Page images

mode of uniting more closely the interests of Eastern and Western Greece, and arranging between them some method of strict co-operation. The whole of these two districts are subordinate to their respective governments, and as the Turkish army was expected to come down, it was supposed by Odysseus that some plan of acting in concert might be hit upon, which would not only enable them to resist the enemy with greater effect, but likewise rapidly advance the progress of civilization, and the authority of the government and constitution. Odysseus, who had the most influence in Eastern Greece, and was able to collect all the chiefs of his own district, was most desirous of prevailing upon Mavrocordatos and Lord Byron, who were all-powerful in the opposite territory, to be present at this Congress, which he proposed to hold at Salona, a town nearly on the confines of the two departments. Two agents were sent to persuade them to join in the design, and repair to Salona. Odysseus himself first despatched Mr. Finlay ; and after him Captain Humphries went over to Messolonghi with all haste, by desire of Colonel Stanhope. The latter succeeded. Lord Byron, as may be supposed, was well disposed to the measure ; but his consent was for some time held back by the Prince, who had reasons for not approving the Congress. Mavrocordatos was always averse to meeting Odysseus, a man of a very different character from himself: nor did he relish the idea of Lord Byron's quitting the seat of his government. It was, however, apparently settled that both should attend at Salona, as we learn from a letter from his Lordship to Colonel Stanhope, at Athens, directly accepting the invitation on the part of both ; as well as from another, dated the 22d March, to his agent, of which the following is an extract :

“In a few days P. Mavrocordatos and myself with a considerable escort, intend to proceed to Salona at the request of Ulysses and the chiefs of Eastern Greece ; and to take measures offensive and defensive for the ensuing campaign. Mavrocordatos is almost recalled by the new Government to the Morea (to take the lead I rather think), and they have written to propose to me, to go either to the Morea with him, or to take the general direction of affairs in this quarter with General Londos, and any other I may choose to form a council. Andrea Londos is my old friend and acquaintance since we were in Greece together. It would be difficult to give a positive answer till the Salona meeting is over ; but I am willing to serve them in any capacity they please, either commanding or commanded—it is much the same to me as long as I can be of any presumed use to them. Excuse haste—it is late—and I have been several hours on horseback in a country so miry after the rains, that every hundred yards brings you to a brook or ditch, of whose depth, width, colour, and contents, both my horses and their riders have brought away many tokens."

They did not, however, set out in a few days, as it seems to have been intended. In the Government, which since Lord Byron's arrival at Messolonghi had been changed, the civil and island interest now greatly preponderated ; and consequently by it a Congress of military chiefs was looked upon with some jealousy, and most unjustly styled an unconstitutional measure. Mavrocordatos's views were now those of the Government; so that, in addition to his private motives, he had also a public interest in withholding Lord Byron from Salona. Various pretexts were urged for delay ; among others, whether a true or a pretended one is not exactly ascertained, a design of delivering up Messolonghi to the Turks was alleged against the Suliotes. But at last came Lord Byron's fatal illness, and all schemes of congresses and campaigns were for a time forgotten in the apprehensions entertained for his life, and in the subsequent lamentations over his death : the meeting took place at Salona, on the 16th of April. Mavrocordatos was not there; and Lord Byron was on his death-bed.



The last moments of great men have always been a subject of deep interest, and are thought to be pregnant with instruction. Surely, if the death-bed of any man will fix attention, it is that of one upon whose most trifling action the eyes of all Europe have been fixed for ten years with an anxious and minute curiosity, of which the annals of literature afford no previous example. We are enabled to present our readers with a very detailed report of Lord Byron's last illness. It is collected from the mouth of Mr. Fletcher, who has been for more than twenty years his faithful and confidential attendant. It is very possible that the account may contain inaccuracies: the agitation of the scene may have created some confusion in the mind of an humble but an affectionate friend : memory may, it is possible, in some trifling instances, have played him fal se : and some of the thoughts may have been changed either in the sense or in the expression, or by passing through the mind of an uneducated man. But we are convinced of the general accuracy of the whole, and consider ourselves very fortunate in being the means of preserving so affecting and interesting a history of the last days of the greatest and the truest poet that England has for some time produced,

“ My master," says Mr. Fletcher, “continued his usual custom of riding daily when the weather would permit, until the 9th of April. But on that ill-fated day he got very wet; and on his return home his Lordship changed the whole of his dress; but he had been too long in his wet clothes, and the cold, of which he had complained more or less ever since we left Cephalonia, made this attack be more severely felt. Though rather feverish during the night, his Lordship slept pretty well, but complained in the morning of a pain in his bones and a head-ache : this did not, however, prevent him from taking a ride in the afternoon, which I grieve to say was his last. On his return, my master said that the saddle was not perfectly dry, from being so wet the day before, and observed that he thought it had made him worse. His Lordship was again visited by the same slow fever, and I was sorry to perceive, on the next morning, that his illness appeared to be increasing. He was very low, and complained of not having had any sleep during the night. His Lordship’s appetite was also quite gone. I prepared a little arrow-root, of which he took three or four spoonfuls, saying it was very good, but could take no more. It was not till the third day, the 12th, that I began to be alarmed for my master. In all his former colds he always slept well, and was never affected by this slow fever. I therefore went to Dr. Bruno and Mr. Millin

« PreviousContinue »