Greek War of Independence & America's Contributions to the Greek Cause
In 1971, The Order of AHEPA published "The 1821 Greek War of Independence and America's Contributions to the Greek Cause." This book recounts America's contributions to the Greek struggle for independence.
George Leber, the book's editor, compiled this historical account in commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the Greek War of Independence (1821-1971).
At the time of its publication, Leber was the Executive Secretary of The Order of AHEPA. He has also written and published the entire history of the the AHEPA, from its founding in 1922, up to 1972.
Contents in this publication address events such as "The Fall of Constantinople", "The Massacre of Chios", "Aid from European Powers", "The Beginnings of America's Interest in Greece", "President James Monroe", and "Lt. Gen. George Jarvis".
The book is an overall historical recount, from Leber's perspective, on the effects that the most notable nations and players had on the relationship between Greece and the United States.
Background & Events Leading Up to the Revolution
On May 29, 1453, Constantinople finally fell before the onslaught of the Turkhordes, and this date also marks the beginning of virtual slavery for Greece, for a period of nearly four hundred years.
The trials that the Greeks were subjected to under their Mohammedan masters are almost common knowledge. The worst practice of the Turkish overlords, which has been condemned by all civilization, was the gathering of all young Greek boys, at an early age, of sound health and mind, for use in the Turkish military. These boys formed the famous Janissaries — Turkish troops whose bravery and cruelty has almost no parallel in history. The Greek lads were raised under Turkish customs, and soon forgot any tie they might have had with Greece. They became Mohammedans, and were used to subdue, many times, small uprisings of the Greeks — in effect, at times it was often the case wherein the son slaughtered the father, not knowing of his relationship, looking on the other as merely a Greek slave, to be punished. It is interesting to note that the training given these Janissaries was that used, in ancient Sparta — intended to give them added strength, ability to endure hardships bravely, and to face death without fear.
During the early years following the Fall of Constantinople, the Greek Orthodox Church did not suffer greatly at the hands of the Turk, however, during the two centuries preceding the Revolution, bans were put on the Church, and cruelties to the priests and followers became common. Small outbreaks among the Greeks resulted in reduced liberties, slavery to women and children, and oftentimes, wholesale murders and massacres. The Greek Orthodox Church held its place and it; power through Greece and the Near East mainly because of the constant energetic fight of the Patriarchs, who never relaxed their vigilance and who carried on their struggle for maintenance of their faith.
Despite the fact that Greece had been subjugated by the Turk, three communities never fell into the hands of the Turk — MANI, SFAKIA TIS KRITIS (CRETE) AND SOULI TIS EPEIRO. Because of the mountainous, inaccessible country the Turk could never subject these Greeks to his power.
The PHANARIOTES were men of great learning, taught at PHANARI in Constantinople, under the Patriarchate. They kept alive the Greek language both in the Church and in the communities of all Greece. These men, because of their learning, gained rank in Turkish diplomatic and business circles, for the Turk's knowledge of languages was notoriously little. He was not able to deal in international diplomacy because learning was not an attribute of the Turk.
Because of this, the Phanariotes were given ambassadorial and, diplomatic positions to all parts of Europe. They rose to high positions, and secured lands, and titles for their families, which placed them in strategic positions for the revolution to come.
Greek sailors of the myriad islands surrounding Greece had ample opportunities to fit themselves with ships, under the Turkish rule, for the Turk needed this Greek commerce for himself. Because of the corsairs, or pirates, that roamed the sea at that time, it was necessary that the fishing and trading boats be armed with cannons. These small ships were a great aid to the Greeks in 1821.
Russian trading ships were allowed to come and go freely through the Bosporus or Hellespont, and through the Mediterranean without impediment or inspection on the part of the Turks. What Greek vessels sailed the sea had been required to carry the Turkish flag. However, the Greek sailors circumvented this obstacle by raising the Russian flag on their vessels, consequently escaping search and seizure. These Greek traders soon established great communities among the Russian cities on the Black Sea in Odessa and Tagani, and also in Trieste and Venice in what is now Italy. These Greek merchants grew influential and prosperous through the years, and by the day of the revolution, they had the wealth necessary to aid their mother country in her fight for freedom.
With the fall of Constantinople, the scholars in Greece immediately fled to the other parts of Europe, taking refuge in Holland, England and France. This left little source of learning for the people, for soon the schools themselves were closed for lack of teachers and because of Turkish pressure. For almost three hundred years, until 1700 and thereafter, Greece had no schools, or very few of them and learning was denied the people. Illiteracy was common, and except for what learning the Church offered, there was none.
Finally, in the 18th Century the prosperous Greek community of traders and merchants in Venice started its own small Greek school and Church. In this manner, their children had the opportunity of learning Greek for the first time, in school. The Black Sea communities followed suit, and then the program was broadened to include schools in Athens, with aid from these outside communities. Schools were also established in Ioannina, Levadia, Patmos, etc. The schools grew — scholars came from them, and teachers went out from them, to teach in other cities. Among the teachers who carried on their work were Eugenios Voulgaris, Nikeforos Theotokis, Constantinos Economos, Vamvas, Georgios Gennathios, and others.
These teachers not only taught their pupils the Greek language, but also taught the hope of freedom, someday, for Greece. They preached a greater and free Hellas for the future. Many of the school classes were held at night, in out of the way places, for the Turks constantly sought to do away with schools, and places of learning among the Greeks.
The greatest of these Greek teachers was Adamantios Koraes, of Chios. However, he never actually taught in a school, as an instructor. Through his writings, he did more to instill the thought of freedom and of the glory of the Greek language and name in the mind and heart of the Greek, than any other person.
He brought back all of the deeds of ancient Greece — informed these Greeks that they were descendants of these great men — and that slavery was never meant for them.
Adamantios Koraes was born in Smyrna in 1748. His father was a merchant of Chios. The boy was sent to Amsterdam for business reasons, but instead of learning the principles of business, he went to school instead, to learn languages and be a scholar. He later returned to Smyrna, but seeing that he could not live under Turkish domination, he prevailed upon his father to send him to school in France, to study medicine. During his studies, both of his parents died, and after the completion of his school work, he went to Paris.
Adamantios Koraes is credited with giving new life to the Greek language, for he took the work of the ancient Greeks and explained them in his writings, using them as a means of portraying the action he believed that the modern Greek should follow. He did much to bring out a Greek language now bereft of the many dialects and intrusive tongues it had acquired throughout the centuries under various overlords. He died in 1833 at the age of 85.
During these centuries, the Turkish armies were making headway into Europe, and actually had besieged Vienna twice, only to be driven back into Hungary each time. They dominated Hungary for 150 years before being driven out of that land. The states of Venice and Turkey were constantly at war with each other because of their interests in Greece. Venice controlled many cities in the Peleponnesus and also the Cyclades Islands, Crete, Cyprus, and other localities.
Through Venetian and Russian aid the Greeks arose in revolt many times during the 17th and 18th Centuries, but each was suppressed. However, these occurred only in restricted areas and were not widespread. The results of these uprisings were great massacres by the Turks in the cities of Thessaly, in Crete, Smyrna and in central Greece as well.
Lampros Katsonis was a Greek patriot who led his small fleet of Greek ships against the Turkish fleets successfully in the 1780-90's, only, however, through aid from Russia. When that aid stopped, his raids against the Turks could no longer be carried on, and he retired to Russia to live. Androutsos was one of his aids, who had to escape to Venice, after Katsonis returned to Russia, but upon being demanded by the Turks, from the Venetians, he was turned over by the authorities to them, and died in prison in Constantinople.
REGAS O FEREOS was born in 1757 in Velestino, Thessaly. He studied and became a teacher in Bucharest. At this time, the French Revolution had begun, and Regas began to think of freedom for his country, Greece. He began writing letters to all influential men in Greece, urging freedom for the country, asking them to work towards that end.
He also wrote many poems and songs of the greatness of Greece, and of freedom — hoping to instill within the hearts of his countrymen more than an ordinary desire for freedom. These spread over all of Greece. He also wrote to Napoleon, and arranged for an audience with him. On the way, he was stopped by the Austrians, searched, and incriminatory papers were found on him which caused his return to Vienna, and later, he was turned over to the Turkish authorities in Belgrade. There, he died in prison, but his memory lived forever after in Greece, where he was a hero, and his songs and poems lived on, feeding the flame of revolt.
The story of the SOULIOTES is one of tragedy, and of bravery.
In the 1700's, a majority of the peasants of Epirus migrated to the wild and almost uninhabitable country in the mountains of Ioannina, building there four small villages. This was done to escape the oppression of their Turkish overlords. The villages were named Souli, Kiafa, Avariko and Samoniva. Together the people were called SOULIOTES.
Ali Pasha, leader of the Turkish forces in that region, determined to punish the Souliotes for their move, and for defying his power to subdue them. He led three assaults and sieges against them — in 1791, 1792, and in 1800. The first two failed, but the third was successful only because of a traitor in the Souliotes camp. The traitor's name was Pelios Gousis, and he secretly brought up 200 of the Turkish soldiers by a secret path, and secreted them in his home until nightfall. Then, while the Souliotes were busy repulsing the attack from the front, these 200 Turks attacked from the rear. (This story is remindful of the event at Thermopylae in ancient. Greek history, when the Greek traitor showed the Persians the secret path up the mountain, so that they could surround the Greek defenders, and destroy them.)
The Souliotes had been besieged for three continuous years at this time and had undergone many hardships of starvation, thirst and the cold of the mountains. But they had withstood all this, and the attacks of the superior Turkish forces until the treason. Now they were forced to flee to the highest peak in that region, on which stood the church of St. Paraskevis. But there, they had no water, and were forced to make peace, with the understanding that they should take their possessions and leave that region, forever. They left their homes but five Souliotes, and the monk Samuel stayed behind to receive their conquerors. The Turks entered the church, to seize the money and possessions left behind, stored therein. Then, the monk calmly put fire into the barrel of gunpowder on which he had been seated, blowing up himself, the Turks and five Souliotes to eternity.
The fleeing Souliotes divided into three sections. The first went to Zalongo, the second to Kerkyra, and the other to Parga. The last section arrived in Kerkyra with only 45 survivors who withstood the attacks of the Turks along the way, the one under Tsavelas arrived safely, but the story of the section that was trapped on Zalongo remains the greatest tragedy of modern Greek history.
This section was under the leadership of Koutsonikas, and they were finally trapped, after a hectic flight across the hills, at Zalongo, by the pursuing Turks. After two days on the mountain peak, their supplies were gone, and there was only one way out — to fight their way through. But the women and children could not be taken along.
Then occurred the historic Dance of Zalongo on December 16, 1803.
After being trapped by Ali Pasha's Ottoman Albanian troops, near the village of Zalongo in Epirus, the women decided to turn towards the cliff's edge together with their infants and children rather than surrender to Ali Pasha.
Each mother took her children, kissed them tenderly, and threw them over the side of the cliff, to perish on the rocks below. Then women, and girls, joined hands in the native dance on the plateau, and after the first time around, the leader threw herself over the cliff, to perish on the rocks below. Then, the next woman or girl in line took the lead, danced around once, and followed the example of the first leader by throwing herself over the cliff. And so on, until every woman had perished. Then the men prepared for their effort to break through the Turkish lines. They forced their way through, but only 150 men, out of the original 850 found safety in Parga.
The greatest national secret society, which was international actually in scope, was the Phlliki Etairia (Society of Friends). Philiki Etairia's sole purpose was to overthrow the Ottoman occupation of Greece and establish an Independent Greek State. The membership was secret for it would mean death at the hands of the Turks to be known as a member of the society.
Phlliki Etairia was founded September 14, 1814 by three Greek merchants of Odessa – Emmanuel Xanthos from Arta, Nikolaos Skoufas from Patmos, and Athanasios Tsakaloff from Ioannina. Soon after they initiated a fourth member, Panagiotis Anagnostopoulos from Andritsaina. Between 1814 and 1816, there were roughly twenty members. During 1817, the society initiated members from the diaspora Greeks of Russia and the Danubian Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia. The Prince of Moldavia Michael Soutzos himself, became a member. Massive initiations began only in 1818 and by early 1821, when Phlliki Etairia had expanded to almost all regions of Greece and throughout Greek communities abroad, the membership numbered in thousands. Among its members were tradesmen, clergy, Russian consuls, Ottoman officials from the Phanar and revolutionary Serbs, most notably, the leader of the First Serbian Uprising, father of the modern Serbia and founder of the Karadjordjevic dynasty Karageorge Petrovic. Members included primary instigators of the Greek revolution, notably Theodoros Kolokotronis, Odysseas Androutsos, Dimitris Plapoutas, Papaflessas and the metropolitan bishop Germanos of Patras.
In 1818, Phlliki Etairia headquarters moved from Odessa to Constantinople, and the movement officially opened for freedom for Greece. In July Nikolaos Skoufas fell ill and died. Skoufas' death had been a serious loss. Alexander Ypsilanti, a general in the Russian army, was contacted and asked to assume leadership of Phlliki Etairia, which he did in April 1820. He began active preparations for a revolt and with the setting up of a military unit for the purpose that he named the "Sacred Band."
Ypsilanti's first move was the organization of the revolution against the Turks in Moldavia and Vlachia (now Romania). Russian influence in that region was great, and the revolution was started there so as to influence the Turks into believing that the revolution was backed by Russia, and also to give the Greeks time in preparing for the movement in Greece, proper. However, the revolution in Moldavia failed and Ypsilanti was later taken by the Austrians, as Ypsilanti tried to flee through that country, and confined in prison. In 1827, the Czar of Russia intervened on his behalf and secured his release from prison. However, the confinement had undermined his health and he died within a year of his release. The one great benefit of the revolution was that it caused a mass concentration of Turkish troops to the north, leaving only a small force in Greece itself.
In Constantinople, the news of the revolution caused great consternation among the Turkish officials. The sultan immediately ordered a move against all Greeks in that area, to stem any further uprisings. He ordered his troops to wholesale pillaging and massacres against reputable Greek merchants and leaders. No one was spared, not even the venerable Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople, Gregory V.
On Easter Day, at the close of the services in the Greek Orthodox Churches, Turkish soldiers forced their way into the Greek Patriarchate in Constantinople, and showed papers to the Patriarch, which stated that he had been evicted from his post as Patriarch by the sultan. The soldiers then put the Patriarch in prison, where he remained for some time. The Patriarchate was given orders by the sultan, on pain of death, to select another Patriarch.
Finally, the Patriarch was taken from prison, to the Patriarchate, and there hanged from the Inner Gate. His body was left there for three days, while all Christians hid in their homes for fear of their lives, as the Turkish soldiers roamed the city, searching for Greek Christians. Those that they found, were slaughtered. Then, the body of the Patriarch was taken down, weighted with a heavy stone, and thrown into the sea, by the Turks. However, a Greek ship captain, several days later, sighted the floating body, which had come to the surface, brought it aboard his ship upon recognition, and carried it immediately to Odessa in Russia. There, the Czar gave the Patriarch the honor due him, with a state funeral, and great mourning. After fifty years, the body was exhumed and taken to Athens, where it lies today.
This action, and others, on the part of the Turks, were made in order to suppress and kill any movement towards revolution, however, they only served to add more fuel to the flame of revolt, adding more hatred within the Greek for his Turkish master.
Men & Events of the Revolution (1821 - 1831)
In 1821, through the efforts of the Philiki Etairia, the secret society, some semblance of organization and planning had been brought about, and in March of that year, under the leadership of such men as Theodore Kolokotronis, Petrompes Mavromichalis, Andreas Zaimis, Andreas Lentos, the Metropolites Palaion Patron Germanos, Gregorios Papaflesas — the revolution commenced in Greece.
Kolokotronis arrived at Mani, in January of 1821, and his very presence in Greece was enough to arouse the spirit of the patriots, for his name was already known throughout the country, as a fearless patriot, and leader. In 1818, the Turks had evicted him from the Morea, or Peleponnesus, because of his aggressiveness and rebellious spirit.
On March 21, 1821, the patriots besieged the city of Kalavrita, and in five days had taken the town. On the 22nd, Mavromichalis and his Maniates, with Kolokotronis and others, besieged Kalames and took it on the 25th. In Patras, the Metropolites Palaion Patron Gerrnanos, with Andreas Zaimis, Lentos and others, struck the colors for freedom, on March 25, the date is recognized as the official beginning of the Greek Revolution and the fight for independence. With their force, these leaders besieged the town of Patras. At the same time, Lala, Corinth, Monemvasia, Navarino, Argos, and Nauplion were besieged by the patriots.
Hursit Pasha, Turkish ruler of the Morea, who was in Ioannina at the time, immediately sent Mustapha Bey with a force under him, to put down the uprising. Bey was successful and raised the sieges of Patras, Corinth, Argos, and routed the Greeks in those areas, and then went on to Tripolis. At Valtetsi, he met the main Greek force, and the battle raged for the entire day until, finally, the Turkish forces were routed by the Greeks, completely, leaving their arms and supplies strewn on the field. This was the needed encouragement necessary for the morale of the Greek patriots, and gave them recognition of their own ability to meet the Turks in battle.
Shortly after this battle, 4,000 Turkish soldiers met Nikita Stamatelopoulo and his 150 palikaria, while on their way to Vervena. After eleven hours of fighting, Nikita was still standing his ground, and finally the Greek force from Veivena arrived, and the Turks were routed. The Greek patriots finally took Navarino, Monemvasia, and Corinth, in 1822.
The revolution was raised in sterea Hellas by Panourgias at Amphissa, by Thanasis Diakos at Levadia, and by Diovouniotis at Voudounitsa.
A large Turkish force, under Kiosho Mehmet and Omar Vrionis, advanced upon the Greeks in Sterea Hellas, and dispersed the force that came to meet them — all except for forty patriots and Thanasis Diakos, who decided to hold at Thermopylae. They were finally all dead except Diakos, who was taken prisoner and taken to Lamia. There, the two Turkish leaders asked Diakos to join with them for they both admired and feared his bravery. He cursed them instead of agreeing, and he was consequently spitted upon a large stake by the Turks, where he died, pierced the length of his body by the stake. But he died without remorse and with curses for his torturers.
Oddesseas Androutsos heard of the death of his friend Diakos, but it only spurred him on. He stationed himself at the pass of Amplianis, knowing that the enemy would pass that way. On the 8th of May the enemy did appear. The majority of the patriots took their positions near the pass, but Androutsos, with 129 others, stationed himself in a log shelter, or fort, fortified with large stones about it. The Turks defeated the main Greek force, then turned their attention to the fort, but were met by volley after volley of fire, and were hurled back. When night fell, the Turks brought cannon from Lamia to bombard the fort, but during the night, Diakos and his men broke out of the fort, and escaped through the Turkish lines, into the hills. After this, the Turks retreated to Attica, where they raised the siege of the Greeks on the Acropolis. On August 20, the Greeks defeated the enemy at Vasiliki, for their second great victory of the revolution, the first being at Valtetsiou. The Turkish forces left Tripoli following this defeat, and the city fell to the Greeks.
The revolution started on May 20 in northern Greece. Because of the heavy Turkish forces in that region, the struggle did not meet with any success. In Thessaly, the uprising was quickly downed by the Turks who massacred and destroyed as they went through the countryside. In Macedonia, heavy Turkish forces spelled defeat for the Greeks there, also. In Crete, in the south of Greece, the Greeks arose in revolution, but had to flee to the hills for safety where they remained for the duration of the struggle, fighting for their lives against the Turks.
In the islands, lay the greatest wealth of Greece, because of trading and commerce which they carried on. The islands joined with the rest of the country in the revolt, and on April 3, the Spetses Isles revolted, sending 58 ships to besiege Nauplio from the sea. Hydra, Psara, ahd Spetses bore the brunt of the revolution among the islands, since they led them in importance. Shortly after, Samos, the Cyclades, and the Dodecanesa, except for Rhodes, also joined in with the revolutionists.
Leaders of the sea forces were Lazaros Koundouriotes and Andreas Miaoulis. In Lesbos, a giant Turkish warship with 84 cannon and 1,100 men aboard, was anchored in the harbor. A desperate plan to sink the ship was evolved by Ioannis Pargios (also known as Papatoukos), and two men also from Psari — as was Pargios — by the names of Papanikolis and Kalafatis, rowed up to the giant warship unseen, and placed gunpowder kegs against its side, which were fused. The fuses were lighted and the men rowed away. When the kegs exploded, the ship caught fire. The fire rapidly spread, reached the powder rooms, and the entire warship went up with the tremendous explosion which followed. Only eight Turkish soldiers escaped with their lives.
The first government of the Greek revolutionary forces was formed at Epidaurus. A committee was selected to rule, with Alexandros Mavrokordatos as the president, and leader. From this seat, the revolution was directed, and the forms of attack were planned. However, shortly thereafter, at Peta, the Greeks suffered their first great loss — losing 3,500 men — and being routed from the field to Missolonghi, where the survivors took refuge while the Turkish forces besieged the city. The siege in Missolonghi lasted for years, resulting in hardships and suffering for those in the city.
It was at Missolonghi that Marco Bozzaris first sprang to fame for his bravery and leadership. Turkish forces planned a surprise attack on Christmas Eve against the city, intended to catch the Greeks off-guard while attending church services. Their plan was thwarted when news of the attack became known, and the patriots were in readiness for it. The Turks were routed completely, and the patriots pursued them as far as the Achelo River, where over 500 of the enemy drowned in its icy waters, trying to ford it.
At Peta, a large detachment of Philhellenes from all parts of Europe — formed together to aid the Greek patriots — suffered almost complete annihilation. The rest of the world was already giving some response to Greece's need, although the great drive for aid and relief had not yet begun in earnest.
During these dark days, it was Kolokotronis who saved Greece from being taken again by the superior forces of the Turks, for time and again, through his strategy and leadership, he constantly harried the enemy, keeping them at bay, and worrying them, keeping them disorganized. Koloktronis asked the other Greek leaders to follow his plan, for he realized that the Turks would march towards Corinth, instead of retreating as the other leaders insisted. They scoffed at him, but he took up his position in the hills, and when the Turks did appear, on the way to Corinth, Koloktronis was the actual savior of Greece, for he engaged them with his small force, until aid came from the other leaders.
Unfortunately, the patriots had sometimes as many as ten leaders, each with his own force. The soldiers were each paid by the leader, and not through any central government, consequently they felt obligation and allegiance directly to that leader. And each leader had his own ideas of warfare and strategy, consequently, many times, the bickering between them caused them defeats and loss of lives. Each small state or province of Greece considered itself as an entity in itself, separate of the other states, which was not conducive to the cooperation that was necessary. Luckily, they all had a common enemy — the Turk — which gave them some semblance of a common cause — freedom, and a common goal — liberty. (Again, we are reminded of the incidents and condition of ancient Greece, with its many small city-states, each a power unto itself, which eventually caused the disintegration of that great civilization).
The island of Chios, because of its proximity to Asia Minor and Turkish domination, did not revolt during the first year of the War. In March of 1822, 2,500 from Samos island led by Lykourgos Logothetis landed on Chios and were attracting more and more inhabitants to join the Greek Revolution. The Sultan learned about it and heard rumors of a conspiracy of the inhabitants. This infuriated the Sultan. In April of 1822, the Sultan sent a Turkish fleet to destroy Chios and kill all the inhabitants. The Turkish fleet landed on Chios on Good Friday (April 13, 1822) and a punishing order of killing, rape, and plunder followed. For two weeks, the Turkish army killed and tortured people, burnt villages and set churches on fire.
The Turkish soldiers brutally massacred 25,000 men, women and children in cold blood. More than 47,000 of the population was sold into slavery in Alexandria, by the Turks, and only 2,000 persons remained alive on the island out of a growing and thriving population of 117,000. The island of Chios remained destitute and impoverished.
The Chios Massacre provoked international outrage and led to increasing support for the Greek cause worldwide. Famous artists dedicated works to this grief and the Westerns started to see the Greek Revolt in a more positive view. Eugene Delacroix, the famous French painter, got inspired a great painting from the Massacre of Chios depicting the horrors and atrocities of the Turks. Victor Hugo wrote a poem about it. Voluntary organizations collected money to support the Greek Revolution with arms and weapons, while many Westerners came to Greece to fight against the Ottomans.
Konstantinos Kanaris is renowned for his feats of daring and bravery on the sea, of which he had gained control over the Turks, with his Samians.
The revenge to the Chios Massacre came on June 6, 1822, when Konstantinos Kanaris, a native of Chios who had survived the Chios Massacre, set on fire the Turkish fleet that had landed in the port of Chios town. The Turkish fleet had two giant warships anchored at Chios. On June 6, a festival day for the Turks, the ships were both lighted and there was great feasting on board. Kanaris came into the harbor with his small boats, unseen, and they tried to execute the plan used before on the sea of setting fire to the ships. Kanaris succeeded in tying the kegs of gunpowder to an open gun-turrot of one ship, but his companions failed to secure their kegs to the other ship. They rowed away, while the fuse burned, and finally the kegs exploded, setting fire to the one ship. The fire reached the powder rooms, and the entire warship went into the air, with a loss of 2,000 lives to the Turkish fleet. The Greeks easily escaped to Samos where they were received with honors as heroes.
Later, Kanaris executed the destruction of another Turkish warship at Tenedos, in the same manner.
Following these and other feats, the Greeks gained control of the sea, although they had none but small fishing vessels and merchant ships. However, their bravery and skill on the sea was too much for the Turkish fleet.
Marcos Bozzaris, also known as Markos Botsaris (Greek: Μάρκος Μπότσαρης, c. 1788 – 21 August 1823), a leader in the War of Greek Independence, was born in Souli. He was the second son of Kitzo Botzaris, murdered at Arta in 1809 by order of Ali of Ioannina. In 1803, after the capture of Souli by Ali Pasha, Marco, with the remnant of the Souliotes, crossed over to the Ionian Islands, where he ultimately took service in an Albanian regiment in French pay.
In 1814 he joined the Greek patriotic society known as the Philiki Etairia, and in 1820, with other Souliotes, made common cause with Ali of Ioannina against the Ottomans.
On the outbreak of the Greek revolt, he distinguished himself by his courage, tenacity and skill as a partisan leader in the fighting in western Hellas, and was conspicuous in the defense of Missolonghi during the first siege (1822–1823).
Bozzaris was the leader of the Souliotes, described as the most-feared fighters among the patriots. Bozzaris was one of the few Greek leaders who did not care for honors, but whose only aim was liberty for Greece. While the various other leaders fought amongst themselves for medals and honors, and credit for victory, he sought only to do his work, unmolested. On one occasion, the revolutionary government sent Bozzaris an award, proclaiming his bravery and leadership. The award caused some dissension among the other leaders who saw it, and showed their headstrong jealousy. This led Bozzaris to tear it up before them all, and throw it away, showing his disdain for such honors.
On the night of the 21st of August 1823, Bozzaris led the daring plan of attacking a force of Turks, 4,500 in number, as they were encamped during the night. He took with him only 350 of his Souliotes, and they attacked the camp, and were well on the road to a complete rout and massacre of the Turkish force, when a stray bullet struck Bozzaris in the head, killing him. His Souliotes then took his body and fled to the hills, leaving behind them over 2,000 dead of the enemy!
His loss was one of the greatest of the war, to the patriots.
Marco Botzaris's brother Kosta (Constantine), who fought at Karpenisi and completed the victory, lived to become a general and senator in the Greek kingdom. He died at Athens on the 13th of November 1853. Marco's son, Dimitri Botzaris, born in 1813, was three times minister of war under the kings Otho and George. He died in Athens on the 17th of August 1870.
Marcos Bozzaris has been immortalized by the American poet Fitz-Greene Halleck for his bravery.
by Fitz-Greene Halleck
- AT midnight, in his guarded tent,
- The Turk was dreaming of the hour
- When Greece, her knee in suppliance bent,
- Should tremble at his power;
- In dreams, through camp and court he bore
- The trophies of a conqueror;
- In dreams, his song of triumph heard;
- Then wore his monarch's signet-ring;
- Then press'd that monarch's throne -- a king:
- As wild his thoughts, and gay of wing,
- As Eden's garden bird.
- At midnight, in the forest shades,
- Bozzaris ranged his Suliote band,
- True as the steel of their tried blades,
- Heroes in heart and hand.
- There had the Persian's thousands stood,
- There had the glad earth drunk their blood,
- On old Platæa's day;
- And now there breathed that haunted air,
- The sons of sires who conquer'd there,
- With arm to strike, and soul to dare,
- As quick, as far, as they.
- An hour pass'd on: the Turk awoke:
- That bright dream was his at last.
- He woke to hear his sentries shriek,
- "To arms! they come! the Greek! the Greek!"
- He woke, to die 'midst flame and smoke,
- And shout, and groan, and sabre-stroke,
- And death-shots falling thick and fast
- As lightnings from the mountain cloud,
- And head, with voice as trumpet loud,
- Bozzaris cheer his band:
- "Strike! -- till the last arm'd foe expires;
- Strike! -- for your altars and your fires;
- Strike! -- for the green graves of your sires;
- God, and your native land!"
- They fought like brave men, long and well;
- They piled that ground with Moslem slain;
- They conquer'd; -- but Bozzaris fell,
- Bleeding at every vein.
- His few surviving comrades saw
- His smile when rang their loud hurrah,
- And the red field was won;
- Then saw in death his eyelids close,
- Calmly as to a night's repose,--
- Like flowers at set of sun.
- Come to the bridal chamber, Death,
- Come to the mother's, when she feels,
- For the first time, her first born's breath;
- Come, when the blessed seals
- That close the pestilence are broke,
- And crowded cities wail its stroke:
- Come in consumption's ghastly form,
- The earthquake shock, the ocean storm;
- Come when the heart beats high and warm
- With banquet song and dance and wine;
- And thou art terrible: -- the tear,
- The groan, the knell, the pall, the bier,
- And all we know, or dream, or fear,
- Of agony, are thine.
- But to the hero, when his sword
- Has won the battle for the free,
- Thy voice sounds like a prophet's word,
- And in its hollow tones are heard
- The thanks of millions yet to be.
- Come when his task of fame is wrought;
- Come, with her laurel-leaf, blood-bought;
- Come in her crowning hour,--and then
- Thy sunken eye's unearthly light
- To him is welcome as the sight
- Of sky and stars to prison'd men;
- Thy grasp is welcome as the hand
- Of brother in a foreign land;
- Thy summons welcome as the cry
- That told the Indian isles were nigh
- To the world-seeking Genoese,
- When the land-wind, from woods of palm,
- And orange groves, and field of balm,
- Blew o'er the Haytien seas.
- Bozzaris! with the storied brave
- Greece nurtured in her glory's time,
- Rest thee: there is no prouder grave,
- Even in her own proud clime.
- She wore no funeral weeds for thee,
- Nor bade the dark hearse wave its plume,
- Like torn branch from death's leafless tree,
- In sorrow's pomp and pageantry,
- The heartless luxury of the tomb;
- But she remembers thee as one
- Long loved, and for a season gone;
- For thee her poet's lyre is wreathed,
- Her marble wrought, her music-breathed;
- For thee she rings the birthday bells;
- Of thee her babes' first lisping tells;
- For thine her evening prayer is said,
- At palace couch and cottage bed:
- Her soldier, closing with the foe,
- Gives for thy sake a deadlier blow;
- His plighted maiden, when she fears
- For him, the joy of her young years,
- Thinks of thy fate, and checks her tears;
- And she, the mother of thy boys,
- Though in her eye and faded cheek
- Is read the grief she will not speak,
- The memory of her buried joys,--
- And even she who gave thee birth
- Will, by their pilgrim-circled hearth,
- Talk of thy doom without a sigh;
- For thou art Freedom's now, and Fame's,
- One of the few, th' immortal names
- That were not born to die.
- The Turk was dreaming of the hour
At the beginning of the nineteenth century Greece, which had once been one of the greatest countries in the world, was subject to the rule of her powerful neighbor, Turkey. But in 1821 the fire of patriotism was rekindled, and the Greeks began a war of independence. One of the most heroic of the Greek leaders was Marco Bozzaris. He was in command of a small band of his countrymen, and planned to surprise a much larger Turkish force after nightfall. In this poem, written by Fitz-Greene Halleck, an American author, the story of the attack is told.
The Turkish commander and his men were sleeping in their camps, dreaming of victory over the Greeks, while at the same hour of midnight Marco Bozzaris was making ready his band of Suliotes, or men whose homes were near the Suli mountains and river in the northwestern part of Greece. The Turkish camp was not far distant from Missilonghi, which is near the entrance to the Gulf of Corinth, near the head of which gulf the earlier Greeks, in 479 B.C., had defeated a great invading army of Persians at the battle of Platæa.
Bozzaris attacked the Turks, and small though his band was, they took the enemy so completely by surprise that they won a very decisive victory. But the gallant leader himself was killed. The poem tells how he won glory, and how death is welcomed by the victorious warrior, as he was the cry of land to Columbus of Genoa when his lookout caught the fragrance of the palms and groves of Haiti, mistaking them for India. Pilgrims from foreign lands shall seek the home of Bozzaris to hear again the story of his victory and of his country's independence.
His cause was successful, and six years after this battle near Missilonghi, Turkey was forced to grant Greece her freedom, and that country, which had been in subjection for almost four centuries, became an independent nation. It was in this war that the poet Byron and other Englishmen who loved the history of ancient Greece and the cause of liberty fought by the side of Marco Bozzaris.
The Third Siege of Missolonghi was fought in the Greek War of Independence from 15 April 1825 to 10 April 1826. The Ottomans had already tried and failed to capture the city in 1822 and 1823. In 1825, the Ottoman commander Reşid Mehmed Pasha was informed "Either Missolonghi falls or your head" as the Sultan would not tolerate a third failed siege. They returned to Missolonghi with a stronger force of infantry and a stronger navy supporting the infantry.
The situation soon became desperate for the Greek defenders. After around a year of holding out they ran out of food and supplies. The leaders of the Greeks, Notis Botsaris, Kitsos Tzavelas and Makris made a plan to escape the city. When all food and upplies had run out and there was no hope of relief, the besieged Greeks decided that some of the menfolk of fighting age should burst out of the gates and attempt to lead the women and children to safety, while the rest would remain to defend the town to the death. Georgios Karaiskakis would attack the Turks from the rear and create a diversion while the besieged Greeks would escape the city.
The Turks had been made aware of the escape plan. When the Greek defenders charged out of the city gates on April 10, 1826 they were fired upon by Turks and Egyptians. Of the 7,000 Greeks that tried to escape only 1,000 made it to safety. The next morning on Palm Sunday the Turks entered the city. Many of the Greeks killed themselves by blowing themselves up with gunpowder rather than surrender. The rest were slaughtered or sold into slavery. The Turks displayed 3,000 severed heads off the walls.
Though a military disaster, the siege and its aftermath proved a victory for the Greek cause, and the Ottomans paid dearly for their harsh treatment of the people of Missolonghi. After this incident, many people from Western Europe felt increased sympathy for the Greek cause.
This public sympathy for the Greeks had a significant influence on the eventual decision of Britain, France and Russia to intervene militarily in the Battle of Navarino and secure Greece's independence -- with the result that, among other things, within four years Missolonghi fell into Greek hands again.
From "Mosaics of Grecian History" by Marcius Willson and Robert Pierpont Willson, pages 325-326.
One of the noted exploits of the Greeks in 1823, and one that has been commemorated in many ways, occurred at Missolon'ghi, the capital of Acarnania and Aetolia, while that town was besieged by a Turkish army; and the name of Marco Bozzaris, the commander of the garrison, has ever since been classed with that of Leonidas and other heroes of ancient Greece who fell in the moment of victory. In his Crescent and the Cross; or, Romance and Realities of Eastern Travel, the English author WARBURTON thus tells the story of the well-known deed that saved Missolonghi to the Greeks and hastened the delivery of their country:
"When Missolonghi was beleaguered by the Turkish forces, Marco Bozzaris commanded a garrison of about twelve hundred men, who had barely fortifications enough to form breastworks. Intelligence reached him that an Egyptian army was about to form a junction with the formidable besieging host. A parade was ordered of the garrison, 'faint and few, but fearless still.' Bozzaris told them of the destruction that impended over Missolonghi, proposed a sortie, and announced that it should consist only of volunteers.Volunteers! The whole garrison stepped forward as one man, and demanded the post of honor and of death. 'I will only take the Thermopylae number,' said their leader; and he selected the three hundred from his true and trusty Suliotes.
"In the dead of night this devoted band marched out in six divisions, which were placed,in profound silence, around the Turkish camp. Their orders were simply, 'When you hear my bugle blow seek me in the pasha's tent. '"Marco Bozzaris, disguised as an Albanian bearing dispatches to the pasha from the Egyptian army, passed unquestioned through the Turkish camp, and was only arrested by the sentinels around the pasha's tent, who informed him that he must wait till morning.
"Then wildly through the stillness of the night that bugle blew; faithfully it was echoed from without; and the war-cry of the avenging Greek broke upon the Moslem's ear. From every side that terrible storm seemed to break at once; shrieks of agony and terror swelled the tumult. The Turks fled in all directions,and the Grecian leader was soon surrounded by his comrades. Struck to the ground by a musket-ball, he had himself raised on the shoulders of two Greeks; and, thus supported, he pressed on the flying enemy. Another bullet pierced his brain in the hour of his triumph, and he was borne dead from the field of his glory."
But Missolonghi was saved, and under Constantine and Noto Bozzaris, brothers of the dead hero,
Missolonghi withstood repeated assaults of the Turks, until, in 1826, after having been besieged for over a year by a very large naval and military force, it was finally taken. Those left of the small garrison who were able to fight, placing the women in the center, sallied forth at midnight of the 22nd of April, and cut their way through the Turkish camp; while those who were too feeble to attempt an escape assembled in a large mill that was used as a powder-magazine, and blew themselves and many of the incoming Turks to atoms.
Two factions appeared within the government itself — one demanding that Kolokotronis become the leader of all, the forces, and the other which demanded Mavrokordates as leader. There were now two governments among the revolutionary forces — one headed by Petrompes and the other by Koundouriotes.
The government of Koundouriotes won out, and Kolokotronis was imprisoned by the government at Hydra, at the monastery of the Prophet Elias. Oddesseus Androutsos bitterly complained of the treatment given Kolokotronis, and was himself consequently accused of being in alliance with the Turks. Gouras was sent after him with a force. Kolokotronis was captured and imprisoned on the Acropolis, in Athens. However, within a few days his body was found at the bottom of the slope, broken on the rocks. The mystery of his death was never solved.
At this point, the Greeks were saved from their own foolishness and jealousy through aid from the rest of Europe. The various nations were attracted to the scene and offered their aid.
When news of the Greek Revolution spread throughout Europe, the great scholars on the continent saw once again the rise of the Glory of Ancient Greece.
With this ideal before them, they began the campaign for aid to Greece, which led, ultimately, to financial and material aid in soldiers and ships, to the patriots. The little country had not been heard from for over 1,000 years, and the magic of the word "Greece" and "Hellas" brought immediate aid, even though the Greece of 1821 was an entirely different Greece than that of 400 B.C., both in learning, and civilization. In Switzerland, France, and Germany societies were formed to aid the patriots. The government of England was not in favor of the revolution at first, however after constant pressure from internal groups, England was forced to accede to the demands of the English, and favor swung towards aid for Greece. It was Lord Byron who raised his voice and power to bring material and financial aid to Greece, and he went so far as to expend his own personal fortune in aiding the patriots, and died in Greece, at Missolonghi, during the siege, of fever.
In America, Samuel Gridley Howe, and others, gave aid to Greece. Funds were raised and sent over, with shiploads of supplies. Men volunteered to fight for the Greeks.
The Turks soon realized that, alone, they could not hope to overthrow the Greek Revolution, and they called upon the Egyptians to aid them. They quickly received an enthusiastic response, and large forces of Egyptians began arriving in Greece. Immediately thereafter followed the massacres of Crete and of Kasa. Men, older folk and children were massacred, and more than 2,000 young girls were taken to the Alexandrian slave markets to be sold as slaves. It was another example of Turkish warfare that horrified Europe.
In 1824, 176 Turkish ships sailed against Psara, which had only 3,000 soldiers, but over 30,000 women and children and old men under their protection, who had come there from the various other islands, after the Turkish massacres. Kanaris pleaded that they meet the Turkish fleet on the sea, but the others would not listen to him, and prepared to defend the island on land. The thousands of Turkish soldiers landed, and soon swept the island clear of human life, for more than three-quarters of the population was massacred. Finally, 400 Psariani were barricaded in a building which had formerly been a monastery of St. Nicholas. The Turks surrounded the building, and then the 2,000 soldiers broke into the structure, but the Greeks set fire to the barrels of gunpowder within, and blew away both patriots and enemy to destruction.
In 1824, the Turkish fleet sailed to Samas, to attack the island and to punish the populace, however they were met by the Greek fleet, under Kanaris and were forced to flee retreating to Kos.
In August of that year, the Egyptian fleet reached the islands, and with an additional 56 warships, and 150 smaller shipsl the Turkish-Egyptian fleet sailed against the Greeks again, but in two battles, at Geronta and at Samos the Greeks were again the victors, although they had to fight against overwhelming odds.
Miaoulis was the naval hero in these two engagements. However, now the Greek fleet was in sad need of repairs, and they returned to Hydra for the winter, believing that the Egyptians and Turkish fleets would not engage in activity for the rest of the winter. However, in February, 1824, Ibrahim, the Egyptian leader landed 4,000 soldiers on the Peloponnesus, with 500 cavalry, at Methonis, from 50 ships.
Shortly thereafter, Ibrahim brought over 6,000 more troops and 500 more of cavalry, with ammunition and cannon from Egypt. He dispersed the Greek troops that were besieging Methonis, and then marched for Navarino. When the Greek government heard of his invasion of the Peloponnesus, they sent troops against him, and it was agreed that Koundouriotes, the president, lead the troops. However, he gave up his command, on the way, realizing that his knowledge of naval maneuvers would be no avail on land — naming Skourti as the leader — also a naval man, with no knowledge of land maneuvers. Skourti met the Turkish advance at Kremidi, only two hours from Methoni, but he was sadly defeated.
At Navarino, the Greeks had barricaded themselves on a small island, but the Egyptian troops, under Hussein routed them, and only 300 patriots escaped aboard the five Greek ships in the harbor — among the survivors was Mavrokordatos.
The entire Peleponnesus now clamored for the freedom of Kolokotronis, still in prison. The government would not listen, even though Papaflesas, himself, asked for his release, Consequently ,Papaflesas with his 1,000 Roumeliotes took the stand against the Turks and although they fought bravely, they were slain to the last man. Now, the government seeing disaster before it, freed Kolokotronis and his friends, who had been imprisoned because of jealousy and political reasons, for the patriots needed a good leader now, if ever they had.
The news that Kolokotronis, "O Geros Tis Moreas", was free spread like wildfire over the Peleponnesus, and his name drew thousands of patriots to the fight, under him, as their leader.
Koloktronis was faced with the problem of meeting the Turks in battle whose superior fighting forces, in numbers, could not be easily met in open battle on the field. Consequently, he fell back to the Kleftiko method — with lightning thrusts at night or day, from the hills, upon the enemy, furious fighting that demoralized the Turks, then back into the hills would sweep the patriots until the next opportunity. He constantly harried them with this guerrila warfare for it was Greece's only option. Ibrahim then resolved to sweep the entire Peleponnesus, every hill and valley, of the patriots. It was the only way he could hope to conquer them.
At this time, the siege of Missolonghi was underway in earnest and he was called to go to the aid of the Turkish troops besieging the city. After months, finally, the Turkish forces had worn down the resistance of the Greeks, and they determined to break through, to safety. However, almost to safety, fear overtook the patriots, and half of them turned back to the city, while the other half continued on to freedom in the hills. Those who had turned back were followed closely by the enemy, who broke into the city, and began the massacre that alarmed all of Europe. When they had finished, Missolonghi was nothing but a smoking ruins. The fall of Missolonghi, now named the Holy City, (Ierapolis) because of the massacre, also spelled the downfall of the revolutionary government in power, and a new one arose, with Zaimis as president. Kioutahis was in command of the Turkish troops in central Greece at the time, while Ibrahim returned to the Peleponnesus where. he began laying waste the countryside, killing as he drove relentlessly onward. Koutahis meanwhile advanced into Attica, and laid siege to the Acropolis.
Two men, in this hour of need and darkness, were again the saviors — Kolokotronis and Karaiskakis. The first was in the Peleponnesus, and the latter in central Greece. Ibrahim tried to conquer the Maniates, but his two attempts met with failure, and he was forced by Kolokotronis to retreat to the extreme edge of the Peleponnesus.
Georgios Karaiskakis was born in 1782 in a monastery near the village of Skoulikariaclose to Arta. His father was the armatolos of the Valtos district, Dimitris Karaiskos, his mother Zoe Dimiski and cousin of Gogos Bakolas, captain of the armatoliki of Radovitsi.
At a very early age Karaiskakis became a klepht in the service of Katsantonis, a famous local captain. He excelled as a klepht – agile, cunning, brave and reckless – and rose quickly through the ranks, eventually becoming a lieutenant.
At the age of fifteen Karaiskakis was captured by Albanian ruler Ali Pasha and imprisoned at Ioannina, where close to Ali Pasha he learned Albanian. Ali Pasha, impressed by Karaiskakis's courage and intelligence, and sensing his worth as a fighter, released Karaiskakis from prison and put him in the care of his personal bodyguards. He served as a bodyguard to Ali Pasha for a few years. During his service under Ali Pasha, he fought against another Ottoman warlord, Osman Pazvantoğlu, in 1798.
In July 1821 he took part in the Greek War of Independence at the Battle of Komboti against Pliasa Ismail Pasha. In early 1823 he attacked the Ottoman army retreating from the failed First Siege of Missolonghi, defeating a detachment of 3,000 that was attempting to cross the Agrafa area at the pass of Agios Vlasios.
Karaiskakis's reputation grew during the middle and latter stages of the Greek War of Independence. He helped to lift the Second Siege of Missolonghi (1823), and did his best to save Missolonghi during the third siege (1826).
Georgios Karaiskakis, the leader in the central Greek front, was a small, sickly man, who was described as having the "Heart of a Lion." Up to this point in the Greek Revolution, his importance was not great. However, it was his strategy and bitter defense that was of such aid to the patriots. He was given command of the Greek forces in central Greece by the government. His most famous victory was at Arachova, where his army together with other revolutionary leaders, crushed a force of Turkish and Albanian troops under Mustafa Bey and Kehaya Bey.
In July, 1826 he went to Salamina where he gathered together 3,500 patriots, among whom were Kriezotis, Vasos, Panourias, and others, and a force that had been gathered together by the Frenchman, Faviero. This force was defeated by the Turkish cavalry at Haidari, near Daphni of Attica, but shortly thereafter, Kriezotis with 500 men under him, broke through the Turkish lines and reinforced the small group of patriots who were defending the Acropolis. Their leader, Gouras, had been killed shortly before.
Then, Karaiskakis decided to gather as large a force as possible, in order to trap Koutahis, and his forces, in Attica, where they were besieging the Acropolis. He sent Kouletis by sea to Atalanta to take Dombrina, and Ibrahim sent a force under Mustapha Bey to oppose him, and Kouletis was forced to leave without victory. Karaiskakis then guessed that Mustapha Bey and his Arvanites would go to Salona, so he sent Griva, the Gardikiotis, to Arahova, to take that position, which he held, so that when the Turks arrived, they found him there. Griva engaged the Turks and thusly gained time for Karaiskakis to put his plan into effect. Karaiskakis then sent other troops against Mustapha Bey and his Arvanites and closed them in, forcing them to retreat to a small mountain top. Mustapha Bey was killed and the soldiers found themselves without supplies and at the mercy of the cold. Then the Greeks closed in, scoring a decisive victory — only 300 of the Arvanites escaping their venegeance. This victory was made at Parnassus, in November, 1826. After this the patriots scored other victories and retook all of central Greece with the exception of Vonitsa, Missolonghi and Naupakto. However, Kioutahis was still at the Acropolis, besieging it, and the defenders were running short of supplies and ammunition. The government called in Karaiskakis to go to Attica and relieve the situation there. Two Englishmen, in charge of troops, who were volunteers, demmanded that they storm the position of Kioutahis and force him away. Karaiskakis was against this, and wished to encircle Kioutahis, and keep supplies from reaching him, until he should be forced to surrender. But he was overruled. The Turks retired to Phaleron, where the big engagement would take place on April 23, but another event occured that cost the life of Karaiskakis.
A group of patriots, apparently drunk, attacked a small Turkish force that had ventured out, and Karaiskakis, ill at the time with fever, heard the noise of guns, and thought that a premature attack had been made by the Turks. He mounted his horse, and rode to the scene of action. There he joined the small band of Greeks who had engaged the Turks, to aid them, but a bullet struck him in the stomach, seriously wounding him. He later died aboard a ship in the harbor on his name day (April 23, 1827) where he was taken for medical care.
After his death, the two Englishmen Cochran and George took command, and ordered the patriots to advance against the Turkish troops. Unfortunately, they did not have the ability of Karaiskakis and no preparations for battle were made, so that the Greeks suffered a defeat that routed them from the field. The Turks then took the Acropolis, and this temporarily ended any hope for freedom in central Greece.
At this moment, when the Greek Revolution seemed doomed to failure, the European powers entered the picture, officially, England, France, Russia and Austria had previously lent no governmental aid to Greece, nor sanctioned the revolt, because of fear of international complications. However, with the advent of Nicholas as Czar of Russia, and of Canning as Prime Minister of England, the situation changed for the better for the Greek patriots.
France, England and Russia met in London in 1827 to signed a secret treaty, agreeing to support the revolutionary government of Greece, and to rid Europe of Turkey. They also saw a sphere of influence in the Balkans that they had not molested heretofore, which had suddenly gained a great importance.
England, France and Russia immediately sent their fleets into Greek waters, and ordered the Egyptian and Turkish commanders to take their troops and their ships and vacate the Peleponnesus and its waters. The Turks refused, upon further orders from Constantinople. In the meantime, the Greek forces had taken new heart upon the good news, and the revolution sprang up anew. Ibrahim then began anew to scourge the Peleponnesus sweeping through Messenia, Arcadia and Laconia.
Following this action, the French, Russian and English ships swept into Navarino and gave final orders for the Turkish-Egyptian fleets to leave the waters of the country at once. The Turkish fired and sank a small English boat. Following this action, Codrington, the English commander, gave orders to start firing. Within four hours, only 20 of the original 120 Turkish-Egyptian ships remained afloat on the water. All the rest had been sunk. This destroyed Turkey's power in Greece forever. French soldiers were then landed in the Peleponnesus, and Ibrahim was forced to flee the country with his Egyptians, back to Egypt.
Finally, on September 12, 1829, all of central Greece and the Peleponnesus had been cleared of Turkish forces.
John Capo D'Istrias was elected as governor of Greece by the nations and the revolutionary government. He had been striving since 1822 to influence the Czar of Russia to aid Greece without success, and then had gone shortly after to Switzerland to try to raise funds for the patriots. He had been quite influential in Russia, within the government there. In 1828 he arrived in Greece.
His first duty was the establishment of the Greek army on a national basis instead of regional. Heretofore the soldiers had been paid by their individual leaders, and consequently felt obligation and allegiance only to that leader. Capo D'Istrias changed that by putting the army on a national basis, with pay directly from the government. The last battle of the revolution was that of Petra, where Ypsilanti defeated the Turks on September 12, 1829. Now the fate of Greece rested in the diplomatic negotiations to come.
It was decided by the three powers, England, France and Russia, that Prince Leopold of Coburg should become ruler of Greece. It was their wish to establish a monarchy in Greece. Capo D'Istrias also had the same.idea in mind, and upon the eviction of the Turks from the land, he dissolved the legislative chamber of the revolutionary government, and took charge of all the affairs.
This action by Capo l'Istrias caused internal dissention and strife, for the men who had led in the revolution, and had risen to power, now found themselves without power and without positions, and unrecognized, in a sense — or so they felt. They also regarded Capo D'Istrias as an opportunist, who wished to make himself king, which was not the case. Capo D'Istrias wished to prepare the government to receive the monarchy, and he believed his action the best in the way of preparation. Finally, things became so bitter that on September 27, 1831, Capo D'Istrias was assassinated.
Immediately following the assassination, violent civil war broke out in Greece, and the three European powers looked on with alarm. Leopold had refused to accept the throne of King, because he learned of the destitute condition of the country following the effects of the revolution and the powers then selected Prince Othon of Bavaria, son of Ludovici, King of Bavaria, to rule as the monarch of Greece.
Othon, only seventeen years of age, assumed the crown as King of Greece on January 25, 1832, and peace reigned in the land for the first time in almost four hundred years. The people welcomed him as a savior for now they were united, as a recognized nation of the world. And freedom came to Hellas, again.
On May 25, 1821, Petros Mavromichalis, Director General of the Messenian Congress at Kalamata, wrote a letter addressed to the people of the United States, in which he asked for America's help.
This letter was translated into both English and French, and reached the attention of American Ambassador to France Albert Gallatin, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams, and Dr. Edward Everett of Harvard University. A letter to Everett was also sent from Paris, and Adamantios Koraes was one of the signers, asking for assistance from America.
Dr. Edward Everett, a Harvard professor and great philhellene, published these letters and appeals in his "North American Review" publication. He made strong public pronouncements for the recognition of the Revolution and for sending military aid to Greece. Through his personal efforts and appeals, the Greek War of Independence received wide publicity in America, resulting in widespread support from the American people.
Adamantios Koraes wrote to Thomas Jefferson, from Paris, on July 10, 1823, asking for America's help, and support, and Jefferson replied with fervent hope for Greece's success, and his support, and with suggestions. In addition, there was correspondence from Lafayette to Jefferson urging American recognition of the Greek stand for independence.
Many Americans also urged Congress to immediately recognize the Greek stand for independence, but there was hesitancy on the part of Congress to interfere in European matters at the time.
However, public support among Americans became so strong that there were Greek Committees established in many cities, and private contributions were given for the aid of the Greeks with food, clothing, and medicine.
On March 5, 1827 the ship Chancellor left from New York with escort Jonathan P. Miller, with supplies worth $17,500. Miller had previously been in Greece, returned to the U. S., to raise supplies, and was now returning to Greece again.
May 12, 1827, the ship Six Brothers left for Greece with a cargo of supplies worth $16,614, with escort John R. Stuyvesant. The ship Jane left New York on September 14, 1827, with $8,900 worth of supplies for Greece, with escort Henry A. V. Post. Post later published a book of his experiences.
From Philadelphia, two ships, the Levant and the Tontine, departed for Greece with $13,856.40 and $8,547.18 in supplies. J. R. Leib accompanied the ships as escort for the supplies. In the spring of 1827, the ship Statesman departed from Boston with $11,555.50 in supplies, with John B. Russ as escort.
Boston, New York, Philadelphia and other cities created Greek Relief Funds, and contributions poured in. The money raised was used to buy supplies whicn were sent to the starving, ill-clothed, ill-equipped army and people of Greece. Instances of specific contributions are: the undergraduate students of Yale University gave $500; the Theological School at Andover College in Massachusetts collected money for the Fund, as did Columbia University students in New York. Young people's groups in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, and Albany, New York, gathered money. Two churches in Boston gave $300 each. On January 8, 1824, a large ball was held in New York City for which tickets sold for $5.00 each. Over 2,000 persons attended the affair, netting $10,000 for Greece. By the end of April, 1824, New York City philhellenes had contributed over $32,000
Influential American families adopted Greek orphans brought from Greece, and many of these attained high rank in American political and professional life.
Although we hope to briefly recount the story of the American Philhellenes who assisted Greece during her War of Independence, tribute must first be paid to the great English poet Lord Byron, who called the attention of the world to Greece's desperate struggle for freedom and existence.
Lord Byron arrived at Missolonghi on Deeember 24, 1823, where he was warmly welcomed by the Hellenes. He delighted in wearing the Greek foustanella. With his own money, he supported 500 Souliotes soldiers, and gave greatly of his own wealth for the cause of Greece. However, illness struck on April 6, 1824, and on April 7, 1824, he died, at 37 years of age, with these words on his lips:
"Greece, I gave you everything that any one man can give. I gave you my wealth — my every hour — my health, and now — my very life. My sacrifice is for your salvation."
Monuments now stand to his memory in Missolonghi, and also at the Zappeion in Athens.
Because of the bitter defense, and the deeds of heroism and valor displayed at Missolonghi during the four years of siege by the Turks (1822-1826), the city has become the "Shrine" of the 1821 Greek War of Independence. There, all nations whose Philhellenes aided Greece in its cause, have monuments to the memory of those brave men from other countries who died at Missolonghi and in other battles of the revolution.
These monuments include a memorial erected by the Order of Sons of Pericles, the Junior Order of Ahepa, in 1939, and placed there in memory of the American Philhellenes.
This 10-foot high monument erected by the Sons of Pericles was dedicated and unveiled in the Garden of Heroes at Missolonghi on June 25, 1939, in the presence of representatives of the American and Greek governments.
The Congress of the United States passed a unanimous Joint Congressional Resolution under the sponsorship of Senator Sherman Minton of Indiana and U. S. Representative Emmet O'Neal of Kentucky which read:
"The President be authorized and requested on behalf of the Order of Sons of Pericles, the Junior Order of Ahepa, a national fraternity of youthful Americans of Hellenic descent, to provide through the American Minister to Greece for the presentation to the people of Greece of the monument recently erected in the Garden of Heroes at Missolonghi, Greece, the shrine of Greek Independence, as a tribute to and in commemoration of those patriotic Americans who, aided by the moral and material support and assistance of the entire American people, gave their services, their fortunes, and their lives to the cause of Greek Independence in the Greek Revolutionary War of 1821."
The Order of AHEPA erected a Statue of Demetrius Ypsilanti in Ypsilanti, Michigan on August 29, 1928
Harvey C. Colburn in his book "The Story of Ypsilanti Michigan" says:
Among the notable world events of the time was the Greek revolution. In the splendid struggle of the Greek people against Turkish tyranny, appeared an outstanding heroic figure, Demetrius Ypsilanti. With three hundred men he had held the Citadel of Argos for three days; against an army of 30,000. Then, having exhausted his provisions, he had escaped one night beyond the enemy lines, with his entire command, having lost not a single man. Such an exploit was calculated to touch the world's fancy, and in America the name of Demetrius Ypsilanti was lauded, while quantities of clothing and provisions were gathered for the destitute Greek people."
Judge Woodward proposed that the name of the new city be Ypsilanti — and Ypsilanti it was. (1826)
It was a wise providence that guided the good judge in his remarkable suggestion. The name stands quite aloof from commonplace city cognomens. It is a name of personality, of distinction, a name in which one may take pride, a name to be pronounced with emphasis and to be written with a flourish on hotel registers in distant places.
In the city hall hangs a fitting portrait of the Greek general. The cause of human freedom is largely indebted to him, and besides, he left us a good name.
April 15, 1822:
The great struggle, in which the Greek Nation is engaged, has occupied Europe, as it will the pens of historians. From the first moment all hearts imbued with honour and sensibility applauded these words: "Greece is fighting for liberty." A prey to the most humiliating and severe oppression, she excited the pity of the whole civilized world. Humanity loudly claimed the deliverance of her benefactress. Justice, prostrate before the throne of the Most High, accused those who profaned the mysteries of Christ, plundered all property, and caused the tears of the widow and the orphan to flow.
Whence comes it that European policy, far from aiding such virtuous efforts, suffers itself to be deceived as to their tendency? Whence comes it that an unprecedented malevolence endeavoured to calumniate the views of an oppressed nation and to darken the brilliancy of actions which needed not excuse? Had not the Insurrection at once its reason and justification in previous oppression? Was not armed despair the only protector capable of redressing our wrongs?
Whatever may have been the occasion on which the Revolution burst forth, whatever may have been the circumstances of its origin, it is proved to have been founded on the universal discontent, whose consequences were sooner or later to include all Greece in one conflagration.
The Greeks were serving foreign masters, inexorable tyrants, insatiable tigers! No compact bound them to the foreign power, which in the madness of its pride, claimed them by mere brute force for ever. The time was come, not to overthrow a national and respected sovereignty for some chimera of perfectability, but to break a sceptre of iron, to repel force by force, and to substitute immutable rights in place of atrocious abuses. Besides, what disaster could be feared, greater or more monstrous than those which were afflicting Candia, Epiros, and the Morea? An execrable administration was sucking the last drop of blood from the veins of the political body. The complaints of the oppressed expired before they reached the Sublime Porte, as Destiny, that merciless goddess, used to see the incense of mortals melt away before her temple of iron.
Already a conversion to Mahometanism appeared the sole safeguard to the wretched population; and what would have become of the sacred claims which the Gospel has ascquired to the pious gratitude of the Greeks? Would Europe have wished to see the consummation of this stigmatic act of apostacy? Would she, though proud of a Christian Holy Alliance, have sanctioned afresh the triumph of the Arabian code over Christianity, of barbarism over civilization?
We did right in taking up arms, if it was only to fall with honour; and when the first step was trodden, it was necessary to advance. The Revolution, popular in its motives, became still more so 'in its progress. The frightful acts of vengeance exercised on so many distinguished persons, on so many illustrious families, pointed out the abyss into which the entire nation would fall, if it had the baseness to yield, What security could it obtain, against the violators of all law? It is thus that the Greeks have chosen the desperate alternative of perishing or of being delivered. And they would in fact have perished, if Providence had not hitherto vouchsafed the miracle of our successes. For the last thirteen months, God has aided the work of the righteous. They see the all-powerful hand, which created this harmonious system of worlds, laid heavily on both nations and kings, repairing the ravages of time and distributing the compensations of ages.
Greece, abandoned by the rest of the earth, with the volume of her past splendor, and her woes and her rights in her hand — Greece will still pursue her arduous career. Her cities sacked, her villages burnt, her population decimated, her fields ravaged, bear witness to her proud determination. Crushed by numbers, she will yet wash out her defeats in her: blood. What will be the feelings of Europe towards her? Assembled Greece has solemnly proclaimed her independence and has given herself a government, surrounded by national emblems, having for its .first object the welfare of Greece, and not the interest of a party.
This legitimate organ of the Nation has thought it due equally to itself and to the people to lay the preceding statement before the Christian Powers. Honor and hope will guide Grecian constancy through the gloom of futurity. The Greeks aim at peace combined with independence and at the political fruits of civilization. They protest beforehand against any violation of their rights, so lately purchased by the most heroic sacrifices. In a word, humanity, religion, interest, all plead in their favor. It is for the Powers of Christendom to decide on this occasion what legacy they propose bequeathing to history and posterity.
Given at Corinth, the 15th of April, 1822.
THE MEMBERS OF THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT OF PREECE
A. Mavrokordatos, President
Athanasios Kankakaris, Vice-President
Th. Negris, Secretary of State
On December 3, 1822, President James Monroe included the following words in his Message to Congress:
The mention of Greece fills the mind with the most exalted sentiments, and arouses in our bosoms the best feelings of which our nature is susceptible. Superior skill and refinement in the arts, heroic gallantry in action, disinterested patriotism, enthusiastic zeal and devotion in favor of public liberty, are associated with our recollections of ancient Greece.
That such a country should have been overwhelmed, and so long hidden as it were, from the world, under a gloomy despotism, has been a cause of unceasing and deep regret to generous minds for ages past. It was natural, therefore, that the reappearance of these people in their original character, contending in favor of their liberties should produce the great excitement and sympathy in their favor, which have been so signally displayed throughout the United States. A strong hope is entertained that these people will recover their independence, and resume their equal station among the nations of the earth."
And again, in December, 1823, President of the United States James Monroe said to the U. S. Congress:
"A strong hope has been long entertained, founded on the heroic struggle of the Greeks, that they would succeed in their contest, and resume their equal station among the nations of the earth. It is believed that the whole civilized world takes a deep interest in their welfare. Although no Power has declared in their favor, yet none, according to our information, has taken part against them. Their cause and their name have protected them from dangers which might, ere this, have overwhelmed any -other people. The ordinary calculations of interest and of acquisition with a view to aggrandizement, which mingle so much in the transactions of nations, seem to have had no effect in regard to them, From the facts which have come to our knowledge, there is good cause to believe that they will become again an independent nation. That she may obtain that rank, is the object of our most ardent wishes."
U. S. Representative Daniel Webster of Massachusetts introduced a Resolution in the House of Representatives during the 1823-1824 Congressional 18th Session: "That provision ought to be made, by law, for defraying the expense incident to the appointment of an agent, or commissioner, to Greece, whenever the President shall deem it expedient to make such an appointment."
In speaking for his Resolution, Webster said:
"This people, a people of intelligence, ingenuity, refinement, spirit, and enterprise, have been for centuries under the most atrocious, unparalleled Tartarian barbarism that ever oppressed the human race. This House is unable to estime duly, it is unable even to conceive or comprehend it. It must be remembered that the character of the forces which has so long domineered over them is purely military. It has been as truly, as beautifully said, that "The Turk has now been encamped in Europe for four centuries. Yes, sir — it is nothing else than an encampment. They came in by the sword, and they govern by the sword.
"The power delegated to the interior tyrant is as absolute within its sphere, as the power of the Sultan himself — and hence, there is scarcely a great post under the whole government whose incumbent is not virtually, often actually at war with the Porte. Between these two opposite Powers, both despotic, it is dangerous to take sides, and yet sides must be taken; in all the empire there is no property, no security. &ellips; [B]ut here have been seven millions of civilized, enlightened, Christian men, trampled into the very earth, century after century, by a barbarous, pillaging, relentless soldiery.
"Sir, the case is unique; there has existed nothing like it, before or since. &ellips; Will this resolution do them any good? Yes, it will do them much good. It will give them courage, and spirit, which is better than money. It will assure them of the public sympathy, and will inspire them with fresh constancy. It will teach them that they are not forgotten by the civilized world and to hope one day to occupy in that world an honorable station."
"Do gentlemen fear the result of this resolution in embroiling us with the Porte? Why, sir, how much is it ahead of the whole nation, or rather let me ask how much is the nation ahead of it? ls not the whole people already in a state of open and avowed excitement on this subject? Does not the land ring from side to side with one common sentiment of sympathy for Greece, and indignation towards her oppressors? Nay more sir, we are not giving money to this cause. More still, sir, is not the Secretary of State in open correspondence with the President of the Greek Committee in London? The nation has gone as far as it can go, short of an official act of hostility. This resolution adds nothing beyond what is already done.
"Sir, while we sit here deliberating, her destiny may be decided. &ellips; They look to us as the great Republic of the earth — and they ask us by our common faith, whether we can forget that they are now struggling for what we can now so ably enjoy? I cannot say, sir, that they will succeed; that rests with heaven. But for myself sir, if we tomorrow hear that they have failed — that their last phalanx had sunk beneath the Turkish scimitar-that the frames of their last city had sunk in its ashes and that naught remained but the wide melancholy waste where Greece once was, I should still reflect with the most heartfelt satisfaction, that I had asked you, in the name of seven millions of freemen, that you would give them at least a cheering of one friendly voice."
U. S. Representative Henry Clay of Kentucky spoke in the same Session of Congress in support of the Resolution introduced by Daniel Webster, as follows:
"Mr. Chairman, is it not extraordinary that, for now, these two years, the President of the United States, should have been allowed, not only without censure, but with universal applause, to express all the feelings which either the resolution or the amendment on your table go to sanction or to declare? So far is this from having met the disapprobation of the American people that Maine to Georgia, and from the Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico, the sentiment of approbation has blazed with the rapidity of electricity! That it is felt with the deepest intensity, that it is expressed in almost every possible form, and that it increases with every new day and passing hour. And, sir, are we alone to be insulated from the common moral atmosphere of the whole land? Shall we shut ourselves up in apathy, and separate ourselves from our Country? From our constituents? From our Magistrate?
"The measure, sir, has been unwarrantably magnified. Gentlemen speak.of the watchful jealousy of the Turks, and seem to think that the lightest movements in this body will be matter of speculation to Constantinople &ellips; But, sir, rely upon it, the Turk is not able to-declare war because this unoffending proposition has been offered. The Allied Powers are not going to be thrown into a state of alarm by a resolution appropriating two or three thousand dollars to send an agent to Greece.
"The question has been argued as if the Greeks were likely to be exposed to increased sufferings in consequence of such measure; as if the Turkish scimetar would be sharpened by its influence, and dyed deeper and yet deeper in Christian blood. If such is to be the effect on the declaration of our sympathy, it must have happened already. That explanation is very fully and distinctly given in the message of the President to both Houses of Congress, not only this year, but last. And I would again remind the gentleman, that it is the President's message, and not any record of our debates, that goes the rounds of European cabinets. This document is translated into their several languages ind is read by the Ministers of State, and probably by the Divan; but our resolutions are all for domestic use-for home consumption; they never will meet royal or imperial eyes. In that message, the President, after a most eloquent and touching representation of the feeling excited by the Greek insurrection, tells you that the dominion of the Turk over that people is gone forever, and that the most sanguine hope is entertained that they will succeed in establishing their independence. Well, sir, if this is the fact, if their independence is almost achieved, if the Allied Powers themselves, possibly before we shall meet in this Hall, may acknowledge that independence, is it not fit to make provision that our President may be among the foremost in that acknowledgement — or at least, not among the last?
"But, sir, this resolution so far from being likely, if passed, to produce injury to the Greeks, it is likely to have a directly opposite effect. Sir, the Turk, with all his power, and in all the elevation of his despotic throne is at last but a man; he is made as we are of flesh, of muscle, of bones and sinews; he can feel; and, sir, he has felt the uncalculating valor of American freedom in some of his dominions; and when he is made to understand, that not only the executive of this government, but that this nation and that our entire political fabric, base, column, and entablature, rulers and people, with heart, soul, mind and strength, are all on the side of the nation he is crushing, he will be more likely to restrain than to increase his atrocities upon suffering and bleeding Greece.
"And, sir, has it come to this? Are we so humbled, so low, so despicable that we dare not express our sympathy for suffering Greece, lest peradventure, we might offend some one or more of their imperial and royal Majesties? If the gentlemen are afraid to act rashly on such a subject, suppose, Mr. Chairman, that we draw a humble petition addressed to their Majesties, asking them that of their condescension they would allow us to express something on the subject. How, sir, shall it begin? "We, the Representatives of the free people of the United States humbly approach the thrones of your — Imperial and Royal clemency" — I will not go thru the disgusting recital; my lips have not yet learned the sycophantic language of a degraded slave. Are we so low, so base, so despicable, that we may not express our horror, articulate our detestation, of the most brutal and atrocious war that ever stained earth, or shocked high Heaven, with the ferocious deeds of a brutal soldiery set on by the clergy and followers of a fanatical and inimical religion, and rioting in excesses of blood and butchery, at the mere details of which the breast sickens?
"If the great mass of Christiandom can look cooly and calmly on, while all this is perpetrated on a Christian people in their own vicinity, in their very presence, let us at least, show that, in this distant extremity, there is still some sensibility and sympathy for Christian wrongs and sufferings, thatt there are still feelings which can kindle into indignation at the oppression of a people endeared to us by every ancient recollection, and every modern tie.
"Sir, the House has been attempted to be alarmed by the danger to our commerce, and a miserable invoice of figs and opium have been presented to us to repress our sensibilities, and to eradicate our humanity. Ah, sir, what shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul? Or what shall it profit a nation to serve the whole of a wretched commerce, and lose its liberties?
"But we may not only pass this resolution; we may go further; we may recognize the government in the Morea, and yet it will not be any cause of war, nor will it be war, nor even aid. Besides, sir, what is Greece to the Allies? A part of their own dominions? By no means. Suppose the people in one of the Phillipine Isles, or in any other spot still more insulated and remote, in Asia or Africa, were to resist their former rulers, and set up and establish a new government; are we not to recognize them for fear of the Holy Alliance? If they are going to interfere on the principle of example, here is the spot where they must strike. This government, you, Mr. Chairman, and the body over which you preside the best reproach to allied despotism. If they attack us at all, they will do it here. They will assail us in our own happy land. They will attack us because you, sir, sat beneath that canopy, and we sat freely debating and deliberating upon the great interests of freemen. They will strike because we pass one of those bills on your table. The passing of the least of them by our authority is as galling to despotic power as will be the passage of this so much dreaded resolution.
"You merely grant the means by which the Executive may act when he thinks proper. What does he tell you in his message? That Greece is struggling for freedom — that all sympathize with her, and that no Power has declared against her. You pass this resolution, and what does it say to the President?
"You have sent us grateful intelligence: We feel for Greece, and we grant you money, that, when you think it proper, when the interests of this nation shall not be jeopardized, you may depute a commissioner, a public functionary, to Greece." This is all it says; and the whole responsibility is left with the Executive, where the constitution puts it. But, sir, it is not first and chiefly for Greece that I wish to see this measure adopted. It will give them but little aid, and that aid purely of a moral kind. It is, indeed, soothing and solacing in distress, to hear the accents of a friendly voice, (we know this as a people); But, sir, it is principally and mainly for America herself, for the credit and character of our coming country, that I hope to see this resolution passed: It is for our own unsullied name that I feel.
"What appearance on the page of history would a record like this make, Mr. Chairman, In the month of January, in the year of our Lord and savior, 1824, while all European Christendom beheld with cold and unfeeling apathy, the unexampled wrongs and inexpressible misery of the Christians in Greece, a proposition was made in the Congress of the United States, almost the sole, the last, the greatest depository of human hope and of human freedom, the representatives of a nation capable of bringing into the field a million of bayonets, while the freemen of that nation were spontaneously expressing its fervent prayer for Grecian success, while the whole continent was ringing, by one simultaneous emotion, solemnly and anxiously supplicating and invoking the aid of Heaven to spare Greece, and to invigorate her arms, while temples and senate houses were all resounding with one burst of generous feeling — gentlemen may call it enthusiastic declaration if they please, would to God we could hear such declamation, and the utterance of such feeling from them — in the year of Our Lord and savior that savior alike of Christian Greece and of yourself — a proposition was offered, in the American Congress, to send a messenger to Greece, to inquire into her state and condition, with an expression of our good wishes and our sympathies — and it was rejected. Go home, if you dare; go home, if you can, to your constituents, and tell them that you voted it down — meet, if you dare, the appalling countenances of those who sent you here — I mean no defiance — and tell them that you shrank from the declaration of your own sentiments — that you cannot tell how, but that some unknown dread, some indescribable apprehension, some indefinable danger, affrighted you — that the spectres of scimetars, and crowns, and crescents, gleamed before you, and alarmed you; and that you suppressed all the noble feeling prompted by religion, by liberty, by national independence, and by humanity. I can not believe that such would be the feeling of this House. But, for myself though every friend of the measure should desert it, and I left to stand alone, with the gentleman from Massachusetts, I would give to the resolution the poor sanction of my unqualified approbation."
Friday January 22, 1824.
Source: Annals of Congress First Session, Part I, (December 1, 1823 to May 27, 1824. Vol. 41. Pages 1170-1177).
President John Quincy Adams of the United States. Annual message, December 4, 1827
"The sympathies which the people and Government of the United States have so warmly indulged with the cause of Greece have been acknowledged by their government in a letter of thanks, which I have received from their illustrious President, a translation of which is now communicated to Congress. We hope that they will obtain relief from the most unequal of conflicts which they have so long and so gallantly sustained; that they will enjoy the blessing of self government, which by their sufferings in the cause of liberty they have richly earned, and that their independence will be secured by those liberal institutions of which their country furnished the earliest examples in the history of mankind, and which have consecrated to immortal remembrance the very soil for which they are now again profusely pouring forth their blood."
From an address of the Committee appointed in a public meeting held in Boston, December 19, 1823, for the relief of the Greeks.
"We call upon the friends of freedom and humanity to take an interest in the struggles of five millions of Christians rising not in consequence of revolutionary intrigues as has been falsely asserted by the crowned arbiters of Europe, but by the impulse of nature, and in vindication of rights long and intolerably trampled on. We invoke the ministers of religion to take up a solemn testimony in the cause; to assert the rights of fellow men, and of fellow Christians; to plead for the victims whose great crime is Christianity. We call on the citizens of America to remember the time, and it is within the memory of thousands that now live, when our own beloved, prosperous Country waited at the door of the court of France and the States of Holland, pleading for a little money and a few troops; and not to disregard the call of those who are struggling against a tyranny infinitely more galling than that which our fathers thought it beyond the power of man to support. Every other civilized nation has set us this example; let not the freest state on earth any longer be the only one which has done nothing to aid a gallant people struggling for freedom."
Thomas L. Winthrop, Chairman & Edward Everett, Secretary
Member of the House of Representatives from Massachusetts.
"To the modern Greek is reserved the privilege of pointing to a brighter spot in the darkness of antiquity, and to remind you that there was the country of his ancestors, and that he is now striving to emulate those heroic achievements by which they were made immortal; that when the deeds of his forefathers were embalmed in history, it was in a language rendered classical by its literature; that, in whatever nation of our own time, there exists a love of virtue, a taste for literature, a devotion to freedom — there exist also, in their appropriate language, the mementoes of his country's greatness; that the descendants of those heroes, who first conquered freedom, and of the sages who first taught civil liberty to mankind, are now struggling under the yoke of barbarian bondage; that it is to us who have partaken of their acts and sciences, their literature and religion, their forms of political power, and their notions of civil liberty, they appeal for sympathy, against a people in whose estimation no learning is useless pedantry our common religion a delusion, and their notions of civil liberty a crime."
"No, sir, not to England, but to America, did Greece appeal from the Senate of Calamata, in language we cannot refuse to hear, "That having deliberately resolved to live or die for freedom, they were drawn by an irresistible sympathy to the people of the United States."
"The Greeks do not ask us for our treasures, or our arms. They bid us remember, that opinion is power, and that the expression of it here on this day, shall gladden the hearts and nerves the arms of millions of beings, as brave, as enlightened, but not yet as secure and happy as ourselves."
Member of the House of Representatives from Illinois.
"On these principles ( of the Declaration of Independence) Greece has dared to act; she has broken her chains, and set up for herself an independent Government; in recognizing that Government, we break no international law"
Member of the House of Representatives from Pennsylvania.
"The President tells you the Greeks are gone, forever gone, out of the land of the Turk; may we not even notice them?
"We are not sending an agent to Greece to excite her to begin a rebellion against the Turk; that is begun already, and more than half finished too, sir. For one, I believe they _are able to maintain their independence, and well maintain it; they will not forget their ancestors. And, as a confirmation of this opinion, I pray you, sir, look at the last news from there. The coincidence of their modern and their ancient spirit in striking indeed, Sir, the selfsame act has now been performed in Attica that was done two thousand five hundred years ago — the inhabitants of Athens have all migrated to Salamis, to avoid subjection."
Member of the House of Representatives from Massachusetts.
"Unaided and alone, the Greeks have nobly sustained their ancient character. They had been subjected to the greatest hardships — they had beheld their infant children torn from their embrace — their wives and daughters consigned to the outrages of a brutal soldiery, and no hand had been extended to rescue them. But in due time a noble principle of resistance was awakened in their souls-they rose in the majesty of their strength, and confounded those men of blood.
"Who could have expected that such noble virtues and true bravery would have sprung up among an enslaved people, as had been exhibited by the Greeks? Every attempt to assert their rights has been met with violence, their implements of resistance have been wrested from their hands; the sabre has been applied, where any disaffection was manifested. Under all circumstances, it was natural enough that they should be distrustful of their own powers; but it is truly wonderful that their character should have shown out so splendid."
President of the Federal Council of Churches of Christ in America.
"America speaks affectionately of her obligation to France. American benevolence and other movements try to discharge this debt. Has not America also in common with the rest of civilization a tremendous debt to Greece? Remove Greek words from our language, Greek inspiration from our art and architecture, Greek philosophy from our national thought, Greek influence from our religion, and we should lose the better part of our civilization. What can American do to acknowledge and pay this debt to modern Greece?
"Your inquiry answers itself. I heartily second your tribute to classic Greece. I may add that within her borders arose the city-state to give mankind a type of sovereignty which neither ancient tribalism nor Oriental despotism could supply. Her political thinkers appealed to reason in behalf of justice and wedded patriotic sentiment to that justice.
"She elevated government from rule according to one's desires to rule according to equal law. Her best projects were quick with high intelligence and civic benefit. Her language lent itself to practical measures. Its simplicity, conciseness and expressiveness made it the speech of freedom and of right.
"Rome inherited from her, and through the Roman sway and the later Renaissance Europe and America drew upon her prolific mind.
"The Greeks of today, while their blood is diluted in the natural course of time, are the representatives of this splendid people of antiquity. They preserve the name made illustrious by Socrates, Plato, Demosthenes and Phidias. They are still Christian, despite centuries of Moslem oppression, and, as we know, Byron's final and best phase was devoted to their national independence."
Pastor of Park St. Church, from an address entitled "The Greek Revolution," delivered in Park Street Church, Boston, on Thursday, April 1, 1824.
"What heart does not throb, what bosom does not heave, at the very thought of Grecian Independence? Have you feelings of a man, and do you not wish that the blood of Greece should cease to flow, and that the groans and sighs of centuries should be heard no more? Are you a scholar; and shall the land of Muses ask your help in vain? With the eye of the enthusiast do you often gaze at the triumphs of the Arts; and will you do nothing to rescue their choicest relics from worse than vandal barbarism? Are you a mother, rejoicing in all the charities of domestic life; are you a daughter, rich and safe in conscious innocence and parental love; And shall thousands more, among the purest and loveliest of your sex, glut the shambles of Smyrna, and be doomed to a captivity inconceivably worse than death.
"Are you an American citizen, proud of the liberty and independence of your Country; Greece, too, is struggling for these very blessings, which she taught your fathers to purchase with their blood. And when she asks your help, need I urge you to bestow it. Where am I? In the sanctuary of God, in the city of the pilgrims, is the very birthplace of American Independence hard by yonder Hall, and yonder Wharves — and midway between the Heights of Dorchester and Bunker Hill — Here, then, I leave their cause."
Professor of Materia Medica and Botany in Brown University. From an oration delivered in The First Baptist Meeting House in Providence, Rhode Island, at a celebration held February 23, 1824 in commemoration of Washington's birthday and in aid of the Greek cause:
"O Greece! thou wert indeed glorious in numerous respects. Thou wert the cradle of all that is elegant in art; of all that is excellent in legislation and political science, or splendid in martial achievements; of all, in a word, that can add interest and true nobility to the human character. Thy mighty genius has slumbered for many ages, but is now awakening from a long night of melancholy stupor, and shedding gleams of glory round thee, emulative of that which adorned thee, in the zenith of thy former splendor. We, though far remote, and separated from thee by the multitudinous waves of ocean and the midland sea, yet can not look with frigid indifferency upon the virtuous struggles for all that mankind hold most dear. There are still some remaining amongst us, who have participated in like conflicts, for the ennobling prize of liberty!
"Ancient nursery of freedom,-Greece! Farewell, but we bid thee not farewell without an effort to assist thee."
An ode sung by Mr. Wade at the conclusion of Mr. Drown's oration at the First Baptist House at a meeting held February 23, 1824, in aid of the Greek cause:
- Greeks who have for freedom bled,
- Greeks whom heroes oft have led,
- Patriot blood shall ne'er be shed
- In vain for Liberty.
- Now's the day and now's the hour,
- While your proud oppressors cower,
- Apurn the turban'd Tyrant's power,
- Chain and Slavery.
- Descended from the great and brave,
- Can the Grecian live a slave?
- Will no arm his Country save
- From base tyranny.
- As for liberty and right,
- Washington upheld our fight,
- So, some Grecian patriot's might
- Shall lead to Victory.
- By Oppression's woes and pains,
- By your sons in servile chains
- By your desolated fanes,
- Swear you will be free!
- lay the ruthless Moslem low,
- Tyrants fall in every foe,
- Liberty's in every blow,
- FREEMEN LIVE, or DIE!
- Greeks whom heroes oft have led,
Sentiment was expressed in popular assemblies which drew up resolutions of sympathy for Greece and urged Congress to do likewise.
Philadelphia was among the leading cities to champion the Greek cause.
On December 11, 1823, in the City of Philadelphia, a committee was appointed to give aid to the Greeks, then engaged in a life or death struggle with their oppressor, to decide that Greece should either live as an independent nation, or else die rather than live under oppression. The same committee sent a resolution to the Congress of the United States urging it to recognize Greek independence in the following words: "Having read the appeal of the Messinian Congress to the United States can we any longer shut our hearts to such an appeal? No! No!"
On January 18, 1824, again in the City of Philadelphia, the Reverend Gregory T. Bedell of Saint Andrew's Church, appealing to his congregation for aid to Greece, said: "The struggle of the Greeks finds a defender in our hearts, since it is connected with reminiscences of our own history."
The resolution from Washington City, typical of the rest, is: "Praying Congress to assure the people of Greece of the deep interest felt by the people of this country in their contest for emancipation and freedom, and of the sincere good wishes of the Congress of the United States for the ultimate success and triumph of their cause."
This influence was felt by the pulpit which gave the cause its warm support. The Reverend Ezekiel G. Gear, of Ithaca, New York, said to his congregation:
"The prayers of more than five million people have reached our ears and I am convinced have found a spot in our hearts. Their only hope centers now in their fellow-men of a free and democratic America. And it is natural that they look to us and hope that a great and prosperous nation which laid its foundations on the precepts of their ancestors to whom the world owes everything that is beautiful and good in civilized life, would hasten to their assistance. It is unnatural for us to listen to their voice with indifference."
From the historic old South Church of Boston, the Reverend Sereno Edwards Dwight raised his voice in behalf of the Greeks on the 14th of April, 1824. In the city of Newark, on January 18, 1824, the Reverend William W. Miller exhorted his congregation in touching words: "Let us send to the countrymen of Themistocles and Phocion a joyous message of congratulations! Let us encourage them to go forward until triumphant Hosannahs shall resound in the Saint Sophia."
[ About Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe ]
Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, who completed his medical studies at Harvard University in 1824, departed that same year for Greece , to observe the struggle for independence and to assist the Greeks. He was born in Boston, Nov. 10, 1801; graduated from Brown University in 1821 ; received his medical degree from Harvard.
He was the author of a book, "An Historical Sketch of the Greek Revolution" which was published upon his return to America, and which received wide readership. The Howe book has been reprinted by Dr. George C. Arnakis of the Center for Neo-Hellenic Studies, of Austin, Texas.
Dr. Howe stayed in Greece from his arrival at the close of the year 1824, until November 13, 1827, when he departed for the United States. On November 12, 1828, he arrived back in Greece at Aegina, and stayed until June of 1830 , when he returned to America to continue his professional career as a doctor.
While in America between the trips to Greece, he spent almost all of his time campaigning for Greek Relief, lecturing in behalf of the many Greek Committees in the United States, and working on his book for publication. During his first years in Greece he was a surgeon in the Greek armed forces. and was given the title of "Surgeon-in-Chief" by the Greek government. Dr. Howe also took part in several engagements, wore the foustanella on some occasions, and gave invaluable service to the Greek forces.
On his second trip to Greece he escorted a large supply of American and materials, which he distributed to the Greek war refugees, with the assistance of Jonathan P. Miller and George Jarvis.
Dr. Howe again visited Greece in 1844 for a brief time, and in 1867 he returned to Greece with his family, at a time when the Cretans were fighting for freedom from Turkey .
Quoting from Dr. Arnakis in his introduction to the reprinted book "An Historical Sketch of the Greek Revolution" by Dr. Howe:
"The second period of Howe's Greek residence was marred by a severe illness — a virulent fever that almost cost him his life. When he recovered, he set out for America, via Italy, Switzerland, France, Holland, and England. As in the previous instance, his return home did not diminish his interest in the affairs of Greece. Though he was no longer satisfied with the appearance of the Historical Sketch, he published a series of articles and gave lectures on the condition of Greece and its problems. He had attained prestige and popularity, as well as full manhood, as a result of his experience in Greece.
"His interest in the reborn nation persisted through the Civil War. After his third visit in 1844, and the renewal of old friendships, he returned to Greece with his family, in 1867, when the Cretan Question was going through its greatest crisis. For Howe the struggle of the Greek Cretans to shake off the Ottoman yoke was a fitting sequel to the epic years of 1821-30 and his crusade for the abolition of slavery in the United States. Ten years after his selfless exertions on behalf of Kansas Free Territory, he entered the Cretan War with youthful vigor; organized a campaign to aid the Cretans; set up Cretan Committees on the pattern of the Greek Committees of the revolutionary years; edited and published a small newspaper — The Cretan — having as its object "to enlighten the American public upon the merits and antecedents of the Cretan Question" and produced a 64-page booklet titled "The Cretan Refugees and Their American Helpers" (Boston, 1868). The book contains a report on the relief work for the refugee Cretans in Greece and the names of contributors in the United States.
Several of these persons were Bostonians who had emigrated to Kansas. In the words of Governor Andrew of Massachusetts, Howe spoke again 'with the voice of his age in defense of the cause of his youth:' He went to Athens, capital of Greece since 1834, and then to Crete. He broke through the Turkish blockade and took a large supply of biscuit1 to the starving villages of the war-torn island. In Athens he worked closely with the Central Cretan Committee to relieve the suffering of the Cretan refugees. The American consul at Canea, William J. Stillman, supported Howe's activities and won the title of "Philhellene" on his own merit. The Cretans were deeply impressed and cherished genuine gratitude for what Howe and Stillman did for them. The epic quality of Howe's life entered the realm of poetry and John Greenleaf Whittier and Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote verses about him — the former "The Hero" and the latter "A Memorial Tribute."
"A life-time association with a country, no matter how distant or different that country might be, would give a person the right to express his opinion about it and probably would make his views worthy of notice. Howe's opinions concerning the Greeks as a people are spread over the length of the present volume, and so are his evaluations of Greece's national heroes. Many of them he knew intimately long before the Greek people admitted them into the Pantheon of their modern history.
Howe as a Historian of The Greek Revolution
In a memorial volume published shortly after Howe's death, Julia Ward Howe speaks of her husband's historical work in the following terms:
"This book, though rarely met with in these days, was received with much interest at that time. It is valuable today as a concise and graphic narrative of events, in some of which the historian had a part and in all of which he possessed the knowledge of one near the scene of action. Even after reading Mr. Finlay's finished pages, one can take up Dr. Howe's recital with interest. The force and spirit of the author are felt throughout and he adds to the fervor of youth the rarer merit of a calm and dispassionate judgment.
"Howe's knowledge of the Greek Revolution was not limited to the period of his residence in Greece, the crucial years 1825-27, but was based on extensive reading on the entire subject, with special concentration on the first four years of the struggle. Some of his reading he had finished before his departure for Greece in 1824; more he did in connection with the writing of the Historical Sketch, late in 1827 and early in 1828. As Howe himself informs us, he wrote the book in five months, not counting the time spent in collecting his material; and the gaps, misspellings, and misquotations are sufficient evidence of his haste. The dispatch with which he wrote was due to his desire "to put the case of Greece before the people of the United States in the shape which could circulate most readily," in the midst of his campaign on behalf of the Revolution and before he returned to "the scene of action." That a book written under such conditions should bear the marks of the pressures of the moment need hardly surprise us. Rather, what is surprising is the young physician's ability to produce a historical work that can be read today, a century and a half after the events it describes, not only with interest, but also with the feeling that the author has sound judgment, a historian's perspective and foresight, and an objectivity that is rarely to be met with in the literature of the Greek Revolution. There are, indeed, very few historians of Modern Greece who can surpass Howe for his acute observation and sense of proportion. For his lucid description, his power to re-enact a dramatic scene, and his humanistic view of life, he is unrivalled. The portraits, or rather the thumb-nail sketches, of Greece's national heroes are drawn with skill and vividness. All these traits place Howe's narrative above the ordinary eye-witness account of the first successful revolution in post-Napoleonic Europe.
"Howe put his book into circulation in the summer of 1828. Though he took the necessary steps to have his copyright registered with the clerk of the Southern District of New York, on August 2, 1828, he soon found out that another physician, John L. Comstock, published a History of the Greek Revolution (New York; William W. Reed & Co., 1828), in which he gleaned from the writings of various authors (Philip James Green, Blaquiere, Humphreys, Emerson, Count Pecchio, Stanhope, and The Modern Traveller are mentioned on the title page); he also incorporated or paraphrased sections of the Historical Sketch. There is no preface and no information about the author in the volume, nor any acknowledgment of Howe's work. This book differed from Howe's as regards emphasis: it devoted three-fifths of its space to the background of the Revolution and to the period prior to 1825. Comstock's volume was registered with the clerk of the District of Connecticut and the document, reproduced in the book, bore the date July 23, 1828. There was a second printing in 1829.
"It appears that the rival volume did not have an adverse effect on Howe's finished pages, printed on paper of superior quality, contrasting vividly with the cheap editions of 1828, aroused in Howe a desire to present the Historical Sketch in a form worthy of the subject and of his own social position. But such a task was beyond him in the 1860's: at best it could be accomplished under his supervision, with the help of someone familiar with Greece and Greek history, as familiar as he was in the 1820's. On his last visit to Greece, he made the acquaintance of Michael Anagnos, who became his son-in-law and his successor at Perkins Institute. Perhaps Anagnos could have helped him prepare the new edition. During the previous decade he had hoped that George D. Kanalis (Canale), an Ionian Greek from Zante, who was a student at Harvard from 1854 to 1861, would review the manuscripts of the Historical Sketch and translate them into Greek, "so that they may become known to the Greeks." To Kanalis he expressed his life-long desire to produce a revised edition of his book. "During my residence in Greece," said Howe, "I collected valuable material pertaining to the Revolution;, it was my intention to enrich my essay and prepare a complete History of the Greek Revolution. But the call to America to work for your struggle and my return to Greece, where my ambition was to render services both useful to her and creditable to me, were the causes of my failure to carry out the greatest desire of my heart. I turned my attention to preserving, faithfully and impartially, the characters of the protagonists of the Greek struggle, the personalities with whom I had become closely acquainted."
"Thirteen years after Howe's death, Kanalis published a Greek translation of sections of the Historical Sketch in the Athenian weekly Hebdomas (Week) from September 23, 1889, to March 1, 1890 (Vol. VI, No. 36-Vol. VII, No. 8), and he saw fit to delete or mitigate some of the uncomplimentary references to Greece's national heroes, both Greeks and Philhellenes. Unless we find the manuscripts that Howe gave to Kanalis, we shall have no way of knowing whether the author himself had removed the objectionable words, or whether the translator had expurgated the text, with or without the author's instructions.
"In any case, from the conversation of Howe with Kanalis we can see that the great pioneer still thought of a revised History of the Greek Revolution, as he envisaged it in the closing paragraph of the Preface to the Historical Sketch In 1828 he had no idea as to when he could publish the History. In the last years of his life he felt that his dream was as remote as ever before."
Letter to AHEPA from Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe's Daughter
In the early part of the year 1932, Mrs. Maud Howe Elliott of Newport, Rhode Island, sent the following letter to the Order of Ahepa, about her father, Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe:
"Dear friends of the Ahepa, I send you my loving greetings and only wish I could give them in person at this meeting commemorative of the first centenary of Greek Independence. Looking back these hundred and more years I seem to see the face of my father, a young man of twenty-three years of age, who in the year 1824, just at the beginning of his career, after having been graduated from Brown University and Harvard medical school, turned away from the beaten path of his profession, and alone and against the advice of his parents and his friends, embarked on a small sailing vessel for the Mediterranean, landing near Navarino and reaching Tripolitza in the winter of 1824-25.
"In his first letter home he writes to his friend, William Sampson, "I hope to reach Greece before the first of January. If I succeed in getting a commission in their army or navy, I shall remain in the country for some years, perhaps for my life."
"In March, 1825, he writes to his father: "First of all I am sincerely glad I have come to Greece. My commission as army surgeon is filled out. As for my salary, I have nothing and care nothing about it; the government is not able to feed and clothe their poor suffering soldiers, and I have not the heart to demand money.
"I have clothes enough to last a year and at the end of that time, if not before, I shall probably put on the Greek dress."
"He did put it on, and in memory of his wearing of the uniform you all know as that of the Evzones, my husband, John Elliott the artist, made several portraits of him, one of which is in Brown University, another in the Ethnological Museum in Athens.
"In a letter from Greece to a friend Samuel Howe writes: "Shall I toil away my best days in amassing a fortune? Are the lists worth entering, when the only goal is gold? I shall never be rich, because I do not set sufficient value upon money, and it puzzles me to account for the ardour, the enthusiasm with which young, and apparently noble spirits enter into the race for this bauble; to me the prize seems paltry, the strife ignoble."
"I quote again from a letter to his friend Horace Mann, in which he gives a vivid picture of those years, when he wore the foustanella and fought the great fight which freed your race:
"In the winter, the much-dreaded expedition of Ibrahim Pasha, with the Egyptian army, landed at Madon. Attempts were made by the Greek government to get up an army to oppose them, and Mavrocordatos accepted my offer to go with them as surgeon. The President and Mavrocordatos came to the south of Peloponnesus with such forces as they could raise. At first there was an attempt to organize the army, and I attempted to create hospitals and to provide ambulances for the wounded. But after the capture of Navarino by the Turks, everything was thrown into confusion.
"Mavrocordatos fled to Napoli. The dark day of Greece had come. All regular opposition of the Greeks was overcome. The Turks advanced fiercely and rapidly up the Peloponnesus. I joined one of the small guerilla bands that hung about the enemy, doing all the harm they could. I could be of little or no use as surgeon, and was expected to divide my attention between killing Turks, helping Greeks, and taking care of my bacon.
"I was naturally very handy, active and tough, and soon became equal to any of the mountain soldiery in capacity for endurance of fatigue, hunger, and watchfulness. I could carry my gun and heavy belt with yataghan and pistols all day long, clambering among the mountain passes, could eat sorrel and snails, or go without anything, and at night lie down on the ground with only my shaggy capote, and sleep like a log."
"As far as I have ever been able to learn Samuel Gridley Howe was the first American boy to cross the seas and volunteer to fight for freedom in any European country. He was a pioneer 1n this as in many other things. During the world war, when I watched the troops of young soldiers and reservists drilling, marching, preparing for their share in the terrible world conflict, I always saw with the eyes of the imagination, the picture of that handsome boy, my father, marching in the van of that great army of men among whom were the sixty-five thousand American soldiers of Greek blood, who proved so important a factor in our victorious army.
"On the 30th of August last, I was present at the unveiling of the monument to the American Philhellenes of the war of Independence, erected in Athens in one of the most conspicuous spots in the city, near the ancient arch of Hadrian, at the junction of the Boulevard Amelia and the Boulevard Olga between the monuments to Lord Byron and the Melas. The occasion was deeply moving. Poets and statesmen, priests and men of the American Legion surround the monument, which bears the portrait of my father and the three other most famous American Philhellenes, Edward Everett, Henry Clay and Daniel Webster.
"The guard of honor was formed of the Evzones, picked men of splendid appearance. At the given moment Harry Mauricides, the prime mover in the splendid movement, drew back the veil and displayed the monument, which, but for his vision, enthusiasm and devotion, would never have become an accomplished fact.
"My nephew, Captain Henry Marion Hall, grandson of Samuel G. Howe, and myself, his daughter, represented the descendants of all those American Philhellenes whose names are written in gold upon the monument. It was one of the great moments of my life, and I am thankful that I have lived long enough to receive the great honors done me by the Greeks in Hellas and in America, which I only deserve as the representative of a man who lived and worked for Greece all his long life."
The following excerpt is taken from one of Dr. Howe's letters:
"Greece is my idol, and the sufferings and privations I have endured in her cause have rendered her fate and her future to be more interesting, I can say sincerely that I have found the Greeks kindly, affectionate, truthful, grateful and honest. There is a spark left of the spirit of ancient Greece which four hundred years of slavery has not been able to blot out."
[ About Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe ]
"The name of Michael Anagnos belongs to Greece, the fame of him belongs to the United States, but his service belongs to humanity."
[ About Michael (Anagnostopoulos) Anagnos ]
Michael Anagnos was born at Papingo, Epirus, in 1837. Obtained his early education in the village school and at the Janina high school. At nineteen he entered the National University in Athens. In 1867 Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe, who had served Greece during the revolution of 1821 sailed again for Europe with the double mission of carrying relief to the Cretan refugees in Athens and of examining schools for the deaf and asylums for the insane. Upon reaching Greece Dr. Howe sought out the services of the Greek secretary and was fortunately directed to young Anagnostopoulos. On his return to the United States Dr. Howe induced his Athenian secretary to accompany him, in order to continue the work of the Cretan committee in New England during 1868. There was no thought at this time of using the talents of Anagnos in any other capacity. But the young Greek showed such unusual qualifications that Dr. Howe, who had for a long time supervised the education of the blind in New England, employed Anagnos to teach the few blind pupils who in 1868 had carried their education so far as to study Greek and Latin. Moreover, Anagnos was employed as private tutor in the family of Dr. Howe.
Anagnos' main aspiration was to become a professor of Greek and Dr. Howe secured a position for him in a western American college. However, the superior qualifications of Anagnos as a teacher and the affection he had inspired in the Howe family did not allow Dr. Howe to part with him when the time for separation came. He gave the young Greek a permanent position in the Perkins Institute for the Blind and in 1870 gave him his daughter, Julia, in marriage.
This gave Anagnos an opportunity to qualify himself as an assistant to Dr. Howe and possibly his successor. In this new position he had an opportunity to prove his worth as an able, loyal and efficient organizer. His researches and his experience among the families of the blind children coming under his charge led him to see what was needed to supplement the excellent system long established at South Boston; to observe the natural connection between the teaching for industrial uses, of the blind and the deaf; and to interest him in that small, but attractive class of children who are unfortunately both blind and deaf. He became familiar with the remarkable case of Laura Bridgman, whom he well knew, and thus prepared himself for the success he has since had in the education of Helen Keller, Thomas Stringer, Elizabeth Robin, and others of the blind-deaf.
On the death of Dr. Howe in 1886, Anagnos was made director of the Perkins Institute. Every branch of the Institution had already begun to feel the youthful energy and the mature wisdom of the new director. He first turned his love of improvement, beyond the mere routine of school duties and workshop management, to the department of printing, which had long been excellent, but had not quite kept pace with the growth of population and the needs of the blind community.
Anagnos died at Turn Severin, a frontier town of Romania, June 29, 1906. The following words taken from the report of the trustees of the Perkins Institute for the Blind and referring to Michael Anagnos are an eloquent tribute to his character as a man and his usefulness as a citizen: "America lost a loyal son by adoption; Greece, a glorious son by birth; the sightless everywhere a father, and humanity a friend." Also the words of Ex-Governor Guild of Massachusetts: "The name of Michael Anagnos belongs to Greece, the fame of him belongs to the United States, but his service belongs to humanity."
In 1939, the order of Ahepa dedicated the Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe Flag Mast on the campus of Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, as a memorial to the contributions of this American Philhellene to the Greek War of Independence.
[ About Michael (Anagnostopoulos) Anagnos ]
In 1824, Colonel Jonathan P. Miller of Vermont was sent to Greece by the Greek Committee of Boston, to observe conditions of the war, and he made the long voyage which took 45 days.
The rigors of sea travel undoubtedly limited the total number of Americans who went to aid Greece, whereas, several hundred Europeans took active part in the Greek struggle for independence, and many lost their lives in battles. However, there was widespread interest in the United States in support of the Greeks, and Greek Committees in America raised thousands of dollars in relief supplies in all large cities.
Jonathan Peckham Miller was born in Randolph on February 24, 1797. After two years of army service he entered Dartmouth in 1821 and, after a few weeks there, entered the University of Vermont, where he remained until the college buildings burned in 1824. It was at this time that the nation was aroused by sympathy for Greece, and Miller determined to join an expedition being backed by the Greek Committee of Boston. In this he was aided by Governor Van Ness. He sailed for Malta in August, I 824. He soon made the acquaintance of General George Jarvis, and that officer made him a member of his 'staff with the title of colonel. His exploits during two years of fighting and hardships earned him the name of "The American Dare Devil."
Speaking of Col. Miller, Dr. Howe says in a letter to his father, dated March, 1825:
"Captain Miller you have seen. He is as brave a man as ever stepped foot in Greece; has the most sterling integrity, and an entire devotion to the cause of liberty. You would laugh to see him; he has his head shaved, has on the Greek floccata, and petticoat trousers, and with his pistols and dagger stuck in his belt, and his musket on his shoulder, cuts a most curious figure. He serves as a captain, and if his life is spared, he will be of the greatest use to the cause."
Upon his return to America, Colonel Miller brought with him two orphans, a boy and a girl. He adopted the boy, whom he named Lucas Miltiades Miller. Lucas Miltiades Miller became the first American Congressman of Greek descent, when elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1891. He was a resident of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, at the time of his election.
George Jarvis — an American from Massachusetts — was the first American to join the Greeks in their struggle for freedom.
He went to Denmark, where he was born, and from there to Greece in early 1822. Along with Jonathan P. Miller, Jarvis fought with the Greeks in the defense of Nauplia against the Egyptians (who were allies of the Turkish forces) in 1825, as well as in other battles.
Also with Miller, Jarvis helped Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe in the distribution of American food, clothes and medicines which were sent to Greece from the United States, and also helped in the establishment of a hospital, created by Dr. Howe, for Greek veterans. Jarvis also originated the idea of a model agricultural settlement for the war refugees, which Howe established at Hexamilia, and which was named ''Washingtonia." Thirty-six families were established at this settlement.
Lieut. Gen. George Jarvis was the son of an American diplomat stationed in Germany. He fought with the Greeks against the Turks for almost seven years. He died of illness at Argos, Greece on August 11, 1828.
Letter Dated June 30, 1827, to Col. Jonathan Miller
My Dear Miller:
I have distributed within four days ninety barrels of meal and twenty-two tierces of rice to five thousand souls, most of whom have escaped from the Turks.
They thank God and the good people of the United States for this which prolongs for a short time their existence. I am not able to detail the whole affair for want of time. Though I have spent two or three most troublesome and laborious days, yet they have been most satisfactory to my feelings, on account of the happiness of distributing the bounty of Americans, and the heart-felt gratitude with which it was received.
Speaking of Lieutenant-General Jarvis in a letter written to his father in March, 1825, Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe says:
General Jarvis has been in Greece three years, has been in many engagements, has become a complete Greek in dress, manners, and language; he is almost the only foreigner who has uniformly conducted himself with prudence and correctness; and he has reaped his reward. He has gained the confidence of the Greeks, he has rendered great service to their cause and now is made Lieutenant-General He is a man I am proud to own as a countryman.
Among other American Philhellenes in Greece were:
George Wilson, from Providence, Rhode Island, who served with the Greek naval forces.
James Williams, from Baltimore, an African-American, who also served with the Greek naval forces.
Estwick Evans, from New Hampshire.
John M. Allen, shipmaster, who had previously served in the American naval forces, and who was a close friend of Lafayette.
William Washington, who died at the battle of Palamidiou.
Also Christ Bosco, John Getty, Alexander Ross, John Villen, Jonas King, and John D. Russ of Massachusetts, Henry A. V. Post of New York, Rufus Anderson, Josiah Brewer.
Intensive research on the subject would no doubt bring other names to light, and the subject should be pursued further.
Under the auspices of the various Greek Committees in the 1United States, and individuals, several war orphans of the 1821 Greek War of Independence were brought to the United States.
Fotios Kavasalis, age 14, and Anastasios Karavelis, age 11, arrived at Salem, Massachusetts, in 1823. An American theologian by the name of Fisk, who was in Malta, undertook to send Fotios Kavasalis to America. Records indicate that Fotios Fisk was a Chaplain in the United States Navy from 1842 to 1864 — he was the 14 year old orphan Fotios Kavasalis.
Anastasios Karavelis studied at Mt. Pleasant Classical Institute at Amherst, where he graduated in 1831. He returned to Greece a few years later, after teaching in America.
Two brothers, Stephanos and Pantelis Galatis, 16 and 12 years of age, arrived here in October, 1823, and were sent to the United States by a theologian named Temple. They both graduated from Amherst College, and later returned to Greece.
Konstantinos and Pantias Rallis, 16 and 14 years of age, arrived here in May, 1824, studied and graduated also from Amherst College, and Yale University, and returned to Europe in about 1830. They went on to Calcutta, India, where they founded the large trading company, Rallis Brothers.
Nicholas Petrokokkinos came to America also in 1824 at 16 years of age, studied theology, and returned to Malta, where he became an associate of the American Theological Institute for many years at Smyrna. He later became United States consul at Chios.
Alexander Paspatis arrived here in 1824 at age 12, and studied at Amherst, also. He lived with a family by the name of Wilder in Boston. He graduated from Amherst with the highest honors as a doctor, and returned to Europe, and lived in Paris and then Constantinople.
Three young Greeks, Nicholas Prassas, age 16, Nicholas Vlassopoulos, age 22, and Gregorios Perdicaris, age 22, arrived in Boston in June, 1826 on board the ship Romulus, under shipmaster John M. Allen.
Nicholas Prassas studied at Amherst College, and returned to Greece in 1830. Nicholas Vlassopoulos studied at Munson Academy, but became ill and died in March of 1827.
Gregorios Perdicaris, prior to coming to the United States, had travelled with the American theologians Fisk and King to Jerusalem, Beirut, and Smyrna. He taught ancient and modern Greek at Mt. Pleasant Classical Institute at Amherst, and in 1838 became United States consul in Athens. He returned to America in 1845 and resided in Trenton, New Jersey. His son, John Perdicaris, was the central figure in 1904, when he was imprisoned with his family by Raissuli of Morocco, and freed after U. S. intervention.
Other young Greek orphans who came to the U. S. were Konstantinos Fountoulakis, Christos Stamatis, Epaminondas I. Stratis, Christos Vangelis (Vangale), and Ioannis Zachos.
Christos Vangelis (Evangellides or Vangale) moved to New York where he was in business, and his son, Alexandros Vangelis became editor of the Brooklyn Citizen and Eagle newspaper, and also a member of the Brooklyn City Council, and Secretary of the mayor's office.
Athanasios Kolovelonis was born in 1815 in Missolonghi, and was brought to New York sometime in the latter part of the war by shipmaster Nicholson of the ship Ontario. Athanasios was raised in Brooklyn where he became very successful in business, and died there in 1907 at 92 years of age.
George Mousalas Calvocoressis was brought to Baltimore, Maryland, with other Greek orphans on board the ship Margarita. He was adopted and raised by Aaron Partridge of Norwich, Connecticutt, with whom he lived for 9 years. At 15 years of age, he was enrolled by special government dispensation into the United States Naval Academy, where he began a distinguished career in the U. S. Navy, commanding several ships and making various exploratory trips throughout the world. Calvocoressis Island in the Fiji Islands is named after him. He became an Admiral in the U.S. Navy, and died on June 3, 1872 in Bridgeport, Connecticutt.
George Partridge Calvocoressis, his son, also had a long career in the U. S. Navy, and was decorated several times for accomplishments in service, and served as Commandant of the Key West Naval Base. George P. Calvocoressis died in 1932.
Ioannis Kilivergos Zachos was brought to America by Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe in about 1828, and at the age of 15 he started working in a printing shop. He studied at Kenyon College in Bambier, Ohio from 1836 to 1840, when he graduated. From 1851 to 1854 as co-director of Cooper Female Seminary. His role as an educator was so outstanding that he was called by Horace Mann to Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, where he stayed until 1857 teaching English and Philology.
In 1864 John Zachos published his "Phonic Primer and Reader," for the use of the working classes attending night school, and for self-study. He also worked with blacks, offering ways for those who were illiterate, to learn to read and write. He achieved national recognition in this field, immediately before and during the Civil War.
Having studied theology, he became pastor of the United Church of West Newton, Massachusetts, and also served at Meadville, Pennsylvania, and also taught at the Theological School at Meadville. His friend Peter Cooper invited him to teach at Cooper Union in New York city where he taught philology and oratory for 27 years, until his death in 1898. Some of his books include "The New American Speaker" and "Analytic Elocution," and he also wrote books on the life of his friend Peter Cooper.
Christoforos Kastanis also arrived in the U. S. at the same time as John Zachos. Kastanis studied at Mt. Pleasant Classical Institute at Amherst, then returned to Greece, but after a short period in Greece returned to the U. S. in 1837. He travelled to various cities where he spoke before groups on the subject of the Greek War of Independence, and the needs of Greece. His book "The Greek Exile" is an autobiography, and covers the war in Greece as well as his travels in America.
In the book "The Greek Exile" Kastanis mentions that about forty Greek orphans were brought to the U. S. by American Philhellenes, and that they studied at Yale University, Amherst, Princeton, Hartford, Athens, Ga., Kenyon College of Ohio, Eastern College, Pa., and at Knoxville, Tenn. He states that these 40 young Greek lads were from Chios, Epiros, Athens, Macedonia, and Asia Minor, and that most of them returned to Greece after completing their studies in the U. S. He also says that in 1839 three young students came from Epiros to study at Princeton University.
Another young Greek who studied at Yale College in 1840 was Vasilios Argyros. He returned to Greece for two years, but came back to America, and worked in Boston for a short time. Argyros left for California in 1849, and arrived in San Francisco, where he died in 1866.
Evangelinos Apostolides Sophocles came to America in 1828, at 24 years of age, at the invitation of theologian Josiah Brewer. He studied briefly at Amherst College, and then became a teacher of Greek at Harvard University in 1842. He wrote many books, had a most distinguished career at Harvard University, and became head of Harvard's department of Greek, Byzantine and New Greek Studies, which position he held until his death in 1883. Sophocles was and remains one of Harvard's great professors, and his fame was known throughout the world.
When Colonel Jonathan P. Miller of Vermont returned to America after serving so courageously with the Greek forces, he brought with him two orphans, a boy and a girl. The girl was adopted by the Winthrop family of Massachusetts (and we assumed this was Governor Winthrop of Massachusetts), and Miller adopted the boy, giving him the name Lucas Miltiades Miller.
The boy was born in Levadia in 1824. He was educated in Vermont, and at 21 years of age became an attorney. Lucas Miltiades Miller moved to Oshkosh, Wisconsin in 1846, and in 1891 was elected to the U.S. Congress as a U.S. Representative from Wisconsin. Insofar as we know, Lucas Miltiades Miller was the first member of the U. S. Congress of Greek descent.
In Congress, he was a staunch supporter of the U. S. Navy, and was on occasion warmly thanked by Admiral Dewey for his support. He died on December 4, 1902 in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, at 78 years of age.
According to available figures, about 450 Philhellenes from Europe and America went to Greece during the 1821 Greek War of Independence, to assist the Greek cause.Germany, alone, was represented by about 150 men, and the other 300 were from America, Italy, Poland, England, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Holland, Belgium, Hungary, Portugal and France.
"The 1821 Greek War Of Independence
and America's Contributions To The Greek Cause"
by George J. Leber - Executive Secretary Order Of Ahepa
This booklet on the History of the 1821 Greek War of Independence is published by the Order of Ahepa (The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association), in commemoration of the 150th Anniversary of the Greek War of Independence (1821-1971).
© Copyright Order of AHEPA
George J. Leber's book is copyright protected. However, any portions of this book may be quoted at length, provided that proper credit & acknowledgement is given to the book, author, publisher, and pages.
Leber, George J. The 1821 Greek War Of Independence
and America's Contributions To The Greek Cause. Washigton DC, Order of AHEPA, 1971.
Published by THE ORDER OF AHEPA
Washington, D.C. 20005
PRINTED lN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA