HUGHES, Thomas Smart. Travels in Sicily Greece and Albania…, Illustrated with Engravings of Maps, Scenery, Plans…, vols I-II, London, J. Mawman, 1820.
Reverend Thomas Smart Hughes (1786-1847) was an excellent classical scholar and theologist, who had graduated from Cambridge. He only travelled to the East once, as tutor to R. T. Parker. The two travellers arrived in Zakynthos in 1812 and from there journeyed to Patras. They visited a number of archaeological sites and major towns in the Peloponnese.
Later on, while in Athens, they showed a vivid interest in cultural life and education. In 1814 Hughes travelled to Ioannina in the company of R. Cockerell. He gives a detailed description of the manor of their host Nicolos Argyris (Vrettos), where both lord Byron and Hobhouse had stayed four years earlier. They were able to speak with the local notables and Ali Pasha himself (Hughes describes his first audience with the Vizir with vivid emotion). He outlines Ali Pasha’s personality by making shrewd observations. At the same time he is very judicious as to the situation in “the satrap’s land”, in particular religious beliefs and education.
Hughes had first-hand knowledge of the dramatic events of Parga and attempts to record them with the intention, aiming at an objective depiction. A fervent Philhellene, he was very active in supporting the Greek Revolution later, in London, and published various pamphlets on the subject in the following years. His book, which came out in 1820, is written with sensitivity, without prejudice and describes people and events in detail. It is considered a major travel chronicle of the Ali Pasha era.
Written by Ioli Vingopoulou