II. Information on the Greek Uprising Reaches America: Publications

C. Accounts by Greeks of Personal Experiences and Suffering Published in the United States


Accounts of the capture of Patras—of some of the principal events of the Greek Revolu-tion- of some of the most conspicuous characters which have been developed by those events; of the manners, customs and religion of the Albanians, Turks, Egyptians, and Bedouin Arabs.


The following pages will be found immethodical in arrangement and deficient in ele-gance of style: These defects, the compiler found unavoidable.—The want of method, is to be ascribed to this: that all the facts which related personally to Mr. STEPHANINI, are drawn entirely from memory. It was, therefore, impossible that the dates, or order of events, should in all cases, be accurately marked. Many of the defects, in the composi-tion, are to be ascribed to the imperfect knowledge which Mr. S. has of the English lan-guage, which rendered him unwilling that the compiler should employ any other than the most plain and familiar expressions; and, also to the circumstantiality with which Mr. S. has, in many places, insisted on describing minor events. These causes, it will be perceived, must tend, in some degree, to depress the style, if not the general character of the narrative. It has, however, a redeeming quality. It is true. In detailing the facts wherein Mr. S. was personally concerned, he has been scrupulously guided by his per-sonal knowledge. In those wherein he cannot be supposed to have participated, the most authentic sources of information have been sought. In the hope that it may prove a hook on which benevolence may hang her offerings, it is submitted, with all its imperfections, to the public.

RECOMMENDATIONS from the Rev. Dr. Wainwright, and R. Sedgwick, Esq., of New York; J. K. Kane, Esq., and Rev. Dr. Ely, Philadelphia; and T. S. Grimke, Esq., Charleston.

(copied from the original)

Mr. Stephanini, a native of Greece, has brought to me several letters from gentlemen of high standing and character-he has also shown me testimonials in the highest degree favorable; — from these documents, confirmed by intercourse with him on several occa-sions, relating to his designs and prospects, I have no hesitation in recommending him to the notice of those who may be willing and able to assist him in redeeming his mother and sisters from their cruel bondage among the Turks.


I have had a long acquaintance with Mr. Stephanini, having known him during nearly all the period of his residence in this country, and consider his narrative of his personal misfortunes entitled to unqualified confidence.


Mr. Stephanini has presented to me letters from gentlemen of well known character in Charleston and New York. I have conversed with him, and have examined the testi-monials with which he is furnished; and I fully and cordially commend him to the sym-pathy and good offices of those who have the means and the willingness to indulge a dis criminating benevolence.


Mr. J. Stephanini, a native Greek, has been introduced to me by several gentlemen, in whom I have the highest confidence. He has been himself a captive, and now seeks to procure the means of redeeming his mother and sisters from the horrors of Turkish bondage. His object will commend itself to every human person; and I feel happy to give him this introduction to any of my acquaintance.


From the interview which I have had with Mr. Stephanini, and from conversations with others, and the examination of his letters, I recommend him with great pleasure to all who feel a sympathy for his personal misfortunes, and admiration for the cause of his gallant and afflicted country.


[Narrative extracts begin on pages 49-50]
... The city of Patras, at the commencement of hostilities, contained about 12,000 inhabitants. It is pleasantly situated on a gentle acclivity, on the south-west side of the entrance of the gulf of Lepanto, or Corinth. On an elevation near the city stands the fortress, garrisoned at that time by five or six hundred Turks, and containing 150 guns, though not more than 20 or 25 were mounted and effective. This fortress overlooks the town. It has two large gates at the northern and southern extremities. Of these gates or portals, the southern was several years before the commencement of the revolution, thrown down by lightning, but was about four years afterward rebuilt by the Turks. The fortress is of a circular form. The outer wall is very high, of great thickness and strength, and surrounded by a broad moat. On this wall, the cannon are mounted- within is a second wall, overlooking the former, and inclosing the houses and barracks of the garrison; and the area within a third wall is occupied as an arsenal.

In April, 1821, the suspicions of the Turkish garrison were awakened by the secret removal of a large number of the Greek inhabitants of the city. Measures were immedi-ately taken by Zidar Aga, the Turkish commandant, to put the fortress into the best posture of defence [sic], in order to repel the anticipated attack. The aga attempted to enforce the order to disarm the Greek inhabitants, but met a firm resistance. He then turned the cannon of the fortress against the city, and soon obtained possession of it. A multitude of peasants, collected by the zeal and efforts of Germanos, archbishop of Patras, soon recovered posession [sic] of the town, and drove the Turks into the citadel.

The aga gave immediate orders to set fire to the house of the archbishop. This violence was the signal for open hostilities. The Greeks, filled with indignation at such a wanton outrage, hastily seized their arms, assembled in a body, and made a vigorous assault upon the fortress.

The Turks commenced a cannonade upon the city, but being unskilful [sic] in the manage-ment of artillery, their fire produced but little effect. The Greeks, who had previously left the city, now flocked in from the mountains, accompanied by the neighbouring [sic] peasantry. A general shout was heard throughout the Grecian multitude. [GREEK TEXT] 'Elevdepia, Ėhevbepia! diá nioti, toû Xplotov! {GREEK TEXT] (Liberty, Liberty! for the faith of Christ!)

On a neighboring hill, called Scatovuni, within a short distance of the citadel, they took a position, and threw up a battery. A vigorous and regular siege was commenced by five or six thousand Greeks. For eleven days, a constant fire was maintained on both sides. The Greeks, during the first days of the siege, had no cannon, but they at length obtained some small pieces from an Ionian vessel, lying in the harbour [sic] ...

... The siege of the citadel at Patras, was vigorously pressed; a mine was opened, and almost ready to be sprung; the Turks had begun to suffer, for want of provisions; and every thing [sic] seemed to promise a speedy reduction of the garrison; when an unexpected incident frustrated and destroyed the hopes of the besiegers.

This was the arrival of Yusouf Pasha, at the head of a large body of cavalry. Taking advantage of the obscurity of a night unusually dark, he had transported his troops across the gulf, from the city of Lepanto, and appeared with them on the plain before the city early in the morning, in array of battle.

This enterprise had been conducted with so much secrecy and dispatch [sic], and so com-plete and effectual was the surprise the Greeks suffered, that the first intimation of the circumstance, was communicated to the citizens by a simultaneous, discharge of all the guns of the citadel, by way of salute, and by the entrance of Ysouf Pasha, and his caval-ry, into the city.

Many of the Greeks were in their beds. Roused by the noise and confusion, they com-menced a precipitate flight; some to the seashore, and others to the mountains. Thou, sands of men, women and children, were rushing through the streets in every direction, endeavouring [sic] to escape the scymetar [sic] of the bloody conquerer [sic]. The town was immediate-ly given up to pillage. The aged and infirm, and infants of both sexes, who were unable to escape, were dragged from their habitations and hiding places, and butchered in the streets.

My father's residence was in a central part of the city. Most of the family were in bed when the alarm was given. I had just risen, and hearing a tremendous explosion of can-non, and a great tumult and confusion, I hurried to the door to learn the cause, -- and on opening it, I was suddenly seized by a Turkish soldier. He bound my hands, and commanded me with many execrations, (in broken Greek,) to go before him to the citadel. Entreaty was as unavailing as opposition would have been. My tears and suppli-cations were addressed to a heart of marble; and my reluctant steps were goaded forward by the muzzle of the musket of my captor.

Thus was I, at the age of seventeen, torn from the bosom of my family, to behold some, perhaps all, of them no more for ever [sic]. Their fate, I was unable to ascertain; and the sus-pense and anxiety of my soul were insupportable. Ah, ye favoured [sic] of heaven, whose lot is cast in this happy and peaceful land; who have never beheld the sword and flame of war spreading carnage, misery and desolation around you; whose friendships have not been severed by the stroke of the scimitar [sic]; and who have never felt the agony of being deprived by massacre, dispersion and chains, of that sweetest of all earthly joys, the soci-ety of parents, brothers and sisters; as little can you imagine as I describe my feelings, at that distressful and disastrous hour!

On reaching the fortress, my captor secured me in a solitary apartment, and left me pin-ioned and half dead with grief and terror. As he was a soldier of the lowest order, I had every thing [sic] to apprehend from his brutality, and nothing to hope from his humanity. He soon after returned accompanied by some other Turkish soldiers. Expecting imme-diate death, I endeavoured [sic] to commend myself to God, and await the issue.

On being informed by some of his companions, by whom I was recognized, that I was the son of a wealthy merchant, and that my father had probably secreted his money somewhere in the neighbourhood [sic], as many other rich Greeks had done, he proceeded to interrogate me concerning its disposal, and the place of its supposed concealment. My inability to satisfy his rapacious curiosity, was construed into willful contumacy; my most solemn asservations [sic] of ignorance were disbelieved, and their repetition served but to kindle and inflame his rage.

Stung with disappointment in being thus defeated in the attainment of his anticipated booty, he seized me, and with eyes darting fury, he drew his ataghan, and swore by Alla (God) and his prophet, that he would cut me to pieces. He made a violent stroke with his weapon across my arms (still pinioned behind me,) which inflicted a severe wound on one of my wrists. He then aimed a thrust at my head, but the point of his dagger striking against a bone behind my right ear, was prevented from penetrating deeply. His fury was here checked by the representations of his companions, and seemed to give place in some measure to another passion, that of avarice. They reminded him that if he killed me, he would lose the large sum he had calculated on as the price that I should bring in the market; for as it was known that my father was wealthy, and would, if liv-ing, pay a high price for my ransom, it was imagined that my purchaser, when informed of that circumstance, would be more liberal in his price. To these representa-tions, I owe the prolongation of a life, subsequently so filled with suffering, that is preservation can hardly be accounted a blessing.

Meanwhile, the work of destruction was going on in the city. No adequate idea can be conveyed of the horrible atrocities that were committed on the unhappy inhabitants. The old and helpless of both sexes were dragged forth shrieking into the streets and slaughtered; the matrons and wives were brutally abused and whipped; the young women were violated, and then murdered or dragged to the shambles and sold into slav-ery. Invention was set on the rack to find modes of torture. Vengeance was superadded to cruelty, and brutal passion to vengeance [sic], in aggravating the torment and agonies of unhappy sufferers.

All the men who were taken in arms, were immediately beheaded. Fifty that morning were led into the fortress, and suffered death in this manner before my eyes; and their bleeding bodies were Aung out to be trampled on by the cavalry and to be devoured by dogs. Nothing but the fatigue of exertion, put an end at last to the horrible work of rap-ine and slaughter.

The fate of these unhappy men was, however, enviable, compared with that of those who lived, to endure the shocking miseries of a protracted slavery.

* * *


My captor, having concluded that my death would be a loss to him, and, not yet despairing of being able to compel me to disclose the depository of my father's money, forbore to put the finishing stroke to my wretchedness. He now fell to whipping me with rods, and continued for three days and two nights, at short intervals, to inflict that horrible punishment. The excruciating torture I endured, from the shocking laceration of my flesh, at length rendered me frantic, and I heartily wished for death to put a peri-od to my torment. On his approaching me the last time, brandishing the instrument of his barbarity, I begged him to kill me, and satiate his demoniac vengeance with my blood. I entreated and implored him, in the name of his God, and of his prophet, to ter-minate my sufferings then, for I could endure no more. I imprecated and denounced him as an unbeliever in any God, or any religion hoping to provoke him to inflict the fatal blow, for which I supplicated in vain. With a fiend-like laugh, he assured me, that he was not to be moved by prayers, nor provoked by reproaches, to an act so prejudicial to his interest. I repeated my execrations, till at length his savage temper could be no longer suppressed. He took a large pistol from his belt, cocked it, and pressed it against my breast. He snapped it, and it missed fire. Another trial was equally unsuccessful. Enraged at the disappointment, he struck me furiously with the pistol several times on my forehead. I fell to the ground, stunned, and apparently dead. The blood gushed in copious streams from my forehead, and ran like water on the poor. It is probable, that he would, on this occasion, have put an end to my misery, and life, together, had not one of his companions, who accidentally entered the room at that moment, interfered, and advised him to desist, and to spare my life. He remarked, that it would be a pity to kill me, as I would, doubtless, bring something in the market, and recommended to him to take me thither, and dispose of me, and apply the proceeds to the purchase of a horse, or of equipments [sic]. This suggestion seemed to mitigate his fury, and recall his rec-ollection. He desisted from further violence, and exhausted the venom of his spite in stigmatizing with a variety of execrations and opprobrious epithets, the “Greek dog” [GREEK TEXT] (Ekúko Pouré,) [GREEK TEXT] while I lay lacerated, bleeding, and half dead before him.

His rage being abaded [sic], the barbarian took some sulphur [sic] and olive oil, and melted them together in a pan. Then, having dipped a piece of cotton therein, he bound it closely round my forehead, which was still bleeding profusely. The application of this styptic, Staunched the blood, and the wounds, in a short time, began to heal. The scars of them remain, however, as a convincing testimony of Turkish cruelty. I was then shut up in a wretched apartment, that might acquire, by a short respite from torture, a more mer-chantable plight. During this time, my condition was truly deplorable. My flesh had been so horribly bruised, and mangled; it was so much swollen, that it had assumed a livid colour [sic], and was so exceedingly painful, that, with the slightest touch, or motion, I could hardly refrain from screaming aloud; and I was unable to sit, stand, or lie, with out great torment. In this situation, I remained five days; at the expiration of which, I was dragged forth to the Pasari, or market place, where I was subjected, with several other Greeks, chiefly females, to the inspection of the Turkish traders, as a horse, or any other brute; and was, at length, purchased by a Bey, named Mustapha, for five hundred piastres, a sum equal to about seventy-eight dollars of the currency of the United States.

As my new master was a man of rank, I had conceived a hope of less barbarous treat-ment from him, than from the brutal monster from whose tyranny I was now released. My reception, however, soon convinced me that I had only been transferred from the hands of one Turk to those of another.

I was taken with much rudeness, and no commiseration to the house of my new master. My common appellative was, “You dog.” (In the Turkish language, Sen chiopec;) and I was introduced to my new situation by the only title which I bore for more than four years. “Giaour chiopec,” — (Christian dog). The object, to accomplish which my master now set himself, was to make me a convert to the Turkish religion. In order to do this, he inquired of me first, if I wished to become a man. I answered, that, thank God, I was one already. He said he mean a Mussulman; a believer in the true prophet; that Christians were not men, but dogs. He then proposed to me a change in my reli-gion, offered me several advantages as the necessary consequences of such a change, spoke of a removal of my bondage, and the immediate improvement of my condition, - and set forth with much zeal, the future joys which the Koran promises to every true believer. He endeavoured [sic] to strengthen these considerations, by adding to them many threats of punishment, perpetual slavery or death in the event of my refusal. I told him firmly, that, much as I valued liberty and life, I valued my religion more than either. That I could never consent to renounce it; — but should live while I did live, and die when I did die, in the faith of Christ.

He fell into a violent passion, and calling his choushe or principal Secretary, command-ed him to throw me into a dungeon. In obedience to this mandate, the choushe dragged me to a cell under ground, about six or seven feet square, where dogs had been kept. Here I was kept twenty-eight hours without a morsel of food or a drop of water; and all his retainers were prohibited, by the severest penalties, from any intercourse with me. After this time had elapsed, apparently apprehensive that further deprivation of air and food might hazard the loss of his property; and, perhaps, conceiving that the preserva-tion of the body, was of more consequence to him, than that of the soul, of his slave; he sent orders to the choushe to bring me again before him. On my approaching him, he said to me with a sneer of contempt, “Well, dog, have you come to your senses? Are you now willing to become a Mussulman? to throw off your religion, the religion of dogs, and embrace ours?” I answered, in substance, as before, that “I had attachments to my faith, which I could not break; that I had formed a firm and unalterable resolution never to abandon it, nor to swerve from its principles, whatever might be the result.”

The decisive tone of my answer, which was, perhaps, in some degree strengthened by resentment, seemed to redouble his rage. With many execrations he commanded me to my dungeon, swearing that I should remain there until I abjured my religion, and adopted his, or died from starvation. I was again thrown into the same loathsome cell, with six dogs as my companions. In this situation, I lived for two months and a half; my lacerated flesh still unhealed, my frame wasted and weakened by hunger and pain, without a gleam of light to cheer my despondency, with no bed but the cold and wet earth, whereon to rest my weary and emaciated limbs, and with no other nourishment than a small piece of black, m ouldy [sic] and worm-eaten bread, and a cup of filthy water, once in twenty-four hours. No one was permitted during my confinement, to approach my cell, except a little black, called Selim, who once a day, thrust my miserable fare through a small aperture in the wall of my dungeon, and then immediately closed it and retired without speaking.

The aim of my master was to inflict all the sufferings my enfeebled frame would possi-bly bear, short of death. He did not wish to lose the seventy-eight dollars he had paid for me, and, therefore, allowed me just a sufficiency to eke out a life which I should have been glad to resign. During some of the last days that I remained in this dungeon, I had become so completely worn out with hunger and exhaustion, that I was unable to stand, or scarcely to move my limbs. I lay on the ground, expecting and wishing to die; and th [sic] only tokens of life I was able to exhibit, were the faint groans I occasionally uttered. The black boy had been instructed to watch the effects of this barbarous treat-ment, and, when he perceived that the cord of suffering had been drawn to the utmost stretch of endurance, to give an intimation thereof to my master. The black now began to notice me attentively from day to day, and, at length, informed my master, that I could hold out no longer. On hearing this, he immediately deputed another servant with the black, to bring me again before him. On seeing me, he inquired, “Well, dog, what think you by this time? Are you now ready to become a Mohammedan?” I was too weak to answer. He narrowly observed my condition, and, beholding my emaciated and death-like appearance, spoke for some time to the other Turks, who were present, I suppose, in explanation of his treatment to me, and then ordered me some pilaf or boiled rice, a piece of beef, and some bread and water.— I was so extremely weak, and so near death, that I had no appetite or disposition to eat. I swallowed with much difi-culty a mouthful or two and was then conveyed to another apartment, above ground, on the floor of which was a straw carpet, and an old rug, swarming with vermin. My mas-ter soon after sent me a cup of coffee, by which I was somewhat refreshed. My fare here was rather more tolerable than before, although I was terribly annoyed by vermin, and deprived of the comforts of light and wholesome air; and although my mind was con-stantly on the rack of anxiety for the fate of my family, and of apprehension for my own, yet the natural vigour [sic] of my constitution began to prevail over the privations and hard, ships I suffered.

My master spared no pains to intimidate me by threats, and to tempt me by promises. To become a convert to his faith; but at length wearied with my firmness, (which he deemed obstinacy,) and despairing from further persecution. After remaining a month or more in this prison, and having in a degree recovered from the effects of my former severe sufferings, I was permitted to go out and to enjoy the luxury of light, fresh air, and exercise [sic]. My master then led me into the house, and installed me into the office of a lower servant, whose duty it is to understand a command before it is uttered; to be ready to perform whatever work may be assigned, but more especially to take the charge of the parapheranalia [sic] of his master, particularly of his pipes and tobacco, whence he is called “chibouc olan," or "boy of the pipe....'


In this servile and contemptible occupation, almost five years of my life were spent. The monotony of a period like this, it will be readily conceived, affords but few incidents that can awaken interest, or claim attention. Every successive day brought a renewal of the same dull task. Perhaps it is not one of the least miseries of slavery, that it binds down the victim, soul and body, to the same narrow range of action, to the same unvar-ied course of action, to the same unvaried course of tedious drudgery of the body, and uninterrupted lethargy of the mind...


I now return to pursue the thread of my own history. During the period of my captivity, the city of Patras was several times besieged, and once was taken by a body of Ionians, under Mavrocordato. The citadel was, however so strong, and the garrison so numerous, that all attempts to reduce it, failed. While the city was invested, the Greek slaves in the citadel were confined in dungeons, and subjected to every species of cruelty and indignity. I, among the rest, was shut up in my old dungeon, and, for some time, experienced the same barbarous treatment, and the same mean fare, that I have already described. At those times, when the Greeks threatened an assault upon the city, my master sent his family, for the greater security, across the gulf of Corinth, to the city of Lepanto. His duty, as commissary to the garrison, compelled him to reside either at the city, or at the castle Moraitico, a strong fortress, situated at the mouth of the gulf. I used to accompany him in his journeys between the two places, he riding on horseback, and I following him on foot.

One great source of misfortune to me, during the whole period of my slavery, was the cruel and capricious temper of my mistress. She would sometimes treat me with a show of kindness. At other times, without any known cause, or reason, she would heap upon me all the obloquy of which she was capable, and, by false colourings [sic], and misrepresenttations of my carriage toward her, would often instigate my master to the infliction of undeserved and rigorous punishment. Indeed, little instigation to severity, or cruelty, is necessary to a Turk, when a slave and a Christian is the victim.

On one occasion, merely for looking attentively in her face, (the better to learn the import of some orders she was giving me in the Turkish language, which I did not well understand, she, with much anger, and in a loud tone, told me, that I knew that her religion did not allow such familiarity between men and women; and that the tendency of my looking her in face, would be to pervert her mind; her anger rose still higher, when I told her, that it was the custom of my country to attend to those with whom we were conversing, and she immediately sent me to my master, with a request, that I might be severely punished. My master, to gratify her spleen, immediately inficted [sic] on me one hundred and fifty strokes of the bastinado.

The blood, during this dreadful operation, oozed from beneath the nails of my toes, and, in a short time, my feet swelled to such an enormous size, and were so exceedingly painful, that I was unable to walk, or even to stand. A composition of salt and onions, beaten together, was applied to the soles of my feet, and I was immediately thrown into my former dungeon.

At another time, for something I had said, which was construed into disrespect, my master sewed my mouth: piercing my lips with a large needle, and inserting a wire. In this situation, I was kept about thirty hours, unable to speak, or to receive any nourishment.

My tedious life thus wore away, till the beginning of the year 1825; at which time, the castle Moraitico was visited by several Italian vessels, for the purpose of traffick [sic]. These vessels usually lay in the bay for two or three days, making arrangements with Ysouf Pasha, for leave to visit the Grecian ports, in the gulf of Corint, and such other places as might be occupied by Greek citizens, or were subject to the authority of the Greek com- manders. In these licenses, the pasha drove a secret, but very profitable trade; inasmuch as these captains commonly paid, for such permission of the pasha to traffick [sic], a premium of twelve per cent, upon all articles of merchandise which they disposed of to the Greeks. These articles included various kinds of provisions, wool, cotton, currants, and oil. This trade would have been far less advantageous to the traders than to the pasha, had they not taken care to add these charges as well as their own commissions, to the price of the commodoties [sic] disposed of to my countrymen, whose necessity compelled them to purchase at whatever price was demanded. My master, who was commissary of that place, had frequent transactions with these capitani, in purchasing provisions for the garrison. I sought, a long time, for a favorable opportunity to address some of these men, and to communicate to them a knowledge of my situation. My courage failed me, on several occasions, when I was on the point of making this communication, forasmuch as they were generally men who, by their occupations, (partly trader, partly pirate,) were accustomed and injured to every species of dishonesty; and whom no tie, but that of interest, could bind. These rovers were, also, generally hostile in feeling, to the Greeks, by whose admirals they had often chastised [sic], for their piracies, in the Ionian and Aegean seas, although interest prompted them to disguise their hatred, and to carry on an apparently cordial trade. Any communication with such men, I was fearful might be betrayed, and reliance upon them might fatally prejudice the purpose I was meditating. Had they known of my situation, and inclination to escape, their sense of morals would not, probably, have prevented them from enticing, or stealing me away. There was no sufficient motive of interest, however, to induce them to run the hazard of incurring the heavy penalty inflicted for that offence. It is probable, therefore, that instead of aiding my escape, they would have betrayed my secret to my master, as well to secure his favour [sic] and confidence, as to gratify their vindictive feelings toward a Greek.

There happened to arrive, however, at castle Moraitico, about the middle of January, 1825, an Italian vessel, under the command of a Genoese, named Spalla. This man was totally unacquainted with either the Turkish or the Greek languages. He brought out a cargo of provisions, consisting of rice, corn, fruits, biscuits, and other commodities. My master wished to purchase this cargo for the use of his garrison; and as I was the only person of his household who understood Italian, I was chosen, by good fortune, as the interpreter between them. Of this opportunity, I took advantage. The captain and myself entered into conversation together,— and as I knew his inability to betray my confidence, I disclosed to him my situation without reserve. This was all in the presence of my master and several other Turks, who did not suspect, that in carrying on his negotiation, I was at the same time, negotiating for my own liberty. I represented to the Italian, as well as I was able, the cruelties and privations I had suffered, and my anxious desire to escape from a state of slavery so dangerous and dreadful. He was touched with pity, and sympathised [sic] sincerely with me in my afflictions, inquired with much earnest-ness, respecting my family; and on learning that my name was Stephanini, observed that he was familiar with the name, having often heard of my father from the Italian merchants, with whom he was acquainted. He took special care to inspire me with hope and confidence in heaven. He told me that he could not conceal from me, that my enterprise, would, if undertaken, be attended with great and particular danger, both to myself and to those that might assist me. He asked me if I could brave death, in order to effect my freedom; and told me at length, if I had sufficient confidence in my own courage, to attempt the experiment, he would contribute all the means in his power to effect my deliverance. I was not long in forming my resolution. I blessed him as my friend and benefactor, and expressed with confidence the strong desire I felt, and the hazards I would willingly incur, to escape from my thraldom [sic].

A subsequent meeting completed our arrangements. In about ten days after this, his business being finished, and his vessel ready to sail, the captain called on me and said; My friend, the time of your emancipation has, I hope, arrived. Put your trust in God, and follow my directions. I am now ready for my departure. Come to the small warf [sic], that runs into the gulf beyond the castle Maraitico, this evening, at eight o'clock, precisely, and I and my crew will be there waiting for you with a boat. I had not words to express my gratitude. I embraced my benefactor. He left me, and the time drew near. The mingled emotions of joy, of gratitude, of fear, that agitated my mind, it is impossible to describe. My frame trembled like an aspen leaf. I had three miles to go by land, and every step of this distance lay among enemies and barbarians, who would have thought no more of the murder of a Greek than of the destruction of a dangerous or offensive beast; —— but the apprehensions of death weigh but little with the slave who has the glorious prospect of liberty before his eyes. In the worst event, he is released from a life of wearinesss [sic] and wo; “a consummation devoutly to be wished.” I loaded with care an old pistol my master had given me a year or two before, in a fit of uncommon kindness, and having offered up my earnest prayers to God for his guidance and aid, in this season of peril; I watched my opportunity, and seizing a favourable [sic] moment, when none were observing me, I left the house. I walked precipitately through the streets in the dark. I dared not run, lest I should be suspected by the Turkish soldiers and citizens whom was meeting every moment. I walked on; my heart beating violently, my knees tottering, and my breath almost suspended. I at length reached the wharf in safety. A tutelary angel seemed to watch over and direct me. The boat was ready, and had been sometime waiting. I sprang on board - we put off in an instant, and were soon on board the vessel. I fell on my knees, and returned thanks to God for my deliverance; nor did I forget my obligations to the man who had been its instrument.

The captain took care to have my hair cut and my Turkish habiliments exchanged for others of Italian make, with a view to my security from the straggling glance of any occasional visiter [sic] from the Turkish fleet, through which we were obliged to pass. My Turkish garments he rolled up, with a large stone, and committed them to the gulf. He then sent me down into the hold of the vessel, where I was kept concealed until he could prepare a water cask for my reception. Into this vessel I was put forthwith, and never did I enter a dungeon with so hearty a good will as on this occasion. It was well that I had been secreted with so much expedition. My flight had become known, and I was sought for through the whole town. In the fortress, whereever [sic] a man could possibly be secreted, I was searched for; and at last the search was directed to the very vessel of which I was a silent inmate. The officers of the castle came on board early in the morning, and every part of the vessel where I was not, was closely inspected. When they commenced their investigations in the part where I was , the captain, by the judicious distribution of a few dozen of piastres among them, convinced them at once that further search was needless; and they left the vessel, apparently with the fullest confidence that all was right on board. Thus the captain's piastres had the effect to preserve my life, his property from confiscation, and himself and his crew from a life of slavery.

Having obtained a license from the commandant, we immediately sailed from beneath the castle of Patras, and by the blessing of God, were soon out of the reach of its guns, as well as of those of the Turkish fleet, and in a few hours we had the satisfaction to find ourselves free from danger, and with a favourable [sic] breeze smoothly gliding over the broad waters of the Ionian sea ....

... We arrived in the harbour [sic] of Smyrna, after a passage of eight days from Patras. This city is the principal port of Asia Minor, and carries on an extensive maritime commerce with various parts of Europe and America, and an inland trade with the neighbouring [sic] Asiatic provinces. It is inhabited principally by Turks, though the streets are thronged by merchants and travellers [sic], from various parts of the world. There are to be seen assembled, Americans, English, French, Italians, Turks, Greeks, Armenians, Austrians, Egyptians, Algerines, Jews, &c. &c. &c. In a word, the population of Smyrna, represents most all the varieties of the human race, and afford a picture of the world in miniature. The city is governed by a Turkish bey, and is, I should judge, about the size of Boston in New England. There are extensive salt-works in the neighbourhood [sic] of the city. Unwilling to run the hazard of a second captivity, I did not, at first, venture on shore, but remained as close as possible, on board the vessel. I was persuaded at last by the solicitations of the captain, to accompany him once on shore. On that occasion, I saw many of my countrymen in a state of the most wretched slavery; others were famishing with want, and all were in the greatest affliction and distress. I was told, that a short time before, while the Greeks were assembled in their houses of worship, on a Sunday morning, they were beset and surrounded by the Turkish troops, sword in hand, who inhumanly butchered a great many of them, in cold blood, they making not the least resistance.

The captain, to whose kindness I had been so much indebted for my restoration to liberty, treated me with all imaginable tenderness, and gave me all the information that he was able to collect, in the course of his business. I officiated as his clerk, and did all in my power to promote his interest, in return for his goodness.

We took in a cargo of wood, at Smyrna, for Alexandra, in Egypt, and sailed for that port in April...

... Our captain having finished his business in Alexandria, took in a cargo for the isle of Crete. This island was at the commencement of the revolution taken by the Greeks, who, with the exception of the two strong castles of Megalo Castro and Canea were in possession of the whole island. These two citadels the Turks had occupied prior to the revolution, and still maintained them. We set sail for this island, and in sixteen days arrived off the harbour [sic] of Megalo-Castro, which lies on the northern side ...

... After discharging our cargo, we took in ballast. I went on shore in company with the captain, and to my extreme regret, saw many of my countrymen in slavery. Several were sold during my stay, in the market like animals. One lady and two small children were offered for sale to the captain and myself, for about fifteen dollars. The unhappy slave, with the most piteous lamentations, besought us, by the love of God, to deliver her and her infants from the ruffians, into whose hands they had fallen; and if we could not dispose of them otherwise, to throw them into the sea. The captain told her that to afford them any relief was impossible, as he was obliged to visit several Turkish ports, and to have her and her children on board his vessel, would endanger his own safety, and prove fatal to them. The brutal wretch who offered them, swore by Alla, (God) that if we did not purchase them, he would kill them; as he would not be at the expense of maintaining them any longer.

I was so much shocked at this barbarous and revolting scene that, with a heart almost bursting with grief and indignation, I returned to the vessel, takikng [sic] care not to show my face on shore again. After five days, we sailed for Smyrna, and arrived there after a passage of eight days

* * *

... My friends in Genoa kindly furnished me with several letters to different persons at Gibraltar; and with much regret at leaving the good captain who had done so much for me, I sailed from Genoa, and in nine days reached Gibraltar. I immediately delivered my letters of introduction, and was kindly and courteously received. These letters put me on a respectable footing in that place; and I wrote without delay, to several friends in different parts of Greece, begging them, if they were able, to communicate some account of the fate of my family. I waited four months and a half at Gibraltar, in daily hopes of receiving intelligence from my friends—but was disappointed. Every day brought in additional accounts of the calamities heaped upon my unfortunate country; and amidst such violent commotions as she was compelled to undergo, extending as they did to every corner of Greece, I had every thing to fear for my family and friends. I became almost vexed with life. Successive disappointments had broken my spirit, and my life to me was but weariness and trouble. There was no point of my country, to which I could safely return. All the places we could hear from, were in possession of the Turks. All business was suspended; all Greek property confiscated, or destroyed; all communication broken off, except for the army and military despatches [sic]. I could not turn my eye to any part of my ill-fated country with the hope of meeting friend or relative alive to receive me. In vain were all the letters I had written. I had no security for their conveyance to the place of their destination; no assurance that they had not fallen into the hands of the Turks, and been destroyed, with every thing [sic] else that could not be turned to their own interest. In this situation, under the doubts, the purposeless wandering of my hopes, I could not determine on anything with regard to my own country; and willingly listened to a proposition of some of my friends to visit America. This happy country was described to me in the warmest terms, and most glowing colours [sic]. It was represented as the sanctuary of liberty, in which she found an abode when driven from every other quarter of the globe. The securty [sic] of its laws, the humanity and moral beauty of its customs, the hospitality, elevation, and prosperity of its people, were enlarged upon, and without a home to receive me in my own country, I made my determination to seek an asylum here.

The brig Abeona, Captain Fairchild, was then at Gibraltar, and about to sail for New York. In her I took passage, and, after a voyage of forty-four days, I arrived in that large and flourishing city. It was more than a month, before I found a single individual to whom I had letters; as I was totally ignorant of the English language. During a part of this time, I was kindly and courteously entertained by Captain Fairchild, on board his vessel.

At length, I became acquainted with L. Bradish, Esq., who rendered me great service, especially as an interpreter, and kindly introduced me to the Greek Committee of that place; which association had been formed for the benevolent and godlike object of relieving the sufferings, and aiding the exertions of my unhappy countrymen. Anxious to return again to my country, in order to ascertain the situation of my unfortunate family, I applied to the Greek Committee, and stated to them my desire. They advised me to return, and procured me a passage in the ship Six Brothers, which was about to sail with a cargo of provisions, sent as a gratuity by the liberal citizens of New York, to the famishing and perishing Greeks, at Napoli di Romania. She was to stop at Malta, pursuant to the advice of the Committee. I embarked for that place, on the 13th of May, 1827. On our arrival there, the vessel was ordered into quarantine. The captain went into the lazaretto, and I accompanied him. I was introduced to John Pulis, Esq., the American consul, and to the Rev. Daniel Temple, then in that island. A Greek merchant, named Anastasi Pagoni, hearing of me by these gentlemen, called on me at the lazaretto, and brought me a letter in answer to one had written from Gibraltar to a friend at Previsa. This letter gave me the dreadful intelligence of the massacre of my father, at Missolonghi, together with the capture of his family, at the time of its fall. That event, so bloody and disastrous, both to me and to my country, took place on the 22d of February, 1825. The letter went on to inform me, that my mother, and my two younger brothers and sisters, were made prisoners by the Albanians, and dragged away into slavery; that my eldest brother and sister, Spiro and Maria, had been, early in the revolution, lost by some mischance, and had never been heard of since; that the hopes of the most sanguine patriots, for the salvation of their country, began to fail; that ruin, desolation, and misery, overspread the country; and concluded, by exhorting me to bear up with courage and fortitude, under this complication of afflictions.

This exhortation was, however, ineffectual. The gloomy intelligence quite overwhelmed me. My soul was sunken and prostrated; and death would have been a relief to me; for life presented nothing but a blank and dreary desert before me, on which I could dis-cover no green nor sunny spot. Cut off from the society of my family, and friends; doubtful as to their existence; and, if they existed, knowing that it was in a slavery more horrible than death; without a country or a home; dependant [sic] on the charities of strangers, and hopeless of a change in my fortunes, I sunk down into a state of sullen despondency. The captain of the Six-Brothers, Mr. John Stuyvesant, and other friends, whom I had found in my wanderings, endeavoured [sic] to console me, but there is a measure of grief, which even the voice of kindness and friendship cannot assuage.

Not knowing what to do, and reckless of my fate, I was about to take passage from Malta to Corfu, with the forlorn hope of gaining some further intelligence of my unhappy family, and of obtaining means among our former friends for their ransom; when two of my countrymen came to see me at the lazaretto, and advised me to abandon the design of going to Corfu, but to proceed in the ship Six Brothers to Napoli di Romania; whither her cargo had been directed. In this advice the captain concurred, together with Mr. Stuyvesant, the supercargo, and the other American gentlemen [sic] on board. I determined on doing so went again on board the Six Brothers, and we immediately sailed for that place. On arriving there, we found it in a most deplorable situation. Thousands of people, driven as exiles from other parts of Greece, were assembled here; stripped of every thing [sic], without habitation, clothing, or food. Hundreds and hundreds of poor emaciated creatures, in the last stages of fever and starvation, were lying about in the fields, with but the remanant [sic] of a garment to hide their nakedness, and no covering but the canopy of heaven. I never beheld so shocking a picture of agonizing misery, as that city at that time exhibited. Hundreds of the unhappy exiles had perished with famine and disease, and hundreds more were dying all around us. The recollection of such a spectacle of suffering humanity, even now makes me shudder, and my blood almost congeal. Oh my God! what have not my countrymen suffered in this dreadful struggle for their liberty and religion!

* * *

The arrival of the ship with supplies to the famished people at Napoli, was hailed with transports of gratitude and joy. The richest blessings of heaven were invoked on the Americans for their signal benevolence. The voices of old and young were engaged in expressions of fervent and grateful acknowledgement of American philanthropy; and the faint voices of the sick, and even the dying, were not silent amidst the general joy. Col. Miller, Col. Jarvis, and Dr. Howe, the three distinguished Americans who have done so much for the Greek cause and the Greek nation, were the distributors of the provisions and clothing among the people. I was introduced to them; and they with one accord counselled me to return to America.

On looking around me, I found the circumstances of my country, and of myself, such, as to incline me to their advice. In the existing state of Greece, overrun by the relentless enemy; desolated by the scimitar [sic]; and devastated by pillage and fire; the remnant of her unhappy people, who had escaped, massacre and captivity, driven from the pursuits of industry into exile, and perishing with famine, nakedness, and disease: in such a state of things, I could render no service to my country by remaining, and I despaired of being able to learn any thing [sic] more of my unfortunate family; to procure the means of their deliverance, or even of my own subsistence.

These reasons, concurring with the advice of my American friends, I once more left my native land, to seek an asylum elsewhere. I felt myself a solitary wanderer on the earth, and I cared very little where I dragged out the residue of my wretched existence. My heart was withered; my soul, desolate. The fate of my mother, brothers, sisters, in slavery- in torture, was ever present to my thoughts, and filled my soul with the most agonizing distress.

Distracted by such reflections, I proceeded in the Six-Brothers, to the isle of Poros; whence, after a stay of nine days, we took our departure for Marseilles, a large commercial [sic] city in the south of France.

The Six-Brothers, being bound to Monte Video, Captain Lee procured for me a pas-sage to Boston, in an American brig, called the Byron, (a name consecrated to liberty and to genius,) commanded by Captain Moore, who kindly gave me my passage thither. I had letters to the Greek Committee in that city, whither, after a long and boisterous passage of 73 days, we arrived in safety. On treading the soil, and breathing the air of freedom, I felt my soul revive again: but the emotions of joy I felt, were allayed with those of sorrow for my own dear land, when I contrasted her calamities and degradation, with the liberty, peace and happiness of this heaven-protected country.

I was received in Boston with the greatest kindness by the Greek Committee, and was hospitably entertained by many other gentlemen. In the family of the father of Dr. Howe, I received attentions and courtesies which I shall ever remember. I resided in his house for some time previous to my departure from Boston to New York.

At New York, I was solicitous to engage in some occupation that might afford me an independent livelihood, till circumstances might prove more auspicious to the accomplishment of my object— that of procuring means for the deliverance of my sffering [sic] family. I at length, obtained employment in the drug store of Messrs. O. & W. Hall, who have always shown me the greatest kindness, and, for which, I shall always feel grateful. In this situation, I remained almost a year, surrounded by difficulties, and heart-stricken by my own misfortunes, and those of my family; I lived sullenly on, during this period; in despair of ever emerging from the obscurity by which I was shroud-ed, to a situation wherein I could, with advantage, exert myself to compass the object of my desire.

Receiving an invitation to visit South Carolina, I embarked for Charleston, in hopes of obtaining some situation wherein my exertions could be turned to more account; and the means of accomplishing my object more speedily acquired.

On my arrival, I found that the duties of a place which I had designed to occupy, and which had been procured for me by the kindness of a friend, were of such a nature as to render its acceptance incompatible with my feelings. I had letters of introduction to a few gentlemen in Charleston, who, in the kindness and courtesy with which they received me, nobly sustained the reputation for generosity of feeling, and liberality in conferring benefits, which has always been a characteristic of the citizens of that respectable city. I could long dwell with emotions of gratitude and pleasure, on the multiplied acts and manifestations of philanthropy and disinterested benevolence, which were heaped on me by many in that place; but, time would fail me to mention all the names of those to whom I am under obligations I never can repay. I should, however, do violence to my feelings, were I to omit to mention, the peculiar debt of gratitude I owe to John S. Richardson, Esq., to whom I was introduced, and by whom, after hear-ing my story, I was first advised to publish it to the world, as the most feasible, if not the only mode of effecting the deliverance of my wretched family.

Confiding much in the intelligent judgment of Mr. Richardson, and relying on the liberality of my friends to assist and support my undertaking, I resolved on the publication of my narrative. In visiting Savannah, to obtain subscriptions for the work, I received much courtesy and attention from Rev. Messrs. Baker and Weir, C. W. Rockwell, and G. W. Coe, esquires, who will pardon me for seizing this occasion to express my gratitude for their hospitality and courteous kindness. In New York, Philadelphia, and Albany, which cities I have since visited, I have received much encouragement in the prosecution of my little work.

It is now finished; and it is hoped, that the object, for which it was undertaken, and is now offered to the public, is of such a nature as will commend itself to a liberal and Christian community. It is a well-known characteristic of the American people, that when a worthy object of benevolence is presented to their observation, that noble sympathy which adorns and dignifies our nature, comes spontaneously forth, and impels the hand to do what the heart dictates.

The emancipation of a family from the miseries of slavery, - a slavery of whose horrors I can speak from bitter experience, is an enterprise which such a people, I confidently trust, will not refuse to aid.

The voice of my suffering country, has never yet appealed in vain to Americans. In he extremity of her calamities, when “clouds and thick darkness” hung over the issue of her sunken and almost desperate struggle for the recovery of her long lost rights; when the banded powers of Europe were lowering on her people with an aspect menacing destruction,- it was among Americans that she found firm and faithful friends, whose voices kindly cheered her onward in her glorious labour [sic]; and whose hands were stretched forth to relieve her distress— O, when my country shall again assume her rank among the nations of the earth; when her ancient glory shall shine again with brighter splendour [sic] from its long obscurity; when her suffering people shall, like Ameri-cans, be free and happy- how grateful to American hearts will be the reflection, that they have largely contributed to her moral and political regeneration!

The occasion on which American benevolence is now addressed, is of less comparative importance, than that of the salvation of a whole country; but it is one, on which the feeling heart will not withhold its sympathy. It is the cry of the suffering and helpless slave, that calls for deliverance from a bondage worse than death. It is the voice of a son and brother on their behalf, that now asks that beneficence [sic], which in a reverse of circum-stances, his hand would freely bestow.


As this is the only edition of my Narrative I expect to publish in this country, I take the opportunity of expressing my deep sense of the great kindness and friendly hospitality with which I have been created in the several places I have visited while in this country.

Benevolence and sympathy have not smiled for me in merely single instances; but one impulse of kindness seemed to warm the breast of all to whom my unhappy story was communicated, and inclined every one [sic] to mitigate the afflictions which I suffered.

I came to this country bereaved of all my family relations, a mere stranger, almost unknown; having escaped from captivity only with life. I have found friends to receive me with kindness, and glowing with a desire to assist me in that object which I pursue before all others, the design of redeeming from captivity my mother, sisters, and brothers, who still suffer the trials from which I have been delivered. The distresses that I had experienced, made many regard me as a brother; and like a brother have they ever treat-ed me.

To the ladies who have so kindly interested themselves to obtain subscriptions for my work, my most sincere and respectful thanks are due. Their own pure and generous feelings are their best reward; but the stranger's gratitude will fill his heart as long as life remains; and when in lands far distant, will raise it in prayers for their welfare and happiness.

But from persons of all classes I have received expressions and acts of kindness. All, all have sympathized with the oppressed captive, soothed his moments of despondency, and cheered his hopes of future peace. To all, therefore, does he present his farewell acknowledgements, and he will bear with him a lasting remembrance of their unabated kindness.

Those from whom I have received testimonies of kindness are so numerous, that I am unable to offer them, at parting, my grateful expressions. But I cannot deny myself the pleasure of expressing, however inadequately, my sense of the obligations which I feel towards several gentlemen of the Greek Committee, and to Rev. Dr. Wainwright, Rev. Mr. Bruen, R. Sedgwick, Esq. and J. F. Phillips, Esq., of New York; as well as towards the Rev. Dr. Ely, Alexander Henry, J.K. Kane, and J. P. Morris, Esqs., of Philadelphia; and to Rev. Dr. Lacy, and Mr. Hopkins, of Albany.

(Hatzidimitriou 121-140)

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).