Two Letters from Greece by Lord Byron

from Lord Byron in Greece

[published (posthumously) in the Keepsake for 1830 (1829)]

Cellhalonia, December 23, 1823.

My Dear----

I SHALL be as saving of my purse and person as you recommend, but you know that it is as well to be in readiness with one, or both, in the event of either being required.

I presume that some agreement has been concluded with Mr. Murray about "Werner." Although the copyright should only be worth two or three hundred pounds, I will tell you what can be done with them. For three hundred pounds I can maintain in Greece at more than the fullest pay of the provisional government, rations included, one hundred armed men for three months. You may judge of this when I tell you, that the four thousand pounds advanced by me to the Greeks, is likely to set a fleet and an army in motion for some months.

A Greek vessel has arrived from the squadron to convey me to Missalonghi, where Mavrocordato now is, and has assumed the command, so that I expect to embark immediately. Still address, however, to Cephalonia, through Messrs. Welch and Barry of Genoa, as usual; and get together all the means and credit of mine you can, to face the war establishment, for it is "in for a penny, in for a pound," and I must do all that I can for the ancients.

I have been labouring to reconcile these parties, and there is now some hope of succeeding. Their public affairs go on well. The Turks have retreated from Acarnania without a battle, after a few fruitless attempts on Anatolikae. Corinth is taken, and the Greeks have gained a battle in the Archipelago. The squadron here, too, has taken a Turkish corvette with some money and a cargo. In short, if they can obtain a loan, I am of the opinion that matters will assume and preserve a steady and favourable aspect for their independence.

In the meantime I stand paymaster, and what not; and lucky it is, that, from the nature of the warfare and of the country, the resources even of an individual can be of a partial and temporary service. Colonel Stanhope is at Missalonghi. Probably we shall attempt Patras next. The Suliotes, who are friends of mine, seem anxious to have me with them, and so is Mavrocordato. If I can but succeed in reconciling the two parties (and I have left no stone unturned) it will be something; and if not, we must go over to the Morea with the Western Greeks--who are the bravest, and at present the strongest, having beaten back the Turks--and try the effect of a little physical advice, should they persist in rejecting more persuasion.

Once more recommending to you the reinforcement of my strong-box and credit from all lawful sources and resources of mine to their practicable extent; for, after all, it is better playing at nations than gaming at Almacks or Newmarket; and requesting you to write to me as often as you can,
I remain ever yours,

N. B.

Missalonghi, February 21, 1824

My Dear----,

I have received yours of the 2nd of November. It is essential that the money should be paid, as I have drawn for it all, and more too, to help the Greeks. Parry is here, and he and I agree very well; and all is going on hopefully for the present, considering circumstances.

We shall have work this year, for the Turks are coming down in force; and as for me, I must stand by the cause. I shall shortly march (according to orders) against Lepanto, with two thousand men. I have been here some time, after some very narrow escapes from the Turks, and also from being shipwrecked. We were twice upon the rocks --but this you will have heard . . . .