VI. Tangible Support: Philhellenes, Warriors and Philanthropists
C1. Excerpts from Col. Jonathan P. Miller, Letters from Greece.
In the month of July last, Mr. J. P. Miller of Vermont made application to the Committee for the relief of the Greeks in Boston, for assistance in repairing to Greece, to engage in the military service in that Country. Mr. Miller was strongly recommended as a man of piety, resolution, and enterprise, and was personally known to one of the Committee, under whom he had served in the army of the United States. The Committee believed that hey could not better appropriate a portion of their small fund, than by aiding Mr. Miller to fulfil his design. He was accordingly fitted out for Greece, and furnished with testimonials to its Government. The following letters have been received from him, in that country, together with a letter from the Prince Alexander Mavrocordatos at present Secretary of State for foreign affairs; and a letter from Col. Jarvis, and American citizen who has been for three years in the Greek service. These letters are made public, not only to communicate the intelligence which they contain, but as throwing light on the character and prospects of the Greeks. It is believed that they furnish a more authentic testimony to the merits of this gallant and suffering People, than has yet been presented to the public. It is also believed that they suggest a very practicable and obvious mode of powerfully contributing to the success of the war, which is now waged in that country, for liberty and Christianity. The extremely frugal style in which it appears the Greek soldiery is subsisted; the practice of enlistments by the Captains of as many men, as they can find in bread; and the circumstance that two American citizens of character, perseverance, and principle are now actually in that country, unite to produce the belief, that even a very small sum may be rendered immediately and very essentially serviceable to the cause. These documents are, therefore, offered to the benevolent and reflecting, in the conviction that a very wide and encouraging field for doing good (the only object worth pursuing) is here opened to them.
Boston, May 21, 1825
From Mr. Miller to The Greek Committee
Misolonghi, Dec. 11, 1824.
GENTLEMEN,—After being detained at Malta for nearly two months, I have at length, by the blessing of God, arrived safe at this place. I arrived at Zante, after a passage of eight days from Malta, and remained there but one day. From Zante to Misolonghi, I had a passage of two days, in a fishing boat. On my arrival, I was conducted to the seat of the provincial government of Misolonghi, which is held in the same house where Lord Byron died. I had learned Greek enough at Malta, to let them know who I was; and the officers of government sent for a Greek who could speak a little English. The officers, through this man, expressed to me the high sense of honour [sic] they entertained for the American character, and bade me welcome to Greece. At 3 o'clock dinner was announced, which to me was very welcome, as I had eaten but little for two days. We had dinner at the palace of Prince Mavrocordatos. The palace is equal in style to our best log houses. The dinner was good, and served in European style. The Governor (Mavrocordatos) being ill, it was not thought best to disturb him, as his health is quite feeble, being slowly recovering from a dangerous illness. I therefore returned to the government house, and lay down upon a couch, after the fashion of the country. I had been here but a few minutes, when I saw a soldier enter the door hastily. He asked me if I was an American; I answered in the affirmative. He grasped my hand in ecstasy [sic], exclaiming at the same time, that he also had the honor to belong to that country; that his name was George Jarvis; that he was a native of the state of New York, and being at Bordeaux in 1822, thence, by the approbation of his father, came via Marseilles to Hydra, and engaged in the Greek navy, in their glorious struggle with the Turks. He made thirteen voyages with the Hydriots, and since that time he has been employed in the army, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He has been in a number of engagements, and has distinguished himself as a brave officer. From him I have learned much of the state of Greece. Their success against the Turks, and the sacrifices which they have made this year for their liberty, are greater than any recorded of Greece in the days of her ancient glory. But what must be the feelings of a man, who looks with a philanthropic eye on the scenes of misfortune, to see soldiers who have been fighting the enemy all summer, now coming to their commander to keep them alive. But such is the sight to which my eyes are every hour witness, as I have taken lodgings with Col. Jarvis. The Europeans who have come to Greece have most of them come with sounding titles. Most of them, I am informed, instead of assisting the Greeks, have only lived upon them, until reduced by poverty, sickness and death; and there now remain but few of them in Greece. An officer here cannot expect any thing from the government of Greece, for it has nothing to pay, even the soldiers of the army; no-not enough even to provide them with bread. Yesterday I had an audience with Mavrocordatos. I was accompanied to the palace by Col. Jarvis. The Prince received me with much polite-ness, and expressed his satisfaction at the conduct of our government, in regard to the interest it takes in the sufferings of Greece. He asked me many questions, in reference to the views which were entertained by the Americans of the character of the Greeks. To all his questions I endeavoured [sic] to give as correct answers as possible. I told him that all the exertions, which the different committees were making in America, were for the liberty of Greece; and that it was my opinion that nothing further would be done by the Americans, if the Greeks should consent to accept of a foreign king. He replied that nothing but a foreign force would ever place them under a king. I told him I was willing to bear arms in Greece as long as there was a prospect of her being free, but no longer. With this reply he appeared to be well pleased; told me to make myself acquaint-ed with the language as soon as possible; and that I should have a station of some impor-tance in the army. While we were consulting, a Courier arrived with news of a recent victory, gained by sea, over the Turks. There were two engagements. The first took place about the 9th of November, between the Islands of Samos and Nicaria; the second in the Channel of Candia and the Island of Caso. The feet of the Pacha of Egypt has been entirely defeated and dispersed. Seven ships of war were burned or sunk, and twelve transports taken; most of which were under European colours [sic]. On board these transports were twelve hundred Egyptian soldiers, all of whom fell into the hands of the Greeks. This is the Fifth decided engagement, which has terminated in favour [sic] of the Greeks, this year, by sea. The Turks have retired into their fortresses at Lepanto and Arta. Lepanto is about twenty miles, and Arta about fifty, from Misolonghi. I have proposed to Col. Jarvis the storming of the fortress at Lepanto; in which expedition, if it is undertaken, I shall act as a volunteer. But I fear that the want of bread will render the plan abortive. Col. Jarvis enjoins it upon me to say to the various committees, that no young man should be sent out, or that none ought to come at their own charge, whose income is not, at least equal to two hundred dollars per year, as this is the least they can live and clothe themselves upon. He further observes, that he has never received from the Greek government a single para, and that he has expended nearly four thou-sand dollars, which he has received from Europe, in the cause of Greece. If any young men should come from America, let them come well armed; but as for clothes, they must have the Greek costume; and tactics are all out of the question here.
Thus, gentlemen, I have endeavoured [sic] to give you all the information which I have been able to gather. As to my own wants, I shall only add, that I had sixty dollars on my arrival here. I shall use all possible economy, and leave the gentlemen of the committee, from whom I have already received so many favours [sic], to act their pleasure concerning me. My health is good. I am in the hands of God; and by his blessing I hope to do yet much for Greece. But should it be otherwise, I wish to be content.
May you, gentlemen, and my beloved country continue to receive the smiles of heaven. Let my friends in Vermont know that I am well; and exhort the friends of liberty in America, to remember Greece
With respect, I subscribe myself, Gentlemen, your humble servant,
>J. P. MILLER
From Prince A. Mavrocordatos to the Secretary of the Greek Committee.
Sir-I have just received the letter, which you did me the honour [sic] to write me, under the date of August 1st, 1824, to recommend your young countryman, Mr. J. P. Miller, and I hasten to reply to it, in order to manifest how much I am pleased with this circum-stance, which places me in correspondence with you.
You know Greece; but you know it is as oppressed by the Turkish yoke. Every thing [sic] is now changed. We too, in imitation of the Americans, have resolved to recover our liber-ty and assume a place among civilized nations. God grant that we may be as fortunate as you in the result. The success which the Greeks have obtained both on land and at sea, in the campaign just closed, inspires us with confident hopes; and there is now no one as formerly, who will pretend to question our independence.
As to Mr. Miller, you must feel no concern.-Your recommendation will not be with out effect, and he assured I shall not forget it. I doubt not that he who has already fought against the enemies of his own country, will be useful to our cause.
Please to express to the Greek Committee of Boston my thanks for employing them-selves on the subject of the Greeks and taking an interest in their success, and accept the assurance of the esteem and high consideration, with which I have the honor to be, &c.
Misolonghi, 30 Nov./ 11 Dec. 1824
From Mr. Miller to the Greek Committee, Boston.
Misolonghi, Jan. 14, 1825.
GENTLEMEN-Hoping that my letter of the 11th Dec. has met with a safe conveyance, in which I mentioned my arrival at Misolonghi, and a few facts relative to the state of affairs here, I shall now attempt to give you a more general account of the state of Greece. Col. Jarvis whose name I mentioned in the letter above alluded to, is a man, as far as I am capable of judging, of great abilities. He has been three years in Greece, and is well versed in the language, moral, political and military manners and customs of the country. From him I have obtained much information relative to the state of affairs, as they exist. In the first place, I would give it as my real opinion, that the Greeks will be free. My reasons for thus thinking are the following. 1. Amidst all the distress (and greater, I am persuaded, never existed in any country) it is the general response, not of the men only, but of the women and children, that they will all die, before they will again come under the power of the Turks. If the enemy were at a distance, I should not take much notice of such expressions, but as they are only about twenty miles off, it is a strong evidence of the determination of the Greeks. 2. The aversion which the Greeks have to the Franks, (i. e. Europeans) will never permit them to receive a king from the powers of Europe. I am aware, that it is in the power of the Holy Alliance to do Greece harm; but in my opinion, they would prove unable to force a king permanently upon this country. 3. The gradual strength, which government is daily gaining over those Greeks, who though not exactly in favour [sic] of a monarchy, are nevertheless seeking their own rather than the public good. The prospect is fair, I think for the speedy settlement of all internal dissensions. The fourth reason, which I shall give for my opinion, is the order and regularity, with which the Congress of the different departments of Western Greece was held at Anatolico, Dec. 16, 1824. I was present at the Congress. It was composed of the principal inhabitants and generals of the several districts, and held its session for ten days, during which time, all the affairs of Western Greece were amicably settled, though the officers and soldiers who have defended the country for the last six months had not received either rations, clothes or money. There were two thousand sol-diers in the town, who came with their different commanders; yet there was no riot or disturbance, and the Congress, for its order and regularity, would have done honour [sic] to any nation. When I see a hundred men and the most of them armed, coolly deliberating concerning the affairs of their country, for ten days, without discord, though having every reason to complain, I readily conclude that they are able to accomplish much. Mavrocordatos is unquestionably the first man in Greece, in point of talent and influence. He has defended his province for the last year without a para, and yet his officers are attached to him, though he feeds them only with hopes. The Greeks have had such wretched examples of the morals of the Franks, with the exception of a few Englishmen, that they hate them almost as much as they do the Turks. There have been so many vain attempts made to establish discipline among the troops, that I have thought best to say nothing about tacticks [sic]. It is in vain to tell a Greek soldier, that it is better to learn to meet the enemy with order, when he replies, that if he is wounded, he must take care of himself; there being neither surgeons nor medicine in the army, nor any such thing as a hospital for the sick and wounded in all Greece. I have therefore packed up my books, and am expecting to march to-morrow, as a volunteer with Col. Jarvis, in an expedition against Lepanto. What will be the result, is known only to God. I hope, at least, not to fall into the hands of the Turks. Patras is to be attacked at the same time by troops from Napoli. You may desire to know my opinion in reference to young men, who may wish to embark in the cause of Greece. I would say, that young physicians, who are properly supplied with medicine, may be of use, and may by their profession keep themselves from starving. Young men also of fortune, who wish to do good, will find an ample field for action in Greece; but for those who are without resources of their own, by all means, I should advise them to remain in America. Hundreds of adventurers have already perished in Greece, and have done little or nothing for the cause of liberty or Greece. As for myself, I came to Greece, with my eyes open. Ac Malta, I heard all this, but my word was given, and I neither could nor wished to go back. I think that by the blessing of God, I may be of use to the Greeks; with this hope I cheer myself amid the general distress, which surrounds me. In my first letter I mentioned the sum of two hundred dollars, which Col. Jarvis thinks indispensably necessary for a man in a military capacity, per year. I do not mention this sum as having any claims upon the committee for it, but simply state facts as they are. From the Greeks, in case of misfortune, such as sickness or being wounded, I have nothing to expect. For the misery of the country is so great, that individual sufferings are not regarded. If you, Gentlemen, should see fit to make me any remittances, it can be done by way of London, to the house of Samuel Barff, at Zante, who is my friend, and will forward me, whatever is delivered to him, for that purpose. Be pleased, Gentlemen, to receive my best wishes for your prosperity, and the prosperity of my country. My health is good, and to-morrow, by the blessing of God, I march against the Turks.
J. P. MILLER.
P.S. Remember me to the friends of Greece in A. tell them I see distress daily, which can never be described. Women and children flying from the hands of the Turks, with out clothes to cover them, or bread to eat. If there was ever a country, that called for the charities of the Christian world, that country is Greece.
From Mr. Miller to Col. S.D. Harris, Boston
Misolonghi, Jan. S, 1825.
DEAR FRIEND-The ocean is crossed, and I am in Greece;-in the land so much famed in classic story for the valor of its warriors and its love of freedom.
Though my mind was made up, before coming to Greece, for all events, yet I cannot say but that I have, in some measure, been disappointed.
I expected, at least, to find something like regiments formed, without being obliged to furnish my own bread; but this is not the case. The Greeks, in their tacticks [sic], resemble very much our Indians. Each captain obtains what men he can support with bread and a little money, and leads them against the enemy. After the campaign is finished, the captains present their several accounts to the government and receive promises of pay. But this circumstance, though it in some degree disappoints my hopes, is by no means against the Greeks. We should not expect, that even in America, troops could be paid and clothed, if there was nothing to pay and clothe them with. The truth is this,-there is but little money in Greece. The English loan, and what has been sent from America is now all the pecuniary assistance, which the Greek government has to depend upon, to give energy to its operations. It is therefore perfectly right that they should spend as little as possible. Col. Jarvis, at my request, has given a general account of affairs, as they have been, and are, conducted in Greece. He appears to have very considerable influence in Greece. I think him a man of integrity, and consider myself fortunate in having fallen in with him. I have been so disgusted with the appearance of those Franks who are constantly importuning the government for pay, that I have made no application to it at all, but only showed my letters to the governor Mavrocordatos.
Greece, as you will see by Col. J.'s letter, has been overrun with foreigners, whose char-acters have given the Greeks the most unfavourable [sic] impressions respecting their different countries. From seeing the manner in which the Greeks view these men, I have, with the advice of Col. J come to the resolution of marching to the camp as a volunteer.
My money, I hope, with economy, will hold out until I hear from the Committee; but God only knows what would be my lot, if I should be sick or wounded. But I hope for the best. There is a secret pleasure in adversity which makes me reconciled to my lot; and I am, as yet, not sorry that I came to Greece. I have assumed the costume of the country, as far as my resources will allow; and if you should see me you would doubt whether I was ever under your command. It is a mistaken idea that is prevalent in America in regard to the profligacy of the Greeks. I have been, for ten days, amidst 2000 soldiers, and have never seen one of them drunk; nor indeed have I seen one drunken man in Greece.
The beauty, modesty, simplicity and virtue of the females, are, I am sure, without a parallel in any quarter of the world. The mountains are now covered with snow; but the vallies [sic] and plains are green with herbage. The Greeks have no waggons [sic] or carts. Like the Turks, they carry all their burdens on the backs of horses, asses and mules. The plains in Western Greece, which I have seen, are very fertile. Wine of a good quality is only sixteen cents a gallon. If the country obtains its freedom, of which I think there is no doubt, a most advantageous commerce can be opened between Greece and America.
I hope, dear Sir, that if the Turks do not gain head, I may have the pleasure of receiving a letter from you as soon as possible. Remember I am your old soldier, and therefore have some claims for this favour [sic].
I can get on pretty well in learning the language of the country. The Greeks talk much about Mr. Webster.
Be good enough, Dear Sir, to remember me to my kind friends in America, and believe me,
Yours sincerely, J. P. MILLER
From Col. Jarvis to the Greek Committee, Boston.
Misolonghi, Western Greece, 6–18 Jan. 1825.
GENTLEMEN,-Without having the honor of being personally known to you, I take the liberty to open a correspondence with the Greek Committees in the U. S. My duty and the urgency of the cause are my excuse. Even before this, I ought to have written; but the certainty of the letters being read by the English or Austrian Government parties, and the fear of their miscarrying, have hitherto restrained my doing so. Now, on the arrival of Mr. Miller, and at his request, I write, -and hope this may safely reach you.
During three sad and gloomy years that I have witnessed the unexampled exertions of the brave and patriotic Greeks, I have joined with them, and have been present at several of their principal achievements. Being an officer in the Grecian Navy, I was, the first two years, with them at the different enterprises at Scio, Mytilene, along the coasts of Asia Minor, Syria, Candia, Cyprus, in the Archipelago and Peloponnesus.-I made thirteen different expeditions with, in which we burned several ships of the line, and smaller ones, captured others, took and defended fortresses, and rendered all possible assistance to the fugitive Christians. The modern Greeks resemble, in many particulars, their forefathers. The same men who fight as seamen, when returned, enter as landsmen. I thus was present at the siege of Athens, Napoli, the defence of Misolonghi, and in the engagement with Churshid Pasha, in the Morea. After Lord Byron's arrival, I attached myself to him, and officiated as Adjutant General to his Brigade, until his lamented death; when, after having terminated, agreeably to his will, the fortifications of Misolonghi and Anatolico with the engineer, Mr. Cushing, I received, in August last, the order to march with a separate body of Grecian soldiers, towards the enemy's camp at Caravansera and Macrinoros in Western Greece-We were encamped about five months, under the orders of Alexander Mavrocordatos, Governor of Western Greece.-After the retreat, (upon Arta,) of the Turks, we returned to Misolonghi, and then it was that I had the pleasure to meet, in Mr. Miller, a countryman and a friend.
It is gratifying to see our Country take a part in this honourable cause. If they have hesitated, and not precipitately entered into any operations, it is not the worse for that-Others may have set the example before us, it is for us to do the good; and we may and ought to do the more, as we have the advantage of experience; which, hitherto, by every one, individual or community, has been dear bought; but no one has grown wiser by it. Every one has acted, separately and without taking the experience of his forerunners for a guide, nor willing to learn any thing from their sufferings. They have also, one by one, been subdued, not by the Tartars, but by more formidable foes; by want of knowledge of the language and customs of this country;-by poverty and unbounded misery. Pride was not the worst of their vices. They made dupes of the Greeks. The natives are grown shy of foreigners, and with good reason; they ought ever to keep off from their shores, to prevent the Franks from grafting their vices upon the innocence of the Greeks. What good do they expect to do, without setting a good example at least-Greece is not in want of soldiers. The tenth part of the armed Greeks is quite sufficient, if united, to subdue all the provinces of the present Turkish empire in Europe. But bread we want, and money, to buy it, and to provide shoes and capots for the starving shivering soldiers. A large waste, a country, where, except a few remaining towns, not a house is standing, and even the olive and orange tree has been cut down by the Tartars; a rich desert, where no animal affords us nourishment;-this is the theatre of war in Greece.
Shame to those men who have been and lived in Greece; who know, or ought to know, the real state of affairs; and who, instead of a proper statement, have filled all quarters of the world with falsehood, to mislead others, to the disadvantage of Greece, and to the misery and ruin of every real friend of that country, with no other view than to forward their own sinister plans.-What good do we expect from such men? They come under pretence [sic] of helping Greece, -but in fact they want to be helped themselves. It is for their own, and only for their own interest they are here. These upstarts have been followed by new comers;—they have appeared and vanished, -they have one by one been precipitated into that gulf of misery, into which, by them misled, the different committees have followed them up.
The first who formed Committees were the Swiss and Germans; the French cannot be named under this head. The Germans and Swiss sent out several ship-loads of officers, all of different descriptions and colours [sic]; every one with a different object, with different principles, different regimentals, from different provinces and kingdoms. These Crusaders were more or less provided for,-but having eventually failed, and finding, at last, that every man in Greece must depend upon himself, and that Greek soldiers are never to be commanded by such officers, the Committees tried to rectify their error, by sending out a body of soldiers, who were at the same time, artizans [sic] and labourers [sic]. This was the famous expedition under Gen. Kephalas. Their object was certainly good, but they failed: they did not know Greece or Grecians. The exertions of the brave Swiss and Germans in their own country were certainly great. I have witnessed their efforts in trying to assist, and to bring money together for this noble cause: many of them struggling against the impediments and obstacles thrown into their way by the Governments of Prussia, Hanover, Austria, and the petty princes. I have, on foot, traversed parts of Denmark, through Germany, Switzerland, and France, to embark for Greece, and have witnessed their enthusiasm for the cause. But what thanks can the Greeks owe them, if they never rendered any real service to Greece? The poor, misled, soldiers have all fallen a burden upon the Greeks, who themselves are starving for want of bread. I have seen even bakers and butchers sent out. The first never baked bread in Greece, and died, licerally starving for want of it. The latter have left Greece without ever having tasted a piece of beef. In fine, the results of the noble exertions of the German and Swiss Committees have been, notwithstanding their best motives, bringing misery upon every one who has been engaged to come out here; and have been of expence [sic], but of no ser-vice, to Greece.
With respect to what the English Committee have done for the good of Greece, the motives of the donors cannot but be praised; but any one who has, the last year, been at Misolonghi must have been sickened at every thing he saw, and have pitied the use that has been made, or rather, the abuse of the sums so generously contributed by the sub-scribers. The exertions of Lord Byron and of Lord Charles Murray have made a brilliant appearance in this darkness of misery, and among the clouds of want and misfortune. Both nobly devoted their minds and knowledge, their wealth, their health and their lives for Greece.-Lord Byron was in a fair way of succeeding; for with a good will, he joined resources. His memory remains in the hearts of the Greeks.
These remarks I have made, it being my duty; that America may take an example at the follies of the Europeans, and may not be misled. My statements are true. I have rather repressed the bad, and if I have failed, it is in giving a still too flattering picture. But knowing the different languages and men; and having been at the head of Lord Byron's affairs after his death, and honoured [sic] with the confidence and friendship of the principal Greek Chiefs, you may place full confidence in it. I have never received a single para (400 to a dollar,) pay, since I have been in Greece, neither from any Committee whatever, nor from Greece, but have even paid my own money over. I have therefore no reason to flatter any party, but I shall proclaim the truth whenever I can.
There have never been above twenty-four Englishmen in Greece, including the labourers and artizans [sic]. Two lords and a mechanic died; two gentlemen cut their throats. None of them fell, or fought against the Turks, except Captain Hastings and two others, who have been engaged in this warfare more or less. About five are still in Greece; all the others have returned. Of the German and Swiss, about sixty fell against the Turks, but more than this number fell victims to malignant fevers, diseases, and died in misery, or by duels. Frenchmen, Italians-about thirty may have perished altogether. There are about twenty-five Germans remaining in Greece, most of whom are nearly starving. Three of them have married at Misolonghi, and get on well. One of them, a Swiss Doctor, Mr. Meyer, has rendered considerable service; but the reason is, he has become a complete Greek.
As to what has been done toward disciplining the Greeks; a Greek soldier first likes to be sure of finding bread (and only dry bread,): giving him that and prospect of pay, at a future day, may attach him to you; but as for forming lancers or dragoons in the rocks, it is out of the question. My own soldiers, who are of expense to me, have, after returning from a fighting campaign, neither received money, bread, nor even quarters; and they are now marching against Lepanto, with only the little assistance I have been able to give them of my own. We have lived the greatest part of six months upon dry bread; and that very often wanting, have supplied our hunger, by roasting in the ashes some wild herbs, which, for want of water, we could not boil. Can it be expected that a foreigner will voluntarily submit to these hardships? I say a soldier even; but an officer,-will he not desire his roast beef-his different dishes, his comforts and his pleasures?–I feel it my duty therefore to discourage adventurers from coming out here, and beg you, gentle-men, to advise all young men, who have not the following qualifications, to desist from coming out, viz.
1. They ought either to be men of independent fortunes, and completely at their ease,
2. Or men of strong, tough constitutions, born to hardships, and accustomed to fatigues and misfortunes, and of frugal and temperate habits.
3. Their manners must be pure, and their minds open and prompt for all good under, takings.
4. They ought to attach themselves entirely to the Greeks, learn their language, wear their dress, and eat their frugal fare.
5. They must be men who embrace this sacred cause, regarding it as such: of a religious disposition, who willingly suffer, and give up all their private interest for the prosperity of Greece.
As for the cause, it is the noblest perhaps that man ever fought for; and the Greeks, -do they not do honour [sic] to it? Their conduct and their bravery-is it not an example to all the world:-And why shall we sicken them with tacticks [sic], and with discipline, for which the country is not yet ripe? Why endeavour [sic] to make them believe, that the profligate European manners are better than their own frugal habits? One hundred Greeks, (excepting the article of bread,) will live on less than ten Franks, for any given time; and they will suffer and perform much, -while Franks, in this country will do no good at all.
In regard to character and manners, justice has not yet been done to the Greeks. Their marriages, and their treatment of the female sex may be quoted for a model throughout the world. Prostitution is scarcely known; and marriage is celebrated with a religious view. The female is at full liberty at home; a queen in her own house. What law is more benevolent for human society, and for domestic comfort, than that whereby the brothers in the family are bound to get all the sisters married, before they are permitted to marry themselves? This law produces infinite good, and keeps their manners pure. There is no force to bind them to keep it;-but never has it been broken during the revolution. The Greeks are very devout, and do everything with a religious view. So do they fight;-and every one here regards the cause as a religious one. After obtaining victories, the Te Deum is always performed;–and every Sunday, and other great holydays, prayers are offered to Heaven for the success of their arms, and for the welfare of the country. It is true, they think their Saints, of whom they have a great number, intercede for them with almighty God; and thus they address their prayers through them. This is an erroneous idea, which must, at first, shock us Protestants; but the progress of liberty and science must soon open their minds. In every other way, their religious conduct ought to be praised, as it tends to make them lead a frugal, devout and humble life: and their religion is far more tolerant than, and appears to have great advantages over, the Popish belief.
No nation has declared in favour [sic] of Greece-neutrality has not even been kept:-and some have, and are still, assisting and helping the Turks. Mercantile interest may induce them to practices, which the law of nations has hitherto hindered us from punishing:-but they are not the less detestable for that. Above all the Austrian is the declared friend of the Turk. Imperial ships and men of war carry Turkish despatches [sic], and perform the duties of spies. Their merchantmen embark Turkish troops and provi-sions. They have done more mischief and real evil to the Greeks, than the open enemy.
The loan opened in England is not sufficient for Greece: another, we hope, may be opened soon. I do not know if any could be made in the United States. Whatever America can send will be thankfully received, and may be of great use, if sent soon. I myself should recommend to send money: and to send it directly to the hands of the Greek government; but always to have a certain sum deposited, either at Malta or Zante, or to make a proviso, when sending the money to the government, so that Americans, who may be in, or come to, Greece, (as they receive no pay or remuneration whatever,) may fall back upon that, and be saved from starving. A sure correspondence must be opened: then many advantageous points for Greece, and, hereafter, for both countries, might be settled. I might propose to the Committee several plans for the bene, fit of Greece, but shall avail myself of another occasion hereafter. I beg you not to judge of the Greeks by those that come over to America. The real Greeks, if ever so miserable, will rather voluntarily suffer for, and in their country, than quit it now: and here they ought to be assisted. Greece will be free, or not exist:-Greeks will be free, or must be extirpated from the earth. Here is a wide field for doing good.
I beg here to remark how happy I am that Mr. Miller has fallen in with me. He is a man who seems exactly fit for Greece; having been accustomed to hardships; his manners being pure, and regarding the cause with that religious idea every one [sic] ought to. I own, that, except Lord Charles Murray and Capt. Hastings, Mr. Miller is the only one of the Franks to whom I have attached myself in Greece. By all that I can judge, he will be of great use to the cause; particularly as soon he shall know the language; and has accustomed himself to the manners, &c. At the same time I feel it in my duty to inform you what the Greeks say to foreigners who come to act and fight for the cause, particularly to those who come out with recommendations, that if their respective countries honour [sic] them, (the foreigners) they ought to provide for them too, as Greece is not yet able to do it. Thus no American has any thing to expect from the Government; and for our national honour's [sic] sake, no American must starve here; nor must a person like Mr. Miller be in want; and, instead of exerting himself for the cause, be obliged to do so for his own existence.
I might propose to form a small colony of five or six Americans of respectable character, of knowledge and experience, to whom the Greeks would attach themselves: this might form, and hold, and preserve, a centre [sic], for both parties hereafter. Navarino, (Pylus,) Modon, or Coron, (as soon as these two latter are taken,) might be most suitable, on account of their salubrious air. We then may, by uniting to the patriarchal purity of Greek habits, the moral and liberal ones of free America, show them the practical advantages of arts, sciences, and agriculture; and the benefit of the exertions of the mis-sionaries will imperceptibly gain upon the Greeks, without acting, as if otherwise commenced, in direct opposition to the priests, who are not unmanageable, but may be gained over by practical example and conviction, sooner than by opposition. Thus infinite good may be done, and spread throughout this country. Greeks want to be certain of the benefit, and with their own eyes to see it, before they enter into speculations. But when they take any thing to heart, they will persist; and their strong sense, as men, will sooner or later, elevate them to that station where they belong, that of one of the first states in the world.
I shall, after marching my soldiers to Lepanto go down with prince Mavrocordatos to the seat of Central Government, (at Napoli.) I must here stop. Mr. Miller will write you more. I close with saying, that the external, as well as internal, affairs, are going on with a fair appearance of success. You will give, if you think proper, the necessary publicity to these my remarks.-May God grant success to our cause; protect all its friends, especially the Americans; and may their well-meant exertions be crowned with success.
I am, Gentlemen,
Your most obedient, humble servant,
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).