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wind continued to blow directly against their getting to Messolonghi, the vessel was again anchored between two of the numerous islets which line this part of the coast. Several gun-boats having arrived early the following morning, despatched from Messolonghi to accompany his Lordship, and assist him if required; the vessel accordingly sailed, but was forced to anchor in the evening, nor did she reach the town before the following day.
We can, however, give Lord Byron's account of his situation on the Scrofes, which we find in a hasty letter written on board the Cephaloniote vessel in which he sailed from Argostoli.
“We are just arrived here (the letter is dated 31st Dec. 1823), that is, part of my people and I, with some things,
own words: “Ma nel di lui passaggio marittimo una fregata Turca insegui la di lui nave, obligandola di ricoverarsi dentro le Scrofes, dove per l'impeto dei venti fù gettata sopra i scogli: tutti i marinari e’ l'equipaggio saltarono a terra per salvare la loro vita: Milord solo col di lui Medico Dottr. Bruno rimasero sulla nave che ognuno vedeva colare a fondo: ma dopo qualche tempo non essendosi visto che ciò avveniva, le persone fuggite a terra respinsero la nave nell' acque: ma il tempestoso mare la ribastò una secondo volta contro i scogli, ed allora si aveva per certo che la nave coll' illustre personaggio, una gran quantità di denari, e molti preziosi effetti per i Greci anderebbero a fondo: Tuttavia Lord Byron non si perturbò per nulla, anzi disse al di lui medico che voleva gettarsi al nuoto onde raggiongere la spiaggia: 'non abbandonate la nave finchè abbiamo forze per direggerla ; allorchè saremo coperti dall' acque, allora gettatevi pure, che io vi salvo.'”
&c., and which it may be as well not to specify in a letter (which has a risk of being intercepted): but Gamba, and my horses, negro, steward, and the press and all the com. mittee things-also some eight thousand dollars of mine (but never mind, we have more left-do you understand ?)* are taken by the Turkish frigate and my party and myself in another boat, have had a narrow escape last night (being close under their stern and hailed, but we would not answer and hove away) as well as this morning. Here we are with snow and blowing weather, within a pretty little port enough ; but whether our Turkish friends may not send in their boats and take us out (for we have no arms except two carbines and some pistols-and—I suspect-not more than four fighting people on board), is another question-especially if we remain long here—since we are blockaded out of Messolonghi by the direct entrance. You had better send my friend George Drako, and a body of Suliotes to escort us by land or by the canals, with all convenient speed. Gamba and all on board are taken into Patras, I suppose--and we must have a turn at the Turks to get them out; but where the devil is the feet gone? the Greek I mean, leaving us to get in without the least intimation to take heed that the Moslems were out again. Make my respects to Mavrocordatos and say, that I am here at his disposal. I am uneasy at being here, not so much on my own account, as on that of the Greek boy with me--for you know what his fate would be and I would sooner cut him in pieces and myself, than have him taken out by those barbarians.”
* He wished to convey that he had these 8000 dollars with him in his present awkward situation.
Lord Byron was received at Messolonghi with the most enthusiastic demonstrations of joy: no mark of honour or welcome which the Greeks could devise was omitted. The ships anchored off the fortress fired a salute as he passed. Prince Mavrocordatos and all the authorities, with all the troops and the population collected together, met him on his landing, and accompanied him to the house which had been prepared for him, amidst the shouts of the multitude and the discharge of cannon. Nothing could exceed the eagerness with which he had been expected, except the satisfaction which was displayed on his arrival.
One of the first objects to which Lord Byron naturally turned his attention was to mitigate the ferocity with which the war had been carried on. This ferocity, not only excusable in the first instance, but absolutely necessary and unavoidable, had now in a great measure effected its object. The Greeks were by this time in a condition to be merciful; and Lord Byron in the most judicious manner set about producing an improvement in the system of warfare on both sides.
The very first day of his Lordship's arrival was signalized by his rescuing a Turk, who had fallen into the hands of some Greek sailors. The individual thus saved, having been clothed by his orders, was kept in the house until an opportunity occurred of sending him to Patras. *
* Inseguendo un giorno un corsaro Greco, una nave carica di Turchi, uno di essi nell'affrettarsi ad accomodare una vela per
His Lordship had not been long at Messolonghi, before an opportunity presented itself for showing his sense of Yusuff Pasha's moderation in releasing Count Gamba. Hearing that there were four Turkish prisoners in the town, he requested that Prince Mavrocordatos would place them in his hands ; this being immediately granted, they were sent to the castle of the Morea,
fuggire più presto, cadde in mare, e gli riuscì di portarsi a terra nuotando, ma due soldati Greci lo inseguivano per ammazzarlo; la fortuna volle che il Turco fuggisse appunto nella casa d’abitazione di Milord, il quale lo accolse subito, e lo nascose: giunti i due soldati Greci, chiedono furibondi coll' armi alla mano e colle minaccie la restituzione della loro preda che volevano sacrificare ; Milord gli offre qual somma volessero per riscattare il Turco; ma i due soldati insistono, colle armi in atto di ferire, a voler il prigioniero per ammazzarlo; allora Milord rispoše, giacchè è cosi, me piuttosto ammazzerete che quel povero infelice perisca! Barbari che siete, è questo l'esempio che date di essere Christiani come voi dite? Olà fuggite dalla mia presenza, se non volete che vi faccia pagar caro il fio della vostra barbarie.--Lo tenne seco nascosto per alquanti giorni: lo fece curare dal suo medico d'una malattia che la paura gli aveva cagionato, e poi caricatolo di doni, lo mandò a Patrasso in seno della sua famiglia. Aveva Milord pure raccolto in Messolonghi una donna Turca colla di lei figlia, che dall'apice de la fortuna si trovavano nella più grande miseria. Fece dei ricchissimi doni alla figlia ancor bambina, ed aveva divisato di mandarla educare in Italia, il che si effettuava anche dopo la di lui morte ; ma la madre e figlia Turche giunte a Zante vollevano per forza andare a Prevesa, dicendo, che siccome avevano perduto in Milord il loro padre, volevano ritirarsi nel lor nativo paese, e piangerne colà per sempre la perdita.—DR. BRUNO.
near Patras, with the following letter addressed to the Turkish chief;
“ Highness —A vessel in which a friend and some domestics of mine were embarked, was detained a few days ago, and released by order of your Highness. I have now to thank you, not for liberating the vessel, which, as carrying a neutral flag, and being under British protection, no one had a right to detain, but for having treated my friends with so much kindness while they were in your hands.
“In the hope, therefore, that it may not be altogether displeasing to your Highness, I have requested the Governor of this place to release four Turkish prisoners, and he has humanely consented to do so. I lose no time, therefore, in sending them back, in order to make as early a return as I could for your courtesy on the late occasion. These prisoners are liberated without any conditions ; but, should the circumstance find a place in your recollection, I venture to beg, that your Highness will treat such Greeks as may henceforth fall into your hands with humanity, more especially since the horrors of war are sufficiently great in themselves, without being aggravated by wanton cruelties on either side. “ Messolonghi, 23 January, 1824."
“NOEL BYRON.” The above act was followed by another not less entitled to praise, while it proves how anxious his Lordship felt to give a new turn to the system of warfare hitherto pursued. A Greek cruizer having captured a Turkish boat, in which there were a number of passengers, chiefly women and children, they were also placed in the hands of Lord Byron, at his particular request :