HOBHOUSE, John Cam, Lord Broughton
John Cam Hobhouse (1786-1869), later Lord Broughton, travelled to the East accompanying his friend and fellow student at Cambridge, Lord Byron, who funded the venture. Having in mind that he would write an account of the voyage, Hobhouse took with him a supply of one hundred pens, two gallons of Japanese ink and a large amount of the best paper available.
The party arrived at Patras in 1809 and then visited Preveza, Nicopolis, Giannena and Tepeleni, where they met with Ali Pasha, returning to Giannena, then a major city of the Ottoman Empire. Hobhouse and Lord Byron journeyed via Acarnania to Delphi and ended up in Athens, where they stayed for ten weeks. During that time, Hobhouse visited Megaris, Attica and Chalcis. The companions then went on to Smyrna (from where Hobhouse visited Clazomenae, Ephesus, and Troy) and to Constantinople. In 1810 they parted ways: Lord Byron went back to Athens and Hobhouse returned to England, where he went into politics. He was a member of the House of Commons, an active member of the Philellenic Committee and a friend of Adamantios Corais (Coray). In later life Hobhouse abandoned his liberal (Whig) sympathies and became conservative (Tory). He died at the age of eighty-three.
In the account of his travels, which numbers one thousand one hundred pages written in epistolary style, he focuses on the modern Greek people rather than on the antiquities. The Appendix includes inscriptions from Chaeronea, extracts from Thucydides and an essay on the Albanian language. This book, first published in 1813, ran through two editions in that year. Hobhouse is considered the most profound analyst of public and social life in the urban centres of continental Greece and one of the most fervent supporters of the Greek cause.
Written by Ioli Vingopoulou