VI. Tangible Support: Philhellenes, Warriors and Philanthropists

B. Letters of Edward Everett

(Robinson, pp. 144-46) Washington, February 4, 1827: [To the New York Greek Committee.]

Gentlemen of the Executive Committee for the Relief of the Greeks:
Your favor of 31 reached me yesterday, at an hour too late to be answered by return of mail. I have given the important subject of it the best consideration in my power. Taking into consideration the habits of the people and the mildness of the climate in the Southern portions of Greece, which are the great field of distress, I should think a larger proportion of your funds should be expended in food than in clothing. I would say 2/3 in the former and 1/3 in the latter, but this proportion I suggest from no better rule than general impression of the relative want of the two kinds of supply. The coarser and plainer the articles of clothing the better and perhaps equal proportion of the cotton and woolen fabrics named by you would make the best assortment. For articles of food I should incline to rice, dried fruit, salted beef and pork, rather than to flour exclusively. It will be warm weather by the time your first vessel reaches the country and the summer is long and sultry. It would be desirable therefore not to have more flour than might immediately go into consumption. Shipbread, I should think might be sent to great advantage. Rice is a favorite article of food; beef and pork are very little eaten by the Greeks, as indeed animal food in general is scarcely known to the poorer classes of them. What they consume is principally mutton and lamb. Still, however, I presume, salted beef and pork are a very economical form in which a considerable quantity of food may be transported to a distance. I should think 3/4 of all the provisions should be rice, bread and flour in perhaps equal quantities, the other 1/4 to consist of about equal proportions of the different kinds of animal food named.

2) Napoli di Romania would be the proper port to sail for unless the fortune of war shall have thrown it into the hands of the Turks. It might as a matter of greater precaution be expedient to touch at Hydra which will probably (if Greece must fall) be the last spot that yields. Our Squadron could not I think be instructed to convoy the vessel. But as she will probably take a regular clearance as an unarmed American ship, she will no doubt have the advantage of convoy whenever the squadron may be cruising in the same direction.

3) I incline to the opinion that an agent or agents should accompany the vessel you send out, that this agent or agents have the control of the surplus with instructions however to consult the executive Government of Greece. One agent associated with the Captain of the vessel will probably be sufficient. It might be expedient to direct them to confer with General Jarvis of New York and Dr. Howe of Boston, who are in Greece and are men of excellent character and entitled in my opinion to full confidence. an election will have taken place before the vessel arrives; in fact it has already taken place and who will com-pose the executive Government of Greece is of course unknown. It would perhaps be well for your committee to authorize their agents in general terms to address themselves to such persons as they shall find in the possession of the General Government. Who these are will readily and safely be learned from Howe and Jarvis, and will indeed be matter of public notoriety. as piracies are getting to be too common the vessel I think should not go without the means of protecting herself and cargo from capture.

If your Committee adopt the plan of associating an agent with the Captain, I venture to recommend Mr. J. P. Miller, of Vermont, as a very suitable person. He has lately returned from the country where he served 2 years under the auspices of the Boston Greek Committee. He returned because we were unable to continue his frugal stipend of $200.–per an. I have no doubt he would do in your service at that rate of pay. He knows the language, the principal men and the country. He is faithful, zealous, honest and trustworthy and in my opinion exceedingly well qualified for the task. By associating the Captain with him you would have a proper check upon him.

I would particularly recommend a supply of medicines to form a part of this store. I am incompetent to say what articles or in what quantities. Your intelligent physicians will be abundantly able from their knowledge of the diseases of warm climates to say what is most wanted in this department. Bark is the great specific for the most prevalent malady of the region and I doubt not a quantity of it would be one of the most acceptable things you could send. When Dr. Howe went to Greece, the Boston Committee expended a very small sum ($35) in the purchase of surgical instruments for him. As he has been in full practise [sic] for 3 years that money has doubtless done as much good as was ever effected by a like sum.

I have taken the liberty to enclose your letter to Mr. Miller deeming him very competent to advise on several of the subjects. I have, however, dropped no hint to him that I have recommended him to you as an agent. I have merely requested him to furnish you his views in reply to your interrogation. His address is J. P. Miller, Randolph, Vermont.

When your vessel is ready to sail, I shall be desirous of forwarding letters to one or two of the members of the Greek Government, and to the Americans in Greece. I beg leave to add that if, by any further suggestion, or in any other way, I can promote the benevolent work in which you are so honourable [sic] and successfully engaged, I shall feel most happy to receive your commands.

I am, Gentlemen, with the highest respect
Your faithful, humble servant

[To:] Messrs. Lynde Catlin, Stephen Allen, Preserved Fish,
Geo. Griswold, F. Vanderbugh, James I. Jones, Frederick Sheldon, Hiram Ketchum


(Robinson, p. 58) Washington, House of Representatives, March 3,1827: [To Commodore Rogers]

Dear Sir:
The benevolent citizens of New York, hearing of the sufferings of their fellow men and fellow Christians in Greece for want of food and clothing have generously fitted out a vessel loaded with articles for their relief. She is (with all her cargo) the property of American citizens, consigned to Messrs. Howe and Jarvis, American citizens in Greece. A confident assurance is felt, that, should the vessel fall in with the squadron under your command, you will extend to her all the protection which the rules of the service and the neutral relations of the country permit.

I have the honor to be,

Dear Sir, with the highest respect
Your faithful, humble servant


(Robinson, p. 58) Winter Hill, June 25, 1828: [To Samuel Gridley Howe]
... I think the first effectual impulse to the efforts made in the cause of Greece in this country was given by the article in the N. A. R. for October 1823. I know that this article suggested to Mr. Webster the idea of his movement in Congress which first gave importance and dignity to the proceedings.

The start was given to the last movement (that of sending supplies to Greece) by the publication of Colocotroni's letter followed up by the indefatigable exertions of Mathew Carey.

The enlistment of yourself, Miller, and others and the correspondence of the Americans in Greece (or rather your correspondence) kept the cause alive in this country.

(Hatzidimitriou 316-319)

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).