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American Philhellenes and the Greek Revolution of 1821

By Emmanuel Velivasakis

American Philhellenes Greek revolution
Depiction of Philhellenes in Greece in 1822 by Rene Puaux. Credit Wikipedia

American Philhellenes came to the aid of the Greek people during the Greek Revolution of 1821, they became brothers in arms of those fighters and heroes who were finally freed.

By Emmanuel Velivasakis

The Greek Revolution is the most important event in the modern history of the Greek nation, which led after 4 centuries of bitter slavery, in the rebirth of Greece and in the creation of a new free Greek nation.

Of course, this was not at all self-evident that it would happen. Realistically, it was not even expected. In order for our ancestors to succeed, they had to mobilize the greatest virtues: Courage, to start a war for freedom with little chance of success, the patience and composure to continue this war, despite the disasters and challenges and the self-sacrifice on the altar of the struggle.

Dedication to the ideals of our nation, to freedom and to individual dignity. Prudence and wisdom, to make the political and diplomatic moves that were necessary for Greece to take its place among the free nations. And finally, the bravery, to overcome themselves, the disputes and disagreements that almost destroyed the struggle from within.

Greek Revolution erupted under the worst omen

Sometimes I think that if the enslaved Greeks of 1821 had the same access to information as we have today, we might not be celebrating the great anniversary of the Revolution now for a very simple reason.

Because perhaps the enslaved Greeks would surely have learned of the enormous negative reactions of the great rulers of Europe and perhaps it had been estimated by the chieftains that the times were anything but favorable for the decision (of the enslaved Greeks) to start the great struggle for their freedom.

Indeed, the Greek Revolution erupted under the worst omen and after recent uprisings on the European continent, which mortally threatened its then powerful monarchical regimes.

So, you can understand how the Great Powers reacted to the news that they had another uprising to face, the Greeks, which threatened the status quo in Europe, and made the fate of the “Great Patient”, as the Ottoman Empire was then called, to be found again in focus of their attention.

map of the Ottoman Empire in Europe
Map of the Ottoman Empire in Europe. Credit: Wikimedia, Public Domain.

American Philhellenes create sympathy for Greek Revolution

The distance that separates America from Greece is huge. And in the early 19th century, this distance would certainly seem even bigger. So perhaps one would not expect that the Greek Struggle for Freedom would create reactions here in the US, as in Europe, much less a Philhellenic Movement. But the opposite happened.

And the distance between the two countries may have been enormous, but the fact that only 45 years had passed since the America’s own Independence Struggle, in which the Americans had shed much blood fighting the British, the memory of their sacrifice remained fresh in the memory of the enslaved Greeks.

In the consciousness of the progressive nations of the time, ancient Greece was identified with the ideals of freedom and dignity of human being, with Logic, Philosophy and science, beauty and the arts, with the eternal effort of humans to improve themselves and the society in which they live.

This background explains the excitement caused by the news of the great struggle of the Greeks to be liberated. The sympathy after the first successes, but also the afflictions of the Greeks, such as the catastrophe of Chios, gave birth to the movement of Philhellenism.

The French revolution and first empire
Map of the French revolution and first empire. Credit: Wikimedia.

However, politically and diplomatically, the situation in Europe was extremely negative. It was the end of the Napoleonic Wars, which for the victorious powers and the ruling class of Europe was the result of another revolution, the French Revolution The “Holy Alliance” was dominant in Europe, opposed to any revolutionary movement and hostile to the Greek revolution. Thus, the European Philhellenes were in direct opposition to the politics and ideology of their governments

The situation in America was different, however. The ideals of Freedom, Democracy, and Equality were fundamental values of the American Revolution. The glory of ancient Greece had inspired American fighters. Classical education was dominant in American universities.

The American nation was not only moved by the ideals of Freedom and Democracy but had managed to govern itself accordingly. In other words, unlike European countries, the United States was the only nation where the government of the country based its legitimacy on Freedom and Democracy, with direct references to ancient Greece.

The ideological impact of the Greek Revolution

The young American nation, created with ideals born in this distant, space and time, Greece, now watched in amazement as the descendants of the Greeks rise up in an unequal struggle to regain their own freedom, and to resurrect their own country, on the same ideals as their own. Fighting a much more powerful, tyrannical tyrant, and alone against the hostility of European monarchies.

Declaration of Independence (1819)
United States Declaration of Independence (1819). Credit: Public Domain.

Having already decided to rule the country for which they fought with justice and democratic constitutions, many Americans, among the most remarkable circles, were fatally moved by the possibility of being born in liberated Greece, the mother of democracy, a geographically distant but ideologically related ideology called “Sister Democracy,” as Quincy Adams would write.

American public opinion stood firmly on the side of Greeks. Characteristic of this attitude is an article in the Boston Recorder newspaper in March 1822, which hailed the Greek Revolution and the possible fall of the Ottoman Empire as good news for the civilized world. Given these facts, the American Government’s view of the Revolution was different from that of European governments. Her liking was a given.

Her political and diplomatic stance however, remained to be determined. On the other hand, the rebellious Greeks turn to America for help, exactly in the same spirit.

This was the reason why in the appeal of the Messinian Senate signed by Petrobeis Mavromichalis from the small town of Kalamata in May 1821, just two months after the proclamation of the Greek Revolution, it was stated as follows:

Your virtues, Americans, approach us to you, with all that separates us is a vast sea. We think you are closer than the nations neighboring us, and we have friends and fellow citizens and brothers, because you are righteous, philanthropic and brave» and he continued «of course you do not want to imitate the reprehensible indifference and long-standing ingratitude of Europe». 

President Monroe and the Greek Revolution

President Monroe has had a positive attitude from the beginning. In the Presidential Declaration of December 1822, he expressed, at the highest political level, the feelings of enthusiasm and sympathy for the struggling Greeks. Moreover, he expressed the hope that the Greek people would regain their independence and their equal position among the Nations.

The following year, in the second Presidential Declaration concerning Greece, President Monroe expresses his satisfaction for the successes of Greeks, his admiration for their heroic struggle. And he emphasizes that the independence of Greece is the object of his warmest wishes.

The greatest help the United States could offer to Greece at that time was diplomatic: To be the first country to recognize revolutionary Greece as an independent country. Such a move, however, would constitute full involvement in the Greek cause and would bring them into direct conflict with the Ottoman Empire and the European Great Powers.

Despite the sympathy for the Greek Struggle, there were important reasons for the US not to get involved. The resources and military capabilities of the young country were limited. Critical commercial and shipping interests would be jeopardized, including in Izmir and other ports of the Ottoman Empire. Moreover, the chances of success of the Greek Revolution were not yet certain.

More importantly, aid to the Greeks would be in direct conflict with key directions of American foreign policy. In his farewell speech in 1796, George Washington had advised Americans to stay away from European conflicts. On the other hand, they wanted to avoid the intervention of European forces on the American continent, where liberation movements had manifested themselves in the former Spanish colonies.

This strategy would lead, in 1823, to the proclamation of the Monroe doctrine. In doing so, with the tacit tolerance of Britain’s naval empire, the United States has said it would view any European involvement in the Western Hemisphere as hostile.

For the same reasons, American involvement in a European affair would undermine the logic of this doctrine. US diplomacy was therefore called upon to manage conflicting priorities.

Greece submits proposal for recognition

In 1823, the American government was directly confronted with the dilemma. The revolutionary Greek government submitted a proposal for the establishment of diplomatic relations. This request would be a defacto recognition of the Greek state by the USA.

The request was the subject of a long and intense debate within the American government, in August 15, 1823. The American Ambassador to France even suggested the small American fleet in the Mediterranean (only 3 ships!) to help the Greeks.

John Quincy Adams
John Quincy Adams. Credit: Wikimedia.

The Finance and War secretaries, Crawford and Calhoun respectively, were in favor of the Greek demand. In the end, however, Foreign Minister John Quincy Adams took a cautious stance. It was too early for the United States to recognize Greece.

The response to the provisional Greek government was politely negative. However, the attitude of the US Government, and in particular of President Monroe, has already shown significant positive elements.

The US Government did not yet recognize an independent Greek nation, but with each of its statements expressed its desire for the struggle for Independence to succeed, in order to create the real conditions that would allow recognition.

Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale
Thomas Jefferson by Rembrandt Peale, 1800. Credit: Public Domain.

Great American personalities expressed the same support. Of many examples, it is worth mentioning Thomas Jefferson’s moving letter to Adamantios Korais, in the same vein. Friends of the Greek Struggle in Government continued to try to sway the American governments position.

Philhellene Daniel Webster

The controversy was transferred to Congress. This is mainly due to the persistent efforts of the great Philhellenic Representative of Massachusetts, Daniel Webster and later Secretary of State. Webster had already realized and predicted correctly that the outcome of the Greek Struggle would have wider consequences for European politics. And that it would be the beginning of the end for the Holy Alliance of Europe and the triumph for the ideals of Freedom.

In December 1823, the great Philhellene made a decisive move: he submitted to Congress a bill for the appointment of an American Representative in Greece. This law would be applied when the President decided that it would be the right time to proceed with the recognition of Greek independence. In other words, he was trying to capitalize on the Monroe Declarations in favor of the Greek Struggle.

Daniel Webster
Daniel Webster, 1660. Credit: Public Domain

In a long, wonderful speech at Congress, Daniel Webster referred to the help that Greece desperately needed. Speaking at the US Capitol, he began his speech by pointing out the architecture of the building, to remind “…what Greece was and what it taught us to be”. But to show that his motives are realistic and not romantic, he added: “…this debt can never be paid. What I am proposing today has to do with modern, not ancient Greece – with the living, not the dead.”

Henry Clay
Henry Clay. Credit: Wikimedia, Public Domain.

Webster’s proposal was passionately debated in Congress for a week, by top orators, in speeches worth looking for and reading. Proponents of the case, mostly Weber and Henry Clay from Kentucky highlighted that support for the oppressed and struggling Greeks was important to the moral character of the United States, the values and the reputation of the new nation. They even projected the case as a confirmation of US domination over European powers. On the other side, were those who warned of the dangers of American involvement in Europe and a possible war with Turkey.

Despite the positive impact of Webster’s speeches, it appeared that a vote in Congress would be negative. The proposal was agreed to be withdrawn, in order to avoid the negative image of a vote against. However, the debate caused a huge stir, and it immediately translated into a great benefit for the Greeks.

Webster and Clay’s speeches circulated everywhere, even in Europe, and remarkably strengthened the philhellenic movement. The fundraising and support for the heroic Greeks multiplied and gave hope to themselves and to those Philhellenes who went to help them.

The role of the American press

At this moment, the role of the American Press proved to be important for the Greek cause. The news first came to the East Coast of the United States in May 1821 with the Daily National Intelligence issue of May 18. Since then, there have been many articles in the Press not only in the American capital but also in other big cities such as Boston, Philadelphia, New York and others.

It’s a fact that the publication that played an important role in informing the American public was the North American Review published by Edward Everett, a warm philhellene, later a member of parliament and Governor of Massachusetts and also a Senator who until his death at the age of 70 in 1865 he followed with special interest the Greek affairs. Also, he was the one who was responsible for the publication of the text of the Messinian Senate.

Jonathan Peckham Miller
Jonathan Peckham Miller Credit: Wikimedia, Public Domain.

However, apart from the Press there were also independent publications that, with a broader reference to the situation in Europe, informed the American public -mainly politicians and academics- about the importance of the outcome of the Greek Revolution not only for Europe’s future but for the whole world.

Among those studies were those of Alexander Hill Everett, a diplomat, author and the brother of North American Review publisher, Henry Post, a member of the New York Philhellenic Committee; Jonathan Peckham Miller, who was imprisoned in Mesolongi, Mathew Carrey, from Philadelphia; Grigoris Perdikaris, an orphaned child from Smyrna who studied after his adoption by an American philanthropic family in Amherst and became the first American consul in Greece in 1838.

Mainly we remember Samuel Gridley Howe, an emblematic figure of American philhellenism, a descendant of a wealthy Boston family and doctor who traveled as a humanitarian leader three times to revolutionary Greece and faced with his own eyes the magnitude of Turkish barbarism.

With the end of the debate in Congress, fundraisers and dance parties in favor of the afflicted and heroically struggling Greeks multiplied and a new wind of hope was already blowing on the other side of the Atlantic that was enough to revive the minds of the rebels who help from every corner of the earth.

American Philhellenes rush to help Greece

Americans of all ages, genders and professions rushed to help the Greeks. The volume and value of this help even today, is impressive. They sent supplies of all kinds like clothing, food and money from fundraisers and dance parties organized by philhellenic committees of large cities, such as Washington, Philadelphia, Boston, but also smaller ones, such as Vermont, Wilmington, Bristol, Hartford, Springfield, etc.

The first call for public fundraising for Greeks was made by the New York Philhellenic Committee, chaired by William Bayard, son of an immigrant trader from England and president of the trading company Bayard.

Philhellenes in Greece
Depiction of Philhellenes in Greece in 1822 by Rene Puaux. Credit: Wikipedia

That appeal referred to the miserable conditions in which elders, women and children where living. A few weeks later, the Boston Committee issued a new appeal, urging Americans to remember their own desperate situation when they were begging, waiting for weeks and months in the lobbies of the Royal Courts of France and the Netherlands for some money and soldiers to support their independence struggle against the British.

At the same time as the Boston Committee was formed, it was founded in December 1823 and that of Philadelphia under the presidency of Bishop White, who was responsible for collecting funds and consulting with the rest of the United States Philhellene Committee. In the meantime, among the members were Yale students who, in fact, raised 500 dollars, which they themselves managed to get to the New York committee. Also, the students of the Andover School of Theology in Massachusetts and the young Pennsylvania Carlisle Town and Albany Youth, NY.

However, the role of the clergy was also important. In many cities after the end of church services, priests preached philhellenic speeches and invited the faithful to raise money for their brothers, Christian Greeks. Monumental is the speech of the Boston preacher Dwight on Sunday, April 1, 1824 at Park Street Church, raising 300 dollars.

In that speech Dwight made extensive reference to ancient Greece of classical times, the commercial demon of the ancient Greeks, their passion for the language and arts and their love of freedom, when their Christian descendants suffered from a barbaric and non-religious people. If the Greeks lost the war, they would also lose the hope for freedom in the whole of Europe Dwight had said, among other things.

Fundraisers and humanitarian aid

For the same purpose, dance parties and theatrical performances were organized to raise money. The most successful of all was on January 8th 1824, in New York. A dance party in a hall provided by the theatrical entrepreneurs Price and Simpson, during which more than 2,000 tickets were sold for five dollars each. The state of New York was the one that collected the largest sums.

At the end of April of the same year the committee sent through the Bank of London 32.000 dollars. Two years later, in 1826, the Philadelphia Philhellene Committee raised 500 dollars from a theatrical performance, while $1,500 dollars was raised by workers in various factories in Pittsburgh.

In March 23, 1827, the first shipment of humanitarian aid left for Greece. It was the merchant ship Tontine under Captain Harris, carrying 1,800 barrels of food bound for the port of Poros where it arrived a month and a half later, on May 19th. The example of Philadelphia was followed by almost all the states of New England.

One week earlier, on January 2nd, 1827, Louisiana member of Congress, Edward Livingston proposed to Congress a vote of $50,000 to buy food and clothes for women and children in Greece that were starving. The proposal rejected by Congress because of the well-known fear of American involvement in Europe, but that rejection has rekindled the American people’s passion for helping the Greeks.

In just a few weeks, Brooklyn shipyard workers raised $2,000. After a theatrical performance at the New York Theater, they raised $2,000 more, as well as a dance party at the Park Theater that made a huge impression as statues of Lord Byron and Mark Botsaris and a model of the Acropolis were erected on the main stage while the guests were dressed in traditional Greek clothing. The same year, the State of New York sent two loaded ships with aid to Greece. They were Chancellor and Six Brothers, both going to the port of Nafplio. A total of eight ships arrived by November 1828 with humanitarian aid.

It was the ship Levant that carried Everett’s correspondence to Alexandros Mavrokordatos and other Greek captains, the ship Statesman which departed from Boston to the port of Hydra, the ship Jane from New York to the port of Nafplio where Judge Samuel Woodruff was on board and also the warm-hearted philanthropist Jonas King as the representative of the ladies of Boston. He was also responsible for the educational issues of the Greek children and through Tainaros and Kythera, under the protection of the Mediterranean squadron of the American navy due to the fear of pirates, anchored in Poros transporting humanitarian aid amounting to 49.800 dollars.

Finally, the eighth and last ship, called the Suffolk that arrived in Aegina with Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe who was returning to Greece after a short stay in the United States where he was delighted after the successful outcome of the naval battle of Navarino in order to motivate his compatriots to support the struggle for Greek independence.

Indeed, throughout 1828 the philhellenic fever that had spread to literally every corner of America had as a result the relief of civilians. Ladies of church parishes sewed more than a thousand costumes for women and children while collecting about 600 barrels of wheat.

Apart from the fundraisers and other offers, the actions of distinguished actors were also moving, who during the break of theatrical performances used to recite philhellenic lyrics and especially the ode of the American poet Halleck, dedicated to Marco Botsaris, the most famous hero in America, aiming to raise money. Percentages on this money were sent to the Greek committees by directors or owners of theatrical stages.

Totally, the aid sent to Greece in 1827 and 1828 is estimated at money and items, about $140,000 dollars, an astronomical sum for that time, which fully justify the expression of gratitude of the first Governor of free Greece Ioannis Kapodistrias, who thanked the American President Adams for the charitable feelings and generosity of the American people.

American philhellenes bring back orphaned children

But the most touching aspect of American philhellenism is that the ships that brought aid to Greece did not leave empty! American missionaries rescued many orphaned children from slavery after the Chios massacre, who later studied in America. Some of them became judges, doctors, and officers of the U.S. Navy and Army, such as the little boy adopted by Jonathan Miller, one of the twelve American volunteers who rushed to the side of the Greeks, despite the instructions of the American President.

The orphan adopted by Miller and named Lucas also had a younger sister. He was holding her hand and crying, waiting in line to be sold in a slave market and from there leave for Izmir. The little girl was adopted by the Governor of Massachusetts, Winthrop. But Lucas Miller was the one who had a brilliant career in military, as a high-ranking officer who fought in the Mexican War and was honored for his bravery.

Many of those children who were not adopted by American families but remained under the supervision of missionaries and the church, studied in America and as adults returned after years to Greece where they occupied important positions.

One of them was Christos Evangelidis, a Macedonian from Thessaloniki who after the slaughter of his father, with his mother and 15,000 refugees in Syros, was taken under the protection of one of the American captains, led to America and there was adopted by the rich family of Samuel Ward. Evangelidis studied at New York University and after the death of his father took over the reins of Prime Ward.

Eventually he returned to Greece as an American consul in Syros, while in 1842 he founded the Evangelidis School in Athens, where distinguished writers studied, such as Dimitrios Vikelas and Emmanuel Roidis. Another well-known school founded by American missionaries which, of course, still operating today is the Hill School in Athens. The School was founded by John Henry Hill, a Columbia graduate, under the care of his wife, Frances Hill.

A very important chapter was the humanitarian action of nobles and Americans in Greece, who disobeyed the instructions of the American government, most of them left behind a comfortable life and shared the hardships of the Greek people.

Representatives of the philhellenic committees arrived with the humanitarian aid they had gathered. They undertook to distribute it, exposing themselves to dangers. They saw a country devastated, after years of war, that seemed to be inhabited by widows and orphans, living in huts or caves. The warriors were equally impoverished, and the famine was reaping. The testimonies of these American volunteers about the situation in Greece strengthened the support for the Greeks and gave us valuable historical testimonies.

American Philhellenes as warriors in the Greek Revolution

Of course, many American Philhellenes arrived in Greece as warriors, willing to fight on the battlefield for the freedom of the Greeks. Through the testimonies that we have for some of them, various personalities emerge, ideologues of the Struggle for Freedom and lovers of adventure, admirers of Greece… Some of them left behind valuable testimonies of those who lived. Some left their last breath in Greece.

George Jarvis

The first American to arrive in Greece was George Jarvis. Jarvis arrived in Hydra in April 1822. Of all the philhellenes, perhaps he was the one who loved everything Greek and wanted, as he wrote in his diary, to be considered Greek. He learned to speak and write Greek, dressed like the Greeks and Hellenized his name. He served as a Navy officer with Tombazis. He met Lord Byron in Messolonghi and followed Mavrokordatos on his campaigns in Epirus.

He fought in Messinia against Ibrahim and was in the Navarino guard who was forced to surrender. Ibrahim suggested him to change camp. He refused and, when he returned to the Greek lines, he continued to serve the Struggle, as an advisor to Kolokotronis, but also as the person responsible for the correspondence with the American Philhellenic Committees.

In his letters he emerges as a great advocate of the Greeks to his compatriots, aptly explaining what was not easy for them to understand about the harsh reality in Greece.He continued to fight with Kolokotronis in Peloponnese and with Karaiskakis in Roumeli and was wounded. In the last year of his life, he acted as a representative of the Boston Philhellenic Committee. Exhausted by hardship and deprivation, he died of a high fever in August 1828. His second homeland Argos buried him with honors.

William Townshend Washington

A distant cousin of George Washington, with an exceptional physique and characteristic of his origin beauty, highly educated, mathematician and for a short time a diplomat, arrived in Greece after his resignation, bringing $5,000 from the Boston committee to Miller. Miller accused him of spending a large amount of aid on the road. Koundouriotis, however, took him home to help him wash away his shame.

When the revolution seemed to be losing ground and some captains seemed willing to bow to the British to avoid the Ottomans again, Washington reacted and as a corps leader in Messolonghi launched a campaign to put an end to those plans. But he got ill and was hospitalized in Nafplio, where he fell in love with Katerina Roza, daughter of Markos Botsaris and asked to marry her but the family refused to give her to him.

In that time in Nafplio a dispute had broken out between captains Griva and Fotomara. Washington took the side of the second and in a fight, he was hit by a shot by the Grivans and died in the hospital in Miller’s hands. Thus, was fulfilled the prophecy he had uttered leaving the American capital two years ago “Greece is at war for its freedom, and I will give the last drop of my blood for it!”

Estick Evans from Portsmouth

He was a learned scholar, a candidate for Congress, when, influenced by the example of Lord Byron, he left behind his wife and their four children to go to Greece with letters of recommendation from Everett Clay, Lafayette and the Boston Committee. His aim was to help the Greeks escape anarchy and establish a solid state, a democracy like the American one. However, he could not bear the hardships of life in Greece and returned to America via Smyrna, from where he continued to defend the Greek cause.

Alexander Ross

An American who, worked as a nurse on the ship “Carteria” of Hastings. After the death of Hastings and his disembarkation, he was homeless for a long time in Aegina. For this reason, he asked Mavrokordatos for a three-month salary for his services.

He was known to the Greeks as “the English-American”. Although his name appears in many documents of the time, we have no other information about him, such as his origin or education and activities.

James Getty

An imposing figure with long hair, he always held in one hand a rifle he had brought from his hometown, Kentucky, and in the other the bag with the surgical tools that he never left! As a surgeon he saved many in battle, even himself when during a battle break he took one of his legs out of the dugout to rest and received a powerful Ottoman shot in his right foot.

He died in August 1828 under unclear circumstances while serving in the camp of Western Greece under General Church.

George Wilson

He was in Marseille when Cochran was looking for sailors for the French “Sauveur” or “Savior”. Wilson hurried and was hired as a sniper. He showed great bravery in the naval battle near Salona when Cochran rushed to the aid of the Hastings who managed to destroy much of the Ottoman fleet. In fact, Miller in one of his testimonies mentions that in the small celebration that was later set up on the “Savior”, Lord Cochran raised his glass in his honor, referring to his act in that victory.

Jonathan Peckam Miller

He was so adventurous and brave that in 1825 he managed to break the siege in Messolonghi and escape to Nafplio. He fought with Dimitrios Ypsilantis in the Mills and showed such courage and bravery that the Greeks nicknamed him “the devil-American”. Upon returning to his hometown, he married and studied law. He was a great activist and a staunch advocate for the abolition of slavery in Columbia, his place of residence.

John Allen

It was a rather obscure case, according to correspondence between Howe and Manolis Tombazis, who after Allen was released from Poros prison where he was serving a sentence for reasons we do not know, signed a check with 500 pounds (piastres) and asked him to leave Hellas. As a sailor he fought in Sfaktiria and Messolonghi, where he was wounded.

Samuel Gridley Howe, an emblematic figure of American philhellenism.

Samuel Gridley Howe
Samuel Gridley Howe Credit: Public Domain

A doctor from Boston, a graduate of Brown University, served as Chief Medical Surgeon on Hastings’ “Carteria” where he had set up a makeshift surgery during the siege of the Acropolis by Kiutachi Pasha. He established a hospital in Poros and treated thousands in need. The Greeks owe him a lot, because he continued to be dedicated to the Greek cause even after his return to America. He travelled in Greece three times, the second as a head of large humanitarian aid.

The third was in 1867 at the age of 66. It was then that he met Michalis Anagnostopoulos in Athens, originally from Papigo, Epirus, who was still under Ottoman rule. Returning to America, he took with him and the young refugee, who fell in love with the daughter of the doctor Julia Romana, and married her. After Howe’s death the Epirote now known as Michael Anagnos, he took over the management of the Perkins Institute, a standard treatment unit for blind children founded by his father-in-law and operating for 44 years.

Finally, an African American from Maryland, James Williams, was not one of the fortunate Americans. The opposite, in fact. He arrived as a slave after his misfortune to lose a poker game with Admiral Decatur, and as he could not compensate him, he boarded as a cook at a US Navy ship.

Always under the command of the admiral, who sailed from the port of Boston to Mediterranean Sea to rescue from the Ottomans the crew of an American merchant ship that had been seized by the latter and was preparing to sell them as slaves.

In a battle in Algerian sea, the cook came out of the barn and took part in the battle on deck. He fought bravely but he lost the middle finger of his left hand. When Decatur was ordered to return to Boston months later, he felt sorry for him, and in order not to let him return to America as a slave, he asked Lord Cochran, who had just arrived in Malta on the “Savior”, to take him with him.

Unconfirmed information brings him imprisoned in the siege of Messolonghi. He fought in the battle of Peta and Agios Sostis.He hospitalized to the American Hospital founded by Howe in Poros.

American Philhellenes were the first link between Greece and USA

The sympathy of the United States towards the Greek Revolution and the offer of the American Philhellenes was the first link for the strong affairs between the two nations.

It is not a coincidence that both countries were born through their struggles for Freedom, which is always the most valuable asset for both Greeks and Americans.

It is not a coincidence that the anniversary of the Greek Revolution is respected and celebrated in the United States more brilliantly than any other foreign country. Even in the White House!

In the two centuries that have passed since then, Greece and the United States always had friendly relations. They were allies and fought together in all the critical moments of history. They always shared the same ideals, same principles and values, and they still face common challenges today. There is a deeper friendship and mutual respect between them, an eclectic affinity that guides our relationship, for which American Philhellenism has been a strong starting point.

Emmanuel Velivasakis is a former president of the Pancretan Association of America and the Hellenic American National Council. The article is an abbreviated version of his presentation to the Cretan Cultural Center of Palm Beach, Florida on the 200th anniversary of the Greek Revolution.

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