THE REVOLUTION OF 1821 AND UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

The declaration of the Independence of United States of America, which was until then the colony of the English Crown, preceded the Greek Revolution of 1821, for about four decades. The new state of America, during its organizational process, borrowed a lot of features from Ancient Greek Republic and was fond of Greek civilization and also of the enslaved to the Ottoman Empire Greeks. They were so sympathetic that at the American Congress, they put the issue of establishing the Greek language as the official language of the state. The proposition was not adopted for just a few votes. Anyway, there was in United States of America a small but dynamic Community of colonists of Greek origin that used to state the Greek rights to the present government of USA.

It is obvious, then, that, under these circumstances, the Greek revolutionaries even from their first steps to freedom, they would think to ask for the help of the young American democracy. So, there is the text of the Messinian Senate signed by the Commander in Chief Petros Mavromihalis, Petrobeys. It was written almost at the same time of the “Plea to the European Courts” which is more known. Therefore, we bring it back to publicity in order to inform our readers about this important document. The plea was followed by an important wave of friends of Greece, both in financially and fighting which has been analytically recorded by the historians of the Revolution in 1821.

THE PROCLAMATION BY P. MAVROMIHALIS TO THE AMERICANS

By Petroby Mavromihalis, under the status of the commander in chief and President of  “Messinian Senate in Kalamata” it was sent to Adamantios Korais in Paris the below proclamation to the Americans. Korais rushed into translating it and sending a translated copy  and the original to the famous American and friend of Greece Ed. Everett, professor of the ancient Greek literature at Harvard University, journalist and senator and governor of Massachusetts State. Everett published the letter translated in the American newspapers; the publication moved the enthusiasm of the American public opinion, which took part in the development of a wave of sympathies for the Greek struggle  in America. The Greek original text was published by the North American Review, October 1823 and from this publication we know the following.

Korais had delivered copies to the American Embassy in Paris to be forwarded to Washington but these were not found. The letter of Korais to Everett is dated  back to 27 June 1821, whereas the published text in the American newspapers of the proclamation in 25 May 1821. Already from this period, as soon as it was published by the American newspapers, doubts were expressed, concerning the originality, by some European newspapers, which implied that this was made up in Paris by Korais and his surrounding. Then, Korais rushed in publishing a certificate that the proclamation was really sent to him to him by Petrobeys in order to be forwarded to USA. Anyway, this text was not found in Greece and it is only known by the publication by Everett to whom it was sent by Korais. (see extensive reference on this subject at Ap. Daskalakis book Korais and the freedom of Greece, page. 470).

Proclamation to the Americans by the Messinian Senate of Kalamata and the commander in chief Petros Mavromihalis

Since we decided to live or die for freedom we turn to you because of sincere likeness; because freedom chose to live at your place, which is worshiped by you as it was worshipped by our fathers. For this reason, in her name, we turn to you having the belief that if we imitate you we will imitate our ancestors and be worthy to them if we become like you.

Your virtues, Americans, take us close to you, although we are separated by vast sea. We think of you of being closer than the neighbouring to us states and consider you to be our friends and brothers because you are righteous, benevolent and brave because you follow the gospel. Your freedom is not based on the slavery of other nations, nor your prosperity on foreign disasters and troubles; but on the contrary and, since you live happily, you wish all people to take part in these virtues and enjoy all the rights nature gave to everybody. You were the first to announce these rights and then again you were the first to respect them by giving rights to the poor Africans. According to your example, Europe stopped the inhuman and cruel procuring and is taught to be righteous and learns how to stop wrong and mortal habits. This glory, Americans, belongs only to you and puts you on top of all the known free nations to follow the law.

It’s your duty, men, to help us purify Greece from the barbarians who infected the nation for four hundred years. It would be worthy of you to pay the debt of the civilized people, to cast away tyranny from their country of arts and freedom. You don’t want to imitate the condemned indifference or long-lasting ungratefulness of some Europeans. No, the people of Gulielm Penn, Washington and Franklin doesn’t want to deny help to the ancestors of Fokionos, Thrasivoulos, Aratos, Filopoimenos. You have shown already to them honour and trust by sending your children to their schools. You know how they welcomed them with grace and good care. But if they did this being enslaved, imagine with how much friendship and ardour they want to treat you if with your help you break their chains? Hellas then, will give you profits which you would wait in vain from wild  and blind rulers. The bonds of brotherhood and gratefulness which will unit Greeks and Americans for ever. Our interests are such, so as to make stronger the alliance to each other based on freedom and virtue.

By the name of the Senate of Messinia in Kalamata

Petros Mavromihalis, commander in chief.

 

 

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