19. The Silence

© 2022 William St Clair, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 https://doi.org/10.11647/OBP.0136.19

Why has the history of the saving of the Parthenon, which Michaud and Urquhart so confidently predicted would soon be known to posterity, taken nearly two hundred years to piece together? Although the Ottoman records were inaccessible until recent decades, the copies at Kew have been publicly available for over a century. Part of the answer may lie in the sheer quantity of documents that Stratford Canning generated. His first biographer, Stanley Lane-Poole, admitted that he had on occasions allowed himself to be been defeated by the amount, and he claimed to be doing his readers a favour by not writing up in full all the information he claimed to have read or perused. As he wrote about a crisis in the 1840s in which Canning played a large and perhaps a decisive role: ‘To relate a tenth of the negotiations, proposals and counter-proposals, intrigues, disputes, promises and retractations, that came at this time under supervision, would demand a separate volume. The correspondence about Greece alone is enough to dismay the stoutest heart that even a biographer of diplomacy can boast’.1 Lane-Poole’s modern successor, the late Alan Cunningham, who, for his planned biography, devoted the last twenty-five years of his life to investigating the documentary records, including those at Kew, appears not to have known of the correspondence.2

Lane-Poole seems sometimes, in accordance with the norms of his age, to have resorted to self-censorship. It is hard to believe that, when he wrote his biography, he knew nothing of the biographical material published anonymously by a member of Canning’s staff, which accused him of being a ‘hectoring’ diplomat of the kind whose ‘minds were made up on most points several centuries before they were born, and their creed rigidly enjoins complete abstinence from fresh ideas’, a man who clung ‘to an orthodox belief in the miracles and mysteries of a diplomacy secret, tortuous, and incomprehensible’.3 The author, easily identifiable at the time as Eustace Clare Grenville Murray, a son of an English aristocrat, drew a portrait of ‘Sir Hector Stubble’ whose ‘chief pastime is asserting his own grandeur, and causing the world to tremble generally whenever he has a fit of the gout’.4 In a caustic word portrait, unsoftened by humour, Murray caricatures the myth of Stratford Canning as a man who shaped the future of nations: ‘Sir Hector has become one of the beliefs of the age: he is a sublime mystery; he is fearfully and wonderfully made; he is the only ambassador now going on the face of the earth; he is his own prophet; he is an effulgent wonder; he is the unknown man’.5 Later Canning was presented by Murray as ‘Lord Loggerhead’, who quarrelled with all his colleagues and had no personal friends, scarcely looking up from his official papers to acknowledge the presence of his young wife.6 In a general attack on the British class system, Murray, who as an illegitimate son of a peer enjoyed only a few of the advantages of that system, lifted the lid on what he called the ‘cousinage’, an informal network of privilege that offered rich opportunities for placement in public office, while respecting its own unwritten codes.

Murray, in publicly asking how a man as respected as Sir Hector could have made himself so disagreeable to the members of his staff, offered his own answer: ‘He [Canning] was a person of fair average capacity indeed, hard-working, continent, careful of his own interests, a patriot according to his dim lights, and a gentleman in speech when he was not crossed; but a more hard, unkind, unjust, unlovable man never stood within the icy circle of his own pride and ill-temper’. He was, Murray wrote, ‘haughty and petulant beyond anybody I have ever seen. He trampled on other people’s feelings as savagely and unflinchingly as if they had been soulless puppets made to work his will. He was essentially a narrow-minded man, for he had favourites and jealousies, and petty enmities; he had small passions, and by no means an intellect strong enough even to keep them decently out of sight […] he would have figured well as the governor of a penal settlement, or the master of a reformatory’.7 It was a far cry from Canning’s first tour in Constantinople in 1810, when visitors had heaped praises on the coming man.8

Murray may have been unfair both to Canning and to his reputation among his staff, but the ambassador certainly worked them. As was noted by Lord Carlisle, a British politician who visited him in Constantinople on the eve of the Crimean war, Canning’s opinion was sought and listened to with great respect, and on one occasion, the British dispatch was delayed until seven o’clock in the morning ‘which indicates that Lord Stratford and his attachés spent the whole night writing’.9 Murray’s contempt never abated. As he wrote: ‘Stratford Canning. Has received no less than thirty-four different appointments. Was Emperor of Turkey for nearly fifty years. Was Member for King’s Lynn, my Lord Stanley’s borough, but did not Bagge his seat—it was given him. Received generally Commissions from the Crown whenever he applied for them; and often held half-a-dozen at the same time. Culminated in a small book of poems, and then collapsed utterly’.10 And it is easy to see why Murray’s books were ignored.

As far as the episode of the saving of the Parthenon is concerned, the protocols of professional historical inquiry do not demand that every haystack should be examined, stalk by stalk, in hopes of unexpectedly finding a needle. But, even in the readily accessible printed record, as the many examples already noted and quoted show, there were enough scattered indications, notably in the books by Walsh and Gordon, for a curious inquirer to check if any primary documents, such as the ‘trumpery firman’, had survived. Stories that there had been a secret deal had started immediately after the surrender of the Acropolis in 1827.11 It was because I assumed that the most obvious place, the British National Archives at Kew, must already have been explored that I began my own search with the Gordon papers in Aberdeen University Library.

The long silence therefore raises another set of questions. Why did no one who was in on the secret later disclose what he or she knew? Why did no-one claim the credit?12 And why did no-one come forward to refute the puzzled invocations of Providence and destiny, and correct the fictions that soon pervaded the historiography? Among those who were in on the secret at the time of the surrender of the Acropolis, besides Canning in Constantinople, the other main actor was the French Admiral de Rigny on board his ship in the harbour of Piraeus, who was in direct and, at some critical times, almost hourly touch with all parties, including Reschid. At the time of the surrender, de Rigny knew that orders had been issued not to destroy the monuments, as did the resident foreign consuls in Athens, who had been told but who could not be sure that the orders might not later be reversed, as was openly threatened during the years of the resumed Ottoman occupation between 1827 and 1833. Although extracts from de Rigny’s reports to the French Ministry of Marine in Paris have been published, none mentions the bargain nor the offer de Rigny made to buy antiquities from the Acropolis, a correspondence that we still only know of from recently retrieved Ottoman sources.13

Another candidate for someone in the know is Sir Richard Church, who, as commander-in-chief of the Greek army, had suddenly claimed in his order to the besieged to surrender the Acropolis that his purpose was ‘to save the monuments’.14 To the French naval and military officer, Jean-Philippe-Paul Jourdain, writing in his document-packed history published in 1828, this claim was the ultimate insult to the dead soldiers, the crowning disgrace of the military disaster for which Church carried much of the responsibility. Thomas Gordon, who in 1821 had been an eyewitness of the Revolutionaries’ way of fighting, and who had foreseen what was likely to happen if it was repeated in 1827, told the Greek General Makriyannis in a private letter that Church was ‘an insufferable vain coxcomb made up every bit of him of gold lace, mustachios and froth’.15

Even Church’s own military staff felt betrayed, especially when it emerged that the Acropolis had had at least three months’ supply of food and water, not just enough for three days as was claimed by the besieged in a letter that, like all communications with the Acropolis at this time, was carried by the French mediators.16 On the face of it, Church deserved the scorn of his former comrades. Thousands of lives had been lost, an army squandered, and the fate of the whole Greek Revolution hazarded on what, even if it had succeeded, was not the best available military option for winning the war but more a piece of theatre aimed at audiences in Europe and at harvesting personal glory.17

Was Church, when he ordered the surrender of the Acropolis, taking part in a diplomatic dance whose moves had already been choreographed? Was the sudden mention of the need to ‘save the monuments’ a reminder to Reschid that the bargain he had made with Canning was still on offer? Was Church, in allowing himself to be ridiculed, taking one for the team? Although more documents relating to the episode may emerge in due course from the primary records, none of these explanations is plausible. Nor is there any need to construct a conspiracy theory. Greek forces could be regarded as fighting for the neo-Hellenic dream that the Parthenon represented, and the military leaders of those besieged in the Acropolis had claimed the right to immolate themselves as the ultimate defiance, as the heroes of Missolonghi had done, preparing the way for the construction of a myth about the failure of ‘Europe’.18 But how could the Greek Revolutionaries protect the ancient monuments by surrendering the Acropolis to their enemies? Church’s order, if carried out, could save the monuments by releasing the besieged Greek forces from their promise to immolate themselves in what was then called a ‘holocaust’, but he could not, unless by prior collusion, speak for the Ottoman enemy. Among the Church archives I have, however, found no indication that Church had any such intentions or that he even knew about the bargain.

After the war, Church settled in Athens where he lived out a long and respected life until he died in his ninetieth year in 1873, a link with the Revolutionaries of 1821 and of the philhellenes who had fought with them. Church, after the defeats in Athens, had had some military success in western Greece, with the result that a large area of Achaea and Acarnania was assigned to Greece in the settlement of frontiers, and he was employed by the government against internal opposition. He seems to have begun to regard himself as a successful general. According to Gordon, whose contempt never wavered, he thought of himself as ‘the third great general the world has seen Alexander & Caesar in ancient times, & Napoleon was not the greatest in modern, argue Church is.’19

In the memorial speech given in 1855 on the Acropolis when news arrived of the death of Fabvier, an event at which Church may have been present, Fabvier was praised for his daring exploit of carrying gunpowder into the besieged Acropolis in 1827, with no mention of the surrender soon afterwards.20 Indeed the claim in the official decree that Fabvier’s exploit had helped ‘to save the city of Athens’ crossed the generous limits of what is permissible in eulogies. Step by step, by selection and omission, with small exaggeration added to small silence, the events of 1826 and 1827 were transformed into a comforting national myth.

Church himself prepared an autobiographical account, which he wrote in the third person like Julius Caesar, and which remains unprinted in manuscript in the British Library. He offered a vindication of his conduct that did not give away any secrets, if he had ever been entrusted with any. I have not discovered when the autobiography was written and why it was never printed. At Church’s funeral in Athens, tributes were paid and the events of 1827 were alluded to in guarded terms.21 After his death a short book was prepared by Stanley Lane-Poole, with the help of the autobiography and the voluminous other papers that at that time were still in the hands of the family.22 In the spirit of an obituary, and its conventions of de mortuis nil nisi bonum, a practice that Lane-Poole had already adopted in his biography of Stratford Canning, he recalled what he termed ‘the great disaster’ of 1827: ‘Yet on Church’s behalf it may fairly be urged that what success there was, was his doing, and what failure there was cannot be set down to his discredit’.23 Despite Church’s having held the appointment of commander-in-chief, Lane-Poole put the blame for all that had gone wrong militarily on others, notably Admiral Cochrane, but also on the Greek troops under Church’s command whom he had sent to their deaths.

A passage that Lane-Poole printed from Church’s unpublished autobiography gives an indication of how Church saw himself during the brief time between the defeats of early May 1827 and the surrender in June: ‘Early on the morning of 27 May [to quote his own narrative], the general-in-chief walked round the entrenchments of the Phalerum [Phaleron], and when on the summit of this renowned hill, once an impregnable fortress, the glorious surrounding scenery impressed his mind with the most powerful sensations: Athens on one side, closely blockaded by a barbarous multitude incessantly occupied in discharging ponderous volleys of heavy artillery against the Acropolis, shells bursting over the Parthenon; in front of the Phalerum the long line of the Turkish camp stretching from the sea near Cape Kolias to the Peiraeus, forming almost a semicircle, in order the better to envelop the few Greek troops posted in their front; the immense number of standards and of tents of all colours, the plain covered with horses, mules, camels, and sheep; on the other side, the island of Salamis, always ready to receive the Greeks when driven out of Attica; further off the mighty Gerauleion and Mount Oenion, the bulwarks of Peloponnesus; and Aegina directly in front, whence came Aristides to aid his immortal rival in their efforts for the salvation of their country on the awful night preceding the battle of Salamis. The Greeks who accompanied their general were evidently impressed with the scene and its associations, and it was with a sore sense of the contrast between the past and the present that they retraced their steps, and prepared to leave the historic soil of Attica.’24 Church, whether unconsciously composed from half-remembered reading or from a more explicit wish to give readers what he thought they wanted to hear, presents himself as a new Themistocles, refusing to despair. The ancient Athenians of 480/479 BCE had, on Themistocles’s advice, decided to abandon the Acropolis and allowed its monuments to be destroyed by the invading Persians in order to be able continue the fight, and by their later victories had enabled the post-Persian-War generation of Pericles to turn the rebuilt Acropolis into a monument of the enduring spirit of eternal Athenianness.25 In his autobiographical apologia, however, Church came near to suggesting the opposite, namely, that the stones of the Parthenon were more valuable than the lives of his troops and the winning of the war.

One explanation for the pervasive silence that carries conviction is that Stratford Canning had himself kept silent. He had had many opportunities to say what he knew, and especially after he retired from public office. One that he did not take up was in a long article called ‘Recollections of the Revival of Greek Independence’, which he wrote for the journal Nineteenth Century, then a must-read for the entire British political class, in an issue that appeared in two parts in 1878.26 The occasion was the publication of official British papers relating the recent Congress of Berlin, and Canning quietly corrected the historical record on the coming of Greek independence half a century before by quoting from contemporary papers, including the instructions he had received from London.

Readers accustomed to steam ships, steam trains, and electric telegraphs able to carry messages more quickly than ever before were taken back to a distant age, its wars already heroized and its men and women already morphing in the memory into the costumed romance of an age of elegance. Canning’s readers were reminded of long journeys by horse-drawn carriage in winter snow, of weeks spent on board sailing ships, of his meetings with the emperors of Russia and Austria, with Wellington and Metternich, with King George III and Sultan Mahmoud. Canning might have mentioned Byron, against whom he had played cricket in the Eton and Harrow match, whom he had entertained at Constantinople in 1810, and he said nothing about Annabella Milbanke, to whom he had proposed marriage in 1813 and who ‘in an evil hour’ became Byron’s wife, and whose daughter Ada, in her work with Charles Babbage was already foreshadowing the computer age.27 In The Eastern Question, another collection published posthumously in book form in 1881, Canning gave details about Athens not available elsewhere but, again, he said nothing about the saving of the Parthenon28

The diplomatic practice of not crowing over success, nowadays often set aside, is enough to explain both the short-and the medium-term silence, especially when laid alongside the other rhetorical practice of downplaying error and failure. And to Canning, who was dealing with peace and war, and the fate of empires and nations, and who latterly began to see himself as an instrument of Providence, the monuments of Athens may have seemed unimportant, a sideshow that could be left forgotten.29 But, as the years and decades passed, and the Parthenon came to be regarded around the world as the greatest work ever produced by the mind of man, lack of interest is not an adequate explanation. Although Providence does not normally explain its inscrutable workings, those who cast themselves as its instruments usually like to inscribe themselves in the citation. And, as with the history of the events, so with the history of the historiographies, the documents help explain why a self-imposed silence was preferred to the alternatives.

It was when Canning was at Malta in 1831 and Urquhart was about to meet Reschid in Albania that he persuaded the British admiral to lend him the only steam vessel in the British Mediterranean fleet, giving him a pretext for making a diversion from his direct route by way of Greece on the grounds that a steamship, unlike a sailing ship, would not have to wait at the Dardanelles for favourable winds as well as for a firman.30 Although on his mission Canning wrote numerous detailed letters at short intervals to Prime Minister Palmerston about his negotiations with the Greek Revolutionary parties at Nauplia and Argos, and about his conversations with the Ottoman governor of the provinces of Attica and Negropont Ismael Bey, in which Ismael confirmed that he had received no orders to evacuate Athens, Canning did not mention that he had visited Athens. Indeed, a reader in London might have reasonably concluded from his phrase ‘passing along that part of Roumelia which comprizes the most interesting points of the territory requisite to complete the North Eastern boundary of Greece’ that he had never landed.31 And his silence may have been deliberate. Within the British Cabinet, a faction led by Lord Aberdeen wanted independent Greece to be confined to the Peloponnese, giving the country a frontier more easily defended and therefore more practical for Britain and the other powers to guarantee. They suspected Canning of being a sentimental philhellene, as indeed he was.32

However, in his private memoirs, which Canning expected would be published one day, he wrote a full account of the visit, rather in the style of other visitors during the last days of Ottoman Athens. ‘Past, present, and future’, he wrote as he gazed on the undamaged monuments, ‘stood before me’.33 On 16 January 1832, Canning paid his first ever visit to the Acropolis of Athens, although he had seen it from the sea several times before.34 His diplomatic mission was to impress on the Ottoman authorities that if they did not withdraw, Britain and France would use force to compel them to do so. He was giving them advance notice of the barely concealed set of ultimatums that he was tasked to present to the Ottoman Government when he reached Constantinople. And in his few days in Athens he met some of his fellow countrymen settled there, notably George Finlay, and was able to bring himself up to date on the current situation among the Greek Revolutionaries that were near to civil war.

Canning, like other visitors to the Acropolis after 1827, saw that the ancient monuments still stood, not unscathed but certainly undestroyed. The firman of 1826 that Canning had played such a large part in obtaining, and the personal assurances he had received from Reschid, had not only been honoured but honoured to the letter. If he saw the Thrassylos monument and the Cave (discussed in Chapter 17 and pictured in Figure 17.5), he would have reached the same conclusion.

The Life of the Right Honourable Stratford Canning, Viscount Stratford de Redcliffe K.G. G.C.B. D.C.L. L.L.D. &c. from his memoirs and private and official papers, a work that preserves many documents, was first published in two large volumes in 1880. It is an example of the type of biography that, early in the twentieth century, the Bloomsbury group of English intellectuals saw as contributing to the organised hypocrisy of the Victorian age, indeed as one of the instruments by which social class was constituted and promoted. As Lytton Strachey wrote of the genre in 1910: ‘Those two fat volumes, with which it is our custom to commemorate the dead—who does not know them, with their ill-digested masses of material, their slipshod style, their tone of tedious panegyric, their lamentable lack of selection, of detachment, of design? They are as familiar as the cortege of the undertaker, and wear the same air of slow, funereal barbarism. One is tempted to suppose, of some of them, that they were composed by that functionary as the final item of his job.’35

It was common, normal even, for the personal manuscripts from which such works were compiled to be destroyed, so controlling the main agenda of history for posterity, and that appears to have happened to many of the private papers of Stratford Canning which were quoted in print by Lane-Poole.36 However, since Lane-Poole evidently did not know the story of Canning’s dealings with Reschid, he allowed a tell-tale letter to be printed that explains more than he, as biographer, realized. On 16 January 1832, Canning wrote a private letter to his wife that has not hitherto been noticed in the history of the Parthenon:

‘… do not tell L.B. on any account [so underlined] how nobly indignant I felt against her noble uncle for having spoiled the temple of its finest ornaments. I had taken his part a few years before, on the ground of his having intended to forestall the French, then masters of Egypt and threatening Greece; but when I heard that one whole side of the reliefs was, and still is, buried under the ruins, occasioned by an explosion of gunpowder many years ago, I could not help thinking that the Scottish Earl might have better employed his time and money in fishing these up, than in pulling down those reliefs that were still in their place.’37

L.B. is readily identifiable as Louisa Bruce, 1802–1870, daughter of the 7th Earl of Elgin’s younger brother Charles, and a friend of his wife.38 So the secret is out. Even at the time, Canning saw that Elgin had not ‘saved’ the Marbles from the Turks as the justificatory narrative has claimed, and which had taken in many people, including himself. If Elgin had really wanted to save the monuments, he could have used his influence to ensure that they remained safe where they were, as Canning himself had done. And among the reasons that Canning kept his secrets, apart from a private wish not to embarrass members of his immediate family and their friends, was that he knew revealing what he had done would reopen public questions about the legitimacy of Elgin’s removals.39

Canning was now agreeing with the thought that had occurred to the Muslim authorities in Athens when, against their will, under the authority of the firman engineered by Elgin in 1801, they had been persuaded to allow Elgin’s agents to remove pieces of the buildings. It was not a piece of counterfactual hindsight applied to a different past, but well-documented advice offered at the time that had been ignored and overridden. As was reported by Edward Daniel Clarke who was present: ‘We confessed that we participated in the Mahometan feeling in this instance, and would gladly see an order enforced to preserve rather than to destroy such a glorious edifice.’40

A near-contemporary picture made by William Gell, who was present during some of the removals and which has recently become available, is reproduced as Figure 19.1.

Figure 19.1. Sir William Gell, The removal of the Sculptures from the Pediments of the Parthenon by Elgin (1801). Painting. Benaki Museum, Athens.41

And. as if the Providence that almost everyone mentioned in this book invoked had decided to intervene to prove Canning’s judgement right, a few slabs of the Parthenon frieze and a metope came to light soon after the Ottoman army left in 1833, when a path was cleared through the marble débris for King Otho’s first ceremonial visit.42 These pieces, and others found soon afterwards, were put on display inside the Parthenon, where they were photographed in the 1850s, as shown in Figure 19.2.

According to a French architect who was present at the ceremony at which the first discoveries, two pieces of the Parthenon frieze, were shown to King Otho, it was the finding of fallen pieces, some unmutilated, that convinced him and many others that the accumulated soil of the Acropolis, like that of the town of Athens where excavations were already under way, was likely to contain far more, as has proved to be the case.43

Figure 19.2. Parts of the Parthenon frieze displayed inside the Parthenon. Photographs unidentified.44

By the early 1830s the works of Lord Byron were established all over the Europeanized world as the mainstream way of regarding Greece and its history. And although Byron had written mainly of the Ottoman period before the Revolution and his death in Greece in 1824, a stream of new publications, including numerous reports of conversations, ensured he still frequently bobbed up posthumously to contribute to the formation of opinion. In 1832/33, for example, the editors of the Life and Works of Byron, prepared with the help of his friends and with access to many unpublished manuscripts, had published for the first time a passage in verse that had been drafted for Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, A Romaunt, which had been omitted at the time of first publication in 1812 as an act of self-censorship.45 In the passage Byron had extended his attack on Elgin to include the practice of digging up antiquities for export and display more generally, not on the modern grounds that dilettantism destroys knowledge, but because of the nexus of hypocrisies he had observed when he was in Athens as well as in England. Among those Byron mentioned as culpable were Lord Aberdeen, now in 1832 the Foreign Secretary and soon to be Prime Minister, and others, including William Gell, and Thomas Hope who displayed what he thought was a piece of sculpture from the Parthenon in his grand house in London.46

As for Stratford Canning as an ambassador, with Aberdeen as his official master, and Byron, his old school friend, lifting yet more veils from the ‘humbuggery’, it is understandable why he thought the silence of national, class, and family solidarity was the most prudent option. That the dictates of ‘duty’, a word seldom absent from Victorian discourse, should on occasions be overridden by the ties of ‘kinship’, or in Murray’s word, ‘cousinhood’, was an idea that had been promoted by the ancient Athenians who had built the Parthenon.47

1 Lane-Poole, Canning, ii, 117.

2 The results of his extensive researches were posthumously published as Cunningham, Alan, Eastern Questions in the Nineteenth Century: Collected Essays, in two volumes edited by Edward Ingram (London: Cass, 1993). Canning’s most recent biographer, Richmond, Steven, The Voice of England in the East: Stratford Canning and Diplomacy with the Ottoman Empire (London: Tauris, 2014) makes no mention of the episode. Given the interest in the Parthenon and its exported pieces that has grown steadily any suggestion that Cunningham and others knew of the documents, but did not think it worthwhile draw them to public attention can be confidently ruled out.

3 [Murray, Eustace Clare Grenville] The Roving Englishman in Turkey: sketches from life reprinted in part from “Household words” (London: Routledge, 1855) and in a revised edition, still anonymous, in 1877), vii. He was also the anonymous author of [Murray, E. Clare Grenville] From Mayfair to Marathon (London: Bentley, 1853) that describes some of his personal experiences in Greece and in the Ottoman territories.

4 [Murray] Roving Englishman, 100. Canning is known to have suffered from gout.

5 Murray, Roving Englishman, 341.

6 Discussed by [Murray, Eustace Clare Grenville] Berridge, G.R., A diplomatic whistleblower in the Victorian Era, The Life and Writings of E.C. Grenville-Murray (Istanbul, Isis Press, second printed edition, 2017).

7 Murray, Roving Englishman, 17.

8 John Galt, for example, in the preface to an expensive book on trade prospects that showed how much he needed lessons on the art of rhetoric, had praised ‘the singular purity of his mind, contrasted with the diplomatic offal in the Ottoman metropolis. Should the book reach his hands, he will discriminate the respect that is paid from a motive which had not its origin in considerations for his public situation, nor in return for any favours proposed or received.’ Voyages and Travels, vii.

9 Carlisle, Diary, 120. Murray, if he knew the book, might have dismissed such remarks as examples of cousinage.

10 The Queen’s Messenger: a weekly gazette of politics and literature, 1869, page 241. The reference is to Canning, Stratford, Shadows of the Past in Verse (London: Macmillan, 1866) presented by the author as ‘a pleasant and not unuseful relief from official drudgery.’

11 For example, British Vice-Consul in Milo [Melos] dated 14 June 1827: ‘Two days ago a Roman Catholic Priest passenger on board Admiral de Rigny’s ship arrived here who told me that he knew the way in which Admiral de Rigny gained over the Greeks of the Acropolis to surrender but that he was not at liberty to speak clearly as he was a guest of the French consul at this place, but acknowledged that the Acropolis was not surrendered for want of provisions, that it was furnished with every necessary for six months.’ Kew FO 78/155 147.

12 As an exception, the book by Rev. Robert Walsh, who claimed the credit for Lord Strangford’s firman of 1821 is noted in Appendix B.

13 Extracts in Jurien de La Gravière, le vice-amiral, La station du Levant (Paris: Plon, 1876).

14 Full text in Appendix C.

15 From Gordon ms 1160/72 12 January 1828, quoted from the Gordon archive by Kasdagli, Aglaia E., ‘Exploring the papers of the Scottish philhellene Thomas Gordon (1788–1841)’ in Kampos, Cambridge Papers in Modern Greek, 3 (1995), 66.

16 See, for example, the remarks attributed to ‘my friend Colonel F[allon], a British officer, who was present en amateur, or rather as a friend of General Church, at the unfortunate affair of Athens, in the spring of 1827’ quoted by Macfarlane, Charles, Constantinople in 1828 … To which is added an appendix, containing remarks and observations to the autumn of 1829 (London: Saunders and Otley, 1829), i, 272.

17 Jourdain, ii, 354.

18 Full text in Appendix C.

19 Finlay Journals and Letters, i, 109. Journal entry of 2 May 1836, the ambiguous punctuation left as transcribed by the editor.

20 Rangabé, M.A.R., Discours prononcé à d’Acropole par M.A.R. Rangabé, membre du Conseil Municipal d’Athènes à l’occasion de la solemnité célebré en mémoire du Général Fabvier (Athènes: Vilaris and Liomis, 1855), 15.

21 [Church, Richard] Funeral orations pronounced at the Greek cemetery of Athens on March the 15/27th 1873 over the tomb of the late General Sir Richard Church by the Hon: P. Chalkiopulos, Minister of Justice, and Mr. John Gennadius, Secretary of Legation (Athens: Press of the Journal of Debates, 1873).

22 [Church, Richard] Lane-Poole, Stanley, Sir Richard Church C.B. G.C.H. Commander-in-chief of the Greeks in the War of Independence (London: Longman, 1890). This short book had appeared as articles in The English Historical Review, 1 January 1890, Vol.5 (17), pp. 7–30; 1 April 1890, Vol.5 (18), pp. 293–305; and 1 July 1890, Vol.5 (19), pp. 497–522.

23 Lane-Poole, Church, 56.

24 Lane-Poole, Stanley, Sir Richard Church C.B. G.C.H. Commander-in-chief of the Greeks in the War of Independence (London: Longman, 1890), 58. The ancient oracle about Cape Colias, mentioned in the account by Herodotus on which Church is drawing for his meditation, is noted in The Classical Parthenon, https://doi.org/10.11647/OBP.0279.

25 To be discussed in The Classical Parthenon, https://doi.org/10.11647/OBP.0279.

26 Nineteenth Century, August 1878, 377–92 and November 1878, pp. 932–54. The whole article was reprinted in the posthumous The Eastern question / by the late Viscount Stratford de Redcliffe; being a selection from his writings during the last five years of his life; with a preface by Arthur Penrhyn Stanley (London: Murray, 1881).

27 Lane-Poole i, pp. 18, 84–86, 196, 206.

28 The Eastern question / by the late Viscount Stratford de Redcliffe; being a selection from his writings during the last five years of his life; with a preface by Arthur Penrhyn Stanley (London: Murray, 1881).

29 Canning’s construction and presentation of himself as ‘a humble instrument’ ‘acting under Providence’, a characteristic he shared with many British Victorians, and the tendency of British historiography to exaggerate his influence over the course of Ottoman historical development, is discussed by Richmond, pp. 228–29. In 1932, the biographer Elizabeth Malcolm-Smith had suggested that Canning saw himself as a Moses figure, picking up on contemporary references, some tinctured with irony collected and quoted by Richmond, 29, although the claim that he was helping along ‘the bloodless conquests of humanity over barbarism’ scarcely matched what had been done by Moses and his successors as reported in the ancient Jewish texts.

30 He could also have mentioned the delays at ‘The Arches’ discussed in Chapter 5.

31 Canning to Palmerston from Therapia in Constantinople 31 January 1832. Kew FO78/209, 159. His previous had been dated 13 January 1832 from Nauplia FO 78/209, 149.

32 On his first sight of Greece on a later visit in 1853, he wrote that ‘a mist bedims my gladden’d eye.’ Canning, Shadows of the Past, 114 footnote. Although in that book of verses he mentioned the Elgin Marbles controversy he gave no hint of the part he had played in preventing the destruction of the monuments.

33 Canning in his memoirs quoted by Lane-Poole, Canning, i, 501.

34 Lane-Poole, Canning i, 501.

35 Preface to Eminent Victorians, first published in 1918.

36 That was the conclusion of the article on Canning by Muriel E. Chamberlain in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, published in 2004, that contains lists of known manuscript correspondence held in libraries and record offices.

37 Stratford Canning to his wife Jane, dated from Athens 16 January 1832, printed in Lane-Poole, Stanley, The Life of Lord Stratford de Redcliffe, K.G… (London: Longman, 2 volumes, 1888), i, 502. The later one-volume ‘popular’ edition omits these remarks, with the effect that most readers of Lane-Poole’s book did not see them. Although printed, this letter has not hitherto been noticed in histories of the monument or of the Marbles. As far as I can discover from online catalogues the manuscript itself has not noted in any of the collections that contain other correspondence.

38 See Checkland, Sydney, The Elgins, 1766–1917: A Tale of Aristocrats, Proconsuls and Their Wives (Aberdeen: Aberdeen UP, 1988), 267. An undated and incomplete letter from Louisa Bruce in Kew FO 352/19B, part 7, a stray from Canning’s private papers into his official correspondence, mentions ‘uncle Elgin’ as having been ‘elected’ and that she is going to walk to Dunfermline to see him. This may refer to Elgin’s election as one of the representative peers of Scotland, an office he assumed on11 April 1820 and held till his death in 1841.

39 The notion that overlapping circles of ‘kinship’ could cause individuals, even gods, to deviate from the demands of exact justice, was well known in classical Athens as will be explored in The Classical Parthenon, with suggestions of how kinship is celebrated in the stories told by the Parthenon.

40 Clarke, Travels, part the second, section the second, 1814, 483. ‘[A]nd Lusieri told us that it was with great difficulty he could accomplish this part of his undertaking, from the attachment the Turks entertained towards a building which they had been accustomed to regard with religious veneration, and had converted into a mosque. We confessed that we participated the Mahometan feeling in this instance, and would gladly see an order enforced to preserve than to destroy such a glorious edifice.’ ‘Why not exert the same influence which was employed in removing them, to induce the Turkish Government to adopt measures for their effectual preservation!’ Ibid., 485.

42 They are referred to as recent discoveries in a letter dated 15 August 1833 printed in Clairmont, letter number 94, page 245.

43 On venait de découvrir au pied du Parthénon, pour en faire les honneurs au nouveau souverain, deux précieux bas-reliefs de trois pieds de haut, représentant une procession et un sacrifice’ that convinced him, and many others, that the accumulated soil of the Acropolis was likely to contain much more, as proved to be the case. Marchebeus, 110.

44 Private collection. Both photographs noted as ‘Frise déposée dans le Cella du Parthénon.’

45 First published in Byron, The Works of Lord Byron: With His Letters And Journals, And His Life, by Thomas Moore, Esq. (London: John Murray, 17 volumes 1832–1833), vi, 72.

46 The claim that the piece, a man’s arm and hand, was part of a metope from the Parthenon, was disproved by Michaelis, Adolf, PH.D., Professor of Classical Archaeology in the University of Strassburg, Ancient Marbles in Great Britain, Translated from the German … (Cambridge: CUP, 1882), 285.

47 As discussed in The Classical Parthenon, https://doi.org/10.11647/OBP.0279.

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