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

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.



Weather in April—Attack on Missolonghi, by Cariascachi—Misconduct of our soldiers—Duels—A spy in Lord Byron’s household—Endeavours to estrange Lord Byron from Mavrocordato—Conduct of some Englishmen—Rumour of breaking up the establishment at Missolonghi—Irritation of Lord Byron—Is prevented leaving Missolonghi—News of the loan—Lord Byron rides out for the last time—My opportunities of being with Lord Byron—Opportunities enjoyed by others—Count Gamba—Fletcher—Dr. Bruno—Deplorable state and confusion of Lord Byron’s household—Proofs of the authenticity of the narrative—Lord Byron seriously ill—Agrees to leave Missolonghi—Preparations for this purpose—Prevented by the Sirocco wind—Confined to his bed—Is delirious—The doctors think there is no danger—Sirocco continues—His forlorn condition—Is bled—Continued delirium—A consultation of physicians—Previous treatment of Lord Byron condemned—Bark administered to him—Is sensible for the last time—Lies in a stupor for twenty-four hours—His Death—Author’s opinion as to the causes of his Death—Lord Byron’s prodigious disappointment—Flattering manner in which he was invited to Greece—What he expected to perform—Remarks on the physician’s statements—Other disasters in Greece—Its independence not promoted by our interference.

During the early part of April, the weather continued rainy and most unpleasant. The disputes among the Greek chieftains and their followers, the effects of which we always felt, seemed to increase daily, and at length to have broken out into open hostility and civil war.


I am not writing a history of Greece, and therefore the reader will dispense with my enumerating the names of all the captains who are at the head of different parties in that country, some openly fighting for themselves, and others clothed with the authority of government. Their names, their behaviour, their excesses, and their modest pretensions, have all been a thousand times repeated in the newspapers, and other publications, and can receive no fame from my pen. My only object is to confine myself to such facts as throw light on Lord Byron’s situation, and the causes of his death.

Towards the end of March or beginning of April, he was much annoyed, and indeed every body was alarmed, by an attack made on Missolonghi by the partizans of one Cariascachi of Anatolica, under the pretence of avenging a private insult offered to one of their own people, but in fact undertaken in concert with that party which wanted to destroy the influence and power of Mavrocordato, and separate him from Lord Byron. The primates and others flew to his Lordship for protection, entreated him to order out his brigade, and told him they had no hope, even for the safety of the town but in him. About the same time, the troops of Cariascachi took possession of Vasaldi, and seemed resolved to be their own masters, whatever ruin they might bring
on their country. Driven by the desperate state of its finances, or rather by its want of resources, the government also had recourse to violence, and was almost involved in disputes with England, by seizing on some property belonging to Ionian merchants at Missolonghi. The very moment the Turks were threatening to make another attack, and were, it may be almost said, before the walls of Missolonghi, was the time chosen by those who wanted money, and those who wanted power, to embroil all the parties in this unhappy country.

On our part, we were not without unfortunate occurrences. One of our soldiers committed an outrage on the Greek family where he lodged; and to restore the confidence of the Greeks in our discipline, we were obliged to arrest him, and carry him off to the seraglio. Where there was so little subordination, every event of this kind not only gave a great deal of trouble, but led to confusion and tumult; another of our soldiers committed a robbery, was detected and punished. This event, which in a well regulated corps would have passed as a matter of course, begot a dispute among some of the officers, and some of the English gentlemen present, and two or three duels would have ensued, had the parties not been put under arrest by my orders. Count Gamba takes the merit of this arrest to himself,
but he had nothing to do with it, and never had any power in Greece. There was no military code established and promulgated but the code Napoleon, which people were not disposed to obey; and every little occurrence of this kind called forth legislative debates, as well as judicial disputes. The laws were to be made and applied as the offences arose. It was also discovered, that a relation of the landlord, in whose house
Lord Byron lived, acted as a spy for the opposite party. He was of course arrested, and given up to the authorities at Missolonghi.

What above all things, however, annoyed Lord Byron, were the various efforts made to prejudice him against Prince Mavrocordato; and the Prince disclosing to him the objects of these attempts. In all the intrigues which I witnessed in Greece, and till they fell under my notice I had no conception that one could think of such crooked contrivances—nothing surprised me more, than the willingness of some Englishmen to lend themselves to these deceitful and base purposes. Either much displeased at not finding themselves the all-engrossing objects of admiration, or careless of every thing but their own selfish purposes, or willing to obtain that importance, by trick and chicanery, which their own merits in a country like Greece never could obtain, they made it their express business to sow
division between Lord Byron and Prince Mavrocordato. Thus, shortly after Lord Byron’s first illness, one of them told him, that the Suliotes at Anatolica had disclosed the circumstance that they were persuaded by Prince Mavrocordato not to march against Lepanto. With that frankness which ever distinguished Lord Byron, he communicated this report to the Prince, who satisfied him, that it originated entirely in the malice of his enemies. In the then weak state of Lord Byron’s health, this report irritated him exceedingly, and it required all my efforts, and those of the persons who had most influence over him, to restore him to calmness.

The irritation of this had scarcely subsided, when we discovered that intrigues were on foot, to persuade the Greeks, whom I had instructed a little in the art of preparing ammunition, to go off to Athens. Prince Mavrocordato and Colonel Stanhope were not on very good terms; the Colonel had no confidence in the Prince, and indeed openly bearded and opposed him. It seemed as if the Colonel supposed Greece was a regiment of guards, which might be put through certain manoeuvres at his pleasure. He wanted to drill it after his own fashion. His hostility to Mavrocordato had been so marked, that there gradually arose an opinion, among both Greeks and English, strengthened by the Colonel’s own
conduct, that he was endeavouring to break up the establishment at Missolonghi, and remove all the stores belonging to the committee to Athens. This report, like the others, was conveyed to
Lord Byron, and he not having parted with Colonel Stanhope on very good terms, it added much to the disagreebleness of his feelings. He had before attributed both neglect and deceit to the Greek committee or some of its agents; and this report of the proceedings of their special and chosen messenger, made him, in the irritation of the moment, regard them as acting even treacherously towards him. To the cause of Greece he was firmly attached, and resolved never to forsake it; and he was proportionably both disappointed and angry, that those who pretended to feel a similar attachment, had it only on their lips, and not in their hearts. “By the cant of religious pretenders,” he said, “I have already deeply suffered, and now I know what the cant of pretended reformers and of philanthropists amounts to.” Had his valuable life been spared, the specious claims of both these sects would have been justly held up to the derision of mankind.

At this moment then, that is, at the commencement of April, there was a combination of circumstances, all tending to irritate the naturally sensitive disposition of Lord Byron, and to
weaken his hopes of a great and glorious result. He was more a mental being, if I may use this phrase, than any man I ever saw. He lived on thought more than on food. As his hopes of the cause of Greece failed, and they seem to have been the last, and perhaps the greatest his mind was capable of forming, he became peevish; and if I may so speak, little minded. Losing hope, he lost enthusiasm, and became gloomily sensible to his situation. There was no mental stimulus left to make him bear up against his increasing perplexities, and nerve his body to resist the noxious effects of a bad climate.

The difficulties of his own situation, and the coming dangers, had the effect on the obstinate mind of Lord Byron, of compelling him to remain at Missolonghi. But for these circumstances, he would have left it for a time, and have found repose and health.

He who has been thought by many to have contemptuously braved the opinion of the world, was, when it was in harmony with his own convictions, completely and sensitively under its control. He felt that the Greeks were more than ever in danger, and his high and proud mind obstinately refused to leave Missolonghi, for a more quiet scene, and a more healthy abode. He dreaded what the world might say of his desertion;
his spirit was more powerful than his frame, and this fell into dissolution before that changed its determination. Had it not been for the state of Greece, I believe he would, at the commencement of his disorder, have gone to Zante, but he could not brook the idea of flinching from danger, even to save his life.

From the beginning of April, he had frequently complained to me of violent head-aches, and of great debility. Both these had remained from the time of the first attack; but he had felt them particularly, from the time of the bleeding. When these head-aches left him, his hopes returned that his health would be restored in the summer. To me he often expressed the great satisfaction he felt, at the probability of being able, by means of his income alone, to carry his designs in favour of Greece into execution, without adding to his debts, or alienating any part of his property. He looked forward to the return of fine weather, and the commencement of the campaign, when he proposed to take the field, at the head of his own brigade, and the troops which the government of Greece were to place under his orders, for the recovery of his health and spirits. He was sure he said, to be thoroughly restored, could he every day get hard exercise in the free air. He wanted to be relieved from his own de-
spondency; but time and circumstances brought no relief, and before the campaign was opened he had perished.

When the news arrived from England, on April the 9th, of the loan for the Greeks having been negotiated in London, Lord Byron also received several private letters, which brought him favourable accounts of his daughter. Whenever he spoke of her, it was with delight to think he was a father, or with a strong feeling of melancholy, at recollecting that her infantine and most endearing embraces were denied to his love. The pleasant intelligence which he had received concerning her, gave a fresh stimulus to his mind, I may almost say revived for a moment a spirit that was already faint and weary, and slumbering in the arms of death. He rode out after hearing this news twice; and once was caught in the rain. Those who wish to attribute his death to any other cause, rather than to the general debility occasioned by a long system of exhaustion, both of body and mind, have eagerly seized hold of this trifling circumstance, to make the world believe, that he who had swam the Hellespont, who had been accustomed to brave every climate, and every season, fell a victim to a shower of rain and a wet saddle. When a man is borne down, almost to death, by continued vexation, and a want of sufficient nourishment, such trifles may
complete his dissolution. In this case they were only the last grains of the ponderous load of calamities which weighed this noble-minded man to the earth; and it is my honest conviction, that he might have been saved, had he had with him one sensible and influential friend, partly to shield him from himself, partly to shield him from others, and zealous to preserve both his fame and his life.

Before I proceed to describe Lord Byron’s death, it may be as well to state what opportunities were enjoyed by those persons who have either supplied the materials for an account of his last moments, or published it on their own authority, for the task they have undertaken. It will be evident, I should suppose, to every person who has honoured these pages with a perusal, that I was necessarily much absent from Lord Byron, after he was taken ill. My duties carried me out of the house where we lived, and it was only occasionally that I could pay him any attention, or even ascertain his actual state. Whenever I returned home, before I entered his room, of course I made inquiries as to his state, and I was generally told that he was asleep, or quiet, and had better not be disturbed, that there was no danger, and that I might without apprehension attend to my business. Lord Byron, it will be also evident I think to the reader, honoured
me with a high degree of confidence; and yet some of those who were immediately in charge of his person did what they could to exclude me from his presence. They have themselves, therefore, to thank for the suspicions which have been generated in my mind as to the accuracy of the reports.

As I do not pretend to have been continually at Lord Byron’s bed-side, it would be wrong in me to deny the accuracy of any statement, which may possibly relate to times when I was not present; at the same time it seems to me proper to put the public in possession of some facts, which may enable them to judge of the credibility of the narratives of Lord Byron’s last moments which have been given to the world.

Count Gamba, who has just published “A Narrative,” &c., and who has given a circumstantial detail of every thing that happened to Lord Byron, did not live under the same roof with him. He resided in another part of the town, and for two or three days, at the most critical period of Lord Byron’s illness, he was confined to his own room from the effects of an accident. I believe he was unable to walk. Count Gamba is still a very young man; I say this with no intention to disparage him, in truth it is with most men a subject of pride, and in him Lord Byron never placed any marked degree of confi-
dence. His Lordship protected and employed him; he may be said even to have provided for him, but he did not confide in him.

Fletcher, Lord Byron’s valet, I have before observed was not at this time his favourite servant. He was comparatively seldom in his master’s bed-room, and seemed to me to have nearly lost his master’s confidence. Tita was Lord Byron’s constant attendant, and was always in his bed-room. There were several circumstances also connected with Mr. Fletcher, which must have unfitted him to be a very correct reporter of what occurred; I shall mention only one, the influence of which indeed Count Gamba also felt. Both were so affected, and so unmanned by the situation of Lord Byron, that whenever I saw them they required almost as much attention and assistance as Lord Byron himself. It is possible that what they saw they may have faithfully related; but I cannot say that I feel disposed to borrow any thing from the narrative of either.

Dr. Bruno I believe to be a very good young man, but he was certainly inadequate to his situation. I do not mean as to his scientific acquirements, for of them I pretend not to judge; but he wanted firmness, and was so much agitated, that he was incapable of bringing whatever knowledge he might possess into use. Tita was
kind and attentive, and by far the most teachable and useful of all the persons about
Lord Byron. As there was nobody invested with any authority over his household, after he fell sick, there was neither method, order, nor quiet, in his apartments. A clever skilful English surgeon, possessing the confidence of his employer, would have put all this in train; but Dr. Bruno had no idea of doing any such thing. There was also a want of many comforts which, to the sick, may indeed be called necessaries, and there was a dreadful confusion of tongues. In his agitation Dr. Bruno’s English, and he spoke but imperfectly, was unintelligible; Fletcher’s Italian was equally bad. I speak nothing but English; Tita then spoke nothing but Italian; and the ordinary Greek domestics were incomprehensible to us all. In all the attendants there was the officiousness of zeal; but owing to their ignorance of each other’s language, their zeal only added to the confusion. This circumstance, and the want of common necessaries, made Lord Byron’s apartment such a picture of distress and even anguish during the two or three last days of his life, as I never before beheld, and wish never again to witness.

Having mentioned circumstances which may probably suggest a doubt to the reader’s mind as to the fidelity of those narratives which have
been published of
Lord Byron’s last moments, I may allude to those which should inspire him with confidence in my assertions. From Count Gamba’s statement, which I have transferred to the title-page of this work, the reader may be satisfied that I was present with Lord Byron a short time before he became insensible for ever, and that Count Gamba himself was not present, for he says, “I had not the heart to go*.” Count Gamba was in fact overcome by his feelings, and was incapable of going. The reader may therefore judge from this of the accuracy of conversations which I, who was present, do not pretend to have heard. “It was to Parry,” Count Gamba says, “to whom Lord Byron tried to express his last wishes.” It is plain, therefore, from the statements of other persons, that Lord Byron had confidence in me, and knowing that he had in a high degree, I infer, and the reader will grant, I believe, the fairness of the inference, that Lord Byron would not be anxious to confide secrets to others when I was on the spot. In fact I believe that for the last seven days of his life Lord Byron did not speak on any serious topic connected with his own concerns to any other person but to me. An additional proof of Lord Byron’s confidence in me may be extracted from another passage of

* Narrative, &c. page 264.

Count Gamba’s narrative. He says at p. 264, “I was sent for to persuade him (Lord Byron), to allow of blisters being put on, and returned in all haste with Mr. Parry.” Why did Count Gamba return with me when he was sent for! Because in fact it was I who was summoned to persuade his Lordship, and who always was summoned; and these were the only times that the doctors liked my presence, whenever Lord Byron was to be convinced or persuaded that the remedies proposed were likely to be beneficial.

Whenever Lord Byron objected or refused to follow their prescriptions, then I was sent for to exert my influence over him; at other times, as I have stated, all sorts of excuses were invented to exclude me from his room. Whenever I saw him, also, and this is well worthy of attention, he never omitted to complain of the altercations he had with his doctors, of whose treatment of him he said many harsh things.

I have now stated candidly the means and opportunities I had of witnessing Lord Byron’s last moments, and the means and opportunities which others had. What I saw, and what I know, I shall now describe.

A short time after his return from the ride, on April 9th, when he had got wet, he complained of considerable pain and fever, and his physician, evidently from some Sangrado theory, im-
mediately proposed that he should be again bled. To this he objected, and against this, when I heard of it, I remonstrated. I was confident from the mode in which he had lately lived, and been lately tormented, that to bleed him would be to kill him. He was worn out, not fairly but unfairly, and the momentary heat and symptoms of fever were little more, I believe, than the expiring struggles or the last flashes of an ardent spirit.

On April 11th he was very unwell*, had shivering fits continually, and pains over every part of his body, particularly in his bones and head. He talked a great deal, and I thought in rather a wandering manner, and I became alarmed for his safety. To me there appeared no time to be lost, and I earnestly supplicated him to go immediately to Zante, and try change of air and change of scene. After some time he gave an unwilling consent, and I received his orders to prepare vessels for his conveyance†. Count Gamba, Lieut. Hesketh, his aid-de-camp.

* Count Gamba says he rode out on this day. Mr. Fletcher’s account, published in the “Westminster Review,” says the last time he rode out was on the 10th. The latter is correct.

† This is a circumstance which could not have been unknown to Count Gamba; and yet, I believe, it is never mentioned in his Narrative. Mr. Fletcher might easily have forgotten this, or not have known it, as well as many other things.

M. Bruno, his physician, and his servants Fletcher and Tita were to accompany him. Of course I was to remain at Missolonghi, and was more especially to take charge of all his property, and expedite the service as much as lay in my power. I was also to have a vessel constantly ready to send over to Zante, with information of whatever occurred at Missolonghi. It was only by pointing out to his Lordship the facility of communicating with him, and the ease and speediness with which he might return to the spot, should his presence be necessary, and his health permit, that I wrung from him a reluctant consent to go away, and a reluctant order to prepare for his departure.

It is perhaps of little consequence to the reader to be told at this time of what I did; but there is one circumstance connected with Lord Byron that I may mention, as it took place this day. For his satisfaction, as well as for mine, I had drawn up a report of my proceedings, as well as of all his military proceedings since my arrival in Greece. On April 11th, I read this report to him, and it received his approbation. A more rigid judge, probably, from supposing himself a more inflexible patriot, and a more enlightened man, or because he was better acquainted with the matter, I mean colonel Stanhope, did not condescend to honour this report, at a later period, with his approbation.
But he had a better right than Lord Byron to condemn it, for he neither smoothed our difficulties nor upheld our courage. He had no hand in effecting the little good which pleased the noble mind of Lord Byron.

Lord Byron kept his bed all day on the 12th of April, and complained that he could not sleep, that his bones were very sore, and that the pain in his head increased. He could eat nothing, and in fact took no nourishment whatever.

On the following day all the preparations for his departure were completed, but a hurricane ensued, and it was impossible for the vessel to leave the port; torrents of rain also came down, the country around was flooded, and Missolonghi for the time became a complete prison. The hurricane was no other than the pestilent sirocco wind; and thus it seems as if the elements had combined with man to ensure Lord Byron’s death.

Hitherto he had risen during the day, and for a short time had left his bed-room; but after retiring on April the 14th, he came out no more. From that time he was confined to his bed, and nobody was allowed to see him, or permitted to enter his bed-room, but Count Gamba, the physician, the two servants Tita and Fletcher, and myself. The confidence with which he had ever honoured me since my arrival, was shewn
even in his last moments; and, still keeping in view why he and I were both in Greece, he told me to be with him as much as I possibly could, without thereby retarding the service.

My other occupations unfortunately did not allow me to be always about him; but whenever they did, I paid him all the attention in my power. To me he seemed even from April 14th to be occasionally delirious*, and frequently expressed a desire and intention to go on horseback, or to take an excursion in his boat. I observed also that he sometimes slipped in an Italian sentence or phrase or two in his conversations with me, as if he were addressing Tita or Count Gamba. From fulfilling his intention of riding he was dissuaded, partly by his attendants, but chiefly

* In the account given in the “Westminster Review” of Lord Byron’s death, at page 255, Vol. II., there is a note recording some conversation between Lord Byron and his physician, from which the reviewer infers that Byron was delirious in an early stage of the disease. This strengthens what I have said in the text; I shall only deny that the delirium arose from inflammation. It was that alienation of the mind, which is so frequently the consequence of excessive debility. There was no symptom of violence in the early period of the disease, such as I have frequently seen in other young men attacked with fever, and such as I believe would, in Lord Byron’s case had, the disorder been inflammatory, have been most severe. The delirium at every stage arose from extreme debility.

by his weakness, which prevented him even from supporting himself without assistance.

On the 15th of April Lord Byron was seriously and alarmingly ill; and I am now persuaded, from the manner of his conversation with me, more than from what he said, that he was then apprehensive his disease was dangerous. The doctors indeed thought there was no danger, and so they assured me and every body else about Lord Byron. The sirocco wind continued to blow very strong; and it was quite impossible to remove him, unless it had abated or changed. The same circumstance would have prevented us sending for Dr. Thomas, or sending to Zante for any body or any thing, had such a measure been resolved on.

It was seven o’clock in the evening when I saw him, and then I took a chair at his request, and sat down by his bed-side, and remained till ten o’clock. He sat up in his bed, and was then calm and collected. He talked with me on a variety of subjects connected with himself and his family; he spoke of his intentions as to Greece, his plans for the campaign, and what he should ultimately do for that country. He spoke to me about my own adventures. He spoke of death also with great composure, and though he did not believe his end was so very near, there was something about him so serious and so firm, so
resigned and composed, so different from any thing I had ever before seen in him, that my mind misgave me, and at times foreboded his speedy dissolution.

Parry,” he said, when I first went to him, “I have much wished to see you to-day. I have had most strange feelings, but my head is now better; I have no gloomy thoughts, and no idea but that I shall recover. I am perfectly collected, I am sure I am in my senses, but a melancholy will creep over me at times.” The mention of the subject brought the melancholy topics back, and a few exclamations shewed what occupied Lord Byron’s mind when he was left in silence and solitude. “My wife! My Ada! My country! the situation of this place, my removal impossible, and perhaps death, all combine to make me sad. Since I have been ill, I have given to all my plans much serious consideration. You shall go on at your leisure preparing for building the schooner, and when other things are done, we will put the last hand to this work, by a visit to America*. To reflect on this has been a pleasure to me, and has turned my mind from ungrateful thoughts. When I left Italy I had time on board the brig to give full scope to memory and reflection. It was then I came to that

* This was in connexion with his Lordship’s views as to Greece, stated in another place.

resolution I have already informed you of. I am convinced of the happiness of domestic life. No man on earth respects a virtuous woman more than I do, and the prospect of retirement in England with my wife and Ada, gives me an idea of happiness I have never experienced before. Retirement will be every thing to me, for heretofore my life has been like the ocean in a storm.”

Then adverting to his more immediate attendants he said; “I have closely observed today the conduct of all around me. Tita is an admirable fellow; he has not been out of the house for several days. Bruno is an excellent young man and very skilful, but I am afraid he is too much agitated. I wish you to be as much about me as possible, you may prevent me being jaded to death, and when I recover I assure you I shall, adopt a different mode of living. They must have misinformed you when they told you I was asleep, I have not slept, and I can’t imagine why they should tell you I was asleep.

J. G. Lockhart, “Last Days of Lord Byron”

“You have no conception of the unaccountable thoughts which come into my mind when the fever attacks me. I fancy myself a Jew, a Mahomedan, and a Christian of every profession of faith. Eternity and space are before me; but on this subject, thank God, I am happy and at ease. The thought of living eternally, of again reviv-
ing, is a great pleasure. Christianity is the purest and most liberal religion in the world, but the numerous teachers who are continually worrying mankind with their denunciations and their doctrines, are the greatest enemies of religion. I have read with more attention than half of them the book of Christianity, and I admire the liberal and truly charitable principles which Christ has laid down. There are questions connected with this subject which none but Almighty God can solve. Time and space, who can conceive—none but God, on him I rely.”

I had never before felt, as I felt that evening. There was the gifted Lord Byron, who had been the object of universal attention, who had, even as a youth, been intoxicated with the idolatry of men, and the more flattering love of women, gradually expiring, almost forsaken, and certainly without the consolation which generally awaits the meanest of mankind, of breathing out his last sigh in the arms of some dear friend. His habitation was weather-tight, but that was nearly all the comfort his deplorable room afforded him. He was my protector and benefactor, and I could not see him, whom I knew to have been so differently brought up, thus perishing, far from his home, far from all the comforts due to his rank and situation, far too from every fond and affection-
ate heart, without a feeling of deep sorrow, such as I should not have had at the loss of my own dearest relation. The pestilent sirocco was blowing a hurricane, and the rain was falling with almost tropical violence. In our apartment, was the calm of coming death, and outside, was the storm desolating the spot around us, but carrying I would fain hope, new life and vigour to some stagnant part of nature.

This evening was, I believe, the last time Lord Byron was calm and collected for any considerable period. On the 16th he was alarmingly ill, and almost constantly delirious. He spoke alternately in English and Italian, and spoke very wildly. I earnestly implored the doctors not to physic and bleed him, and to keep his extremities warm, for in them there was already the coldness of coming death. I was told, there was no doubt of Lord Byron’s recovery, and that I might attend to my business without apprehension. Half assured by these positive assertions, I did leave his Lordship, to attend to my duties in the arsenal.

On the 17th, when I saw him in the morning, he was labouring at times under delirium. He appeared much worse than the day before; notwithstanding this, he was again bled twice, and both times fainted. His debility was excessive. He complained bitterly of his want of sleep, as
delirious patients do complain, in a wild rambling manner. He said he had not slept for more than a week, when, in fact, he had repeatedly slept at short intervals, disturbedly indeed, but still it was sleep. He had now ceased to think or talk of death; he had probably, as
Count Gamba has said, no idea that his life was so soon to terminate, for his senses were in such a state, that they rarely allowed him to form a correct idea of any thing. Yet opinions, uttered under such circumstances, have been given to the world, by his friends, as Lord Byron’s settled opinions. “If,” he is made to say, “my hour is come, I shall die whether I lose my blood or keep it.”

Count Gamba indeed, says he transacted with him a considerable quantity of business on the 16th, when Lord Byron was almost insensible, as Mr. Fletcher has already testified, and as I now testify. Those conversations which Count Gamba reports, as heard by himself and others, are all of that rambling character which distinguish delirium. It is particularly necessary, to make this observation, because a great degree of importance is sometimes attributed to death-bed speeches. In Lord Byron’s case, whatever may be reported as said by him, must be taken with the consideration, that he was frequently delirious, for the last five days of his existence.

On the 18th, it was settled by Prince Mavro-
cordato, that I should march with the artillery brigade and Suliotes to some little distance from the town, and exercise them, in order to carry the inhabitants along with us. This was Easter day, and the Greeks being accustomed to celebrate it by firing muskets, we fell on this plan, to prevent their disturbing
Lord Byron. On this account I did not see much of Lord Byron till towards the middle of the day. I saw him a short time indeed, in the morning, and then he was very delirious, and alarmingly ill. Such was the confusion amongst the people about him on my return, that I could learn little or nothing of what had passed, except that a consultation had taken place, two other medical men having been called in, and that one of them, Dr. Treiber, a German, had warmly condemned the mode in which Lord Byron had been treated. It was by his recommendation and advice, I believe, that it was now resolved to administer bark, and I was sent for to persuade Lord Byron to take it. I do not know that it is possible to give a stronger proof of Lord Byron’s complete want of confidence in his medical men, and of their conviction that he had no confidence in them. Whether he was to be bled or blistered, or receive stimulant medicines, they felt that he would not listen to them, and I, who was comparatively a stranger to Lord Byron, or some one of his household, was obliged
to enforce the physicians’ recommendation. At the moment of administering the bark, he seemed sensible; I spoke to him, and said, “My Lord, take the bark, it will do you good, it will recover your Lordship.” He took my hand, and said, “Give it me.” He was able to swallow only a very small quantity, about four mouthfuls I think.
Dr. Bruno seemed satisfied, however, and said, “That will do.” When he took my hand, I found his hands were deadly cold. With the assistance of Tita, I endeavoured gently to create a little warmth in them; and I also loosened the bandage which was tied round his head. Till this was done he seemed in great pain, clenched his hands at times, gnashed his teeth, and uttered the Italian exclamation of Ah Christi! He bore the loosening of the band passively; and after it was loosened, he shed tears. I encouraged him to weep, and said, “My Lord, I thank God, I hope you will now be better; shed as many tears as you can, you will sleep and find ease.” He replied faintly, “Yes, the pain is gone, I shall sleep now,” and he again took my hand, uttered a faint good night, and sank into a slumber; my heart ached, but I thought then his sufferings were over, and that he would wake no more.

He did wake again, however, and I went to him; Byron knew me, though scarcely. He had
then less of alienation about him than I had seen for some time before, there was the calmness of resignation, but there was also the stupor of death. He tried to utter his wishes, but he was incapable; he said something about rewarding his Italian servant, and uttered several incoherent words. There was either no meaning in what he said, or it was such a meaning, as we should not expect at that moment. His eyes continued open only a short time, and then, about six o’clock in the evening of the 18th, he sank into a slumber, or rather I should say, a stupor, and woke and knew no more.

He continued in a state of complete insensibility for twenty-four hours; giving no other signs of life, but that rattling in his throat, which indicated the approach of death. On Monday, April 19th, at six o’clock in the evening, even this faint indication of existence had ceased—Lord Byron was dead*. Thus died George Lord Byron, the truest and greatest poet England has lately given birth to, the

* At the very time Lord Byron died, there was one of the most awful thunder storms I ever witnessed. The lightning was terrific. The Greeks, who are very superstitious, and generally believe that such an event occurs whenever a much superior, or as they say, a supreme man dies, immediately exclaimed, “The great man is gone!” On the present occasion it was too true; and the storm was so violent, as to strengthen their superstitious belief. Their friend and benefactor was indeed dead.

warmest-hearted of her philanthropists, the least selfish of her patriots, and unquestionably the most distinguished man of her nobility. That the disappointment of his ardent hopes was the primary cause of his illness and death, cannot, I think, be doubted. The weight of that disappointment was augmented by the numerous difficulties he met with. He was fretted and annoyed, but he disdained to complain. He had formed, I admit, exaggerated expectations; but had they no foundation, in the unfulfilled promises of the people of England; and was he not unworthily deceived, either by the ignorant presumption or the selfishness of those, who were anxious to obtain the weight of his great name to the cause which was the momentary theme of their declamation?

That he had miscalculated his own power, and the probable resources of Greece, I also admit; but for the former, we may find a natural excuse, in the very flattering manner in which he was invited into that country*; and on the latter, no man had, or now has, any accurate information. He shared with many wise and many ignorant men the wide-spread but delusive notion, that an indi-

* As a specimen of this, I shall quote the following extract from a letter of Prince Mavrocordato to Lord Byron; the date is Missolonghi, December 29th. “Je n’ai pas besoin de vous dire, mi Lord, combien il me tard de vous voir arriver; à quel point votre presence est desirée de tout le monde, et quelle direction avantaguese, elle donnera a toutes les affaires, vos

vidual limited, as we all are to a portion of wisdom and power, scarcely commensurate to our individual wants, may bestow great benefits on a whole nation, or even on the species; and he expected on his appearance in Greece, to reconcile contending chieftains, to hush the voice of angry ambition, to sooth the disappointed passions of opposing factions, and to direct all hearts and minds, as his own heart and mind were directed, to the single object of liberating Greece. This object, beautiful as it is in theory, is one which a succession of wise men, and a long lapse of time, only can accomplish. That Lord Byron failed, ought not therefore to surprise us. That he ever suffered such a chimerical idea to obtain possession of his poetical mind, might be to us a matter of lasting astonishment, had we not seen those, who are said to be masters of reason, and patterns of philosophy, expect to accomplish precisely the same object, by a few instructions

conseils seront ecouté comme des oracles et nous ne perdrons pas le tems le plus precieux de nos operations contre l’ennemi.”

And also this extract of a letter from Colonel Stanhope to Lord Byron, dated December 28 and 29, from the same place. “It is right and necessary to tell you, that a great deal is expected from you, both in the way of counsel and money.” “All are eager to see you.” “I walked along the street this evening, and the people asked me after Lord Byron!!!” “I hope your Lordship will proceed hither—you are expected with feverish anxiety. Your further delay in coming will be attended with serious consequences.” L. S.

dictated in their closets. That the idea is chimerical is beyond all question; but, were it possible to realize it, Lord Byron adopted a much more likely method to succeed, than those who drew up constitutions and codes for Greece; and whose great pride it was, in opposition to him, to enforce them.

Westminster Review, Byron in Greece
J. G. Lockhart, “Last Days of Lord Byron”

But though, in my opinion, the primary cause of Lord Byron’s death was the serious disappointment he suffered, I must not therefore be understood to say, that no art could have saved him. From the symptoms of his disease, as recorded by his medical attendant, and from the state of his body on dissection, physicians may probably form a different opinion of the immediate causes of his death, from the one I entertain. They may say, as a writer in the ‘Westminster Review’ has said, “that he died in consequence of an inflammation of the brain; at least, if the appearances really were as described. The cause of the attack, was the exposure to wet and cold, on the 9th of April. By this exposure fever was excited. That he might have been saved, by early and copious bleeding, is certain. That his medical attendants had not, until it was too late to do anything, any suspicion of the true nature of his disease, we are fully satisfied.”

The latter part of this quotation, expresses my opinion. The physicians knew nothing whatever
of the nature of his disease. But I shall further say, not only on account of
Dr. Bruno being an interested person, but also on account of the great agitation he suffered, so as to bewilder him, for the last ten days of Lord Byron’s life, that he is an incompetent witness, as to the state of the body after death. But this statement is the only ground for the reviewer’s opinion, that early and copious bleeding would have saved Lord Byron’s life. In this statement, be it also remarked, he does not place implicit confidence. Let any man, therefore, take into account the mode in which Lord Byron lived in Greece, together with his former habits, and the severe exercise he then took, and I think a conviction will immediately arise in his mind, as in mine, that Lord Byron’s disease needed not the remedy of bleeding.

He was, before the fever attacked him, reduced to a mere shadow; and the slow fever as it is called by Mr. Fletcher, which terminated his existence, was only the symptom of that general disease, which, from the time of my arrival in Greece, had been gradually wasting his frame. However learnedly the doctors may talk and write on the matter, it is plain and palpable to common observation, that Lord Byron was worried, and starved to death. A part of his irritation arose from the structure of his own mind; but much of it was caused by those with whom he was con-
nected, in, and about the affairs of Greece. His diet was dictated by his own will, and for that he is responsible, but for the medical treatment his physicians must answer.

To pacify the people of this empire, for the loss of one of the greatest, if not the greatest of their poets, and one of the most ardent champions of rational freedom, they have been told, that the structure of his frame did not promise a long life. The eagerness with which this circumstance was put forward, indicates a conviction in other bosoms than mine, that a different treatment would have saved Lord Byron’s valuable life. He cannot now be recalled; anger would only disturb his ashes; but in proportion as we loved and valued him, must we be displeased at those whose conduct hastened his dissolution.

Before I conclude this chapter, I cannot help adverting to some other disastrous consequences, which have resulted, from our interfering in the affairs of Greece. Perhaps Lord Byron’s loss may outweigh all the other casualties, but it was not the only one. Lord Charles Murray, an upright and honourable-young-minded man, also fell a victim to his zeal for Grecian liberty, and died at Gastouni. To say nothing of those who fell by the hand of the enemy, several, besides Lieutenant Sass, have been killed in what may be called civil broils. Mr.
Gill, the foreman in the laboratory, died of disease; and Mr. Blackett and Mr. Winter terminated their existence by their own hands. I have already stated what was the result of sending out the mechanics. They were of no use to Greece. As the price of our assistance, whatever may have been our intentions, we have in fact widened the divisions among the chieftains; we offered to them a prize, which each was eager to gain at the expense of the others; we introduced plans for codes of laws, and other measures which had for their object to Anglify Greece; we saddled them with a number of foreigners, who excited the hatred of the people; and we, I believe, as many intelligent Greeks believe, have postponed, by our interference, the hour of their final liberation. That the wish among our people to assist the Greeks was and is ardent and sincere no man can doubt; that the high and exalted individuals whose names are attached to the Greek committee, were and are zealous in watching over the management of the funds committed to their charge, is to be presumed, from their known integrity; but every man must deplore, that the means placed at their disposal have been applied with so little judgment, or with so little discrimination, that where it was intended to confer benefits, only mischief has been inflicted.