LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Journal of a Visit to Greece
Chapter IV

Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
‣ Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
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GREECE IN 1825. 255

The campaign of 1824 began by the loss of Ipsara, in the month of July. The Turks effected a landing in boats, on a rocky and unguarded part of the shore, and surprised the town. The Ipsariots made a brave but ineffectual resistance. The women threw their children into the sea, and sprung after them. Few of the inhabitants escaped. But it was a dear-bought victory for the Capitan Pacha, who lost 2000 of his best men. The fortress of Napoli di Romania was ceded by the Government to the remaining brave and unfortunate Ipsariots. The Egyptian fleet of Mahomet Ali, which threatened a descent on the Morea, had put back to Rhodes, owing to the great sickness that pre-
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ailed on board. The Greek fleet, under
Admiral Miaulis, attacked that of Constantinople at Samos, burning with their ships two frigates and a brig; the brave Ipsariot, Capt. Canaris, displaying his usual intrepidity. The Constantinopolitan fleet afterwards joined the Egyptians at Stanco. Three camps were to be formed in the Morea; one at Patras, another in the plain of Gastouni, and the third near Navarino. General Anagnostara was to command at Gastouni, with Generals Coliopulo and Cryssantho, Sessini’s eldest son, and Londos, with Zaimi and Gennao Colocotroni at the camp of Patras.

Two columns of Turks had advanced on Salona and Athens: the main body, under the command of Dervish Pacha, advanced from Zeitouni to within eight miles of Salona. Javela, Drako, and Danzley, Suliote captains, in conjunction with Pannuria, the chief of Salona, had formed a camp at Albania, an advantageous post, which commanded the principal pass from Zeitouni. The Turks from Larissa and Ne-
GREECE IN 1825. 257
gropont had been engaged by
Gennao near Marathon, and worsted in a well-fought skirmish. On the advance of the Turks, the inhabitants yearly take refuge in the neighbouring Islands of Coulouris and Ægina; Goura, with about 500 men occupying the fortress, which the Turks this year made no further attempt to attack. Great dissensions prevailed among the Albanians, the best troops of the Ottoman empire; and they wanted but little encouragement to embrace, in great numbers, the cause of the Greeks. Seven hundred Albanians had made offers to Ulysses to desert to him when he was in Negropont; but not having friends to pay either them or his own troops, he could not receive them. The Greeks inhabiting the mountains of Olympus, to the number of 12,000 fighting men, wanted only a supply of ammunition openly to revolt; but, though the benefit of having such a considerable force co-operating in the rear of the enemy was evident, no advantage was taken of either circumstance.

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At Napoli the Government had attempted the organization of regular troops, and the command had been given to the then acting secretary of state, Rhodios; who was as inadequate to one situation as the other, having no military knowledge or experience, though a well-intentioned young man.* The Greeks are much prejudiced against regular troops;† and the measure required the greatest eclat at the commencement, as

* Rhodios began his military career early in Greece, as lieutenant in a company I held, and for the short time of my former stay in the country, at the siege of Tripolizza, in a regiment raised by Ipsilanti, and commanded by a Colonel Ballestre, and, from knowing the language, was the most useful of the two. When we ascribed the ideas we connect to Government ministers and secretaries of state, to the same thing in this infantine Republic, it seemed like playing at a game of assuming such characters; but it had the advantage, that, divested of all that imposing veil of grandeur and inaccessibleness, men were more open to observation, and the springs of action and their real merits were more easily distinguished.

† I remember, at the siege of Tripolizza, when the Greeks used to speak at night from our little battery to the Turks on the walls, the Turks reproached them, saying, “You will now be made Frank soldiers of, and slaves, worse than with us.”

GREECE IN 1825. 259
well as good management, to give it a chance of success. It required also some popular and well-known commander among the natives, or a distinguished foreigner; but the members of the Government seemed determined to invest all power in weak hands alone; and in those who owed their elevation entirely to themselves, as if they dreaded the assumption of office in any others. The same line of suspicious and misgiving policy was pursued with
Ulysses; who, on his part, was equally distrustful of them, and of their intentions towards him. By Conduriotti, he had been well received, and with sincerity; but his enemies were busy against him, and his own retainers sought advantage, in insinuating to him reports of designs to his disparagement. It was proposed that he should remain with the Government as their counsellor and adviser; but his being attended by a body-guard of ten followers, which he required, was objected to. He refused a command at Hydra; as being shut up in a fortified island, he was there too much at
260 GREECE IN 1825.  
their disposal.
Goura, in the meantime, instigated and guided by his secretary, Sophionopulo, a villainous character, had been supplanting Ulysses at Athens, which with the Athenians, fickle as of old, was not difficult; and, though he obeyed the orders he received from Ulysses to come to him at Napoli, it was the last act of his obedience, and he soon after assumed the chief command. The soldiers and retainers of Ulysses were in long arrears of pay; his demands for which, and even for brevets, in general so liberally bestowed,* were not accorded him, though many of his soldiers were, immediately on leaving his service, appointed to the rank of colonels and captains.

The first supply of the Loan reached Na-

* On speaking to Coletti, on the subject of giving, in such numbers, the rank of generals and lieutenant-generals, he answered,“Que voulez-vous? quand on n’a pas de l’argent, il faut payer avec du papier.” It was also proposed, by introducing gradations of high rank, to do away with the title of Capitanos, applied generally to any military commander, which proposal originated with General Londos.

GREECE IN 1825. 261
poli in July, instructions having been given to place it at the disposal of the Greek Government.* The seat of Government was a crowded Babel of vagabonds, in diverse dresses of all nations,—a mingled scene of dirty splendour, and dirtier wretchedness; and the streets wore the appearance of a sorry masquerade. Half-starved adventurers, candidates for posts and employments in the Government, open-mouthed in expectation of the English Loan, and straining every nerve to have a share, however small, in the general scramble. Never was warmer zeal displayed in support of supreme power than in Napoli. Every shadow of being a non-opinionist in the immaculate proceedings and omniscience of the existing rulers; the, to be, dispensators of this “cornu copium;” incurred instant censure; and
Colocotroni, Ipsilanti, Ni-

* This unconditioned concession of the money in the hands of the Greeks themselves, has eventually caused all but their utter ruin; and whoever were the instigairs of this measure, theirs is the guilt.

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Ulysses, names that had gained celebrity by their gallant defence of their country, were all doomed, without appeal, to the appellation of traitors and anti-patriots. The incense and flattery offered to those in power, in proportion as they were unaccustomed to it, deprived them of all moderation and prudence.* Giving Ulysses the command of the forces opposed to Dervish Pacha was talked of; but, after having been shot at, when sitting by a window in Niketas’s house, his demands refused, and his nomination delayed, Ulysses, accompanied by Trelawney and General Karaiscaki, quitted Napoli in disgust, leaving Negris there; and, with about 1000 men, joined the Greek camp at Albani. On a commissary being appointed, for the supply and

* It is remarked by some author; “The generous love of liberty which warms the bosom of the true patriot, is not the mean offspring of envy and malice, nor of a proud and peevish opposition to the ruling powers, whatever they may be.” In speaking of the ruling powers of Greece, as they are—bad, I should be very sorry to be thought opposed to ruling powers, “whatever they may be.”

GREECE IN 1825. 263
payment of the troops, Ulysses learnt that the Government afforded no support to his soldiers, and that
Goura was nominated to replace him in the command of Athens. Ulysses then made a seizure of Government money, disbanded his soldiers, and retired to his fortress at Parnassus; and the rumour spread that he was treating with the Turks.

At Albania, near Salona, the inactivity of the opposed camps, (posted as usual—the Greeks occupying the mountains, the Turks the plains) had been broken by one general engagement. The Turks attacked the Greek entrenchments; but being received by a sharp fire of musquetry, they soon retired, without attempting an assault. The Turks lost about 200 men, the Greeks four or five. This was the most important engagement that took place by land, during the whole campaign; and constituted the operations of the Turkish army, of above 20,000 men, opposed to 4000.

264 GREECE IN 1825.  

On the Western side of Roumelia, Omer Vrioni, at the head of about 6000 men, had advanced towards Messolunghi. Mavrocordato, again assuming a military capacity with Zougas, Maccrie, and Rango, Roumeliot captains, posted themselves on the heights of Lugovitza; where they remained, in complete inactivity, for three months, but their whole force did not amount to 3000 men. A detachment of cavalry passing their camp, surprised the town of Vrachova, and took or killed 300 of the inhabitants; the town had been before nearly destroyed, and with this exploit Omer Vrioni was satisfied.

In the Morea, an attack had been made, in the early part of the year, on Modon; this, with occasional skirmishes with the garrison of Patras, comprised the whole exertions of either side in the Morea. The Turkish garrisons, at Modon, Coron, and also Lepanto, remained very tranquil, and were left undisturbed. The Turks evince an unparalleled constancy in supporting
GREECE IN 1825. 265
the privations of a siege, and this seems the only excellence they retain of their once renowned qualities for war! It was hardly possible to conceive the exaggerated reports, and for which rejoicings were celebrated, that were circulated and credited from one part of Greece to another. Government despatches and Gazettes (for two others had appeared besides the
Messolunghi Chronicle; one at Hydra, entitled ό ϕίλος των Νόμων, Ami des Lois, and another at Ægina) gave accounts of battles and successes that had no other existence but in their pages: and which reports were promulgated in Europe, and magnified as they got farther off till, according to them, the dark blue waters of these classic shores were made blood-red with slaughter.*

* My offers to serve in any military capacity not being accepted by the Government, I passed over to Roumelia, with a few soldiers in my own pay, visited Ulysses and Trelawney, in their mountain fortress on Mount Parnassus; and finding nothing going on in either camp, passing through Messolunghi, I returned to the Morea,

266 GREECE IN 1825.  

By sea, the operations had been more active: the Greeks attacked the combined fleets at Stanco, and with their formidable brulots (fire-ships) burnt several vessels. They repulsed an attempt of the Egyptians to effect a landing at Candia, making some prizes, and driving them back towards Rhodes; when part of their fleet returned to Alexandria, and the Constantinopolitan retired to Mitylene. After keeping the sea for three months, the whole Greek fleet returned to port, and the Egyptians seized the opportunity of

and took up my quarters for the winter at Gastouni: which the cordiality and hospitality of Sessi, governor of that Province, made an agreeable residence to strangers. Here, in the summer months, had Lord Charles Murray, after a short stay in Greece, fallen a victim to the unhealthy climate of the Moron.

Go, stranger, tract the deep,
Free, free, the white sail spread;
Wave may not flow, nor land wind sweep,
Where rest not England’s dead:—
The warlike of the isles, the men of field and wave,
Are not the rocks their funeral piles, the seas and shores their grave.
GREECE IN 1825. 267
effecting a landing in Candia. No aid had been afforded the Cretans by land; and the Pacha of Egypt’s son,
Ibrahim Pacha, who commanded the expedition, and of whose courage and talent report speaks well, confined his operations to gaining possession of that Island.