LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Journal of a Visit to Greece
Chapter VII

Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
‣ Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
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Mahomet Ali, established at Candia, was dangerously near, and his vicinity to the Morea afforded less scope to defence by sea. The Sultan had accorded to the Pacha all the territory he might acquire in the Morea, to be annexed to his own dominions.

In the beginning of March, 1825, the Egyptians, under Ibrahim Pacha, landed troops at Modon and Corfu; and shortly after a second disembarkation took place. The regular troops were composed of Moors; with them were several European officers, who acted principally as instructors, those only who had embraced Mahometanism holding commands. The men were armed with musquets and bayonets; they were
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tolerably trained, but, considered as a regular army, very imperfect, and badly equipped; and, as is usually the case in Turkish armies, their commissariat particularly defective. Ibrahim Pacha was attended by a renegado Frenchman, as his adviser, who had been a colonel in his own service; his Moslem name and title were
Soliman Bey. The garrison of Navarino consisted, at that time, of 300 men. The Turks made an attempt to carry it by storm, but were gallantly repulsed, and then invested it with 10,000 men.

Generals Karaiscaki, Giavella, and Bedzadi the eldest son of the Bey of Maina, behaved with great bravery in harassing the Turks; but the want of cavalry to oppose the formidable Mamelukes was severely felt. Bedzadi received a wound in the arm, and died at Arcadia, for want of proper surgical assistance: he was a fine young man of talent and great promise. Anagnostara and the Bulgarian general Hadgj Christo arrived from Napoli.

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But the constant want of unanimity was again manifested: the day on which one commander attacked, another would draw off, unwilling to acknowledge a superior: and when the Roumeliots engaged, the Moreots remained inactive. Nor did the soldiers like fighting with the Moors, who, when killed, afforded no other spoil but a Frank musquet and bayonet, on which they formerly set no value, but which they have now been taught to fear: while the Turks had not only rich arms of gold and silver, but frequently large sums of money which were found round their waist, where both the Turks and Greeks carry it in a belt; and this custom of stopping to plunder every dead body, though some incitement to attack, is a serious obstacle to following up any advantage. The instant a man falls, a crowd is round him directly; and when flying, they often throw away their arms, to tempt their pursuers to stop and pick them up.

In the latter end of March, the president
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left Napoli for Tripolizza, at the head of about 2000 men, accompanied by
Mavrocordato; but the approach of the feast of Easter, and the rainy weather, proved sufficiently weighty reasons to postpone the expedition; whose proposed destination was first Navarino, and then Patras. On leaving Tripolizza, the president took up his head-quarters at Cintra. The arrears of the troops, without which they refused any longer to serve, were now paid; they therefore made bolder advances, and, their communications being cut off, the Turks were forced to retire. Mavrocordato threw himself in Navarino; and the Greek fleet arriving, engaging and driving away that of the Egyptians, the garrison was provisioned and increased to about 700 men. The Turks again advancing, the place was closely invested, the town hotly bombarded, and batteries thrown up at the foot of the walls. In the mean time preparations for forming a camp at Patras had not been discontinued, and a well-arranged commissariat, the first in Greece, had been organized
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by Constantine Metana; and for the first time the captains were obliged to muster their men. This was an important measure, but which could not, in its commencement, be thoroughly executed: the captains borrowed soldiers from each other for the review, and enrolled the peasantry, but notwithstanding the barefacedness of the deception, the mere show of the muster was some check to the ruinous peculation carried on.

It was an inactive existence at the camp of Patras. I had volunteered my services for Navarino, which by the president were accepted at Tripolizza, but I afterwards got orders again for Patras.

In April, Racschid Achmet Pacha advanced on Anatolia, with a force of 30,000 men, and shortly after invested Messolunghi. Zongas, Maccrie and Niketas entering the town, and the Roumeliots quitting Navarino, joined them in great numbers. The Greek squadron had left the Gulph of Lepanto; and the garrison of Patras
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which had begun to want provisions, was now relieved, and it was at the free option of the Turks, to cross the gulph from Roumelia and make a descent on the Morea.

In this critical position of affairs, Zaimi and Londos re-entered the Morea; and landing at Monte Nero, near Patras, with about 100 followers, commenced levying troops. They sent an address to the Government, declaring they had returned, in this threatening moment of danger, only to act against the common enemy; but the Government gave orders to apprehend them wherever they should be found; and when they were quickly at the head of 1500 men, the Suliotes and General Coliopulo, received orders to march to oppose them, and that at a time when Shakai Bey of Roumeli Valisi, detached from Messolunghi, at the head of 4000 Albanian troops, ravaged all Roumelia from west to east. This, and the dissensions between the Moreots
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and Roumeliots, which had reached to such a height, that constant tumult and bloodshed took place between them, determined the Government to send all the troops that were not natives from the Morea, to oppose the Turks in Roumelia. The orders which the Suliotes had received, and had marched to act upon, were accordingly now countermanded, and their destination was changed to Salona, whither we immediately marched; and at Vostizza joined
Karaiscaki, Giavella, and Costa Botzari, who had left Navarino. Our little army consisted of 2000 men, Albanians and Roumeliots, and including all the Suliotes. Had the days lost in marching against Zaimi and Londos been employed in reaching Salona, that place might have been saved, but its fate was now decided. The people were now loud in their demands for the release of Colocotroni and their other rulers. In Sessini’s province of Gastouni, though before always complaining of his extortion, they were
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eagerly desiring his return. Colocotroni had demanded an immediate trial, or to be released to oppose the enemy.

Goura had been engaged against the camp of Ulysses at Tarenta; when that chieftain, suddenly leaving the Turks at Negropont, unattended and alone, and unable to gain access to his fortress, surrendered to Goura. Whatever were the views of Ulysses, either in joining or leaving the Turks, whether they suspected his design, and that he only intended making use of them for his present advancement, employing the enemies of his country was treading on dangerous ground; and, however exasperating the treatment he had experienced, his so doing is not to be defended: “It was a grievous fault, and grievously has he answered it.” He remained a prisoner at Athens. His cave, in Mount Parnassus, where his family and riches were placed, and which Trelawney commanded, was closely blockaded, and every attempt made to gain
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possession. Ulysses was in person escorted to the cave, and forced to sign a summons to Trelawney to surrender, but which was not complied with. Trelawney had greatly determined Ulysses to leave the Turks, and proposed to him to quit Greece entirely for a time, and go to America: he could not, therefore, in honour, betray the trust reposed in him. The situation of the cave defies all open attack: a steep and difficult ascent leads to the foot of it; a vast projecting arch, entering deep in the massive rock, at 150 feet perpendicular height from the ground, forms this impregnable hold; three flights of ladders lead to a small portal, cut in the solid rock, and surmounted by battlements. In the interior, are houses, numerous magazines, and an extensive terre-plein, all completely open to the sun and light, but sufficiently sheltered by the arch to render it inaccessible from above. It is provisioned for a number of years, and a spring, running from the rock, supplies it with
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water. Its garrison was composed of a few trusty followers,* under the command of Trelawney.

On the advance of the Albanians detached from Messolunghi, under the Shakaia Bey, Pannuria, chief of Salona, advanced to oppose them; but, inferior in numbers, received a check at Pendaornia. Goura joining Pannuria from Tarenta, they together occupied

* It is a most romantic situation. Numbers of eagles, once the undisturbed possessors of the now peopled cave, are constantly soaring above: and here, on my former visit to Trelawney, whose appearance and lofty bearing, and whose character and wild adventurous life well accorded with his situation, I found the latest novel which had then appeared from the pen of the author of Waverley. It was delightful, on the heights of Mount Parnassus, to meet with a romance of his, in a scene so congenial to his writings. Two small beautiful young deer, natives of Mount Parnassus, were destined as a present to Waverley’s author; but the chance of war has otherwise disposed of them. The view from the cave was beautiful, extending over the rich plain of Livadia, surmounted by the rising mountains of Negropont and intervening sea. Immediately opposite rose another range of rocky mountains, between a deep and precipitous ravine, down which rushes a rapid stream.

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Salona. Here Goura, trusting to the terror of his name, neglected all precautions of defence; but the Albanians knew how to distinguish between the hand that struck a blow, and the head that guided its direction; and, unprepared for an attack, they were surprised by the Turks, driven out of the town, and completely routed, with a loss of 200 of their bravest soldiers. The greater part of the inhabitants were taken or put to the sword. The Greeks were panic-struck: never had the Turks made such rapid movements. The Turks said to them, “You have not
Ulysses with you now, and we no longer fear you.” The former campaigns had not been even commenced by the Turks till the month of July, as they waited the ripening of the crops for forage for their cavalry; but, as they acted in their enemy’s country, they ought rather to have commenced operations before the crops could be got off the ground and secured by the Greeks; after which the country,
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completely burnt up in the months of August and September, afforded no subsistence, and they were left entirely to their own supplies, which were generally soon exhausted. But, by coming sooner, they had at least green forage for the present; and as the war was not very actively carried on, they had little to apprehend from any of their distant communications being cut off; and they could be equally supplied from their own provinces, without first waiting to encumber themselves with its transport, or beginning to consume it before it was absolutely required.

The wind being against embarking our forces at Vostizza, we marched rapidly along the coast of the Gulph of Lepanto to Corinth, where we embarked, and joined Goura at the monastery of San Lucca, near Dystomo, where we found him wrangling with his soldiers about arrears of pay, which he refused to give, though he had received the money from the Government. Discontented, they were deserting him in great num-
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bers*. Goura was appointed commander-in-chief, but the hereditary chieftain,
Karaiscaki and the proud Suliote captains, ill brooked acting under the orders of an upstart, devoid of talents, and the consequence was ceaseless discord and dissensions†. It was proposed

* I had not seen Goura for more than a year, when with Ulysses we played the jerreed together at Athens, for I was absent from Gastouni the few days he staid there. He is a fine-looking fellow, and brave; but the brutal acts of cruelty of which he has been guilty, are disgraceful to humanity.

† Taking advantage of a day’s inactivity, I made a rapid night-march to the cave of Ulysses, to visit my countrymen in their far-famed wild dwelling, as I had not seen them for many months. I passed the precipitous defiles during a rainy night, as the road by the plain was open to the Turks. On returning afterwards from the cave, and seeking shelter in a ruined church, we encountered a party of fifteen desperate-looking fellows, who were apparently deserting to the Turks; and, as an Englishman is always supposed to be rich in gold and silver, we had every reason to expect an adventure. My party consisted of an Italian officer, two men, and a lad, my pipe-bearer, but all staunch; and had they attempted it, they would neither have found a rich or an easy prize; but we

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by Karaiscaki and
Giavella, to demand the release of Ulysses; who, had he desired, could not have again joined the Turks, but that was opposed by the other captains. Except Messolunghi and Athens, there remained but two small towns in all Roumelia that had escaped the devastations of the Turks; these were Disfena and Kastri, the site of ancient Delphi; but owing to some delay, from want of necessary supplies, and more from wavering resolves and councils, we allowed the enemy to advance on them. Kastri being a strong position, the inhabitants defended themselves from their houses, and the enemy retired, after setting fire to a small number. The Turks then advanced in two columns, by different routes, on a position we now occupied at Dystomo, leaving a small force at Salona, which we ought then to

passed part of the night very peaceably together, round the same fire.

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have attacked, approaching by the mountain passes; or, at least, engaged them in detail:* but we contented ourselves with fortifying our position, and waiting an attack. A small party of Turkish cavalry boldly reconnoitred the Delhis, walking their horses composedly within musket-shot of our tambours; but the Greeks are not to be led against cavalry, under any advantage whatsoever. We had a trifling skirmish with an advanced party of infantry, and the Turks retiring on Disfena, which they completely destroyed, retrograded on Salona, without making an attack, and we followed, completing the work of devastation.

Two Turks, taken prisoners at Disfena, were staked and burnt alive: that it is a retaliation,

* Alluding to a former engagement, the professed war-cry of the Suliotes was, “Hurrah! for Salona!” But alas! now the moment was come, they did not suit the action to the word, it was;—Vox et præterea nihil.

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is a poor apology for such barbarity in any calling themselves Christians.*

We were irregularly supplied with flour, from the Morea; but whole flocks of sheep and goats, that had escaped the ravages of the enemy, were taken from the unfortunate peasants, whom we did not even endeavour to protect. The Turks reaped, we gleaned the country; and our soldiers, better acquainted with the place of refuge of the inhabitants, plundered without restraint. Thanks to the inactivity and

* I lost here the faithful and well-loved companion of my wanderings and dangers—a Newfoundland dog. Dear Fashion! she was probably shot by some soldiers, who did not know the dog, and mistook her for one of their country. They are fond of killing every living thing, except Turks with arms in their hands. My dog seemed to be more human than my fellow-creatures, by whom I was surrounded. I stood alone, indeed, “without one trusted heart and hand.” It was a dreary and a troubled feeling, and sometimes forced a sigh for scenes of former days, which I might never behold again. It was a disgusting service, and I determined to leave it as soon as the campaign should be over.

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stupidity of the Turks, our provisions which we received in boats, from the Morea, were not cut off, though they commanded the gulph. Our army hardly amounted to 3000 men, for numbers had deserted
Goura, to return to Athens; but we drew rations for 11,600, which, when regularly supplied, were sold by the captains. There were no commissariat mules, but those of the inhabitants were put in requisition, and often carried away.

Karaiscaki, our most enterprising captain, now acted independently of Goura, and we generally, after some delay, followed his steps; for Goura’s men were disconcerted at their late defeat, and had no confidence in his leading. The Greeks are an acute people; and he who attempts to command them, must possess very superior talent, or he may in vain hope to maintain any influence over them.