LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to Sir John Bowring, 21 May 1823

Life of Byron: to 1806
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Life of Byron: 1809
Life of Byron: 1810
Life of Byron: 1811
Life of Byron: 1812
Life of Byron: 1813
Life of Byron: 1814
Life of Byron: 1815
Life of Byron: 1816 (I)
Life of Byron: 1816 (II)
Life of Byron: 1817
Life of Byron: 1818
Life of Byron: 1819
Life of Byron: 1820
Life of Byron: 1821
Life of Byron: 1822
Life of Byron: 1823
Life of Byron: 1824
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“Genoa, May 21st, 1823.

“I received yesterday the letter of the Committee, dated the 14th of March. What has occasioned the delay, I know not. It was forwarded by Mr. Galignani, from Paris, who stated that he had only had it in his charge four days, and that it was delivered to him by a Mr. Grattan. I need hardly say that I gladly accede to the proposition of the Committee and hold myself highly honoured by being deemed worthy to be a member. I have also to return my thanks, particularly to yourself, for the accompanying letter, which is extremely flattering.

“Since I last wrote to you, through the medium of Mr. Hobhouse, I have received and forwarded a letter from Captain Blaquiere to me, from Corfu, which will show how he gets on. Yesterday I fell in with two young Germans, survivors of General Normann’s band. They arrived at Genoa in the most deplorable state—without food—without a sou—without shoes. The Austrians had sent them out of their territory on their landing at Trieste; and they had been forced to come down to Florence, and had travelled from Leghorn here, with four Tuscan livres (about three francs) in their pockets. I have given them twenty Genoese scudi (about a hundred and thirty-three livres, French money), and new shoes, which will enable them to get to Switzerland, where they say that they have friends. All that they could raise in Genoa, besides, was thirty sous. They do not complain of the Greeks, but say that they have suffered more since their landing in Italy.

“I tried their veracity, 1stly, by their passports and papers; 2dly, by topography, cross-questioning them about Arta, Argos, Athens, Missolonghi, Corinth, &c.; and 3dly, in Romaic, of which I found (one of them at least) knew more than I do. One of them (they are both of good families) is a fine handsome young fellow of three and twenty—a Wirtembergher, and has a look of Sandt about him—the other a Bavarian, older and flat-faced, and less ideal, but a great, sturdy, soldier-like per-
660 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1823.
sonage. The Wirtembergher was in the action at Arta, where the Philhellenists were cut to pieces after killing six hundred Turks, they themselves being only a hundred and fifty in number, opposed to about six or seven thousand; only eight escaped, and of them about three only survived; so that
General Normann ‘posted his ragamuffins where they were well peppered—not three of the hundred and fifty left alive—and they are for the town’s end for life.’

“These two left Greece by the direction of the Greeks. When Churschid Pacha overrun the Morea, the Greeks seem to have behaved well, in wishing to save their allies, when they thought that the game was up with themselves. This was in September last (1822): they wandered from island to island, and got from Milo to Smyrna, where the French consul gave them a passport, and a charitable captain a passage to Ancona, whence they got to Trieste, and were turned back by the Austrians. They complain only of the minister (who has always been an indifferent character); say that the Greeks fight very well in their own way, but were at first afraid to fire their own cannon—but mended with practice.

“Adolphe (the younger) commanded at Navarino for a short time; the other, a more material person, ‘the bold Bavarian in a luckless hour,’ seems chiefly to lament a fast of three days at Argos, and the loss of twenty-five paras a day of pay in arrear, and some baggage at Tripolitza; but takes his wounds, and marches, and battles in very good part. Both are very simple, full of naïveté, and quite unpretending: they say the foreigners quarrelled among themselves, particularly the French with the Germans, which produced duels.

“The Greeks accept muskets, but throw away bayonets, and will not be disciplined. When these lads saw two Piedmontese regiments yesterday, they said, ‘Ah, if we had had but these two, we should have cleared the Morea:’ in that case the Piedmontese must have behaved better than they did against the Austrians. They seem to lay great stress upon a few regular troops—say that the Greeks have arms and powder in plenty, but want victuals, hospital stores, and lint and linen, &c. and money, very much. Altogether, it would be difficult to show more practical philosophy than this remnant of our ‘puir hill folk’ have
A. D. 1823. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 661
done; they do not seem the least cast down, and their way of presenting themselves was as simple and natural as could be. They said, a Dane here had told them that an Englishman, friendly to the Greek cause, was here, and that, as they were reduced to beg their way home, they thought they might as well begin with me. I write in haste to snatch the post.—Believe me, and truly,

“Your obliged, &c.

“P.S. I have, since I wrote this, seen them again. Count P. Gamba asked them to breakfast. One of them means to publish his Journal of the campaign. The Bavarian wonders a little that the Greeks are not quite the same with them of the time of Themistocles (they were not then very tractable, by the by), and at the difficulty of disciplining them; but he is a ‘bon homme’ and a tactician, and a little like Dugald Dalgetty, who would insist upon the erection of ‘a sconce on the hill of Drumsnab,’ or whatever it was;—the other seems to wonder at nothing.”