IV. The “Greek Question” As An Issue of U.S. Foreign Policy
C2. The Commodore John Rodgers Mission
(Speliotakes, pp. 157-163)
U.S. Ship N. Carolina
Smyrna 30th August 1825
I have to inform you that I arrived here on the 20th inst: with this ship, the Constitution, Erie and Ontario; having on my passage touched at Tunis, and the Island of Paros where I remained five days for the purpose of filling up the water of the squadron, and affording the officers an opportunity of examining the relicks [sic] of Antiquity still to be met with in it, and the adjacent Islands of Anti Paros, Delos, and Naxia.
Judging from the flattering reception the squadron has met with here, by every class of people, from the Pacha down to the meanest individual, I am led to believe that our visit will be attended with much benefit to our commercial relations, and at the same time be a means of producing the most favorable impressions concerning the strength and character of our country, and the justice, magnanimity and impartiality of its Government. For notwithstanding almost every person of intelligence in the place seems to be acquainted with all that has been said in our public prints in abuse of their unrighteous war against the Greeks, yet they appear sensible of our disposition to act so far impartially, as not to compromit [sic] our neutrality. There is now stationed in the Archipelago an English a French an Austrian and a Dutch squadron; belonging to each of which, there is one or more ships anchored in this Port. The Austrians have had in the course of the present summer, (as I have been told by Como(dor)e Hambleton the Commander of the British Squadron) upwards of seventy sail of merchant vessels captured by the Greeks, laden with stores and munitions of war for the Turks; he informed me at the same time, that he had just received instructions from the Lords of the Admiralty, not to protect from the Greeks British vessels that might be found similarly employed. The Austrian Government by its policy in permitting its merchant vessels to be engaged in the transportation of stores, and even troops in the service of the Grand Seignor, has brought upon itself the detestation of the Greeks and this too (from what I have heard) without gaining the good will of the Turks.
In relation to the Greek Cause, the British and French Commanders appear each to be pursuing a policy adverse to the supposed interest and wishes of the others Gov(ern-men)t and neither permits the other to know what he is doing, or means to do, further than he can't avoid. The general impression here is, that the British Commander has been instructed so to regulate his proceedings, as to induce the Greek Gov(ernmen)t formally to solicit the protection of England; and that the French Commander Rear Admi-ral Rennier has been directed by his Government to pursue that course which he may consider the most likely to weaken the physical energies of the Greeks, by producing distraction and disunion among them, with the expectation it is said in the event of producing such a result, that the territory they now possess, will fall an easy conquest to the Vice Roy of Egypt; to whom it appears the Porte has guaranteed the occupation and possession of the Morea, until the Vice Roy shall have indemnified himself for all the expences [sic] that may attend the conquest of it. It is currently reported here, that the French Government has been in the habit for some time past of sending to the Vice Roy of Egypt, through the hands of Admiral Rennier, presents, of the most splendid and costly kind, and that various compliments of a similar description have been lavished upon Ebrihim Pascha his son, Commanding the Egyptian Fleet and Army in the Morea now employed against the Greeks. It is impossible to say with certainty what France means by this crooked kind of procedure, but the most prevalent opinion is, that she wishes to increase the power of the Vice Roy of Egypt, to an extent that will render him independent of the Ottoman Empire; with a view ultimately of diminishing the wealth and power of England by depriving her of her East India possessions; and that this attention to the Vice Roy of Egypt is meant as the first step toward paving the way for a continental expedition against her possessions in that quarter. From the policy that Austria is pursuing toward the Greeks, it is thought by the best informed persons here, that an understanding exists between her and France; and that both are watching the movements of the British, for the purpose of counteracting any measures they may adopt in relation to Greece.
The reports here respecting the various battles and rencontres between the Greeks and Turks in the course of the present summer, are so various and contradictory, that it is impossible to come at the truth. It is pretty certain however, that the Greeks are in a worse condition than at the opening of the present campaign; for notwithstanding the Turkish Army and Fleet that besieged Miselongi have been repulsed, and the former with great loss, still the Army of the Vice Roy of Egypt, (nominally under the com-mand of Ebrihim Pascha his son, but actually commanded by French Generals) is in possession of the whole of the Morea with the exception of Napoli di Romania, or at least it is so in effect, for after besieging and taking Navarin it marched to Tripolitza almost without opposition; and has there, in the very centre [sic] of the country established its head quarters. In consequence of the occupation of Tripolitza by Ebrihim Pascha, it is said the Greeks of the Morea have very generally fled to the mountains, and have become so disheartened at the superior skill shown by their enemies at Navarin, in tac-tics and the science of war; so dismayed, that even at the sound of their drums they are ready to fly. The Greeks have within the last ten days received a loan of £40.000 from England, but notwithstanding this, they will he unable to continue the war much longer it is thought without possessing a larger amount of funds than they are likely to obtain. The vessels composing their Fleet are rapidly decaying, and I had it from one of their agents that they would be unable to contend much longer at sea, unless England or the United States furnished them vessels more efficient than those they now possess. Indeed from what I have seen myself, and heard from others, I am induced to think their cause so desperate, that nothing short of a miracle can sustain them much longer. In fine from what I have seen myself and learnt from those whose opportunities of obtaining correct information were better than my own, I have come to the conclusion that without the interposition of some one or more of the European powers, they will be unable to sustain themselves twelve months longer.
Some few of the American adventurers that came out here to their aid, have behaved well but the greater part have done their cause no good; among the latter there is a Mr. W(illia)m. T. Washington, who has passed himself off as the nephew of our venerated General; he is now here under the protection of the French Adrniral [sic]. The Greeks, as well as the French appear to have attached some importance to the name of this young man, as will be seen by the enclosed proceedirngs [sic] of the Greek Gov(ernmen)t and the protest of Gen(era)l Roche and himself.
This foolish young man, who calls himself an expatriate American, is permitting the French to make a tool of him, and no excuse can be offered for his inconsistent conduct unless he is insane, and which many persons believe. The proceedings of the Greek Government and the protest of General Roche and himself, I will thank you to send to the Secretary of State, as I have been frequently asked since my arrival in this quarter whether Mr. Washington was not really an agent of our Government, and to which I have as often replied he positively was not, either directly or indirectly.
It is the opinion of our Consul and the American Merchants here, that our Commerce at this time would be unsafe without protection. There are at present three American vessels in the port and another with a very valuable cargo, is expected hourly from the East Indias, belonging to Baltimore. I shall in consequence leave the Ontario here to afford them convoy clear of the Islands, with orders to join me at Gibraltar or Mahon towards the last of November, provided her presence here, can be dispensed with. I expect to leave here in five or six days; but as I wish to make myself acquainted for the information of the Government with what is going on in this quarter, I shall probably take an opportunity of putting myself in the way of seeing the Grecian and Turkish Fleets before my return, and in this event I shall probably not reach Gibraltar before the last of October or first of November.
Our crews have continued very healthy until within a fortnight past; we have had sever-al cases of bowel complaints, although none as yet have proved fatal except in one instance, and that one I regret to say was Midshipman) Charles M. Hopkins nephew of Com(mande)r Morris who, poor fellow, died after an illness of only six days.
With the highest Respect
I have the honor to be
Sir your Ob(edien) Serv(an).
The Hon. Samuel L. Southard
Secretary of the Navy of the U. States
(Speliotakes, pp. 164-166)
U.S. Ship North Carolina
Smyrna 31st August 1825
This will inform you of my having left Gibraltar on the 10th ultimo on a cruise of observation among the Greek Islands, having for its object the protection of our cornmerce, and the attainment of an interview with the Captain Pashaw of the Turkish fleet, in the discharge of certain duties entrusted to my execution by the Department of State, and of which, on entering upon the duties of that office, you no doubt Sir became acquainted with.
At the time of leaving Gibraltar I was led to believe I should find the Capt. Pashaw at the Island of Mitilina, but on entering the [Aegean] Archipelago I found he was with the whole fleet at Mislongi, at the entrance of the Gulf of Patrasso, engaged in besieging that place by sea, in cooperation with the Pashaw of Scutari, commanding the Albanian forces by whom it had been invested hy [sic] land. Finding the Captain Pashaw so situate-ed I deemed it impolitical [sic] to attempt an interview so long as he continued thus employed, and accordingly put into this port for refreshments, with the intention of con-tinuing here until a more favourable [sic] moment presented itself of communitating [sic] with him than I should have had any prospect of, had I gone directly to Mislongi.
Since my arrival here, I have heard of the failure of the expedition against Mislongi, and of the raising of the siege with great loss on the part of the Albanian forces, and the destruction of two brigs and several boats of the Captain Pashaw, and that after this dis-aster he has sailed for the Port of Souda in the island of Candia, where he is now said to be, and where it is reported he has gone to wait the arrival of five or six thousand Egyptian troops under the escort of a division of the fleet of the Vice Roy, which, on their arrival there, he means to join and carry to the Morea, to reinforce the army of Ebrahim Pashaw, who may already be said, if the reports in circulation be true, and of which there is but little doubt, to be in possession of every place of importance in that part of Greece, with the exception of Napoli di Romania, the present seat of the Greek Government.
The force of Ebrahim Pashaw now in the Morea is stated to be about twelve thousand strong in regular troops, trained and disciplined by French officers, and when the reinforcement just mentioned joins him it is believed the Greeks will be obliged to abandon the Morea entirely, and in that event he has only to reduce the garrison at Mislongi (and this it is said he will find no difficulty in doing, having a battering train of cannon with him) to make himself master of all that part of Continental Greece now at war with the Porte.
The Greek cause really appears to be in a hopeless condition. Indeed so much so that I should think it impossible with their extremely limited resources, to sustain themselves much longer, unless they should very soon receive aid from some one or more European powers, but which is by no means likely unless the British Government should take them under their protection, as it has the people of the lonian Islands.
The British Government at this time (in secret it would seem) appears to be holding out inducements to them to place themselves under its protection whilst the Agents of France and Austria are clandestinely assisting the Porte, and the Vice Roy of Egypt to effect their destruction. What will grow out of the different schemes now practicing [sic] by the Agents of the British Government, and those of the Governments of the last named Continental powers, it would be difficult to foretell. Many persons here, and some too who are well informed, think it not unlikely in the jawing of so many different interests it may produce a war between England and the Continental powers, for they say that all the most powerful sovereigns of the Holy Alliance are jealous of the power of England and have sworn, in secret, never to forgive her following our example in acknowledging the Independence of South America without their consent, and that a Union of their strength is now forming with a view to her future reduction.
Previous to my return to Gibraltar I intend, if circumstances will permit, to call at Souda to communicate with the Captain Pasha and at Napoli di Romania to obtain, if possible, such intelligence concerning the affairs of Greece, and the situation of its Government, as may be relied on, in doing which, however, I shall take especial care to effect my purpose without giving the slightest cause for offense to either party.
A party composed as well of individuals belonging to the Executive as to the Legislative Branch of the Government of Greece, has deliberately and solemnly offered to place their Country under the protection of the British Government; some of the particulars of which transaction you will be able to gather from a copy of their Declaration and of a protest signed by a General Rouch and a Mr. Washington in the name of their respecttive nations. General Rouch, it is said, is actually a private Agent of the French Government, and those in the interest of France wish to have it believed that Mr. Washington is possessed of the same powers from his. Indeed I have frequently since my arrival been asked if he was not an agent of our Government, and to which I have always replied that he positively was not either directly or indirectly. Mr. Washington is now here, and says, I understand, that having expatriated himself, and being no longer an American citizen, he has placed himself under the protection of the French. This I presume he does not tell to every body, altho he has said it before some of the officers of this ship. To answer some purpose of the French they are now making use of him on account of his name, for you understand that he is mentioned in the papers of this quarter as being the nephew of venerated Washington.
With the highest respect, etc., etc., etc.
The Hon. Henry Clay
Secretary of State
(Speliotakes, pp. 167-172)
U.S. Ship N. Carolina
Gibraltar Bay, Oct. 14th 1825
By my letter to you of the 31st of August last, I gave you reason to suppose that I should in all probability obtain an interview with the Captain Pashaw of the Ottoman Fleet before I left the Archipelago. In this however I was disappointed [sic], for in reaching Napoli di Romania, the present seat of the Greek Government (for which place I sailed from Smyrna a few days after I wrote to you) extraordinary as it may appear it was not known to that Government at the time of my arrival where he was. This at that period I did not consider of much consequence however, as had I learnt where to find him, his situation, wherever he was, would have been such, in all probability as to have precluded a communication without giving rise to a variety of speculations and conjectures which however absurd they might be, it was desirable to avoid giving the slightest grounds for consequently instead of making any further attempt to obtain a personal interview. I determined at once that the most prudent course left for me to adopt now would be to communicate by writing, and which I accordingly did by forwarding to him through the hands of Mr. Offey, our Consul at Smyrna (in whose secrecy and prudence I could confide) a letter of which the enclosed is a copy.
The present Captain Pashaw has hitherto been a favourite [sic] of the Sultan, and has enjoyed his confidence to a greater extend perhaps than any other individual has ever done before, but such is the superstition and the caprice of the Sultan it is supposed, judging from the character of all who have preceded him, that in the event of his failure to capture Mislongi before his return to Constantinople, no excuse he will have it in his power to offer will be sufficient to save him from disgrace, for notwithstanding he has hitherto been so far successful in all his operations against the Greeks as to secure the approbation of the Sultan, it is said that in the present instance, when most was expect-ed of him, he has actually done nothing, whilst at the same time Ebrahim Pashaw, com-manding the Egyptian forces, has succeeded in every enterprize [sic] he has undertaken from the day of his first arriving in the Morea, and in a manner, too, that will appear litlle [sic] short of a miracle at Constantinople.
Instead of the Pashaws being at Souda, in Candia, with his feet, as I had been led to believe before I left Smyrna; I have reason to conclude, from what I afterwards heard, that he was on the 18th of last month (the time of my departure from Napoli di Romania) at Prevesa, near the entrance of the Gulf of Arta, where he had gone, it was sup-posed, after his repulse at Mislongi, to collect reinforcements with the intention of renewing the attack on that place, which notwithstanding his having retired from before it with his feet, still remained besieged by land by the Albanian forces under the com-mand of the Pashaw of Scutari.
In this peculiar state of things, I doubt not but that before he attempts to return to Constantinople, he will make a desperate effort to destroy Mislongi, particularly as it is said by those who profess to be acquainted with the topography of that country (Lavadia) it is only necessary in its present condition to dispossess the Greeks of that fortress to insure a speedy termination to the war. Should [he] be successful in his next attempt it will without doubt be the means of securing to him still the favour [sic] of the Sultan. But in the event of a different result, it is thought by those who profess to know the temper of the Sultan best, that he will not only lose his favour [sic] but his head also.
I have been thus particular in mentioning the situation in which the Capt. Pashaw now appears to be placed in order that you may be apprised of the uncertainty of his retaining hereafter the power of furthering the wishes of our Government, in securing a treaty with the Porte, affording to our merchant vessels the ingress and egress of the Black Sea, and at the same time to suggest for your consideration whether, in this apparent state of uncertainty it might not be advisable to take advantage of the existing perturbed state of the political relations between the Porte and several of the principal European powers, particularly with England and France, to consumate [sic] such a treaty as our Government may desire. That such an one might be made at this time I have not the least doubt, and I feel no hesitation in saying it is my confident belief that as long as the same state of things continues at Constantinople, and we have as respectable naval force here as we have at present that any person our Government might think proper to empower to conclude such a treaty would, if aided by a judicious display of our squadron at the Island of Tenedos (near the entrance of the Dardanelles) pending the negotiation, meet with no difficulty whatever and what strengthens further this belief, is the favourable [sic] impression which our squadron is known to have made in the minds of the people of Smyrna, in its late visit there, from the Bashaw (of 3 tails) down to the meanest individual, occasioned, I presume, as well by the apparent superiority of our ships over those of other nations, which they have been accustomed to see, as the strict neutrality we have uniformly observed between them and the Greeks, whose respect and good will I have rea-son to believe that we also possess in an equal degree at least. Indeed in every port in the Archipelago where the squadron has been, whether among the Greeks or the Turks, we have experienced nothing but respect, kindness and hospitality.
During my stay at Smyrna I had ample proof of the friendly disposition of the Capt. Pashaw towards our country, and of our being greatly indebted to his influence and good offices for the uniform protection, for several years past, that our merchant vessels have enjoyed in their intercourse with that port. Permit me, Sir, therefore to say that in recommending that some person should be here invested with power to conclude a treaty with the Porte, that I do not mean to be understood as intimating that I think its negotiation ought to be commenced in any other way than through him, as has already been proposed, provided he should still continue to retain the Sultan's favour [sic].
Judging from the extraordinary accounts I have lately seen in our newspapers of the various victories and successes [sic] of the Greeks, I am strongly inclined to believe that their real situation is not known in the United States, for with the exception of their defence [sic] of Mislongi they have been unsuccessful by land in every other affair of importance from the commencement of the present campaign up to the date of my leaving Napoli di Romania on the 18th ultimo. Their ships of war during the same period have been more fortunate, yet owing to the superior size and more approved construction of the ships of their enemy, added to their having been of late somewhat better managed than they were formerly, the advantages they have been to gain have been comparatively only partial.
The cause in which they are engaged is one that naturally enlists the sympathies of the whole civilized world, but judging from what I have seen of them of late, I am led to fear that they have very little else to interest any one in their favour [sic], for if we have a right to form an opinion of their character from the jealousy, distrust and malignancy of feeling that the most prominent and enlightened men among them are in the habit of cherishing, and in the constant practise [sic] of giving vent to against each other, we should at once be led to conclude that they possessed all or most of the vices of their ancestors with but few of any of their virtues.
The enclosed declaration of the Greek Government will show the lamentable condition in which that country is now placed.
I was induced to believe at the time I wrote you from Smyrna that that Government had heen [sic] led through the persuasion of certain British agents to propose to England to take Greece under her protection. It has since come to my knowledge, however, that this was not the case, for while at Napoli di Romania, and speaking on this subject, Prince Mavrocordate, the Secretary of State told me himself that it was the spontaneous act of his own Government, and on my asking whether he believed the British Government would accede to their proposition, his answer was that he thought it very doubtful.
What will ultimately grow out of the struggle that Greece has been making to gain her independence no one can foresee, yet it would seem certain, in her present distracted and helpless situation, without friends, without unanimity among the people, and with out men of sufficient talent and energy to direct her councils, next to impossible that she should be able to sustain herself much longer without the aid of some [one more) powerful than her own; and it is not likely that the British Government will risk the consequences of acceding to the proposition contained in the enclosed declaration, as should she do so, France and Austria, and most probably Russia also, would oppose it, for it is known that the Austrian Government would prefer that, under certain restrictions, she should again be subjected to the dominion of the Porte, whilst the Government of France would oppose as far as it dare do, any change in her condition that would not be likely to benefit her commercial interests.
Being but an indifferent scribe at all times, and having at present a lame hand will I hope be considered a sufficient apology for the roughness and informality of this communication.
With great respect etc.
The Hon. Henry Clay
Secretary of State, Washington
(Speliotakes, pp. 173-175)
Copy U.S. Ship Ontario
Of Milo, Oct. 30 1825
I waited until the 17 for the convoy consisting of Ship Sally Ann, Brig Rambler and a Dutch Brig who asked to be permitted to go in company. In consequence of a strong head wind I was compelled the day after I left port to bear up to Mytilene and went into the port of Oliver where we remained two days; upon coming out I came through the Straits of Scio and looked into Chesmai where an American Brig had gone for fruit. She had however sailed; upon getting off Milo we were again met with a strong head wind, which compelled the convoy to seek a harbour [sic], and shortly after Twenty Sail of the Greek Squadron which were cruising off, likewise came in for shelter.
From the Admiral I learnt that they had heard that three Turkish Frigates and thirteen Brigs were seen off Rhodes, and that the rest of the Fleet were about sailing with strong reinforcements for Candia and the Morea from Alexandria; the Greeks have several look out vessels watching their movements, and are in hopes of doing something with the Fire Ships. They have now out including Fireships near one hundred Sail. The Greeks have done but little since you left this; at Miselongi about 300 Turks were destroyed by blowing up of an outwork which they occupied. A guard with prisoners were attacked and a thousand Greeks were liberated between Tripolitza and Modon.
Capt. Hamilton succeeded after much opposition from the Pashaw of Egypt in making an exchange and brought to Smyrna one hundred and seventy Turks.
In consequence of your honoring the constituted authorities of the Greek Gov(ernmen)t with a salute, the French Admiral as well as the Austrian Commodore thought it advisable to do the same. The American Squadron Capt. Hamilton informs me stands high at Napoli for the politeness and attention with which they were attended to on board the several ships.
During the last month several cases of Piracy have been reported on the Austrian and French trade with one on the English in the Straits of Scio. I cannot but hope Sir our trade will remain unmolested altho’I am confident to make it respected in by keeping a competent force among the Islands to give it protection.
I am now on my way to Serigo with the Convoy, off which I intend to leave them, as I apprehend no molestation; as they have a fair wind and bids fair to increase. I shall then look into Napoli and endeavour [sic] to get some information and will do myself the honor to keep you informed as often as opportunity offers.
I am happy Sir to inform you that my Crew and officers continue to enjoy their health.
With sentiments of respect
I remain y(ou)r ob(edien) S(er)v(an)
(signed) John B. Nicholson
To Com(modo)re John Rodgers
Comg U.S. Naval Forces
(Speliotakes, pp. 175-179)
U.S. Ship Ontario
Off Port Mahon
Dec. 21. 1825
I do myself the honor to inform you of my arrival off this port in obedience to your orders; having left Smyrna on the morning of the 3d and having only one American Brig in port, which arrived on the 2d; as she was not immediately to be loaded for the U. States, nor a convoy requested or thought absolutely necessary by the owner, I deemed it necessary to hasten my departure to rejoin the Squadron.
understood had put into Rhodes. Since they had the honor to receive your visit with the Squadron, nothing of moment had transpired; they however strengthened their Government, by placing a portion of the regular force at Athens, and augmented the number to near two thousand effective men. I regretted however to see that a strong feeling existed among the Militia, against the regulars, and faction instead of being soothed by their critical situation, had rather augmented, which I fear will ultimately be the rock on which they will split.
In my cruise after leaving Napoli, I called off Spezzia and Hydra; the latter place appeared capable of making a defence [sic], so long as they could command supplies from the main; Spezzia, if attacked with the slightest vigour [sic], must fall, as it is accessible upon most points. From thence I proceeded to Athens, and regretted to see the Acropolis in the hands of the partisans of the chief Goura (he being with his division of irregulars at Salona, which place had just surrendered to his arms). The regulars under the Com-mand of Col. Fabier, and the Com' of Cavalry Count d’Angely, had possession of the town with about 500 men, but was not allowed to visit the Citadel without a passport from its Governor. From observation of the Country made between Athens and Corinth I saw but little reason to believe that the struggle could be long maintained with a prospect of success, should the Government be left upon its own resources. The country is uncultivated and its few inhabitants most miserable; their villages in ruins, their flocks and herds have fallen a prey to their enemies. Corinth itself is but a name. Its roofless houses, dilapidated walls still and silent streets, overgrown with weeds and whitened with the bones of its defenders, offer a sad spectacle to a visitor. The castle can not be taken with any force, if those who hold it will but supply themselves with provisions and do their duty.
I visited several Islands and showed our flag which met with that attention and consideration which is its due.
Upon my return to Smyrna, I found no American vessels had arrived since my departure, but regretted to hear that several vessels under the English and other flags, had been met by pirates and plundered. So far we have escaped but it is impossible to foresee how long this forbearance will exist. Your wisdom will no doubt apply as far as in your power the only safeguard for the protections of our valuable commerce in that sea. After leaving Smyrna, owing to southerly wintls [sic] I was compelled to make Cape D'Oro pas-sage and when off Hydra on the 7 inst: sent in an officer to procure information. He informed me that a courier had but just arrived from Napoli bringing intelligence that a partial engagement had taken place between a small force of the Greeks, consisting of a few hundred, under command of Cecinia against a body of Turks said to contain 5000 under Ebrihim Pacha near Gastouni, which resulted in the loss of 70 Greeks and 150 Turks; nothing however of advantage to either party was the result. About the 1st inst: an attempt was made by the Greeks with their fire ships, which was unsuccessful, having lost one, by a grenade thrown by the Turkish Fleet; the crew however were saved.
The Turks with Ebrihim Pacha were advancing upon Miselongi, which place they are determined if possible to reduce as their force consists of 115 sail, of which is are Frigates, 30 Sloops, the rest Brigs, Schooners and a small steam boat. Should the Turks succeed in reducing Miselongi, their whole force, will be exerted against the Morea and the Islands. Hydra antl Spezzia it is supposed will be attacked among the first. To oppose these measures the Greek Gov(ernmen) had increased its regular force to about 3000 men; and Colokotroni and Goura, were endeavouring to collect a force of irregulars to threaten Tripolitza, where sooo Turks had been left in garrison. The proclamation of the English Gov(ernmen)t had damped the feelings of the friends of liberty; yet were they in hopes to hold out for another campaign, or until some favorable change in the opinion of the European powers, who, it was believed could, nor would not, see them swept from the face of their long oppressed and injured country.
On the 12 inst. off Navarrine, I fell in with and spoke two of the Greek Fleet, from off Miselongi, which place they left on the 7th inst: They confirmed the loss of the fire ship as well as the report of the action between Cecinia and Ebrilhim Pacha, which however resulted in favour [sic] of neither party.
The Greek Fleet had disperset [sic] and was on its way to Hydra to provision and augment their fire ships not deeming an attack practicable at this time with any prospect of success.
They left at Patras 70 sail of the Turkish Fleet, the remainder it was supposed had gone against Miselongi as they had lost sight of them.
I take leave to state that I have on board as passengers, Mr. Scott the Master of the Brig Chillian of New York, and two of the Crew, who were unfortunately capsized in the Gulph of Lyons from Genoa bound to Tampico South America. They were taken off the wreck by a French vessel and brought into Smyrna by a Schooner of the Navy of France, and treated with that attention and humanity which their unfortunate situation required.
I have the honor to be
Your ob(edien)t S(er)v(an)
(signed) John B. Nicholson
To John Rodgers Esq.
Com(mande)r in Chief of the
U.S. Naval Forces
(Speliotakes, p. 172 fn)
Commodore Rodgers' Covering Letter of the Nicholson Reports
U.S. Ship N. Carolina
Port Mahon, 22 Dec(embe)r 1825
The Ontario has this moment arrived from the Archipelago, and for your information relative to the State of things in that quarter, as well as the manner in which the Ontario was employed while in that Country, permit me to refer you to the Copies of Capt. Nicholsons reports herein enclosed.
As the Ontario would have to perform 30 days quarantine at this place, I am about to send her to Gibraltar for such letters as may have reached there for the Squadron. On her return here, I shall send her or the Erie to the Archipelago for the protection of our trade and shall continue to keep one of the smaller Vessels there, as long as danger is to be apprehended.
A Schooner would be of great service, for the small boats (which alone are as yet employed in acts of piracy) frequent such nooks and bye places among the Islands, as would often forbid the pursuit of a larger Vessel.
I have the honor to be
With great Respect
Your Obt Servt
The Hone Sam(ue)l L. Southard
Sec(retar)y Navy U. States
(Speliotakes, pp. 179-180)
U.S. Ship N. Carolina
Port Mahon, Decr 25th 1825
By the arrival of the Ontario from Smyrna I have received a letter from Mr. Offley our Consul, of which I enclose a copy for your information. Mr. Offey you will perceive by the information it contains, is intimately acquainted with the policy and feelings of the Turkish Government and people, and this he has acquired by a residence of fourteen years in Smyrna, the greater part of which time, I believe he has discharged the duties of Consul, and in a manner too, judging from the estimation in which he appears to be held by the public authorities of that place, and the different European Consuls as well as American merchants residing there, not only creditable to himself, but beneficially for the commercial interests of his country. As his statement so fully corroborates that contained in my letter to you on the same subject, under date the 14th of October last, feel it unnecessary [sic] to say more at present, than that I shall be at Gibraltar with the Squadron some time towards the last of March or first of April next, in readiness to exe-cute any further commands you may see fit to honor me with.
For information concerning the changes that have taken place in the political relations of Greece since I left Napoli Di Romania in September last, permit me to refer you to Mr. Southard the Secretary of the Navy, to whom I have sent the official report of Capt. Nicholson, who has just arrived from the Archipelago, last from the Island of Hydra, where he saw Prince Mavrocordato the Secretary of State, and Tricoupi, a leading member of the Greek Senate, both of whom spoke to him of their situation in terms of despondency, intimating that their further hopes of success depended entirely upon the speedy interference of some of the powers of Europe.
With great respect etc. etc.
The Hon. Henry Clay
Secretary of State, Washington
(Speliotakes, p. 181)
Extract from Commodore Rodgers' Report, July 19, 1826
The second day after my arrival at that Island, a division of the Turkish fleet, com-manded by the Capudan Bey, consisting of two ships of the line, four frigates and sever-al corvettes and brigs, amounting in all to twenty three sail, passed on its way to Candia, as was then said, for the purpose of forming a junction with the Egyptian fleet, previous to proceeding against Napoli di Romania and Hydra. From this officer I learned that the Capudan Pacha would leave the Dardanelles with the second and principal division of the fleet in eight or ten days from that time ... The Capudan Pacha reached Tenedos on the 5th instant.
The success of the Campaign against Missolongi has made him (the kapudan pasha) a greater favourite [sic] then ever with the Grand Seignor, and it is said that on his return from the present cruise, should it prove successful, that he will most probably be appointed Grand Vizier.
(Speliotakes, pp. 182-183)
U. S. Ship N. Carolina
Malta, February 14th 1827
Very much to my surprise I have not yet received the communication of the Capudan Pacha of the Ottoman fleet which he promised to make on his return to Constantinople, and I know not how to account for his not having complied with his promise, unless it is to be attributed to the unfriendly reports which have lately been circulated by the agents of certain European powers in relation to the Frigate Hope, in which they have represented to the authorities of the Porte, chat large quantities of arms, and naval and military stores had been transmitted to in Greece for the use of their enemies, and that this had been done with the knowledge and sanction of our Government.
I have taken pains to counteract as far as possible the injurious effect which such reports are calculated to have on our commercial interests, and I still am induced to think that in long I shall receive the Pasha's promised communication.
The Pacha, not more than ten or fifteen days before the arrival of the Hope, sent me a splendid portrait of the Sultan which he, the Sultan, sat for at his, the Pacha's request, knowing at the time, it was to be presented to me; and I mention this as a proof of the friendly feelings entertained by the Sultan and himself towards our Government and country, previous to the arrival of the before mentioned frigate, for before that time it had been acknowledged, not only by the authorities of the Porte, but by every body else that we had maintained a strictly neutral character.
(Other nations, and particularly England, I find, is becoming jealous of our increasing commerce in the Archipelago, and her agents will leave nothing undone that lying and discrimination can effect to prevent our participating in the trade of a section of the Globe of which she had not long since almost the exclusive monopoly).
The Capudan Pacha since his return to Constantinople, is reported to be more popular then ever, and it is said that he is to be appointed Grand Vizir, that the present Pacha of Smyrna is to be appointed Capudan Pacha.
In justice to myself permit me, Sir, to say that if I should fail before my return in executing the business which led to my communicating with the Capudan Pacha, it will not be my fault.
With the highest respect etc.
J(oh )n Rodgers
The Hon. Henry Clay
Secretary of State
Source: Constantine G. Hatzidimitriou, Founded on Freedom and Virtue: Documents Illustrating the Impact in the United States of the Greek War of Independence, 1821-1829 (New Rochelle, New York: Aristide D. Caratzas, 2002).