Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 08.djvu/156

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were induced to leave the town on receiving a month's wages from Byron, and part of their arrears from government. All hopes of an expedition to Lepanto vanished.

Parry had brought a printing-press, though he had not brought some greatly desired rockets. Stanhope, an ardent disciple of Bentham's, started a newspaper, and talked of Lancasterian schools, and other civilising apparatus, including a converted blacksmith with a cargo of tracts. Byron had many discussions with him. Stanhope produced Bentham's ‘Springs of Action’ as a new publication, when Byron ‘stamped with his lame foot,’ and said that he did not require lessons upon that subject. Though Trelawny says that Stanhope's free press was of eminent service, Byron may be pardoned for thinking that the Greeks should be freed from the Turks first, and converted to Benthamism afterwards. He was annoyed by articles in the paper, which advocated revolutionary principles and a rising in Hungary, thinking that an alienation of the European powers would destroy the best chance of the Greeks (To Barff, 10 March 1824). He hoped, he said, that the writers' brigade would be ready before the soldiers' press. The discussions, however, were mutually respectful, and Byron ended a talk by saying to Stanhope, ‘Give me that honest right hand,’ and begging to be judged by his actions, not by his words.

Other plans were now discussed. Stanhope left for Athens at the end of February. Odysseus, with whom was Trelawny, proposed a conference with Mavrocordato and Byron at Salona. Byron wrote agreeing to this proposal 19 March. He had declined to answer an offer of the general government to appoint him ‘governor-general of Greece’ until the meeting should be over. The prospects of the loan were now favourable. Byron was trying, with Parry's help, to fortify Missolonghi and get together some kind of force. His friends were beginning to be anxious about the effects of the place on his health. Barff offered him a country-house in Cephalonia. Byron replied that he felt bound to stay while he could. ‘There is a stake worth millions such as I am.’ Missolonghi, with its swamps, meanwhile, was a mere fever-trap. The mud, says Gamba, was so deep in the gateway that an unopposed enemy would have found entrance difficult. Byron's departure was hindered by excessive rains. He starved himself as usual. Moore says that he measured himself round the wrist and waist almost daily, and took a strong dose if he thought his size increasing. He rode out when he could with his body-guard of fifty or sixty Suliotes, but complained of frequent weakness and dizziness. Parry in vain commended his panacea, brandy. Trelawny had started in April with a letter from Stanhope, entreating him to leave Missolonghi and not sacrifice his health, and perhaps his life, in that bog.

Byron produced his last poem on the morning of his birthday, in which the hero is struggling to cast off the dandy with partial success. He had tried to set an example of generous treatment of an enemy by freeing some Turkish prisoners at Missolonghi. A lively little girl called Hato or Hatagée, who was amongst them, wished to stay with him, and he resolved to adopt her. A letter from Mrs. Leigh, found by Trelawny among his papers, contained a transcript from a letter of Lady Byron's to her with an account of Ada's health. An unfinished reply from Byron (23 Feb. 1824) asked whether Lady Byron would permit Hatagée to become a companion to Ada. Lady Byron, he adds, should be warned of Ada's resemblance to himself in his infancy, and he suggests that the epilepsy may be hereditary. He afterwards decided to send Hatagée for the time to Dr. Kennedy. On 9 April he received news of Mrs. Leigh's recovery from an illness and good accounts of Ada. On the same day he rode out with Gamba, was caught in the rain, insisted upon returning in an open boat, and was seized with a shivering fit. His predisposition to malaria, aided by his strange system of diet, had produced the result anticipated by Stanhope. He rode out next day, but the fever continued. The doctors had no idea beyond bleeding, to which he submitted with great reluctance, and Parry could only suggest brandy. The attendants were ignorant of each other's language, and seem to have lost their heads. On the 18th he was delirious. At intervals he was conscious and tried to say something to Fletcher about his sister, his wife, and daughter. A strong ‘antispasmodic potion’ was given to him in the evening. About six he said, ‘Now I shall go to sleep,’ and fell into a slumber which, after twenty-four hours, ended in death on the evening of 19 April. Trelawny arrived on the 24th or 25th, having heard of the death on his journey. He entered the room where the corpse was lying, and, sending Fletcher for a glass of water, uncovered the feet. On Fletcher's return he wrote upon paper, spread on the coffin, the servant's account of his master's last illness.

Byron's body was sent home to England, and after lying in state for two days was buried at Hucknall Torkard (see Edinburgh Review for April 1871 for Hobhouse's account of the funeral). The funeral procession was