LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
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The Last Days of Lord Byron
Chapter IV

Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
‣ Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Chapter X
Chapter XI
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“Lord Byron awoke in half an hour. I wished to go to him, but I had not the heart.
Mr. Parry went, and Byron knew him again, and squeezed his hand, and tried to
express his last wishes.”—Count Gamba’s Narrative.



Mutiny among the Suliotes—The mechanics embark for Zante—Shock of an Earthquake—Superstitious custom of the Greeks—Mutiny amongst the Germans—Lord Byron’s Corps disbanded—Is re-organized—Business of the Laboratory—Lord Byron’s Suliote guard—His dog Lyon—His guard attend him in his rides—Specimen of the state of Missolonghi—Lord Byron’s daily occupations—His food, and manner of living—His partiality to curious weapons—State of the weather—Requisitions by Ulysses and General Londa—Improper articles in Newspapers—Colonel Stanhope goes to Athens—His requisitions—Proceedings in March—An alarm of plague—Discipline of the Brigade—Must pay the Greeks for doing their own work—Divisions among the Greek chieftains—Lord Byron invited to quit Missolonghi—Colocotroni wishes to get him into the Morea—Opposing views of Mavrocordato—His hopes of effecting a union of the chiefs—Prospect of a Congress at Salona—Lord Byron obliged again to interfere about a newspaper—Receives the freedom of Missolonghi—Numerous applications to him for Money—Further defence’ of Missolonghi—Desertions from Colocotroni’s forces—News of the Greek loan—Plan for the campaign—Difficulties of Lord Byron’s situation in Greece.

From the time when Lieutenant Sass was killed up to Lord Byron’s own death, all his lordship’s thoughts and time were actively occupied with the affairs of Greece. For this reason I shall confine this part of my narrative to his lordship’s proceedings in his military and civil capacity, as
connected with Greece. With these proceedings, too, I was intimately connected, Lord Byron not having taken any step without informing me of it, and very often honouring me by asking my advice as to his plans, and always requiring my assistance to carry them into execution.

On February 21st, there was a sort of mutiny amongst the Suliotes, who refused to march, on account of their arrears not having been paid up. Lord Byron was, as usual, instantly applied to by Prince Mavrocordato, and advanced 4,800 dollars to enable him to pay up the arrears. On this the Suliotes promised to march in two days to Arta, and scour the country. At the same time Lord Byron notified to them that they must not henceforward consider him as personally, responsible for their pay.

The mechanics, though they had not yet departed, had entirely given up working, and the town was in a complete state of tumult; all our labours were, therefore, for the moment, suspended. Lord Byron had frequent, almost daily, conferences with Prince Mavrocordato; and numerous communications with the Suliote and other chiefs; but they all ended, as might have been expected, in nothing.

On the evening of this day we had a smart shock of an earthquake. All the inhabitants who possessed fire-arms, and all the Suliotes, im-
mediately ran for their carbines, and began firing away as fast as they could. They did this, from entertaining a sort of superstitious notion that they might by it avert the effects of the earthquake, or check its progress. Having so many subjects of alarm, we supposed, on hearing this unusual firing, that the Suliotes and the inhabitants had at length actually come to blows, and were attacking each other. Our apprehension was changed into a hearty laugh, when we learnt that they were never more united, and were all, as if directed by one mind, waging fierce hostility against the aerial prince of earthquakes. This intelligence came timely also to relieve us from the effects of our own fears. I was sitting, with two or three young Englishmen, at our quarters, when the earthquake took place. None of us knew at first what it was, and being naturally much alarmed, for the shock was violent, we all made for the door as fast as we could, and some confusion ensued as to who should be the first to make his escape. Perhaps, too, a quarrel might have been the consequence, but for the Greek musketry. This circumstance coming to
Lord Byron’s knowledge, gave him an opportunity of laughing at us, and putting a sort of joke on us which I shall mention in another place.

On the 22d, the mechanics embarked for Zante, which was the only event that distinguished this
from the other days of confusion we were now compelled to witness.

On the 23d, our other misfortunes were augmented, by a mutiny among the German officers sent out from England by the committee. Each wanted to command, and none would obey. Lord Byron became sensible of the inutility, if not the folly, of employing this sort of etiquette-soldiers in Greece, and seeing all his wishes, and all his hopes, disappointed by those who came out to further the cause he was so zealously struggling to advance, he resolved to break up his corps, and after getting rid of these men, to form it anew. The corps was accordingly disbanded; all the officers and men received a month’s pay each, and were at liberty to retire where they pleased.

Lord Byron formed what I thought a correct notion on this subject. He said, when we possessed the materials of war, such as money, ammunition, and guns, the Greeks might be taught and disciplined, and would make far better soldiers than the barons and knights who came out to Greece only to be colonels and generals. “Besides,” his lordship remarked, “there is an inveterate hatred amongst the Greeks of all these foreigners; and sending them here has done the Greek cause far more mischief, than ever the little, and unfortunately misapplied, assistance
given by the Germans and English has done good.”

Here again arose another difficulty: What were the foreigners to do? the Suliotes in particular were highly irritated against them; if they remained disorganized they might all be massacred, and in fact, on the following day, February 24th, there was every appearance of a general tumult. Prince Mavrocordato was alarmed, and apprehended bloodshed would ensue. The foreigners petitioned to be retained in service, the Primates and the prince, dreading the Suliotes; and afraid they should be left quite unsupported, enforced the prayer of the petition by their own representations and requests. However unwilling his lordship was again to bring on himself the burden of a disobedient regiment, he was, in some measure, obliged to comply; and on the 26th, it was settled that the corps should be immediately re-organized.

Lord Byron did me the honour to impose this service on me; and I accepted it, on condition that the officers selected should consent to be drilled, that they might learn their duty as soldiers, and the more necessary duty of obedience. Selecting, accordingly, from among those who had petitioned to be kept, such as we thought most likely to answer our views, we re-organized the corps. They consented to the drilling, and pro-
mised afterwards to act as squad-serjeants to drill the men.
Prince Mavrocordato sent me a commission as captain-commandant of the corps, and accompanied it by a flattering letter, approving of my services, from the time of my arrival in Greece.

All this time the most material part of the service, that of the laboratory and arsenal, was unfortunately suspended. On the 26th, however, I found time to engage a few tradesmen, such as they were, and ten active seamen, to make wads, &c. With their assistance, the preparation of materials was again commenced, but unfortunately with limited advantages.

Even on this subject, which Lord Byron probably thought, as he had to supply all the funds,—the government having none, and the committee not having provided a farthing for this purpose,—was his and my peculiar province, he had to complain of the interference of Colonel Stanhope. Without consulting his lordship, the colonel advertised for a number of young men to be instructed in the business of the arsenal and laboratory; which was quartering a number of hands on his lordship’s purse, whether he liked it or not. Such petty vexations were a great annoyance to Lord Byron. He had never before been engaged in any such business of detail, and had probably never met this sort of opposition and
unpleasant kind of controlling interference. Colonel Stanhope imagined also that he was a much wiser man in all such matters than Lord Byron, and added to the unpleasantness of the circumstance by his manner of interfering.

Lord Byron had taken a small corps of Suliotes into his own pay, and kept them about him as a body-guard. They consisted altogether of fifty-six men, and of these a certain number were always on duty. A large outer room in his lordship’s house was appropriated to them, and their carbines were suspended against the walls. Like other soldiers, they found various means to amuse themselves when on guard. While some were walking about, discoursing violently and eagerly, with animated gestures, others were lying or sitting on the floor, playing at cards.

In this room, and among these rude soldiers, Lord Byron was accustomed to walk a great deal, particularly in wet weather. On such occasions he was almost always accompanied by his favourite dog Lyon, who was perhaps his dearest and most affectionate friend. They were, indeed, very seldom separated. Riding or walking, sitting or standing, Lyon was his constant attendant. He can scarcely be said to have forsaken him even in his sleep. Every evening did he go to see that his master was safe, before he lay down himself, and then he took his
station close to his door, a guard certainly as faithful, though not so efficient, as Lord Byron’s corps of Suliotes. This valuable and affectionate animal was brought to England after Lord Byron’s death, and is now, I believe, in the possession of
Mrs. Leigh, his Lordship’s sister.

With Lyon Lord Byron was accustomed, not only to associate, but to commune very much, and very often. His most usual phrase was, “Lyon, you are no rogue, Lyon;” or “Lyon,” his Lordship would say, “thou art an honest fellow, Lyon.” The dog’s eyes sparkled, and his tail swept the floor, as he sat with his haunches on the ground. “Thou art more faithful than men, Lyon; I trust thee more.” Lyon sprang up, and barked and bounded round his master, as much as to say, “You may trust me, I will watch actively on every side.” “Lyon, I love thee, thou art my faithful dog!” and Lyon jumped and kissed his master’s hand, as an acknowledgement of his homage. In this sort of mingled talk and gambol Lord Byron passed a good deal of time, and seemed more contented, more calmly self-satisfied, on such occasions, than almost on any other. In conversation and in company he was animated and brilliant; but with Lyon and in stillness he was pleased and perfectly happy.

When Lord Byron rode out, he was also at-
tended by his Suliote guards. The captain, and a certain number, all on foot, preceded his Lordship. Then came Lord Byron on horseback, accompanied on one side by
Count Gamba, and on the other by the Greek interpreter. Behind him rode two attendants; generally, these were his black groom and Tita, both dressed like the chasseurs usually seen behind the carriages of ambassadors, and another division of his guard closed the cavalcade. It was to me very surprising to see the swiftness of the Suliotes. Though they carried their carbines, they were always able to keep up with the horses, and Lord Byron sometimes put his cattle to their utmost speed. If their activity may be considered as at all resulting from the races in which their ancestors were so distinguished, we should find it difficult to bestow too much praise on such gymnastic exercises. But it should probably rather be attributed to their climate, their habits of life, and their frames being originally nervous and well formed. Whatever may have been the source of their fleetness, they were able to keep up with Lord Byron in his rides, and whenever he quitted the town on horseback, they accompanied him, being answerable both to Greece and Britain for his safety. They were tall men, and remarkably well formed; and perhaps, take them altogether, no sovereign of Europe
can boast of having a finer set of men for his body-guard.

It may serve to give the reader some idea of the state of Missolonghi, if I here mention the circuitous route which Lord Byron was obliged to use to get out of the town. Such was the wretched state of the pavement, and such the condition of the streets, that it was impossible to ride through them without the risk of breaking one’s neck. Lord Byron’s horses were therefore generally led to the gate of the town, and his Lordship, embarking in his little punt, was rowed along the harbour, and up what is called the military canal. This terminating not far from the gate, his Lordship again landed, mounted his horse, and rode away.

The mode in which Lord Byron disposed of his time may be sketched in the history of a single day. In whatever manner he may formerly have lived, during the time that I knew him in Greece, he was perfectly regular and systematic in his habits.

He always rose at nine o’clock, or a little later, and breakfasted about ten. This meal consisted of tea without either milk or sugar, dry toast, and water cresses. During his breakfast, I generally waited on him to make any reports which were necessary, and take his orders for the labours of the day. When this business was settled,
I retired to give the necessary directions to the different officers, and returned so as to be back by eleven o’clock, or a quarter before. His Lordship then inspected the accounts, and in conjunction with his secretary, checked and audited every item in a business-like manner.

If the weather permitted, he afterwards rode out; if it did not, he used to amuse himself by shooting at a mark with pistols. Though his hand trembled much, his aim was sure, and he could hit an egg four times out of five at the distance of ten or twelve yards.

It was at this period of the day also, if he did not ride out, that he was generally visited by Prince Mavrocordato and the Primates. If he rode out, the latter visited him towards three or four o’clock, and the former came later in the evening, like one of his private friends. His rides were seldom extended beyond two hours, as he then returned and dined.

The reader may form an idea of the fever of which Lord Byron died, when I mention his food. He ate very sparingly, and what he did eat was neither nourishing, nor heating, nor blood-making food. He very rarely touched flesh, ate very little fish, used neither spices nor sauces, and dined principally off dried toast, vegetables, and cheese. He drank a very small quantity of wine or cider; but indulged in the
use of no spirituous liquors. He took nothing of any consequence during the remainder of the day, and I verily believe, as far as his own personal consumption was concerned, there was not a single Greek soldier in the garrison who did not eat more, and more luxuriously, than this tenderly brought-up, and long-indulged English gentleman and nobleman. He who had fed only on the richest viands of the most luxuriant parts of Europe, whose palate had been tickled, from his earliest days, with the choicest wines, now, at the call of humanity and freedom, submitted to live on the coarsest and meanest fare. He was ready, like some general of old Rome, to share the privations of the meanest soldier; and he shewed, both by what he submitted to, and by the dangers he braved, that his love of liberty and of the good cause of mankind was not limited to writing a few words in their favour from a comfortable well-warmed library; or to sending from a table, smoking with all the superfluities of French cookery, a small check on his banker. The propriety and utility of some of his measures may possibly admit of a doubt, as, in fact, they have been censured; but of the purity of his intentions, and the intenseness of his zeal, the dangers he encountered, the privations he submitted to, the time and money he bestowed, and the life he for-
feited, there are such proofs as no other man in this age and country has given.

After his dinner Lord Byron attended the drilling of the officers of his corps in an outer apartment of his own dwelling. Here again he set an admirable example. He submitted to be drilled with them, and went through all those exercises it was proper for them to learn. When these were finished, he very often played a game of single-stick, or indulged in some other severe muscular exertion. He then retired for the evening, and conversed with friends, or employed himself, using the little assistance I was able to give him, studying military tactics. At eleven o’clock I left him, and I was generally the last person he saw, except his servants, and then he retired, not however to sleep, but to study. Till nearly four o’clock every morning he was continually engaged reading or writing, and rarely slept more than five hours; getting up again, as I have already said, at nine o’clock. In this manner did Lord Byron pass nearly every day of the time I had the pleasure of knowing him.

Lord Byron had one little hobby, which he has shared, I believe, with many distinguished men. He had a great fondness for curious arms of every description. He never saw a handsome or a useful sabre, a curious or a good pair of
pistols, or a carbine of a peculiar construction, but he coveted it, and generally contrived to obtain it, at however great a cost. He had consequently a perfect magazine of curious and extraordinary, but at the same time useful, weapons; and though his armoury could not compare with that at the Tower, it probably was not surpassed by the collection of any private man.

The reader will perhaps think a minute journal of our proceedings only tiresome, when every day nearly brought forward the same exertions in disciplining and drilling the men, the same contests among the Suliotes and the foreigners, the same sort of disputes among the individuals of the latter, and the same sort of discord among those who should have known better, which I have already described. I shall therefore only mention those days on which any thing occurred worthy of notice. The general features of the scene I have already sketched, and I have just described how Lord Byron passed his time. For the future I shall only mention such events as serve to throw light on the state of Greece, or on Lord Byron’s character.

Lord Byron’s health was somewhat better, and he rode out once or twice towards the latter end of February. But very soon heavy rains again occurred; the weather was both cold and wet, and though a fire in the apartment would have
certainly been acceptable, none was made. I do not remember to have seen a thermometer at Missolonghi, and I cannot therefore say what was the temperature, but I am confident, from a recollection of my own feelings, that it was at times fully as cold as the west of England at the same season. The place was naturally damp, and this, with the season of the year, made precautions necessary, which unfortunately Lord Byron would not take himself, and which nobody took for him.

In the latter end of February, General Londa, an old personal friend of Lord Byron’s, who was then in the Morea, sent to ask us to give him two mountain guns. Lord Byron acceded to his request, and not only promised Londa the guns, but undertook to have two officers and twelve men taught the artillery service, if Londa would send proper persons to Missolonghi. The chieftain named Ulysses, or Odysseus, also made an application for gunpowder and small stores, which Byron complied with, and sent him, with other stores, six barrels of powder, packed up, as such things are in Greece, in sheep skins.

About the same period also Lord Byron received notice from the Ionian Islands, that the newspaper printed at Missolonghi would no longer be permitted to circulate there without some restriction, as the last number contained a
tirade against kings in general. This gave Lord Byron a great deal of vexation. In answer Lord Byron explained, that it was neither his nor the Prince’s fault. The
printer of the paper was a German, and those who wrote the articles never submitted them for inspection. They were persons possessing power and authority, who could not well be controlled, and who had unfortunately more zeal than discretion. He promised, however, that he would do what lay in his power to prevent such articles appearing in future. Though his Lordship had contributed to establish this paper, he was not at that time aware what would be its consequences; and though he was far from wishing to check discussion among the Greeks themselves, he had a great aversion to a parcel of adventurers mingling up the politics of Europe with the affairs of Greece. The latter he wished to be considered, what it really was, a contest on the frontiers of civilization and barbarism, to extend the dominion of the former. What this had to do with theories of government, which may well employ the speculations of men when their lives and property are secured, Lord Byron did not comprehend; and he was proportionably annoyed at seeing his endeavours to preserve a good understanding with the authorities of Zante, and to hold up the Greek Cause to the respect and sympathy of Europe,
thwarted in this manner by the rude interference of some theoretical zealots. The paper, he said, was intended for any body but the Greeks, as not one in a thousand of them would or could read it, and without being of the least benefit to them, it constantly tended to involve the already weak and divided authorities of Greece in disputes with the government of the Ionian Islands. He repeated that he did not know why Greece, which had no interest in the contest of the parties of Europe, should be made the arena where those who were defeated elsewhere, might renew the contest, or even boast of a triumph.

Towards the end of February, however, Colonel Stanhope departed for Athens; and though this relieved Lord Byron from some personal altercations, and from the remonstrances of a would-be Mentor, it made a sort of open division among the English in Greece. Henceforth there were two head-quarters for them, two commissioners from the Greek committee having different views, and steering different courses, and each attached to a different interest and different party among the Greeks. Lord Byron, who had no love for theories of government in the then condition of Greece, attached himself to the party of Mavrocordato and practical civil order; Colonel Stanhope, the champion of liberal opinions, the great man for a press and newspaper, united
himself at Athens with
Odysseus and the other military chieftains, and seemed to wish that all the supplies sent out from England might be placed under their control. Henceforth all that Byron had done was to be undone; and what he was doing was to be opposed.

The first fruits of this division was a requisition in the early part of March from Colonel Stanhope, directed to Lord Byron, to send him 30 whole barrels of gunpowder, a brigade of guns, with remounts, paper, and other stores, from Missolonghi to Athens. He also requested that Mr. Hodges or Mr. Gill, two persons connected with the laboratory department, might be sent to Athens.

Lord Byron refused the gunpowder. Prince Mavrocordato, who seems generally to have looked with an eye of some suspicion on Odysseus, particularly requested that Lord Byron would not send any more powder from Missolonghi and Anatolica, as the whole supply was not adequate to the defence of these places, only sixty-one barrels having ever been sent from England. Missolonghi and Anatolica he represented as of the utmost importance; and this opinion had before been generally acceded to. Were these places captured, it was said the whole sea coast would be in the hands of the Turks, all the trade between Western Greece and the islands destroyed, and a free passage
opened for the Albanians in the service of the Turks to proceed into the Morea. It was therefore settled between Prince Mavrocordato and Lord Byron, that they would on no account weaken their means for defending Missolonghi.

As to Mr. Hodge or Mr. Gill, Lord Byron permitted either or both to proceed to Athens as they pleased; we had now got some intelligent Greeks in the laboratory department, and it was hoped they, with my instructions, would be sufficient to carry on this part of the service. The demand for paper Lord Byron also refused, as it could not be granted without taking from us the means of making cartridges, and breaking up the laboratory department; and his Lordship thought the defence of Greece not yet so far advanced, that he should be justified in wholly confiding it to the exertions of the press.

Through the whole month of March there was very little occurred to Lord Byron of general interest. His time was occupied as I have already described; but heavy rains commencing about the middle of the month, almost totally precluded him from riding out. At the same time he never neglected his evening exercises, and became very expert in handling his sword and single stick. The drilling of the corps and preparations for defence were all carried on as I have already described. Lord Byron’s health
appeared not thoroughly re-established, and he frequently complained of slight pains in the head, shivering fits, confusion of thoughts, and visionary fears, all of which indicated to me increasing debility. I consequently endeavoured to persuade him to live a little better, to eat more meat, and drink more wine. But as his physician had instilled a notion into him that his disorders all arose from too much blood, and that his system required to be still further reduced, he was deaf to my advice, and probably thought, by neither submitting to be again blooded, nor indulging in the pleasures of the table, that he was taking the safer, because the middle, course. The event proved unfortunately that his Lordship was wrong.

About the middle of the month an alarm was spread, in consequence of a merchant coming from Gastouni being taken suddenly ill and dying, that the plague prevailed in that place. This report excited apprehensions to an alarming degree; and people either shut themselves up in their houses, or took special care not to touch one another. Lord Byron made preparations for leaving Missolonghi, as there did not seem, from the low situation and filth of the place, the least chance of subduing the disorder, should it make its appearance there. Fortunately our alarm was unfounded. No other person was attacked,
and we learned, that the scarlet fever was the only disorder prevalent at Gastouni.

Our labours in disciplining the brigade went on successfully, and there was every probability of its being quite ready for actual and active service at the beginning of May. The idea of having so efficient a corps to bring into the field, formed under his own eye, and chiefly at his expense, delighted Lord Byron beyond measure; and when the sort of enemies with whom the Greeks had to contend is taken into consideration, the hopes which he entertained, that the corps would perform some brilliant and distinguished service, gaining him reputation, both as a commander and a statesman, seem to have been rational and well grounded. How fatally these hopes were deceived, the reader knows in part; for Lord Byron never led his brigade to the field; and since his death, it has not been heard of, neither under his distinguished name, nor under any other more ignoble one.

We were so badly off for dry or seasoned wood for our various purposes, it not being possible to procure any at Missolonghi, that we pulled down the old buildings round the seraglio or arsenal to obtain it. This afforded us a small supply, and shews to what straits we were reduced, and how very improvident and destitute were all the Greek authorities.


I have before mentioned, that I had tried in vain to persuade Prince Mavrocordato to order the shot lying about to be collected; another expedient to accomplish this was now had recourse to: I offered to pay from two to four paras for every shot or shell, large or small, which should be brought to the arsenal; and in a short time we obtained, by this means, about two thousand. Before this was done there was, so to speak, a total want of these necessary articles. The Greeks were not content with our assistance, but when we pointed out what they should do, they could not be got to assist themselves unless we paid them for doing it.

The Turks had left, at the time of their last attack on Missolonghi, some gun-carriages outside the walls. These also were transported to the arsenal; such as were serviceable were retained, and those which were not, were broken up. The shafts we converted to wad-hook, and sponge-staves, handspikes and other useful instruments, so that we applied our chance-sent supplies to the best use. At the same time a number of the men were employed in making entrenching tools, &c. A supply of bread and biscuit was also in part procured, and in part ordered, that no impediment might arise, on the score of wanting provisions, to our taking the field at the proper time.


I mention all these details, because Lord Byron interested himself in them all. It could not be expected, that he should of himself know what was proper on all these petty, though neither unimportant, nor unnecessary parts of the service; but he readily appreciated their utility, when they were mentioned to him, and promoted them by all the means in his power. He was quick in apprehension even in these matters, so foreign to his habits and pursuits, and zealous in having them performed, when he perceived their probable usefulness.

Through the whole of March, we felt the influence of that division among the Greek chieftains which I have already hinted at, and which I cannot but think our own divisions tended to promote and perpetuate. Had all the English adhered to Prince Mavrocordato and the government with Lord Byron’s steadiness, the Prince would probably have acquired and maintained that preponderance which, from his superior wisdom in the civil departments of administration, he seems to have merited. Lord Byron was himself a host in favour of the party he espoused; and though he had no wish, but the general good of Greece, and contributed to the wants of all the chieftains equally, as far as lay in his power, yet as they were split into factions, and it was impos-
sible he could reside with more than one, it became with them all an object of no trifling importance to obtain possession of him.

The first attempt that was made to get him from Missolonghi, was a letter which he received about the 10th of March, inviting him into the Peloponessus, and offering, as a flattering motive for him to come, the possibility that by doing so, he might effect a permanent union among all the chieftains. The person who first wrote to him on this subject, was I believe of no importance himself, and was unauthorized by any very conspicuous men, and therefore Lord Byron had no hesitation in immediately sending a polite refusal. In reply to the flattering expectations held out to him, of being able by his presence to heal all the divisions of Greece, he expressed of course his ardent wish to contribute all in his power to so desirable an object, but he declined quitting western Greece for the Peloponessus, unless it should be particularly desired by the general government.

The next attempt was made by Colocotroni, whose envoy, Lambro, made several sly insidious attacks on the good faith which Lord Byron reposed in the Greeks about him. His own patron he represented as entirely devoted to Lord Byron, and ready to submit to his judgment in all things. When the character of Colocotroni is considered,
and the great influence he then possessed, this was a much more flattering invitation even than the former. It was coupled too with the expression of a wish that a national council might be assembled, by the judgment of which Colocotroni promised to abide. The presidency of such a council was not expressly offered to his lordship, but his presence as a mediator was earnestly and warmly pressed.

On such points Lord Byron consulted Prince Mavrocordato, and the prince knowing the character of his countrymen, unfolded some of their views to his Lordship. It was not the interest of Mavrocordato to separate from Lord Byron, and his lordship declined either attending such a general assembly in person, or deputing any commissioner to attend for him. All parties professed to place the utmost confidence in him, and him alone; and there was not one chieftain, I believe, with whom he communicated, who did not endeavour to infuse suspicions into his mind of the sincerity of every other.

Unfortunately, too, there were some Englishmen in Greece who seemed to be as strong partizans as any of the followers of the chiefs. Some of these at Missolonghi took great pains, about the middle of March, to instil suspicions into Lord Byron’s mind of Prince Mavrocordato; and did every thing which lay in their power to
destroy the harmony which existed between the prince, Lord Byron, and the general government. On the other hand Mavrocordato distinctly stated to him that the general government had discovered a plan which had been formed by some of the chiefs, aided by some of the English and other foreigners, to remove all the stores from Missolonghi, to break up his Lordship’s brigade, and to thus put an end to the influence of Mavrocordato. Of this party
Ulysses was the idol, and was to be the sole chief.

Lord Byron, notwithstanding this sort of experience, was at times sanguine in his hopes of effecting a union amongst all the chiefs. This delusion, for I cannot but consider it such, arose from the purity of his own views, and his sincere wishes for the success of the Greeks. He saw clearly and forcibly, that to attain this object, union amongst them was necessary, and he supposed, placing some reliance on the professions of the chieftains, that they would entertain the same conviction, and would be disposed to sacrifice their individual hatred and individual ambition to the general good. He did not reflect that men hate a rival, who succeeds to the authority of an oppressive master, more than they ever hated the oppressor, and that most of the Greek chiefs would prefer their ancient masters, to submission to a rival chief.


About the 20th of March news reached us, that a large Turkish force was expected to march into Greece, by way of Larissa. At the same time we heard, that a congress or general meeting was to take place at Salona, to concert the best means of defence. To this congress Lord Byron was formally invited by General Ulysses. He was at the same time informed that the government would appoint him governor-general of Western Greece, if he would accept the office. This shews how highly they valued the continuance of his services, and how eager they all were to get him immediately, each into his own neighbourhood. It was agreed, I believe, that Mavrocordato and Lord Byron should proceed to Salona; but before they could carry this resolution into practice, disturbances ensued at Missolonghi, the Turkish fleet made its appearance, and it would have looked like running from danger, to have gone then to Salona. I believe, however, neither his Lordship, nor the Prince, was very sorry to have so good an excuse for remaining where they were. Mavrocordato entertained apprehensions for his own safety, and Byron had been told that a plot was laid to seize and confine him, and murder the Prince. Perhaps he did not believe all this, but I know he believed enough to make him suspicious and apprehensive.

In the very latter end of March the magistrates
of Missolonghi conferred on
Lord Byron what we should call the freedom of their town. Had his Lordship belonged to some craft or mystery, as trades are sometimes called, which can only be practised in certain places by the permission of the guild brethren, this might have been of some value to him. But being of no money-making trade, this honour seems to have been conferred on him only that he might spend more: at least it had this effect, and like admission to many a corporation in England, was by no means worth what it cost in fees.

Applications were made to Lord Byron about the end of March, for money to the amount of 50,000 dollars in one day; and what with the trouble of granting and the pain of refusing, his Lordship found this penalty belonging to his exalted situation so unpleasant, that he was glad to get another to pay it for him. He transferred the management of this part of his financial arrangements also to me. The Greeks seemed to think he was a mine from which they could extract gold at their pleasure. One person represented that a supply of 20,000 dollars would save the island of Candia from falling into the hands of the Pacha of Egypt; and there not being that sum in hand, Lord Byron gave him authority to raise it if he could in the islands, and he would
guarantee its repayment. I believe this person did not succeed.

The Turkish fleet made its appearance off Missolonghi in the beginning of April, which made us bestir ourselves more than ever in repairing the fortifications. Lord Byron and Prince Mavrocordato took me with them to visit the fortifications of Vasiladi; and we settled what further repairs should be immediately begun.

In the beginning of April a number of Colocotroni’s men deserted, for want of pay, they said, and came into Missolonghi, and some of them were taken into the brigade. I, who am old in the service, and accustomed to the discipline of the army, could not comprehend very well this state of things, under which the soldiers who deserted from one general were gladly welcomed by another, as if they were enemies, and not serving under one banner, and engaged in one cause. But Colocotroni and Mavrocordato were not the generals of one republic, nor the servants of one state; they were rival chieftains contending for power and superiority.

On April 10, Lord Byron communicated to me the news, that the loan for the Greeks had been contracted for in London; and that the money might soon be expected. In the evening Prince Mavrocordato and his Lordship had some conversation, as
to the plan of operations for the ensuing campaign. The Prince accordingly drew up a sketch of what he supposed should be immediately performed, and
Lord Byron ordered me to put on paper in a definite form the assistance he offered to the Greeks. This was accordingly done; and the plan sketched out by Prince Mavrocordato and Lord Byron’s offer will both be found in the Appendix D.E.

As soon as this was settled, Lord Byron being more master of his own resources, the Greek government now having money of its own, began assiduously to employ them in repairing the fortifications of the town, and completing in the most effective manner his own brigade. In fact these were among the first and the last of his labours for Greece. Soon after the arrival of the news that the loan had been taken, and just as he was priding himself on being liberated from the thousand demands that were daily made on his purse and his time, he was seized with that illness from which he never recovered. The last of his exertions and the last of his orders for the good of Greece, were directed to forming an effective body of soldiers, who he knew would, if well disciplined, be the most useful present he could make to his favourite cause.

The circumstances I have mentioned in this chapter may have thrown some additional light
on the situation of
Lord Byron; and may perhaps explain some parts of his conduct which have hitherto been only known through the medium of partial, and in my opinion unfair, reports. Lord Byron was on one hand courted and flattered publicly by every man in authority in Greece; on the other, there was not one of the chiefs who did not endeavour to infuse suspicions into his mind of the integrity of all the others. He also appeared in the character of representative of the Greek committee, and of the English people; but in this character he had rivals, who were jealous of his ascendency. While he had probably lost some share of the confidence of those who were the managing persons in the Greek committee, and they were disposed to place more reliance on others than on him; yet up to the date of his death, as those others had no personal resources equal to the occasion, he stood pre-eminent in the esteem of most of the Greek chiefs. There was nothing but embarrassment for Lord Byron, nothing but trouble and confusion from these different persons, all of them possessing power, endeavouring each to influence his mind in the direction most suited to his own views.

As another specimen of the manner in which he was called on to interfere between these opposing interests, I may mention that again, to-
wards the latter end of March,
Prince Mavrocordato pointedly and positively requested Lord Byron to stop the circulation of a newspaper which had been struck off during his absence, and which contained an exhortation to the Hungarians to rebel against the House of Austria. Lord Byron was highly incensed that such a paper should have issued from Missolonghi, and he promised to do all in his power to prevent its circulation in the islands. He knew it had been said that the Greek insurrection was the offspring of the revolutionary principles to which the sovereigns of Europe were so resolutely opposed. He knew that wherever they suspected the existence of these principles, no appeal to honour, to justice, or even to religion, was of any avail, and that they directed all their energies to stifle in every part of the world every germ of popular independence. He therefore saw in this denunciation, and in most of the political doctrines which were broached in Greece, an invitation to these powers, more particularly to Austria, to take part against the Greeks. It was moreover a justification of their doing so. Lord Byron saw this was hazarding the success of that cause which wholly engrossed his mind, and he was proportionably energetic in his reprobation of what appeared to him both inexpedient in practice, and indefensible in principle.


After this sketch of Byron’s situation in Greece, the reader may form some idea of the difficulties which surrounded him. I have endeavoured to bring them distinctly under notice; because imputations of vacillating policy, of conduct guided by caprice, of unfitness for the task he had undertaken, of a childish love of change, have all been made against him; and he who laid down his life in proof of the integrity of his principles, and of the intenseness of his love of liberty, has not escaped the censures of men, who have been only a little more consistent than he was,—and that merely in opinion, because their opinions were all theory, and never were made the rule either of their own conduct or of the conduct of others. If these difficulties do not afford an ample justification for many trifling circumstances in Lord Byron’s proceedings, we may at least infer from them that none of his calumniators would have been in his situation more consistent or more successful.