LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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Letters and Journals of Lord Byron
Lord Byron to John Murray, 25 February 1824

Life of Byron: to 1806
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Life of Byron: 1824
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“Missolonghi February 25th, 1824.

“I have heard from Mr. Douglas Kinnaird that you state ‘a report of a satire on Mr. Gifford having arrived from Italy, said to be written by me! but that you do not believe it.’ I dare say you do not, nor any body else, I should think. Whoever asserts that I am the author or

* The workmen who came out with Parry, and who, alarmed by the scene of confusion and danger they found at Missolonghi, had resolved to return home.

A. D. 1824. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 739
abettor of any thing of the kind on Gifford lies in his throat. If any such composition exists, it is none of mine. You know as well as any body upon whom I have or have not written; and you also know whether they do or did not deserve that same. And so much for such matters.

“You will perhaps be anxious to hear some news from this part of Greece (which is the most liable to invasion); but you will hear enough through public and private channels. I will, however, give you the events of a week, mingling my own private peculiar with the public, for we are here a little jumbled together at present.

“On Sunday (the 15th, I believe), I had a strong and sudden convulsive attack, which left me speechless, though not motionless—for some strong men could not hold me; but whether it was epilepsy, catalepsy, cachexy, or apoplexy, or what other exy or epsy, the doctors have not decided; or whether it was spasmodic or nervous, &c.; but it was very unpleasant, and nearly carried me off, and all that. On Monday, they put leeches to my temples, no difficult matter, but the blood could not be stopped till eleven at night (they had gone too near the temporal artery for my temporal safety), and neither styptic nor caustic would cauterize the orifice till after a hundred attempts.

“On Tuesday, a Turkish brig of war ran on shore. On Wednesday, great preparations being made to attack her, though protected by her consorts*, the Turks burned her and retired to Patras. On Thursday a quarrel ensued between the Suliotes and the Frank guard at the arsenal: a Swedish officer† was killed, and a Suliote severely wounded, and a

* “Early in the morning we prepared far our attack on the brig. Lord Byron, notwithstanding his weakness, and an inflammation that threatened his eyes, was most anxious to be of our party; but the physician would not suffer him to go.”—Count Gamba’sNarrative.

His lordship had promised a reward for every Turk taken alive in the proposed attack on this vessel.

Captain Sasse, an officer esteemed as one of the best and bravest of the foreigners in the Greek service. “This,” says Colonel Stanhope, in a letter, February 18th, to the Committee, “is a serious affair. The Suliotes have no country, no home for their families; arrears of pay are owing to them; the people of Missolonghi hate and pay them exorbitantly. Lord Byron. who was to have led them to Lepanto, is much shaken by his fit, and will probably be obliged to retire from Greece. In short, all our hopes in this quarter are damped for the present. I

740 NOTICES OF THE A. D. 1824.
general fight expected, and with some difficulty prevented. On Friday, the officer was buried; and
Captain Parry’s English artificers mutinied, under pretence that their lives are in danger, and are for quitting the country:—they may*.

“On Saturday we had the smartest shock of an earthquake which I remember (and I have felt thirty, slight or smart, at different periods; they are common in the Mediterranean), and the whole army discharged their arms, upon the same principle that savages beat drums, or howl, during an eclipse of the moon:—it was a rare scene altogether—if you had but seen the English Johnnies, who had never been out of a cockney workshop before!—or will again, if they can help it—and on Sunday, we heard that the Vizier is come down to Larissa, with one hundred and odd thousand men.

“In coming here, I had two escapes, one from the Turks (one of my vessels was taken, but afterwards released), and the other from shipwreck. We drove twice on the rocks near the Scrophes (islands near the coast).

“I have obtained from the Greeks the release of eight-and-twenty Turkish prisoners, men, women, and children, and sent them to Patras and Prevesa at my own charges. One little girl of nine years old, who prefers remaining with me, I shall (if I live) send, with her mother, probably, to Italy, or to England. Her name is Hato, or Hatagée. She is a very pretty lively child. All her brothers were killed by the Greeks, and she herself and her mother merely spared by special favour and owing to her extreme youth, she being then but five or six years old.

“My health is now better, and I ride about again. My office here is no sinecure, so many parties and difficulties of every kind; but I will

am not a little fearful, too, that these wild warriors will not forget the blood that has been spilt. I this morning told Prince Mavrocordato and Lord Byron that they must come to some resolution about compelling the Suliotes to quit the place.”

* This was a fresh, and, as may be conceived, serious disappointment to Lord Byron. “The departure of these men,” says Count Gamba, “made us fear that our laboratory would come to nothing; for, if we tried to supply the place of the artificers with native Greeks, we should make but little progress.”

A. D. 1824. LIFE OF LORD BYRON. 741
do what I can.
Prince Mavrocordato is an excellent person, and does all in his power, but his situation is perplexing in the extreme. Still we have great hopes of the success of the contest. You will hear, however, more of public news from plenty of quarters, for I have little time to write.

“Believe me yours, &c. &c.
“N. Bn.”