LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Memoirs of the Affairs of Greece
Chapter XXV

Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Chapter X
Chapter XI
Chapter XII
Chapter XIII
Chapter XIV
Chapter XV
Chapter XVI
Chapter XVII
Chapter XVIII
Chapter XIX
Chapter XX
Chapter XXI
Chapter XXII
Chapter XXIII
Chapter XXIV
‣ Chapter XXV
Chapter XXVI
Chapter XXVII
Chapter XXVIII
Chapter XXIX
Chapter XXX
Chapter XXXI
Chapter XXXII
Chapter XXXIII
Chapter XXXIV
Chapter XXXV
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Author, &c. arrive at Anatolico—Character of Porphyrius—Phoca—Adventure of Giulbeyaz—Meeting of the assembly—Subjects debated—Prefectures—Author determines on going to Athens.

Hardly had a week elapsed after Mavrocordato’s departure from Ligovitzi, when the principal capitani (στρατηγοί). began, one after the other, to leave the camp; showing how little they cared about the late proclamation of the government, which threatened every capitano, who should, without permission, abandon his post, with loss of all his dignities, and the severest punishment. Macri, as usual, was among the first to show the bad example. Under pretence of revenging the death of a nephew of Dova, his protopalichari, who in a drunken party had been killed by some Mesolonghiots, he advanced with his men towards Mesolonghi; and during several days blockaded it by land. Hardly five hundred men remained at Ligovitzi.

Providentially for Acarnania and Ætolia, the same spirit of dissension and anarchy existed in the enemy’s camp; the attention of every Albanian, therefore, was directed to the disturbances which agitated the interior of his country. Hassan Bey and many of the petty chiefs had united with Silictar Potha, who had entered into open hostilities with Omer Pasha. They were all impatient to return home. The rainy season, which, this year, set in earlier than usual, made them grow louder and louder in their demands; but as soon as information was brought to their camp,
that Dervish Pasha had returned from Amblani to Larissa, they would no longer be retained. In the first days of November they repassed the defiles of Macrinoro, without being any more molested by the Greeks, than at their arrival; for, punctual to his engagement with them,
Andrea Isca purposely left the pass unguarded, which he had sworn to Mavrocordato he would defend.

The day after the arrival of this news, we gladly left the miserable huts we lodged in at Chrysovitzi; and, after passing the Achelous at Gouria, spent the night in that village. The next morning we arrived at Anatolico. Before arriving at the ferry, we passed through the encampment, which had been occupied by Scondra Pasha’s army on the preceding year. Judging from the graves, he must have lost before this town about one thousand two hundred men. An old man in the ferry-boat related, that, when a youth, he accompanied the pasha in his expedition against Anatolico in 1770, when its inhabitants had revolted and put to death the few Turks, who lived in its interior. Two thousand horsemen were sent to punish them; but their attempts would have been vain, had not, at this very moment, the unfortunate coincidence taken place of a strong north-east wind continuing with unabated violence for the space of three weeks. The waters became at last so shallow, as to allow the cavalry, though with some difficulty, to ford across into the town, which they completely sacked.

The authenticity of this fact was confirmed by several of the oldest inhabitants, who, by a timely flight, escaped the general massacre. This town, though dirty, contained several houses finer than any at Mesolonghi, the produce of their extensive fisheries, olive grounds, vineyards, gardens, &c. having enriched several of its inhabitants. The town had been
but slightly injured by the enemy’s artillery during the late siege; the house, which had suffered most, being that of
Capitan Rangos, a native of this place. Had I not become, in some measure, accustomed to the extreme supineness of the Greeks, I might have felt surprised in observing, how completely the defence of this important spot had been neglected. Last year’s experience had been of no use to the inhabitants. The batteries were in the very same disordered state, as when the last cannon was fired from them. The only fortification, that had been finished, during so long an interval of peace, was a lunette in front of the spring, (cephalo-vrissi,) to which the inhabitants are obliged to repair in boats for their supply of water; that from the wells in the town being brackish. This work was nothing but a job, proposed by the prefect Sutzo; and, as events proved, it was calculated to do more harm than good.

In 1825, as soon as the vanguard of Roushid Pasha appeared before it, the Anatolikiots, who served its two miserable cannons, embarked precipitately; and the Turks, after becoming masters of it, placed in their stead pieces of larger calibre, with which they effectually prevented the approach of every boat. Thus did the inhabitants see their supply of water cut off through their own want of reflection; and perceived, at the same time, that they had prepared rods for their own backs.

During my stay at Anatolico, which was prolonged more than we expected, owing to Mavrocordato’s relapse, I became acquainted with Porphyrius, archbishop of Arta; a proud, ambitious prelate, who had hitherto warmly espoused the party, hostile to government. His intimate friend and confident was Mega Pano, the first cogiabashi of Vrachori, a man the
very picture of Harpagon. Before the revolution, he had accumulated considerable wealth. Indeed his rapacity was so well known, that no one dared to appear before him without a present. By so many years’ practice, he had contracted such a habit of receiving, that whenever any one called upon him, he would, instead of wishing him good morning, ask him: “What have you brought me here, my lad?” Nor could he ever after leave off that phrase. These two individuals were continually together, bitterly lamenting the good old times.

One day I felt not a little surprised in meeting here an acquaintance of mine, Jerasimo Phoca, a Cephaloniot nobleman, running about the streets as if bewildered. I took him aside, and insisted on knowing what had happened to him. He gave me then the following interesting narrative, which will serve to elucidate the lawless state of Greek society, at this moment.

Some Mesolonghiots, in crossing over to the Morea, were taken by the Turks, and led to Patras. When on the point of being beheaded, they informed the pasha, that, as there existed yet at Mesolonghi several Turkish women, if he consented, their townsmen would readily send them in exchange. This proposal being accepted, the Greeks hastened to inform their relations of the transaction; requesting them to bring every Turkish female to Crio Nero, the place appointed for making the exchange. Phoca lived with a beautiful Turkish girl, whom he had saved with her mother, from the general massacre at Navarino. When the Mesolonghiots requested him to give her up, he informed her of it; leaving it entirely to her choice, to remain with him, or to return among Musulmen. She fell affectionately on his neck, and besought him to allow her to remain with
him, for death only could put an end to her attachment. The bitter reproaches, the curses, the entreaties of her mother, could not alter her resolution. Arrived at Crio Nero, the fanatic old woman informed her countrymen, that the Greeks had not kept their engagements; for, instead of delivering up every Turkish woman, they yet retained her only daughter. Enraged to hear this, the Mahomedans swore, that unless the daughter were given up also, the negotiations should be at an end; and the trembling Greek prisoners warmly entreated their townsmen not to allow, for the sake of a girl, the lives of so many of their brethren to be sacrificed. The Mesolonghiots instantly returned home, determined, by persuasion or force, to convey Giulbeyaz to her mother. All their entreaties, however, proving vain, they broke into the house; and, notwithstanding her shrieks and protestations of her being no longer a Mahomedan but a Christian, they were dragging along the streets; when Phoca, accompanied by several resolute Cephaloniots, rushed suddenly on the barbarians; and, after a sharp conflict, succeeded in rescuing her from their hands. Horses were instantly procured, and Phoca conveyed his fair captive first to Dragomesta, and afterwards to Cephalonia, where she was baptized, and soon after became his wife.

Informed of this, the Turks no longer persisted in interesting themselves in favour of a woman, who had wilfully renounced her religion and the strongest ties of nature, to live with a giaour, and were reasonable enough to effect the exchange, and sail to Patras with the other Turkish females. After his return to Mesolonghi, Phoca, seeing that repeated attempts were made on his life, and that neither the governor-general, nor the police, could afford him protection against his enemies, felt constrained to leave Greece.
He was a man, who united modesty to bravery; and, what is not a little to his credit, it was from the mouth of a Turk, I heard the panegyric of his valour. Negip Effendi too, the most enlightened of the Lalliot chiefs, highly extolled his gallant conduct, as well as that of the Cephaloniots, when the Greeks undertook to attack Lalla.

Hardly was Mavrocordato recovered from his dangerous and protracted illness, when he invited the capitani and prefects of Western Greece* to meet in general assembly at Anatolico; and every prefecture was invited to send deputies. Those, who recollected the transactions of the meeting, held, the preceding year, at Mesolonghi, and had witnessed the total disregard, in which every one afterwards held the various decrees, then enacted, could not but wonder how, with all his sagacity, the governor-general should again propose a reunion of the same persons, which could only lead to results as illusory, and at the same time expose his own insignificance more and

* Western Greece was divided into the following prefectures; and as it may be acceptable to many to know the names of their respective capitani and eparchs, I subjoin them.

  Capitani. Eparchs.
1. Xeromero, Zonga, Prassino.
2. Vlocho, Vlachopoulo, Demetri.
3. Valto, Andrea Isco,  
4. Zugo, Dem. Macri, None.
5. Apochoro, Christo Macri,
6. Venetico, Zangana, Phoca.
7. Carpenisi, Yoldasi, Dem. Colocythopoulo.
8. Cravari, Saphaca, G. Platanioti.
9. Malandrino,   Pappagiorgi.
10. Agrapha, Rango,  
11. Anatolico, Soliri Yoti, J. Sutzo.
12. Lidoriki, Dinco Scaltra,  
13. Aspropotamo, Stornari,
14. Patraziki, None fixed, Ditto.

more. From the proceedings of the assembly it appeared, however, that his only objects in convoking it, were: to ascertain the dispositions of the chiefs towards government, and to judge how far it could rely, in a case of actual emergency, on the co-operation of the population of this part of Greece against the rebel capitani of Peloponnesus; and secondly, to apprize them, that, being recalled to the seat of government, he could not continue to be their governor any longer. His absence had been strongly felt by
Conduriotti, a man who, having received no other education than that of a merchant-captain, at Hydra, was totally ignorant of the details and practical part of civil administration.

No one could afford him greater assistance, than Mavrocordato in the performance of the arduous task he had undertaken. He knew the patriotic nature of his sentiments, and that there existed not in Greece a more zealous friend to order. General Zonga was appointed president of the assembly, which was so numerous as to be held in a church. Polychroniades acted as secretary; though he neither wrote nor spoke without consulting Mavrocordato; who, on this occasion, did not present himself before the meeting, as his republican character would have led him to do; but contented himself with the less conspicuous, but not less important, part of prompter and manager. And it was in conformity with his directions, that the following articles were submitted to the consideration of the assembly.

A. To examine the decisions of the assembly, convoked in 1823, at Mesolonghi; in order to ascertain which have and which have not been infringed; and also why, and by whom, they have not been observed; in order that necessary measures may be adopted.

B. To examine and calculate the revenues of
Western Greece; what sums have been sent to it by Government; how they have been expended, and if abuses are detected in the administration of the finances, to point out the manner of preventing them in future.

C. To devise the means of procuring the pay and provisions, necessary for the army.

D. To take into consideration, how the national affairs may be settled.

E. To receive every petition or report, that relates to the public weal, that the assembly may decide, which is the general and which the individual opinion.

The first article was soon disposed of; for all the judges were guilty; and if mention of punishment had been made, the condemned might with security have defied justice, by crying; “let him, who feels himself innocent, cast the first stone.”

The second article gave rise to a more prolonged discussion; and it was proposed, as the only satisfactory manner of ascertaining the matter in question, to order Luriotti, the treasurer, to produce his accounts. The gross immorality of this man was notorious, and his abuses of the most flagrant nature; yet, as he was a protegé of Mavrocordato’s, the friends of the latter shamelessly observed, that the assembly having no right to make such an investigation, they should rather request the governor-general to examine, with the assistance of the treasurer, the state of the revenues and expenditures of Western Greece; and, should he detect any inaccuracy in them, to inform them of it, that they might adopt the necessary measures.

The attention of the assembly was afterwards earnestly employed in considering the actual state of things in Peloponnesus; where the government had,
at last, engaged in open war with the faction of the capitani. Although the military chiefs of continental Greece, actuated at bottom by the same despotic and interested principles, would, had circumstances equally favoured them, have acted precisely in the same manner, as their brethren in Peloponnesus, and had in fact, on every possible occasion, imitated their unjust proceedings; yet they now clamorously inveighed against them; and those were loudest in their reproaches, who, had their own conduct been scrutinized, most justly deserved their application. Neither patriotism, nor attachment to the constitution, influenced their decisions. Their interests, nay their very existence, were linked to the triumph of the government; the idea of a sovereign electrified them. They all entertained the enticing hope not only of being admitted to a share of the golden fleece, but also of possessing themselves of the riches and properties of the rebels. An address to the government was signed by every member of the assembly; assuring it of the entire devotedness of the inhabitants of Western Greece; and expressing the earnest vows, they formed, of seeing under its auspices the reign of the law established on the ruin of every faction. They asserted, at the same time, their readiness to defend the constitution at the risk of their lives and fortunes.

Several individuals, in conformity with Mavrocordato’s private instructions, observed, that, in such a conjuncture, deeds rather than words being necessary, the most acceptable assurance of their attachment to the government, would be the sending over to its assistance a chosen body of soldiers, led by men who united energy to patriotism. But as no one could be a more competent judge of the numbers, requisite, and of the dispositions of the chiefs, best qualified to
acquit themselves of this important duty, they strongly urged, that the matter should be referred to the decision of the governor-general. He immediately selected, in consequence, eight hundred of the best soldiers, and appointed the capitani to command them, on whom he could most rely. These capitani were preparing to cross over to Peloponnesus, when notice arrived, that the vigorous means, resorted to by the government, had every where proved successful. The rebels, discomfited by the Roumeliot troops, were flying in all directions to escape the sword of justice, which pursued them.

While the assembly was holding one of its sittings (December 21st) a Moriot entered the church, who, after announcing that he came from Procopanisto, where Zaimi, Londo, Nicita, and M. Sessini had just arrived, delivered a letter to Zonga, who caused it to be read to all present. The purport of this letter was to request an asylum till their conduct should be examined by competent judges.

This letter produced a strong sensation; but the assembly, after much deliberation, resolved to answer, that they could not interfere; but that the capitani, like other citizens, must submit to the orders of government, and wait the sentence of the law.

Although every capitano signed this letter, which was composed by Mavrocordato, there was hardly one of them, whose private opinion was not in direct opposition to the sentiments it expressed. The individual, who delivered it into the hands of Zaimi*, verbally informed him, on Zonga’s part, that he,

* When Omer Pasha besieged Mesolonghi in 1822, Zaimi, Londo, Nicitus, and Mavromichali were the principal chiefs, who, on hearing of its distressing position, crossed over from Peloponnesus with reinforcements; and contributed chiefly to defeat the attempt, made on the Greek Christmas-night, to take the town by storm.

and his companions in misfortune, might rely on his inviolable friendship. He invited them to come to the village of Gouria, where, under pretence of keeping them in custody, but in reality for their protection and safety, he would leave a detachment under the orders of his nephew. He assured them, moreover, that, faithful to the laws of hospitality, he would defend them against their enemies, as long as they remained in the province of Xeromero; and if it were impossible to reconcile them with government, or to avoid any longer its pursuit, he pledged himself to facilitate the means of escape. Relying entirely on
Zonga’s word, they proceeded without hesitation to Gouria.

Information having, soon after, reached him of the arbitrary and ignominious manner, in which the Moriot chiefs had been treated by Conduriotti, and that orders for the immediate apprehension of his guests had been sent to Mavrocordato, he apprized them of the danger of their position, and accompanied them in person to the place of embarkation. He would not, however, allow Nicita to follow them; but wrote to government, that he held himself responsible for that brave but weak-headed soldier.

The year 1824 could not terminate in a more fortunate manner for the constitutional party in Greece, or the energetic measures adopted by the executive body be crowned with success more complete and more rapid. Conduriotti and Coletti, its most resolute members, perceiving that nothing, but the total destruction of the capitani, could ever pave the way to the establishment of order in the country, determined on giving them the fatal blow. Availing themselves of the moment, the enemy had retired from the confines of continental Greece, bribed the Roumeliots suddenly to invade the Peloponnesus,
and depose its native chiefs.
Goura, of whose notorious perfidy they had lately profited, to rescue Athens from his friend Odysseus, who had hitherto usurped the whole of Eastern Greece, instantly obeyed the orders for passing the Isthmus, and entered the Morea with a corps of three thousand men. Caratassoe, Catzico Jani also accompanied him. Dyonysi Evmorphopoulo, who commanded the province of Megaris and the Derveni, followed him with one thousand five hundred more. They immediately occupied Tricala, the seat of the Notara family, and the troops, commanded by Jani and Sotiri Notara, were completely routed, after a feeble resistance.

Without losing a moment, they marched on Calavita; whence they drove the adherents of Zaimi; and after leaving there a considerable detachment under the Suliot, Lambro Veico, he advanced towards Gastouni, and not only took possession of the town but the whole province without opposition. Sessini, the father, narrowly escaped falling into his hands; and precipitately embarked for Zante; where, the local authorities refusing to allow him to land, he saw no other party left; but following the example of the other Moriot chiefs, and passing to Anapli, to place himself at the disposal of government. Kitso Zavella, Caraiscachi, and all the Suliots, who had opposed Dervish Pasha at Amblani, in conformity with the orders of the executive, crossed the Corinthian gulf; and, after landing at Vostitza, pursued Londo, Michael Sessini, Zaimi, Nicitura, &c. with so much ardour, that, to avoid falling into their hands, they judged it expedient to embark for Mesolonghi, as we have stated. Chaye Cristo with his Bulgarians, Macrojani, Coletti, Spiliotachi Pa-
paflessa, and other capitani, inundated the provinces of Caritena and Arcadia; and so suddenly, that the Dehli Janei and
Colocotrone himself, abandoned by their terrified followers, were constrained to submit and implore the mercy of government. These proud and insolent men were thus reduced in a few weeks by the authority, they had so often insulted and threatened to overthrow. They were imprisoned in a monastery at Hydra, and there left to await the punishment demanded, by their numberless crimes.

Early in 1825, in compliance with the orders of the senate, which recalled him to Anapli, there to fill the post of secretary of state, the governor-general of Western Greece bade adieu to his provinces. Great indulgence should mitigate the censure, which has been laid upon him, for leaving things in the most complete disorder; but, destitute of pecuniary means as well as of military force, how was it possible to satisfy the endless exorbitant claims, addressed to him daily from all quarters?

Weighty reasons not allowing me to accompany Mavrocordato, I obtained from him before his departure the promise of being appointed to the expedition against Patras; which, for the last two months, had been announced, and might have been undertaken, had not a civil war broke out in Peloponnesus. It was now spoken of, as on the eve of taking place. Towards the middle of December, the arrival of a division of the fleet before the entrance of the gulf, and the proclamation, by which the commodore declared the four Turkish fortresses in a state of blockade, seemed to leave no doubt, that this essential undertaking, so shamefully postponed, would be entered upon at last. I proposed, therefore, as soon as the besieging troops should approach
Patras, crossing over to the Morea, and joining the army.

Finding, however, that a considerable delay would ensue, before the troops were collected, and seeing the ships return to Hydra, in January; I thought I could not, in the mean while, employ my time better than in visiting Athens, and the seat of government, Anapli.