LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism
Edward John Trelawny
Trelawny’s Journal.
Literary Gazette  No. 734  (12 February 1831)  97-98.
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Journal of Belles Lettres, Arts, Sciences &c.

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In the absence of any work of leading interest this week, we give the first place to an Extract from an unpublished Journal, which bears strongly (we would say too strongly) on a topic of great attraction to the literary world. It has been called forth by our review of Mr. Millingen’s volume, and is contained In a communication from Mr. Trelawny, at Florence. But, though the nature of the questions at issue, and a sense of justice towards all parties concerned, induces us to print this document, we beg it to be distinctly understood that we are far from subscribing to the writer’s violent opinions: we have, on the contrary, marked with asterisks several passages, among others, imputing misconduct to sects and individuals, from which we utterly dissent: and we have struck out epithets which we would not ourselves sanction or apply to the worst of human beings.

Even the Quakers, steel-hardened as they are to human suffering, (out of the pale of their own tribe,) detesting villanous salt-petre, and interdicted from aiding and abetting war, could not resist the epidemic which spread like fire throughout Europe in favour of the Greeks. The expiring embers of the days of chivalry appeared rekindled; yet it proved but a bonfire of brushwood, ignited by stock-jobbers, loan-mongers, and contractors; for a moment it blazed, and was extinguished for ever. Still, for that moment, it warmed all hearts, and its intensity may be judged of by the fact of its having moved the gelid hearts and stolid visages of Quakers.* They came forth with a contribution of a thousand pounds to succour a nation of Helots, threatened with extermination, and struggling against measureless odds for existence. Somewhat late, they remembered it was against their narrow and impossible creed to aid and abet, in any shape, either in purse or person, war; and the wise men and elders gathered together to determine how they could extricate themselves from the dilemma into which the younglings of their flock had plunged them. That their feelings, like a hot horse, had run away with their judgments, was an unprecedented instance. Their natural sagacity, however, did not abandon them: they hit on an expedient, by which they served the Greeks in the manner of Macbeth’s juggling witches,
“That keep the word of promise to our ear,
And break it to our hope.”
Instead of sending the Greeks the money, or the munitions of war, they assisted in their extermination by sending them nothing but drugs and surgical instruments, and those were selected without judgment. The Greeks never submit to amputation or salivation; so scalpels, saws, tourniquets, and calomel, were presented to them; but not a grain of bark, the only drug a Greek will swallow willingly. The English committee, at their expense, added two surgeons. The one I am to speak of was a beardless, delicate, and unpractised boy, of the name of
Millingen. He joined Lord Byron at Cefalonia, during my absence in Greece, and accompanied him to Mesolonghi.

On my arrival at that place from Romily, immediately after the noble poet had yielded up his mortality, in the year 1824, I was acquainted by a Mr. Hodges, an Englishman likewise in the service of the committee, that Dr. Millingen was suddenly and dangerously ill of a fever, always rife in that accursed city of stagnant waters, green mud, and malaria. That Mavrocordato and the Mesolonghiot primates should have done their utmost to detain Lord Byron and his chest of dollars amongst them, was not to be marvelled at: besides, his name was powerful as the mountain of loadstone mentioned in the Arabian tales, drawing all that approached it to their destruction; for, though they were lost, their dollars remained, which was all the Greeks wanted. So exclusively had Mavrocorduto appropriated, in imagination, to his own use Byron’s dollars, that, not content with constituting himself heir, he had extracted a considerable sum from him while living. Lord Byron had, at Ithaca, undertaken to maintain a family of exiles from Patras. The eldest son he took to Mesolonghi, and made him his chibookghee; when, partly for himself, but chiefly as a provision for his family, he made over to him, on several occasions, between three and four thousand dollars. Mavrocordato was commissioned to send a portion of the money to the family, then residing at Cefalonia, and the remainder he undertook to place in the hands of Lord Byron’s agent at Zante, Samuel Barff, Esq. for safe custody. I have only to add, that Mavrocordato retained the entire sum for his own use. The family was left in utter destitution at Byron’s death; and the young man died six months after, in want of the necessaries of life. So much for “honest, honest Iago.”* I was indignant at the doctors; they must be, I thought, as besotted as ignorance made drunk, to he cajoled by Mavrocordato, which they were, into a belief that any animal but a toad could escape the contagious fever with which all the inhabitants were more or less affected, which no stranger had been ever known to escape, and which few survived. The hordes of barbarians that besieged it from without, reaping with their swords an annual harvest of human heads, were not more destructive than the annual pestilence which raged within.† My letters to Byron, urging him to come to Athens, or, at least, to quit Mesolonghi, were, of course, intercepted; but so anxious was I to induce him to leave a place fatal to strangers, that I persuaded two Englishmen, at different periods, to take letters to him, reiterating my entreaties that he would remove into a purer air. I knew the extreme difficulty of moving him, so great was his apathy and indolence. He confessed this to me by once saying,—“I so dislike changing my abode, that if we were driven on the island of St. Helena, with Sir Hudson Lowe, I should stay there; for I cannot make up my mind to move under six calendar months.” Mavrocordato himself, Millingen, and, with the exception of Mr. Hodges, every foreigner, was suffering from the fever. Mr. Parry, of the committee, with most of the Europeans, had withdrawn to Zante ill; and all the other philhelenes in the service of the Greeks, solicited Colonel Stanhope and myself to remove them from a place which had been the grave of so many of their comrades. I cursed Millingen and Bruno, as the two men, professing the art of medicine, in attendance on Lord Byron, their victim,* for their ignorance in not having pointed out to him the certain fate which would follow his tarrying in that pestiferous atmosphere; against which, with his shattered and sensitive constitution, he could not hope to contend. When he was attacked, the result proved how totally inadequate was their knowledge; and he, as may he gathered from his last words, discovered, when too late, that he had fallen into the hands of boyish charlatans. “If I get better,” he exclaimed, “I’ll leave this place. I’ll go to the Ionian Islands; for these doctors don’t know my complaint.” Bruno and Millingen, who were then in the room, he ordered abruptly to leave it; and on the doctors remonstrating at quitting him in such a state, he said in passion,—“I order you fellows to leave me! What! is it come to this? Can I not change my shirt without a set of blackguard doctors in the room?”—glancing fiercely at Bruno and Millingen, who slunk off. He then said to Fletcher, his valet,—“These doctors know nothing of my complaint. I want to know what is my disease. I know these fellows know nothing about the matter.”‡ In fact, he did send to Zante for Dr. Thomas. I say these reflections made me curse Millingen; yet my feelings of humanity impelled me to visit him. I accompanied Mr. Hodges to his lodgings. We found him in bed, suffering under an attack of the malaria fever. He had been described to me as a tall, delicately-complexioned, rosy-cheeked, dandy boy, of simpering and affected manners, such as Captain Whiffle’s surgeon. Simper, is described in Roderick Random. Mavrocordato, too, in my presence, had spoken of him as “mio caro ragazzino, Millingen;” which let me into the secret of how he had cajoled him. When I saw the doctor on his sick couch, he fulfilled the idea I had entertained of him. He seemed under twenty years of age; Bruno, also, the Genoese doctor, whom we brought from Italy, was a student under twenty. When I remonstrated with Byron against engaging an unpractised hoy, his answer was,—“If he knows little, I pay little. I have got the fellow for twenty pounds a-year;—is it not a good bargain?” Millingen whined and cried like a sick girl; talked of his mother, who had taken the veil, and was shut up in some Italian convent; declared
† When I last visited Mesolonghi, in 1827, this devoted city had been destroyed. Groups of Albanians and Arnoots sat smoking their pipes on its ruins, and the Bulgarians had stalled their horses in the halls of its primates’ palaces. Lord Byron’s house, in which he had lived and died, stood alone erect and unscathed. The Turkish guard at its portal marked it as the abode of the pasha. By same strange chance it had escaped the general ruin, and loomed like a lonely column in the midst of a desert.
‡ This is an extract from an account, gathered from his household, of the death of Lord Byron, written on his coffin by me, at the house of the primate Apostoli Arestoli, in which he died, Mesolonghi, April 29, 1824.
he could not survive the night; thanked me for visiting him; asked Hodges to sit up with him, as he was afraid of being left alone; expressed his dread of being robbed, for he had money in the house; and wished to make his will, and appoint us his executors. Hodges, and those in charge of the committee stores, had informed me that Millingen had been in the habit of disposing of the Quakers’ drugs, and that he had opened practice on his own account, not gratuitously, as he was bound to do by his engagement, besides which, Mavrocordato had consigned over to him the surgical instruments. By these means he had extracted money from the poor Greeks. I was astonished that one so young, embarked in such a cause, and being, as he believed, on his death-bed, should express such deep anxiety about a few hundred dollars; for he repeatedly solicited me, in the most earnest manner, to see that he was not robbed, and to witness his will. My experience in malaria fevers was greater than his; and to me he did not appear in immediate danger. I have remarked, that no persons are so complaining and querulous as doctors and priests when they are ill; one having as little faith in the medicine he prescribes, as the other in the doctrine he preaches.* I staid with Millingen as long as the urgency of my own multifarious duties would permit; and, pitying his condition, did all I could to serve and console him, for which he expressed the greatest gratitude—it was as short-lived as his malady. The ensuing morning I saw him, and he was better; which he mainly attributed to having followed my advice. He shortly after, I think, removed from the town, and my time was so entirely occupied that I never saw any thing more of him.

I will here briefly mention, that my first personal dissension with Mavrocordato arose from a circumstance at this period. He had made some private arrangements with Count Gamba, by which he was to be permitted to take possession of the money left by Lord Byron, amounting to six or seven thousand dollars. I protested against this injustice. Mavrocordato essayed, by every means, to persuade me to consent to it: I remained inflexible. He was too pusillanimous to be open, and threaten force; but he slyly told me, the Mesolonghiots would not permit the dollars to be taken from the town; that he had not an efficient force to control the populace, and could not be accountable for the outrages which might ensue if I attempted to embark the money. My answer was, that 1 had a force sufficient for the purpose, and that I would protect the property of my deceased friend. Several notes and messages passed between us, of a hostile nature. Finding myself threatened, and that Mavrocordato was secretly exasperating the town’s-people against me, I sent my emissaries to concert with the Zuliots, encamped at Annatolica, about four miles from the town, in a high state of exasperation at Mavrocordato and the town’s-people. Not being permitted to enter the town, these Zuliots openly threatened, if their arrears of pay were not liquidated, to enter by storm, and pay themselves. My promise with their chiefs was that, in the event of my being attacked while defending my friend’s property, I would immediately, with the troops of Romiliot I commanded, force open the gates, and give entrance to the refractory Zuliots. Mavrocordato got an inkling of this business, which so thoroughly intimidated him, and spread such a panic amongst the primates, that they hastened in a body to assure me no opposition should be offered. In fact, from that time I was not molested, and had only to take precaution against secret treachery; for Mavrocordato, I knew, had ground down the sword of justice to an assassin’s dagger,* which eventually did reach both Odysseus and myself. The men with me, old Romiliot Klefti, were dreaded, and an efficient guard. Besides these, Lord Byron’s brigade of artillery, knowing their paymaster was no more, and that the town’s-people would not even afford them rations, volunteered in a body to enter into the service of Odysseus. I divided the brigade and took half of them, with five mountain guns and munition, for which I had the order of Colonel Stanhope, then in charge of the committee stores at Zante. For the truth of this statement I refer to Colonel Stanhope, Mr. Hodges, and Fletcher, all residing in London. Others concerned are dead; and I do not, like Dr. Millingen, cite the unsupported authority of the dead, by forging lies to suit my purpose.*

On Mavrocordato’s being appointed to a situation in the government, he embarked thither with Millingen. Had they gone by land, their fate would have been different. Navarino, in its fortress and position, was considered impregnable; and Mavrocordato, with others, threw himself into that fortress, at the commencement of the campaign in 1825. Hadjee Cristi, a gallant, renegade, Bulgarian Turk, who had been taken prisoner by Nichetus, entered into the service of the Greeks. He was entrusted with the command of the fortress, with a large body of troops—three thousand; and Mavrocordato (for Hadjee was unlettered) enacted the civil duties. Millingen was with him. This fortress was taken by the Egyptian tacticoes, under the command of Ibrahim, nephew of Ali; for the pasha of Egypt has no son, though Ibrahim has been called his son. Hadjee made a gallant defence; for, in truth, he is a noble soldier, but more practised in charging with his wild cavalry on the field, than in defending fortresses; for which he was, indeed, at unfitted as a South Sea Islander. Mavrocordato had selected a little island, situated at the entrance of the magnificent bay of Navarino, as affording the only means of escape to the Greek shipping which was in the offing, in case the Turks should be successful on shore. The fortress was taken, and so was Hadjee and his garrison; but the wily Mavrocordato escaped, leaving his minion, Millingen, to his fate, with the rest of his trusty followers.

Ibrahim, commander-in-chief of the Egyptian tacticoes, introducing, for the first time, a disciplined army into Greece, evidently commenced his career by endeavouring to accompany it with other usages of what is fancifully termed civilised warfare. With the malignancy, unmitigable ferocity, and individual detestation, existing between the European Turks and the Greeks, he did not, and would not participate: he is neither a fanatic nor bloody. The French general, Suliman Bey, who had embraced Mahometism, and was allied by marriage to Ibrahim, had great influence over him: as far as I know, he used it properly. On Ibrahim’s first signal advantage over the Greeks, in the capture of the important fortress of Navarino, he certainly acted with a forbearance and magnanimity which is not common even in European kingdoms most vaunting themselves in the march of civilisation. Not a musket nor bayonet was used after the cessation of hostilities, nor a drop of blood unnecessarily shed: the prisoners were neither plundered nor insulted. Ibrahim harangued the Greek leaders, and commanded them to tell the prisoners to appear individually before him, after having delivered up their arms. When before him, he briefly questioned them, and then ordered them to deliver up what money or treasure they had secreted about their persons, signifying that if they hesitated in so doing, or attempted concealment, he should order them to be instantly executed. However, he gave them all the option of entering into his service, and retaining their property: he made no distinction unfavourable to the persons of foreigners serving the Greeks, whom the Turks had always sacrificed with cunning cruelty. Millingen and an American surgeon were of the number brought before him: in reply to their plea of being strangers and medical men, taking no part in the war, merely practising in their profession, Ibrahim said—“If that is the case, it will signify little whether you serve Greeks or Turks; and I will pay you better than the Greeks.” The sturdy republican indignantly refused, and, unhesitatingly throwing what money he had on the floor, withdrew; but the Englishman (if he is one, which I doubt), Millingen demurred; and the pasha, seeing he was a pretty boy, smiled on him, and made an offer to retain him in his personal service. Millingen only demurred to get the most advantageous terms, and then accepted them. Thenceforth he continued in Ibrahim’s service till I left Greece, or rather the Ionian Islands, in 1828. On various occasions his countrymen remonstrated with him on his apostasy; his only and constant reply was—the Turks are better, and pay better, than the Greeks. Captain York, or Stewart, of the navy, and a lieutenant of the Cambrian, saw him at different periods, urged him to abandon the Turkish service, and proffered him the use of their ships; but the Turks gave him money, and he continued with them. Now, the Greeks love money—they love women, too; but gold is their idol—gold is dearer to them than the bright eyes of their mistresses; but out of three thousand adventurers, of all sorts and conditions, all serving for pay and plunder, one man alone was mercenary and base enough to abandon the cause in which he was engaged, and for which he received pay, even to be a deserter to the enemy,—and that * * * * was Millingen, a self-styled Englishman, a professor of a science considered the most liberal. His name, and deservedly, was never mentioned in Greece, after his treachery, without being accompanied by universal execrations. Yet this * * * * comments, criticises, and runs a-muck with bis scalpel, stabbing at honourable men. Let him disprove this, or remain with the stigma of a branded liar. If he can prove a single syllable he has asserted against me, I am content to suffer the same fate. The medicines and instruments given by the Quakers, and the stores given by the English committee, excepting the portion consigned to Odysseus, all fell into the hands of the enemy Ottoman.

I have only to add, that it is probable I should not have thus troubled you, by replying to Mr. Millingen with my pen, had it been possible to reach him with my hand; but the renegade Dr. Millingen is settled at Constantinople, protected by the firman of the Porte.

J. Edward Trelawny.
Florence, Jan. 20, 1831.