III. “Greek Fire” The Grass Roots Response A. Expression of Public Support for the Greek Cause

A16. Various Notices, Newspaper Articles and Letters

Niles' Weekly Register, January 9, 1824
“Greek FIRE!" A New York paper says that the corporation have loaned the portrait of General JACKSON, to be placed in the dancing room on the eighth of January, when the profits of the ball are to be given to the “Greek fund”—and calls the proceeding “Greek fire!"

(Robinson, p. 147) September 7, 1825
There will be a meeting of the Greek Committee at the Union Bank on Friday, at in o'clock to consider the letters lately received from Greece.

By order

Messrs. S. I. Armstrong, J. I. Austin, Geo. Blake, A. Bradford
Col. S. D. Harris, Rev. S. F. Jarvis, D. D., J. C. Merrill, H. Orne
N. P. Russell Esq., J. C. Warren, M. D., S. A. Willis, T. L. Winthrop

(Robinson, p. 56) December 18, 1826: (Letter from Edward Everett to Mathew Carey in Philadelphia.]
... I have your esteemed favours [sic] of the 11th, 13th and 17th, which I beg leave to acknowledge.

I was most truly rejoiced to have had it in my power to put into your service and faithful hands a document which would assist you in your appeals to the sympathies of your benevolent city. With regard to the printing of my letter, although I did not contemplate definitely any other publicity than that of having it perhaps read at some meeting, yet I cannot certainly be so ungracious as to complain of that which was not only well designed by you, but has been productive as you think of some good effects. The mis. print you notice had also been observed by me and in the letter as published in the Democratic Press there are some others as Mr. added before the name of the old mountaineer KOLOKOTRONI and counties for countries in the extract from the letter. But these are trilling things to which the judicious reader generally furnishes his own correction and which even while uncorrected, produce no worse effect than to throw an air of rusticity over a sentence or two of no weight in the main Import.

I enclose you a trifle as my own contribution toward the benevolent object you have so essentially promoted. God knows I wish it carried two cyphers instead of one. It is all my limited means enable me to contribute. I shall be desirous of writing to one or two friends among the noble and devoted spirits who are agonizing in Greece to go by your vessel; and in acknowledging the letter of General KOLOKOTRONI, I shall take good care to let him understand that the credit of having given effect to it belongs not to me but to you.

I am, Dear Sir,
Very truly yours,

(Robinson, p. 164) Boston Daily Advertiser, December 21, 1826: Relief for the Greeks
A correspondent who declared himself much gratified with the remarks of F in our paper of Tuesday (Dec. 19), expresses a wish that some one would call a meeting of the citizens to take measures for contributing something for the suffering Greeks. In case anything is done, he authorizes us to consider him pledged to contribute twenty barrels of four. We are satisfied that many other gentlemen feel the same disposition to do some, thing in this work of charity if the opportunity were offered them. We regret that some thing was not done before Mr. Miller left town. His testimony, which is entitled to the fullest credit, concurs with that which has reached us from several other quarters, in showing that great numbers of the Greeks, who are driven from their farms and homes are dying for want of food and clothing. We should have recommended, had we not hoped that the suggestion would come from some quarter that should be raised in money, provisions and clothing, to be sent to Greece, under the care of Mr. Miller him-self, (should he be willing to undertake the charge) and of our most deserving towns, man, Dr. Howe, who is now in Greece. They have both, by their personal sacrifices and their good conduct, given the best proof of their being entitled to this mark of confidence. By means of one or both of these agents, we might feel an entire satisfaction that our charity would be judiciously dispensed.

There is reason to believe that the citizens of New York will do something liberal in aid of this cause. The people of Philadelphia also are already making a generous effort, which promises to be successful. A letter from Philadelphia published in the New York Evening Post, of Monday, says that on Saturday a large and representative meeting was held that Mr. Everett's letter to Mr. Carey “was read with applause, and excited deep interest,” and resolution were adopted. The letter adds “there is strong reason to hope that a vessel of 250 or 300 tons burden, will be fitted out here in the course of this or the next week.”

(Robinson, p. 165) National Gazette, Philadelphia, December 30, 1826 Communication.
The following letter, received by Mr. EVERETT, and transmitted by him to the Greek Committee, reflects so much credit on the head and heart of the writer, and sets so laud, able an example, that it would be unjust to withhold it from the public.

Richmond (Va.) Dec. 25, 1826
Sir: The writer of this is an utter stranger to you and you are, personally, equally unknown to him. An apology for intrusion, however, is deemed unnecessary, as a redeeming spirit, it is hoped, will appear in the object in view.

I have read your letter to Mr. Carey relative to the wants of the suffering Greeks with deep inter-est. I wish to aid them, so far as I can consistently with my circumstances. A ten dollar note is enclosed for this purpose. I am aware the same is small, but it is a full tithe of my clear yearly income. Be pleased to apply it efficiently if there is opportunity, if not, you will be good enough to return it.

Born and brought up in a land of liberty, I know, and knowing, prize the rights, the privileges and the blessings of a citizen of a free country; and I cannot but wish that all who are seeking, through toil, suffering, and blood, for the rights of men, may enjoy them as liberally as I do myself.

Yours etc.

(Robinson, p. 49) March 3, 1827:
[Letter from Edward Everett to General Kolokotronis.]
Washington, House of Representatives, 3rd March, 1827


I have had the honor to receive the letter of last July addressed to me by your Excellency. I have made it public to the friends of Greece and the American People generally. Our citizens have been deeply affected with sympathy, on hearing of the sufferings of our fel-low Christians in Greece; and I have the happiness to inform you, that they are anxious to contribute to their relief. The law of nations does not permit the Government of the United States to render you any warlike aid, but the American people, in their warlike capacity, are eager to afford all the assistance in their power, to their brave and suffering fellowmen. The vessel which bears this letter, is loaded with provisions and clothing, the contribution of benevolent individuals, and it is hoped will bring some relief to the wants of your heroic countrymen. Two or three other vessels will shortly follow from the different parts of the country and will be received, I hope, as a proof that the hearts of the American people are with you. This first cargo is the exclusive offering of the citizens of New York.

Wishing to you, General, and to your brave and patriotic countrymen victory and success, I subscribe myself

Your faithful, humble Servant,

(Booras, p. 211-12) New York Evening Post, March 2, 12, 15, 17, 1827: Report of the Joint Committee of the Senate in Assembly [of New York State of the Application for Relief of the Greeks, Made March, 1827.
[...] Similarly, in the sovereign state of New York, a joint committee of the Senate and Assembly was appointed to consider a bill, which had been introduced, for the purpose of sending 1,000 barrels of four to Greece. On March 1, 1827, the committee reported favorably on the bill, saying, among other things, that the stake for which Greece was fighting was also that for which the pioneers of American independence had fought. The report concludes in the following words:

... that land from which we derived our first ideas of freedom, which produced the heroes and statesmen whose example is constantly exhibited for our emulation, which gave birth to the authors in whose works their country still lives and will forever live and whose precepts formed our minds and planted there the seeds of intelligence, the land of which we are perpetually reminded by the monuments of art, in painting, sculpture and architecture, the land, finally, to which the heart of every scholar turns with the devotion of a long absent pilgrim,-that land sup-plicates our benevolence...

To us, the youngest and most free of the nation of the world, is this appeal made. In the opinion of your committee, a refusal would ill become such a nation.

[Editor's note: The bill passed the Senate but was defeated in the Assembly, in spite of the stirring oration by Representative Spencer. It is interesting to note that the New York Evening Post, which verbally was consistently philhellenic, nonetheless [sic] praised the action of the Assembly in defeating the bill, as it feared that its passage would indirectly embroil the nation in international disputes.]

(Hatzidimitriou 167-171)

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).