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« LETTER XXI.
customs and business better than the plebeians. The people, on the other hand, contended that they could select among themselves persons equal to the duties, and who would not betray their liberties. The result was, that two of the primates and two of the people were elected.”
“ LETTER XVIII.
“Missolonghi, December 31, 1823. Missolonghi is placed in a state of difficulty. The neighbourhood has been ruined by two Turkish campaigns. Provisions are, consequently, very dear. The town is filled with the Primates, Capitani, and their followers, who have come here to attend the Congress assembled to consider the affairs of Western Greece. All are looking forward to Lord Byron's arrival as they would to the coming of a Messiah.”
Missolonghi, January 3, 1824. “A public meeting of the Primates and Capitani of Western Greece took place here yesterday, in the yard of the Seraglio ; Prince Mavrocordato opened the meeting. He said, he had heard with delight, on his arrival here, that the patriot warriors of Western Greece had driven the enemy, with great loss, from their soil, and had thereby saved Missolonghi and Peloponnesus from pest, death, and ruin. With no less delight did he see these same persons assembled to deliberate on the state of Greece. He could not but anticipate that their undertakings, in civil as in military affairs, would be attended with advantage.
“Mavrocordato lately informed me, that the poll-tax of one piastre had been levied last year. From it the government had ascertained that the whole population now under their control, including the islands, amounted to about two millions of souls.”
“ Missolonghi, January 6, 1824. “I attended the church here on Christmas day. The women were all behind the lattices. The ceremony was chiefly mummery. The priests are said to be illiterate and immoral. The people are not very superstitious nor much priest ridden. Education, the press, the translation of the scriptures, and the collision of religious opinions, will purify their minds on the most important subjects.
The congress here have done much good. They have agreed to limit their force to 2500 men in Western Greece, which consists of twelve cantons. They have also resolved to nominate a military council of three, who are to remain with the government, and are to be the channel of communication between it and the army. All the revenues, instead of being seized by the Capitani for the payment of their troops, are to be placed in the coffers of the government. This will enable them to pay and control the army, and to put the constitution in force. Eastern Greece has resolved to follow the measures adopted by the Congress at Missolonghi, and Ulysses will support them. Thus our prospect brightens. Eastern and Western Greece are united in the work of improvement, and the people of the Morea are disgusted with the salt-monopoly and the disunion which prevails amongst the chiefs, and in their government. The expedition to Lepanto will certainly take place. Lord Byron, who is soldier-mad, will accompany it with his 500,"
“ LETTER XXIII,
· Missolonghi, January 7, 1824. “Greece is big with events ; every day we receive some important intelligence, and our time passes away in a perpetual crisis. The newly-chosen executive consists of Giorgio Conduriotti, the president; of Panioti Botesi, an admiral ; of Jean Coletti, a clever but intriguing politician ; and of Nicolo Londos, of Patras ; the fifth member is not yet named. Eastern and Western Greece, the islands, and the people, all appear adverse to Colocotroni ; and there are none but Petrombey, Niketas, and some others of his powerful relations, who support liim.”
Missolonghi, January 18, 1824. “Greece is divided into cantons and sub-cantons. These are under the immediate government of prefects and sub-prefects. Each community elects a president, who is under the primate of the district, and both are directed by the sub-prefect. In every canton and sub-canton there is a court of justice. The prefect communicates with the minister of the home-department. In each canton there is a secretary-general, a finance-minister, a war-minister, a naval-minister and captain of the port where required, and a minister of police. The sub-cantons have analogous establishments. Each community elects three persons, who represent the government, and act under the sub-prefect.
“There is a justice of the peace in each canton. In each şub-canton there is a court consisting of three judges for commercial, political, and criminal affairs. These courts are provisional. In each canton there is a tribunal of five, called Tribunal des Armes. The justice of the peace decides all matters not exceeding one hundred piastres; those under fifty piastres are not appealable. He also judges all petty cases of assault, and all questions concerning irrigation. He cannot sentence to more than three months' imprisonment, and has the power of changing bodily punishment into a fine, which mus not exceed 150 piastres. "From these judgments there is no appeal. Each justice of the peace
has a secretary and a registrar. No prosecution can take place without a written statement. All sentences must be given in public and in writing. If the parties are not satisfied with the sentence, they must immediately write down their intention to appeal on the brief.
" The first tribunals decide political, commercial, and criminal affairs, and also cases of appeal from the justices of the peace. In these courts all pleas and answers must be in writing : their sentences are not definitive, but are liable to revision by the Tribunals of Appeal.
“ The Tribunals of appeal judge all cases of appeal from the first tribunals. The sentences of these courts, on commercial and political affairs, not exceeding 4,000 piastres, are final; but, when they exceed that sum, an appeal lies to the General Tribunal of Greece. In criminal cases the ser ces of the Tribunals of Appeal are not appealable, except sentence of decapitation be awarded, in which case reference may be made to the General Tribunal.
“Each community has a notary, who must be approved by the government. All money-contracts must be made in his presence, and both parties must come before him for that purpose. He must also attend those who wish to make their wills, and notify the physical and moral state of the testators."
Missolonghi, January 27, 1824. “The Capitanı being the most powerful and infiuential men in Greece, I will give you a short account of one of them, named Stonari. This chief lives at a village called Kutchino, near the river Aspropotamos, in Thrace. portion of his property lies in the plain, and the rest in the mountains. He possesses about one hundred and twenty villages, and each of these contains, upon an average, about seventy families. The people of the mountains are chiefly occupied with their herds. Stonari himself has about 7 or 8,000 head of cattle, and his family altogether own about 500,000. They consist of horses, oxen, cows, sheep, and goats, but chiefly of the two latter. The flocks remain seven months in the mountains, and the rest of the year in the plains. The Capitano lets out his cattle to herdsmen, who are bound to give him yearly, for each sheep, two pounds of butter, two pounds of cheese, two pounds of wool, and one piastre. Each family has from fifty to one hundred and fifty head of cattle, and they generally clear a small tract of ground and cultivate it. The plains are tolerably well cultivated. They do not belong to štonari, but are held by the cultivators, who pay one-third of their rent to the Turks, one-third to the Capitano, and one-third for the maintenance of the soldiers.
• The peasantry live ill. They have eighty-nine fast-days in the year, in addition to the regular fasts, which are every Friday and Saturday. On other days they eat cheese, butter, and bread; and on Sundays and festivals, meat. The women are treated like slaves, and perform all the hard labour. The Capitani and Primates pay little more respect to their wives than to their vassals. When a stranger appears, the women kiss his hand, and bring him water. They do not appear at table with their lords.
• The inferior Capitani, under Stonari, each receive the dues of three or four families, and each commands a certain number of men.
“The regular soldiers under Stonari amount to 400. He could muster 3000 more from among his peasantry. They are paid only during three months in the year: the first class receive twenty piastres per month ; the second fifteen ; and the third twelve. They live well, and eat twice a day bread and meat. They receive their rations from the owners of the houses where they dwell. They are furnished with ammunition and hides to make shoes of from the Capitano, but they find their own arms and clothes. They are subjected to no military discipline or punishment, and can quit their chief at pleasure. When on a march, the officers of the villages through which they pass must furnish them with quarters, and the owners of the houses where they lodge must provide them with food and whatever they demand ; if they do not, they are sure to be ill
treated. T'he troops cannot, however, remain above three or four days in the same village.
“ There is a Primate in each village. These Primates are under the control of the Capitani, who are the princes of the country.
Each village is generally provided with two or three priests, who receive from 100 to 600 piastres yearly. The people are very religious, and fear their pastors. There are several monasteries in Stonari's district, but no nunneries. In the Morea there are two nunneries. The priests are not generally rich.
“ Justice there is none. The Priests, the Primates, or the Capitani, decide arbitrarily in all cases.
"The wives of the soldiers remain in the villages during their husbands' absence, 'to look after their families and flocks.”
« LETTER XXXI.
Missolonghi, January 28, 1824. Capt. York, of the Alacrity, a ten-gun-brig, came on shore, a few days ago, to demand an equivalent for 'an Ionian boat that had been taken in the act of going out of the Gulf of Lepanto, with provisions, arms, &c. and he received 200 dollars as an equivalent. Lord Byron conducted the business in behalf of the Captain. In the evening he conversed with me on the subject. I said the affair was conducted in a bullying manner, and not according to the principles of equity and the law of nations. His lordship started into a passion. He contended, that law, justice, and equity, had nothing to do with politics. That may be; but I will never lend myself to injustice. His lordship then began, according to custom, to attack Mr. Bentham. I said, that it was highly illiberal to make personal attacks on Mr. Bentham before a friend who held him in high estimation. He said, that he only attacked his public principles, which were mere theories, but dangerous ;-injurious to Spain, and calculated to do great mischief in Greece. I did not object to his lordship’s attacking Mr. B.'s principles ; what I objected to were his personalities. His lordship never reasoned on any of Mr. B.'s writings, but merely made sport of them. I would, therefore, ask him what it was that lie objected to. Lord Byron mentioned his Panopticon as visionary. I said that experience in Pennsylvania, at Milbank, &c. had proved it otherwise. I said that Bentham had a truly British heart; but that Lord Byron, after professing liberal principles from his boyhood, had, when called upon to act, proved himself a Turk.–Lord Byron asked, what proofs have you of this ?-Your conduct in endeavouring to crush the press, by declaiming against it to Mavrocordato, and your general abuse of liberal principles.—Lord Byron said, that if he had held up his finger he could have crushed the press.— I replied, with all this power, which, by the way, you never possessed, you weni to the prince and poisoned his ear.--Lord Byron declaimed against the liberals whom he knew. But what liberals ? I asked; did he borrow his notions of freemen from the Italians ? - Lord Byron. No; from the Hunts, Cartwrights, &c.And still, said Į, you presented Cartwright's Reform Bill, and aided Hunt by praising his poetry, and giving him the sale of your works.-Lord Byron exclaimed, you are worse than Wilson, and should quit the army.--I replied, I am a mere soldier, but never will I abandon my principles. Our principles are diametrically opposite, so let us avoid the subject. If Lord Byron acts up to his professions, he will be the greatest,
- if not, the meanest of mankind. He said he hoped his character did not depend on my assertions.- No, said I, your genius has immortalized you. The worst could not deprive you of fame. Lord Byron. Well; you shall see : judge me by my acts. When he wished me good night, I took up the light to conduct him to the passage, but he said, * What! hold up a light to a Turk!!”
“Missolonghi, January 31, 1824. • Mavrocordato is a clever, shrewd, insinuating, and amiable man. He wins men; at first, by his yes's and his smiles. He is accessible and open to good counsel ; but he pursues a temporizing policy, and there is nothing great or profound in his mind. He has the ambition, but not the daring or the self-confidence required to play a first part in the state. Hisgame, therefore, is to secure the second character either under the commonwealth or under a king. The constitution is said to be his child, but he seems to have no parental predilections in its favour. And what, after all, can you expect from a Turk or Greek of Constantinople? All men are more or less influenced by the circumstances and the society that surround them; and Mavrocordato, in the office of a vizier, might be eulogized by the historian as a demi-god.
i The Greek constitution has many defects. What constitution has not? But, with
all its faults, the friends of liberty should cling to it, lest the Holy Alliance should take advantage of their dissensions, step in, and mar the work of improvement.
The artillery corps makes great progress. Care has been taken to select for it none but men of good character; and to establish a rigid discipline, without harshness or cruelty. The people crowd round the corps when it is at exercise; the Suliots begin to follow their example, and even the children imitate their mancuvres."
Missolonghi, February 7, 1824. “Parry and his men seemed a little disgusted with the appearance of Missolonghi. It is, indeed, nothing but mud and mire. They are now, however, all hard at work ; their thoughts are turned to other matters, and the croaking has ceased. I hope that this laboratory-establishment may be rendered permanent. I consider it as one of the schools that my worthy employers have established for promoting useful knowledge in Greece.
" There are about twenty Englishmen here. They give a life and excitement that has changed the appearance of the place. It is for this reason that I wish others of my countrymen to bend their steps this way. Where are your Hobhouses, your Humes, and Sheridans, that used to explore Greece, and to deplore her fall?”
Missolonghi, February 11, 1824. “Sir T. Maitland is dead. God rest his soul. Lord Byron has sent four Turkish prisoners to Usoff Pacha, at Patras. He has done well. I shall endeavour to take ad vantage of this act by commenting on it in the public papers. The unchristianlike practice of-slaying prisoners will be checked and prevented by the press.”
“Missolonghi, February 18, 1824, "Lord Byron was seized, on the 15th instant, with a severe fit. His lordship was sitting in my room, and jesting with Parry, but his eyes and his brow occasionally discovered that he was agitated by strong feelings. On a sudden he complained of a weakness in one of his legs : he rose, but finding himself unable to walk, called for assistance: he then fell into a violent nervous convulsion, and was placed upon my bed ; during this period his face was much distorted : in a few minutes he began to recover his senses, his speech returned, and he was soon well, though exhausted with the struggle. His Piedmontese surgeon and Dr. Millingen both assured me that the fit, though of a dangerous character while it lasted, was not so in its consequences. During the fit his lordship was as strong as a giant, and after it he behaved with his usual firm
I conceive that the fit was occasioned by over-excitement. The mind of Byron is like a volcano, it is full of fire, wealth, and combustibles; and, when this matter comes to be strongly agitated, the explosion is dreadful. With respect to the causes that produced this excess of feeling, they are beyond my reach, except one great cause, which was the provoking conduct of the Suliots. Lord Byron had acted towards them with a degree of generosity that could not be exceeded, and then, when his plans were all formed for the attack of Lepanto, and his hopes were raised on the delivery of Western Greece from the inroads of the Turks, these ungrateful soldiers demanded, and extorted, and refused to march till all was settled to gratify their avarice. This was enough to agitate any heart warm in the cause of Greece. Such events are, however, quite natural, and may and ought to be anticipated. The Suliots have since agreed to act agreeably to Lord Byron's pleasure. When you hear these statements, do not hang your head. The cause advances. Every day the Greeks acquire knowledge and the Turks become more impotent. It requires more wisdom than falls to my share to tell you under what rule the Greeks will eventually fall, but of this I am certain--that they can never again be slaves."
« LETTER XLI.
“Missolonghi, February 21, 1824. During the first two months that I was at Missolonghi, all went well : but, latterly, our tranquillity has been disturbed by the Suliots, and the emissaries of a faction in the Morea. An attack was made by some Suliots on the house of a Burgher, in which some men were killed and some were wounded. Lieut. Sass was killed by a Suliot. We were more than once obliged to place our house and the Seraglio in a state of defence; and some of us were shot at, and one of the workmen of the laboratory struck down with a sabre."
" Athens, March 6, 1824. “I am delighted with Athens ; with its atmosphere ; its beautiful situation ; its antiquities; its general; and its enfranchised people. Yesterday a public meeting took place, for the purpose of choosing three persons to serve as magistrates for Athens. The persons were named: their respective merits were canvassed, and they were then ballotted for, and chosen by universal suffrage. This day another meeting took place, for the purpose of choosing three judges. I attended the assembly held in the square opposite the port. Odysses, with others, was seated on the hustings. Opposite stands an old tree, surrounded with a broad seat, from which the magistrates addressed the people, explained the object for which they were assembled, and desired them to name their judges. A free debate then took place, it lasted long, became more and more animated, and, at last, much difference of opinion existing, a ballot was demanded, and the judges were chosen.
"I have been constantly with Odysseus. He has a very strong mind, a good heart, and is brave as his sword; he is a doing man ; he governs with a strong arm, and is the only man in Greece that can preserve order. He puts, however, complete confidence in the people. He is for a strong government, for constitutional rights, and for vigorous efforts against the enemy. He professes himself of no faction, neither of Ipsilanti's nor of Colocotroni's, nor of Mavrocordato's; neither of the Primates, nor of the Capitani, nor of the foreign king faction. He speaks of them all in the most undisguised manner. He likes good foreigners, is friendly to a small body of foreign troops, and courts instruction. He has established two schools here, and has allowed me to set the press at work."
" LETTER LIII.
“ Athens, March 21, 1824. “A good house costs, yearly, from 500 to 700 piastres.-A riding horse, from 150 to 200 piastres.-An ox, 150 piastres.-A cow, 100 piastres.-A sheep, 10 piastres.-A goat, 8 piastres.-A man labourer, per diem, 60 paras=74d.-A woman, 40
paras= 5d.- A boy, 20 paras=24d.-A man servant, with food and clothing, per month, 20 piastres. A maid servant, ditto.-Wheat, per okr, 12 paras.--Bread, per okr, 10 paras.---Barley, per okr, 12 paras.-Oats, 6 paras.A horse load of wood, 20 paras. --Mutton, per okr, from 30 to 40 paras.-Goat, per okr, 25 to 30 paras-Beef, from 20 to 26 paras. per okr.-A turkey, 6 piastres.-A goose, 4 piastres.-A duck, 2 piastres.--A chicken, 50 paras.-A partridge, 30 paras.-A woodcock, 25 paras.-A hare, 47 paras.-Butter, per okr, from 3 to 5 piastres.-Sugar, per okr, 6 piastres.Honey, from 60 to 70 paras.-Wine, per okr, from 12 to 18 paras.--Milk, 18 paras, per okr.-Oil
, per okr, 60 paras.--Rum, per bottle, 100 paras.-Raki, per okr, 2 piastres.-Rice, from 26 to 40 paras, per okr.-New cheese, without salt, 20 paras, per okr.-Old cheese, without salt, 40 paras, per okr.-Eggs, per 100, 6 piastres. — Salt, 6 paras, per okr.
“N.B.-An okr is equal to 24 pounds French, A piastre is equal to 5 pence; 40 paras make a piastre, and 10 piastres, 1 dollar.
Greece is split into factions, which are enrolled into two great parties. The one consists of Mavrocordato, the islands, a large portion of the legislative body, of the Primates, and of the people. The other consists of Ipsilanti, Petrombey, Colocotroni, and the principal part of the soldiery, &c. Odysseus professes neutrality, but leans to the latter party. Mavrocordato is a good man, but cannot go straight. He is, secretly, for a mild MONARCHY; a thing as easy to be obtained in Greece as a mild TIGER ARCUY. His followers mean differently, but mean well. Ipsilanti is, in mind and body, a slug, but still has shown more public virtue than any other man in Greece. His party are for military predominance and democracy. In short, the revolution has clubbed the Greeks. Still
, I have no doubt that order will be restored, and that strength and liberty will be the result.”
Athens, March 31, 1824. “ The Morea is troubled by the hostilities between the Colocotroni and government factions. Colocotroni is shut up in Tripolitza, and his son Pano in Napoli. Eastern Greec is tranquil
. Odysseus is at Negropont, from whence 700 Albanians have lately absconded in a body. Measures should be taken at congress for securing the passes of Thermopylæ. Western Greece is also tranquil, but the people of Missolonghi are dissatisfied with Mavrocordato for spending too much on his house, on his table, guards, &c. The islands are all tranquil
. Candia is subdued, but the peasantry of the mountains will rise again on the arrival of the feet. The Albanians in their own