LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Journal of a Visit to Greece
Chapter V

Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
‣ Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
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In the mean time Andreas Londos and Zaimi, who had figured as the great Government champions against the Colocotronists, were no longer its zealous defenders; whether or not, presuming on their services, they required too much deference to be paid them, or whether their power and influence, exciting the jealousy of the Government, was their only offence, a misunderstanding had arisen between them. The threat-
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ened expedition of
Mahomet Ali had cemented no union, nor sufficed to quell the spirit of discord. Sessini, General Notara, the chief Primate of Corinth, and other men of power were also disaffected; and these disaffections were increased by the finesses and intrigues of such characters as Mavrocordato, and Pappa Flescia, and Sophionopulo. Coletti too, possessing more intellect and knowledge than the other members of the Government, assumed, in consequence, the chief direction, but dreaded the approach of every man of talent as likely to lessen his own influence and importance.

Colocotroni had once intended coming to Napoli, and sent to Tripolizza to provide quarters for three hundred men. On which the Government gave orders to turn out his son Gennao, who was living in the town, and to shut the gates against them.

Zaimi, Londos and others, had now coa-
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lesced with
Colocotroni, and frequent meetings took place between them.

The Bey of Maina was reconciled to the Government. The Bey is a good-natured, portly personage, who sees with his own eyes that the moon is round; he is also sure the earth is square, for he has travelled some fifty miles, and found no sign any where of its being circular. When elected president of the executive, at the general congress at Astros, he objected to holding the situation, declaring his ignorance of politics; but Mavrocordato, who was nominated secretary of state, said, “Ce ne fait rien, vous serez le vaisseau, et moi, je serai le timon.” Their present flourishing finances placed a large military force at their disposal, and they had bought over several leading men, as Coliopulo, Apostoli, Colocotroni, Karaiscaki, who had been suspected of once endeavouring to deliver Messolunghi to the Turks, Gouia and others: but their sup-
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port was uncertain, and existed no longer, when they thought nothing more was to be gained by their allegiance. No permanent advantage was furthered by the bad policy of raising one captain on the fall of another, who, in his turn, proved equally rebellious: it was like cutting off the ever-renewing heads of the fabulous Hydra.

Among the people the Government was unpopular for the inhabitants had felt no beneficial effects from the revolution; and though it was not to be expected they should, yet their minds were by no means prepared to consider suffering in the glorious cause of liberating their country, a sufficient indemnification for the hardships and privations they endured. They also saw their situation was not equal; they saw the few already in power monopolize all its advantages; and the many, the weak, and the poor, bear unparticipatingly all its burdens. They heard of, and saw different interests opposed, but they found themselves oppressed and
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plundered alike by all: they felt whatever party was uppermost their state remained unaltered. Nor was the situation of the soldiers improved; they received less pay than ever: the money was placed in the hands of the captains whose interests were no longer identified with, and dependant on their followers; as, without any improvement in discipline, the clanship that once united them was losing ground, and they paid but a small number of picked retainers necessary for the support of authority, and kept the rest themselves. Not much could be expected from soldiers badly paid, and who in case of being disabled by wounds, had no future maintenance to look forward to.* The military

* Walking in the streets of Napoli, among many other objects of misery, I remarked a poor fellow with a wounded arm, lying down exposed to the sun in a dying state: he was too far gone to be removed. On inquiry I found he was an Ipsariot, whose arm had been burnt on board a fire-ship, which was gallantly conducted against the enemy. And thus, in an action to which the Greeks owe their very existence as a nation, for their

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system was miserably defective. The officers had no fixed pay, but they took care to indemnify themselves by the most unlimited peculation. The capitani received commissions, with the rank of general, appointing them to the command of 300 or 500 men, and some few for 1000. Lieutenants, generals, and colonels, to the command of 200, 100, or 50 men. Furnished with this brevet, they repaired to the camp or town to which they were ordered, raised soldiers, to the amount of about one third or less, of the number prescribed by their commission, perhaps 50 men, instead of 200, and drew

fire-ships have done every thing for them at sea, had this poor fellow suffered, and was left to die, unaided, and unregarded. Though Napoli was crowded with refugees in the most destitute state, and almost an epidemic raging in the town, no relief had been afforded them, or any hospital established by the Government; notwithstanding it might have been done at little trouble or expense, and would have been a measure calculated to make a favourable impression on the people. The establishment of a humane society was attempted, but it met with no encouragement.

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rations of bread and money, to the amount of their full complement. And these irregulars alone, so useless and ineffectual, as the Greeks were soon destined to learn, by dear bought experience, when opposed to any degree of discipline, and conducted on this ruinous system, were much more expensive to maintain than an equal number of well organized and disciplined troops would have been. The regulars went on slowly, composed of the outcasts of the people, young boys, and old men; for no one who could pretend to the character of palicari, or free soldier, deigned to be a tactician. One or two German officers, of the few surviving, were the only persons that knew any thing of service; and their ideas did not extend beyond the mere routine of drill, which they could not accommodate to existing circumstances.

The Frank officers whom search of employment in their profession, or enthusiasm for the cause, had led to Greece, had suffered dread-
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fully. The mode of existence of the Greek soldiers, is indeed appalling, to those accustomed to a civilized life. Dirt they are so used to that they do not consider it as a hardship: they will go six or eight months without any change of clothes by night or day. The Franks could be no better off; and they were besides often left in a state of all but starvation.* The

* There are some officers who have remained in the country since the commencement of the revolution, conducting themselves with great bravery, and leading a life of unrewarded hardship, danger, and unceasing privation, that does honour to their constancy and courage. Among others an Italian officer M—v—e, a French officer Monsieur la Viellasse, and an Hungarian of the name of Cameron, who was Marechal du Logis in a French regiment of cavalry, of as excellent a disposition as he is a brave and gallant soldier. On one occasion, at Napoli, having compelled a soldier of Colocotroni’s, who was ill-treating a woman, to desist, the fellow, assembling about fifty of his comrades, attacked Cameron in his quarters; and without further preface, levelled a discharge of guns and pistols at him, through the window. Cameron armed with his carbine and fixed bayonet went out, and they attacking him with their ataghans, he made a gallant defence, killing and

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Government showed the greatest aversion to foreigners; though, as the Greeks have been debarred by their situation from acquiring knowledge in any branch of military science, if they intend to advance in it, they must in the first instance have recourse to them.
Coletti, in a conference on a proposal to form a corps of cavalry, observed, “those foreigners who would make such good officers, would answer equally for instructors, which was all that was required of them.” It was expecting rather too much, that officers should philanthropically devote themselves to instruct troops, without either pay or rank, and then, when they had performed all that was required of them, to depart in peace. The Government had neglected an advantageous offer, made by Mr. Hastings, to have a steam-vessel constructed in England,

wounding several, when his foot slipped, and he fell: these savages then rushing on him, left him for dead, with seven wounds implanted by their coward-hands.

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which would have been of great service. An Italian,
Colonel Gubernati, who commanded the regulars at the battle of Peta, and was there severely wounded, exasperated at the treatment he met with, deserted to Mahomet Ali; who, by his liberal encouragement, had collected a formidable body of tried and experienced officers.

These unfortunate soldiers of fortune, banished from their own countries, without resources enough for present subsistence, or to take them to America, their only chance of employment, were left but the choice of starvation or Mahomet Ali’s service. It was not therefore greatly to be wondered at that they should prefer the latter, and say, with Voltaire’s Charles XII. of Sweden haussant les epaules, “Allons plutôt chez les Turques.” At the time the greater part of them entered the Pacha’s service, his preparations were professedly against revolted tribes of the Arabs; but now that they are led against the Greeks, let them forego the
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advantages they may enjoy, redeem their characters from becoming the tools of a tyrant, and espouse the Grecian cause.

The Greeks still possessed a French officer of distinguished talent in their country M. Le Col. Favrier, who, had they chosen, could have rendered them effectual service. In October Mr. Bulwer and Hamilton Browne arrived with a payment of the Loan, to obtain a ratification of its conditions, which the Greek Government had not yet accorded, and which, after experiencing most vexatious delays, they obtained, and both falling ill, returned to England.

In November, the Turkish forces in both Eastern and Western Greece, after losing great numbers by sickness, began to withdraw, without further hostilities. Nothing could exceed their extraordinary inactivity and want of enterprise. The inertness of the Turks has all along solely constituted the salvation of the Greeks, who, if attacked by an active enemy, are not prepared
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to offer any effectual resistance.* Messolunghi was becoming a rich and flourishing commercial town. On the breaking up of the camp at Lugovitza, the Messolunghiots refused admittance to the captains to take up their winter-quarters in the town, and open hostilities threatened to commence in consequence. A brig was sent by the Government to Messolunghi, for the field guns and remnant of the intended arsenal sent out by the London Committee, but the guns they refused to deliver.

Mavrocordato had been recalled from his command by the Government to resume his former post of secretary of state. But it seems his favourite ambition to figure as a great military commander: a strange perversion, for, besides possessing neither military knowledge nor talent,

* It was amusing for any one who had been on the scene of inaction, to read the pompous accounts in foreign gazettes; containing letters of Prince Mavrocordato, and other mis-statements of the exploits of the campaign.

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he is utterly devoid of courage—a quality so indispensable in a general. On the appearance of danger he loses all presence of mind, as he showed at the battle of Peta, though he was not within five hours’ march of the scene of action; and, on the night of an expected attack of Lugovitza; at raising the siege of Patras, and his precipitate retreat; and on the authority of a French officer on Mavrocordato’s staff, the night of the assault of the Turks on Messolunghi, he embarked for Anatolia.

He delayed his departure, till the state of his finances, the close of the campaign and arrival of the time to pay his troops made it a politic step.*

* English sovereigns, valued at fifty piastres by the Government, were paid away at Messolunghi, at the rate of fifty-five piastres; and a sum of money entrusted to Mavrocordato, by the German Greek Committees, for the relief of the distressed Germans in Greece, he reserved to his own use; but he has been fortunate in receiving donations from distant countries. Lord Guilford sent him 4000 dollars from Corfu; the London Committee sent him clothes and boots from Bond

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Mavrocordato left Messolunghi for Napoli secretly; a salute publicly announced his departure, nearly a month after, and he assumed his functions as secretary of state.

A Captain Fenton, according to his own account a British officer, a native of Scotland, and at that time a captain of Ulysses, to whom Trelawney had given the command of some artillery he had taken for him from Messolunghi, commenced an intrigue within the month of September, with Mavrocordato, in which he engaged to assassinate Ulysses, and his own countryman, Trelawney. Whoever first made this infamous proposal, an argument used by Mavrocordato

Street; and the burghers of the good city of Rotterdam, addressed to his serene highness a cargo of pippins, which were delivered to him during the siege of Navarino, by three broad-brimmed deputies. I do not know whether the honest Dutchmen were aware of his aversion to powder and ball, that they fixed on the favoured fruit of Eden, when war was unknown, or whether their donation was symbolical of the apple of discord, and that, as such, their offering was most appropriate. September 9th, 1825.

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was, that Trelawney, as a native of Great Britain, being in the service of the Greeks, was out of the pale of his country’s laws; and an American of the name of
Jarvis, now a Greek Lieutenant-General, was Mavrocordato’s agent in the affair, and negociated between them. The entire developement of this affair is yet a mystery, but Trelawney’s attempted assassination by Fenton has taken place.

Negris, who had remained unemployed at Napoli, after the departure of Ulysses, died there after a short illness. That his death was not considered a public loss, was owing to the party spirit that has caused so much harm. He entered the Morea, and the cause of the Greeks, when deputed from the Porte to the court of France. Besides having partly formed the constitution of Greece, his country is indebted to him for not having the odium of breaking a capitulation made at Tripolizza. An exclusive capitulation was made with the Albanian troops
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of the garrison, who marched out of the town, with arms and baggage, to the number of about 2000; and Negris escorted them in person nearly out of the Grecian territory, taking measures that the treaty should not be violated, and they accordingly entered their own country unmolested. The Greeks, after their departure, attacked the town, when an armistice was understood and negociations for a surrender were carrying on; but the assault was a simultaneous movement of the soldiers, occasioned by a few Greeks, through the unwariness of the Turkish guard, gaining possession of the fort, which proved a signal for the attack.