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to the letter, whether copformable to my own private opinion or not, I beg leave to add, personally, my respect for the gentleman whom I have the honour of addressing,
Sir, your obliged, &c. " P.S, The best refutation of Gell will be the active exertions of the Committee ;-I am tao warm a controversialist; and I suspect that if Mr. Hobhouse have taken him in hand, there will be little occasion for me to encumber him with help.' If I go up into the country, I will endeavour to transmit as accurate and impartial an account as circumstances will permit.
"I shall write to Mr. Karrellas. I expect intelligence from Captain Blaquịere, who has promised me some early intimation from the seat of the Provisional Government. I gave him a letter of introduction to Lord Sydney Osborne, at Corfu ; but as Lord S, is in the government service, of course his reception could only be a cautious ane."
• Genoa, May 21, 1823. “Sir, " I received yesterday the letter of the Committee, dated the 14th of March. What has occasioned the delay, I know not. It was forwarded by Mr. Galignani, from Paris, who stated that he had only had it in his charge four days, and that it was delivered to him by a Mr. Grattan. I need hardly say that I gladly accede to the proposition of the Committee, and hold myself highly honoured by being deemed worthy to be a member. I have also to return my thanks, ticularly to yourself, for the accompanying letter, which is extremely flattering.
“ Since I last wrote to you, through the medium of Mr. Hobhouse, I have received and forwarded a letter from Captain Blaquiere to me, from Corfu, which will show how he gets on. Yesterday I fell in with two young. Germans, survivors of General Normann's band. They arrived at Genoa in the most deplorable state-without food—without a sou-without shoes, The Austrians had sent them out of their territory on their landing at Trieste ; and they had been forced to come down to Florence, and had travelled from Leghorn here, with four Tuscan livres (about three francs) in their pockets. I have given them twenty genoese scudi (ahoyt a hundred and thirty-three livres, French money), and new shoes, which will enable them to get to Switzerland, where they say that they have friends. All that they could raise in Genoa, besides, was thirty sous. They do not complain of the Greeks, but
say that they have suffered more since their landing in Italy. " I tried their veracity, Ist, by their passports and papers ; 2dly, by topography, cross-questioning them about Arta, Argos, Athens, Missolonghi, Corinth, &c. ; and, 3dly, in Romaic, of which I found one of them, at least, knew more than I do. One of them (they are both of good families) is a fine handsome young fellow of three-and twenty-a Wirtembergher, and has a look of Sạndt about him—the other a Bavarian, older and flat-faced, and less ideal, but a great, sturdy, soldier
like personage. The Wirtembergher was in the action at Arta, where the Philhellenists were cut to pieces after killing six hundred Turks, they themselves being only a hundred and fifty in number, opposed to about six or seven thousand ; only eight escaped, and of them about three only survived; so that General Normann. posted his ragamuffins where they were well peppered—not three of the hundred and fifty left alive -and they are for the town's end for life.'
“ These two left Greece by the direction of the Greeks. When Churschid Pacha overrun the Morea, the Greeks' seem to have behaved well, in wishing to save their allies, when they thought that the game was up with themselves. This was in September last (1822): they wandered from island to islaud, and got from Milo to Smyrna, where the French consul gave them a passport, and a charitable captain a passage to Ancona, whence they got to Trieste, and were turned back by the Austrians. They complain only of the minister (who has always been an indifferent character); say that the Greeks fight very well in their own way, but were at first afraid to fire their own cannon—but mended with practice.
Adolphe (the younger) commanded at Navarino for a short time; the other, a more material person,
the bold Bavarian in a luckless hour,' seems chiefly to lament a fast of three days at Argos, and the loss of twenty-five paras a day of pay in arrear, and some baggage at Tripolitza ; but takes his wounds, and marches, and battles in very good part. Both are very simple, full of naïveté, and quite unpretending : they say the foreigners quarrelled among themselves, particularly the French with the Germans, which produced duels.
“ The Greek accept muskets, but throw away bayonets, and will not be disciplined. When these lads saw two Piedmontese regiments yesterday, they said, • Ah! if we had but these two, we should have cleared the Morea :' in that case the Piedmontese must have behaved better than they did against the Austrians. They seem to lay great stress upon а few regular troops-say that the Greeks have arms and powder in plenty, but want victuals, hospital stores, and lint and linen, &c. and money, very much. Altogether, it would be difficult to show more practical philosophy than this remnant of our puir hill folk' have done; they do not seem the least cast down, and their way of presenting themselves was as simple and natural as could be. They said, a Dane here had told them that an Englishman, friendly to the Greek cause, was here, and that, as they were reduced to beg their way home, they thought they might as well begin with me. I write in haste to snatch the post.
" Believe me, and truly,
“ Your obliged, &c. “ P.S. I have, since I wrote this, seen them again. Count P. Gamba asked them to breakfast. One of them means to publish his Journal of the campaign. The Bavarian wonders a little that the Greeks are not quite the same with them of the time of Themistocles (they were not then very tractable, by the by), and at the difficulty of disciplining them ; but he is a bon homme' and a tactician, and a little like Dugald
Dalgetty, who would insist upon the erection of a sconce on the hill of Drumsnab,' or whatever it was ;-the other seems to wonder at nothing.”
I am a
May 17, 1823. “ My voyage to Greece will depend upon the Greek Committee (in England) partly, and partly on the instructions which some persons now in Greece on a private mission may be pleased to send me. member, lately elected, of the said Committee ; and my object in going up would be to do any little good in my power ;-but as there are some pros and cons on the subject, with regard to how far the intervention of strangers may be advisable, I know no more than I tell you ; but we shall probably hear something soon from England and Greece, which may be more decisive.
- With regard to the late person (Lord Londonderry), whom you hear that I have attacked, I can only say that a bad minister's memory is as much an object of investigation as his conduct while alive,--for his measures do not die with him like a private individual's notions. He is a matter of history; and, wherever I find a tyrant or a villain, I will mark him. I attacked him no more than I had been wont to do. As to the Liberal,—it was a publication set up for the advantage of a persecuted author and a very worthy man.
But it was foolish in me to engage in it; and so it has turned out-for I have hurt myself without doing much good to those for whose benefit it was intended.
“Do not defend me- -it will never do-you will only make yourself enemies.
5. Mine are neither to be diminished nor softened, but they may be overthrown ; and there are events which may occur, less improbable than those which have happened in our time, that may reverse the present state of things-nous verrons.
"I send you this gossip that you may laugh at it, which is all it is good for, if it is even good for so much. I shall be delighted to see you again ; but it will be melancholy, should it be only for a moment.
- Ever yours,
It being now decided that Lord Byron should proceed forthwith to Greece, all the necessary preparations for his departure were hastened. One of his first steps was to write to Mr. Trelawney, who was then at Rome, to request that he would accompany him. 6 You must have heard," he says, " that I am going to Greece—why do you not come to me? I can do nothing without you, and am excedingly anxious to see you. Pray, come, for I am at last detemined to go to Greece :
:-it is the only place I was ever contented in. I am serious ; and did not write before, as I might have given you a journey for nothing. They all
say I can be of use to Greece; I do not know how-nor do they ; but, at all events, let us go."
A physician, acquainted with surgery, being considered a necessary part of his suite, he requested of his own medical attendant at Genoa, Dr. Alexander, to provide him with such a person ; and, on the recommendation of this gentleman, Dr. Bruno, a young man who had just left the university with considerable reputation, was engaged. Among other preparations for his expedition, he ordered three splendid helmets to be made,-with his never forgotten crest engraved upon them,--for himself and the two friends who were to accompany him. In this little circumstance, which in England (where the ridiculous is so much better under -stood than the heroic) excited some sneers at the time, we have one of the many instances that occur amusingly through his life, to confirm the quaint but, as applied to him, true observation, that “the child is father to the man;"—the characteristics of these two periods of life being in him só anomalously transposed, that while the passions and repined views of the man developed themselves in his boy hood, so the easily pleased fancies and vanities of the boy were for ever breaking out among the most serious moments of his manhood. The same school-boy whom we found, at the beginning of the first volume, boasting of his intention to raise, at some future timé, à troop of horse in black armour, to be called Byron's Blacks, was now seen trying on with delight his fine crested helmet, and anticipating the deeds of glory he was to achieve ûnder its plumes.
At the end of May a letter arrived from Mr. Blaquiere communicating to him very favourable intelligence, and requesting that he would as much as possible hasten his departure, as he was now anxiously looked for, and would be of the greatest servive. However encouraging this summons, and though Lord Byron, thus called upon from all sides, had now determined to give freely the aid which all deemed so essential, it is plain from his letters that, in the cool, sagacious view which he himself took of the whole subject, so far from agreeing with these enthusiasts in their high estimate of his personal services, he had not yet even been able to perceive any definite way in which those services could, with
any prospect of permanent utility, be applied.
For an insight into the true state of his mind at this crisis, the following observations of one who watched him with eyes quickened by anx-. iety will be found, perhaps, to afford the clearest and most certain clue. " At this time,” says the Contessa Guiccioli, “Lord Byron again turned his thoughts to Greece; and, excited on every side by a thousand combining circumstances, found himself, almost before he had time to form a decision, or well know what he was doing, obliged to set out for that country. But, notwithstanding his affection for those regions, --notwithstanding the consciousness of his own moral energies, which made him say always that “a man ought to do something more for sóciety than write verses,'-notwithstanding the attraction which the object of this voyage must necessarily have for his noble mind, and that, moreover, he was resolved to return to Italy within a few months,-notwithstanding all this, every person who was near him at the time can bear
witness to the struggle which his mind underwent (however much he endeavoured to hide it), as the period fixed for his departure approached."
In addition to the vagueness which this want of any defined object so unsatisfactorily threw round the enterprise before him, he had also a sort of ominous presentiment-natural, perhaps, to one of his temperament under such circumstances—that he was but fulfilling his own doom in this expedition, and should die in Greece. On the evening before the departure of his friends, Lord and Lady B* *, from Genoa, he called upon them for the purpose of taking leave, and sat conversing for some time. He was evidently in low spirits, and after expressing his regret that they should leave Genoa, before his own time of sailing, proceeded to speak of his intended voyage in a tone full of despondence. Here,” said he,
we are all now together—but when, and where, shall we meet again? I have a sort of boding that we see each other for the last time ; as something tells me I shall never again return from Greece.” Having continued a little longer in this melancholy strain, he leaned his head upon the arm of the sofa on which they were seated, and, bursting into tears, wept for some minutes with uncontrollable feeling. Though he had been talking only with Lady B **, all who were present in the room observed, and were affected by his emotion, while he himself, apparently ashamed of his weakness, endeavoured to turn off attention from it by some irónical remark, spoken with a sort of hysterical laugh, upon the effects of s nervousness.”
He had, previous to this conversation, presented to each of the party some little farewell gift—a book to one, a print from his bust by Bartolini to another, and to Lady B** of his Armenian Grammar, which had some manuscript remarks of his own on the leaves. parting with her, having begged, as a memorial, some trifle which she had worn, the lady gave him one of her rings; in return for which he took a pin from his breast, containing a small cameo of Napoleon, which he said had long been his companion, and presented it to her Ladyship.
The next day Lady B* * received from him the following note.
TO THE COUNTESS OF B **.
Albaro, June 2, 1823. “My dear Lady B ** 'I am superstitious, and have recollected that memorials with a point are of less fortunate augury; I will, therefore, request you to accept, instead of the pin, the enclosed chain, which is of so slight a value that
* “Fu allora che Lord Byron rivolse i suoi pensieri alla Grecia; e stimolato poi da ogni parte per mille combinazioni egli si trovò quasi senza averlo deciso, e senza saperlo, obbligato di partire per la Grecia. Ma, non ostante il suo affetto per quelle contrade,-non ostante il sentimento delle sue forze morali che gli faceva dire sempre che un uomo è obbligato a fare per la società qualche cosa di più che dei versi, tante le attrative che doveva avere pel nobile suo animo l'oggetto di quel viaggio, ostante che egli fosse determinato di ritornare in Italia fra non molti mesi,-pure in quale combattimento si trorasse il suo cuore mentre si avvanzava l'epoca della sua partenza (sebbene cercasse occultarlo) ognuno che lo ha avvicinato allora pud dirlo."