocordato, were employed to obtain my Lord’s consent to this measure; but he was unwilling to undertake so weighty a charge; and he was also aware that, of those who might fairly be called Suliotes, there were scarcely three or four hundred. The next endeavour was to induce him to engage a thousand under his orders: Lord Byron consented to provide for five hundred. The government agreed for one hundred more; and this corps of six hundred was placed imme-
diately under the command of his Lordship.

He assisted also to form a small artillery corps of fifty men, for which he and Colonel Stanhope were to provide the payment. The Colonel had already sent a messenger into the Morea, to collect the Germans from various parts of that peninsula. It was resolved also to form at once a company for the service of the artillery which was expected to arrive with Mr. Parry.

Whilst these preparations were making for the attack of Lepanto, there was no neglect of those salutary institutions which alone could enlighten the nation as to its dearest interests. Colonel Stanhope zealously laboured at the formation of schools on the Lancasterian plan; he established dispensaries for the preservation of the
public health; and, on the 12th of January (the 1st, according to the Greek style), appeared the programme of
the Greek Chronicle. Lord Byron, to the establishment of this paper, contributed at once 250 dollars. A trifling difference arose between the colonel and his Lordship as to the conduct of this paper. Lord Byron wished, if possible, to provide against personal attacks, which, in a country like Greece, without laws and tribunals, must end in assassinations and deadly feuds; and also to prevent the intemperate abuse of those Allied Sovereigns, who, whatever may be thought of their policy, must necessarily have so much influence on the future destinies of Greece. Colonel Stanhope, on the contrary, approved of an unlimited liberty in the conduct of the newspaper, and established the Chronicle on that principle. Lord Byron’s difference of opinion with the Colonel did not prevent
him from being the real founder of the first and most independent paper that has appeared in Greece; for the Chronicle was set up under the direction of Colonel Stanhope, but at the expense of his Lordship. Another journal appeared at Missolonghi a month afterwards, called
the Greek Telegraph, and his Lordship incurred the first charges of that publication. Some idle comments having appeared on the differences of opinion between his Lordship and Colonel Stanhope, it is as well to mention the above facts, and to recall to mind the concluding words of Lord Byron’s conversation with the Colonel, when he said, “Judge of me by my actions.”