Map of ASIA

THE Habitable World DESCRIBED.

Inscribed by Permission to His Royal Highness Frederick DUKE OF YORK, &c. &c.

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LONDON: Published as the Act directs, by the Author, Sold at the Literary Press. No. 62. Wardour Street, Soho.


THE HABITABLE WORLD DESCRIBED, OR THE PRESENT STATE OF THE PEOPLE IN ALL PARTS OF THE GLOBE, FROM NORTH TO SOUTH; SHEWING The Situation, Extent, Climate, Productions, Animals, &c. &c. of the different Kingdoms and States; Including all the new Discoveries: TOGETHER WITH The Genius, Manners, Customs, Trade, Religion, Forms of Govern­ment, &c. of the Inhabitants, and every thing respecting them, that can be either entertaining or informing to the Reader, collected from the earliest and latest Accounts of Historians and Travellers of all Nations; With some that have never been published in this Kingdom; And nothing advanced but on the best Authorities.

WITH A great Variety of MAPS and COPPER-PLATES, engraved in a capital Style, the Subjects of which are mostly new, and such as have never yet been given in any English work.



LONDON: Printed for the AUTHOR, at the LITERARY-PRESS, No. 62, WARDOUR STREET, SOHO; and sold by all Booksellers.



Among others, I saw, adds this author, a counterfeit lieutenant of the police, who was suffered to exercise a pretty severe distibutive justice. Another company, who personated the aga or general of the Janissaries, took possession of his house, whilst he went his rounds, and his servants treated the mask with as much respect as if it had been their master.

Many persons in office have comedies acted before their houses the whole time; the subjects of these are various, but always very indecent, and the more they are so, the greater satisfaction they seem to give. It is impossible to see without astonishment the hall of the divan, that terrible and dreadful tribunal, decked out for some days in the most ridiculous manner.

Turning lanterns, on which are painted extravagant and often obscene figures, mixed with transparent writings, consisting of the name of God, his attributes, the cypher of the Grand Signor, or some play on words; and pieces of looking-glass intended to increase the splendour of these illuminations, amuse the multi­tude at a small expence. Persons whom we might expect to be the most grave, from their age and the importance of their employments, are not the least pleased with these trivial and puerile imitations. A little palace made by a European with bits of glass and glue, the vizir had given a thousand crowns for to make a figure on a similar occasion.

[Page 5]The pleasure of knocking down Christians is so great a treat to the Turks, that the favourites of Sultan Mahomet could imagine nothing better to amuse their master, in an entertainment which they gave on this occasion, within the seraglio. And they thought so little of it, as to request the foreign ambassadors to lend them their European dresses, in order to put them on the Jews, to make them resemble Christians. The Jews, ever destined to be beaten, and ever ready to suffer, if it could be made worth their while, submitted to all they pleased to inflict. Once, the court of the seraglio agreed that the Jews never earned their money better than on that day. The ambassadors were the greater fools of the two, in suffering themselves to be thus ridiculed.

It is at these times, says Habesci, that the Turkish ladies endeavour to accomplish their amorous designs; being permitted to go abroad veiled during the festival of the Bayram, and on all public rejoicings. When these opportunities occur, they take with them a small bundle, carefully concealed, containing a change of dress. Their own is always of gay colours, with yel­low drawers, and a kind of half-boots of the same colour, fitted close to the legs. The robes of the Christian women are of dismal, dark colours, and not made so loose and flowing as the Turkish: in short the difference is as great as can well be imagined. Having disguised themselves in this dress, they cross the water [Page 6] to Pera; and if they have any appointment, which is generally the case, and made by the intermission of some Jew, at whose house they have changed their dress, they go directly to the tavern, where their lover is to meet them. If not, they walk up and down the beautiful esplanade of Pera, which is generally crouded with the most brilliant company of Constantinople. When they see any young Christian, who attracts their attention, they let him know it, by some significant glances; and if these are not sufficient to allure him, beckon him aside, and make him an offer of their person, accompanied by some valuable present; which gives him to understand they are women of rank, perhaps of the highest. A brilliant or an emerald of five hundred pounds value is a trifle at such a time.

A Turkish lady of quality walking one day in the manner we have described, took a fancy to a French youth of about sixteen. Being in a Greek dress, she made no scruple of accosting him, presenting a diamond to him, and requesting to speak with him alone. The Frenchman was at no loss to conceive her meaning, and being no stranger to the houses of pleasure at Pera, retired with her to one of the best. The first meeting gave so much satisfaction, that a second was agreed on. The day appointed, they were both punctual, and after repeated proofs of their reciprocal affection, the lady proposed a scheme for taking her gallant home. She was the wife of a very rich and noble Turk, who [Page 7] had no other, and only kept four female slaves in his haram; he was very old. but doated on his faithful wife. The youth having accepted her offer, prepared himself for the adventure. She then sent for a Jew, a dealer in slaves, to whom she offered a present of a 1000 ducats, if he would render her a very particular service, which required fidelity and secrecy. The Jew who would have sold Moses and Aaron for such a sum, readily consented. "Go then (says she) to a certain tavern at Pera, where you will find a handsome French lad; he will expect you, and dress him in the habit of a female slave: this done, bring him here, and offer to sell him to my husband, but do not ask more than 250 piastres, leaving your future recom­pence to me." The Jew, highly pleased with his good fortune, purchased the necessary cloaths, and went immediately to Pera, where the youth impatiently ex­pected him. The disguise being completed, he was conducted to the Turk's house, and presented to him as a slave to be sold. The husband thought the pre­tended slave very pretty, but would not purchase her, lest it should make his wife jealous. By accident the lady made her appearance, and enquiring what the girl was brought for, insisted he should, as a proof of his affection, in being able to see so pretty a girl every day without any improper thoughts. "Buy her (said she) and give her to me, I will keep her constantly about my person, and take care she does not rob me of your heart." The Turk, who never denied his dear wife [Page 8] any favour he could grant her, paid the price agreed on, and this slave to love, was then placed in the para­dise of Mahomet. The Turk grew delighted with the beauty and address of his late purchase, and imputed his wife's increased fondness for him, to the assiduities of the slave, who always kept her lively and in good humour. In fine, the simple Turk grew more ena­moured with his wife than ordinary, became as he thought a father, and finding his wife grow big at the end of eight months, made a public declaration of it to the surprize of every one.

The sole interruption to the happiness of the slave and her mistress, arose from the importunities and me­naces of the Jew. He paid his visits regularly once a week, in order to extort money from the lady, through a fear of detection. His enquiries as to the health of the family, were generally accompanied with some disastrous tale of his losses in trade; in short, he made about 14,000 piastres by this intrigue. At length, another circumstance threatened a discovery, and obliged a final separation. This was, that our slave began to discover a beard, which could not be kept under; shaving only increasing its growth. And after a thousand protestations of love and gratitude, he was permitted to make his escape in the night, loaded with jewels and money.

[Page 9]It is not a little singular, that the most infamous of all the houses of gallantry at Pera, is near the hotel of our ambassador. And nothing is more common than for Turkish ladies of rank to disguise themselves and hire a room in this house, so situated as to see every person who enters it, and when they have pitched upon a man they like, according to a private agreement with the master, he is shewn up to the dis­guised lady as to one of his public girls. If he is a man of gallantry, he finds himself most agreeably sur­prized; for instead of being in the arms, perhaps of a diseased prostitute, he finds himself in the possession of a lovely wholesome wanton; and instead of being called upon for money, he is, in fact, amply rewarded.

In the city, suburbs, and along the banks of the canal of the Black sea, there are no less than 12,000 of these houses; their number is easily ascertained, the masters of each paying a gold ducat per day for a licence to keep them open: this is a settled tax which never varies. It is well known they are kept by Greeks, but they are chiefly frequented and sup­ported by Turks of every rank and description. The most esteemed taverns are, those of Galata and Pera, which are filled with the better sort of Turks every Friday. There being no divans held on that day for the decision of causes, doctors of the law, moulahs, and emirs with their green turbans, resort to them, and pass the whole day in eating, drinking, and other [Page 10] amusements not to be mentioned. In most of them there are little companies, of five or six singing and dancing boys; two of them play on some instrument, the others dance and sing: they are dressed like girls, and accompany words adapted to the purpose, with wanton looks and gestures, which will often so please their employers, that they will almost cover the boys faces with ducats, sticking them on with their spittle; and the boys, in their turn, have the dexterity, in the course of the dance, to slide them almost impercep­tibly into their pockets. One would imagine this amusement and the intoxication of liquor would pro­duce the most unnatural effects: not at all. A Turk in liquor is quite different from a Greek. The latter in his cups is lively, enterprizing and desperate; he is noisy and quarrelsome, wants to fight, to kill, and dethrone the Ottoman monarch, that he may restore the empire to the Christians. The Turk, on the con­trary, is lifeless, peaceable, timid, and afraid to utter a single word; it is then and then only that a Christian may insult and use him ill with impunity.

This violation of the law of Mahomet, prohibiting the use of wine, is now become so notorious, that the Turkish government does not attempt to apply any remedy to so general a corruption. And indeed with what face could they pretend to reform this evil, when all orders of the state are more or less infected by it, from the Grand Signor down to the simple Janissary; [Page 11] not excepting even the mufti, the imans, the moulahs, and the emirs of the sacred lineage of Mahomet. The women and eunuchs in the seraglio, are more addicted to spirituous liquors than wine; of this some judgment may be formed, by a debt left unpaid at the death of Sultan Mustapha for 600 cases of French liqueurs: this degeneracy, however, has been the chief cause of the decline of the empire, and will no doubt hasten its fall.

Except in their public festivals, when licentiousness is always extreme, and always allowed; the actors of comedies in Turkey, who are Jews, never exhibit their talents, but within the walls of houses, where marriages are celebrated, or some particular entertain­ments given. These companies of wretched buffoons are either all men or all women.

To give some idea of their wretched, theatrical per­formances, Baron Tott relates the particulars of a public entertainment given on the birth of a princess, by one of the great officers of state in the meadows near Constantinople.

Two great posts, forty feet distant from each other supported a cord fastened to their upper ends. Round this cord, other cords were tied, to which glass lamps were fixed at convenient distances from the objects they were intended to illuminate. The cypher of the Grand Signor, the representation of his barge, and [Page 12] words taken from the Alcoran, decorated the edifice, during the three days this entertainment lasted; while rope-dancers, a company of Jewish comedians, and female figure-dancers, amused the spectators, till the night was far advanced. This spectacle became still more worthy curiosity, by the light of a score of chafing dishes of iron, raised upon stakes, in which a red flame was maintained, by burning rays dipped in tar and pine-splinters.

These dismal chandeliers were placed in a circle, to give light to the dancers in the center, while tents, prepared for the grand vizir and his company, formed, together with the multitudes who were present, a grand line of circumvallation, of which the women of the populace occupied a part. The illumination without this circle was only to give notice of the entertain­ment, of which the comedy was the most valuable article.

A kind of cage, three feet square, and six feet high, hung round with a curtain represents a house, and contains one of the Jewish actors dressed like a woman. Another Jew, in the habit of a young Turk, and sup­posed to be enamoured with the lady of the house; a valet pleasantly absurd; a fourth Jew dressed like a woman, and acting the part of gallant; a husband who is imposed upon, and, in short, the characters which are seen every where, stand without, and compose the [Page 13] piece. But that which is to be met with no where else, is the denouement; every thing is acted, and nothing left to the imagination of the spectators; and if the summons of the Muczzin is heard during these interludes, the mussulmen turn their faces towards Mecca, whilst the actors continue to play each their part. I shall have said enough of this strange mixture of momentary devotion and continued indecency, adds the baron, to those who perceive that this pic­ture, difficult to describe, ought still less to be de­scribed.

Some clumsy rope-dancers, awkward wrestlers, stupid buffoons, and female figure-dancers, fill up the intervals between one comedy and another. Among these last, whose merit, certainly, neither lies in the elegance of their step, nor propriety of their action, but who give infinite pleasure to the Turks by that talent which is their characteristic; a young girl, be­tween ten and twelve years old, distinguished herself greatly; and when at the end of every dance, she according to custom went round with the plate to receive in money, the value of those agreeable ideas which she had raised in the company, the Turkish lords put her as it were up to auction, sticking sequins on her forehead, to prove their good wishes. A sequin is a piece of gold so light, that putting it on the forehead, it will stick there for some time, and it is customary with the Turks to recompense in this [Page 14] manner the agility of their dancers. The price of this slave, whose figure was not extraordinary, amounted to twelve purses or seven hundred and fifty pounds; which were given for her to the merchant, by an old molloch or lawyer.

At the feast of Tchiragan or Tulips, so called, says Baron Tott, because it consists in illuminating a gar­den, and this flower being that which the Turks most admire, the gardens of the haram are laid out in a most superb taste. Vases of every kind, filled with natural and artificial flowers, are brought for the occasion, and add to the splendour of an illumination, caused by an infinite number of lanterns, coloured lamps, and wax candles, in glass tubes, reflected on every side by mirrors disposed for that purpose. Shops erected for the rejoicing, and furnished with different kinds of wares, are occupied by the women of the haram, who represent in proper dresses, dealers, and offer the goods they contain for sale. The sultanas, whether sisters, nieces, or cousins of the emperor, are invited by him to partake of this amusement; and they as well as his highness, purchase in these shops, trinkets and toys, of which they make each other presents; ex­tending likewise their generosity to the women of the Grand Signor, who are admitted to this diversion, or who occupy the shops; and the dances, music, and other recreations prolong the entertainment, till the night is far advanced, which spreads a kind of mo­mentary [Page 15] gaiety over a place, seemingly, in every other respect, devoted to sadness and discontent.

Besides the amusements of the seraglio, the Grand Signor frequently diverts himself in hawking or hunting. Once every year there is a grand hunting party ap­pointed. A large track of country is then inclosed, to such an extent, says Le Brun, as would take up several days to ride over. The inhabitants of all the towns and villages, where it lies, are also required to give their aid and assistance. By this means the game is surrounded and brought into a very confined circle. The Grand Signor then ascends some eminence, and has the pleasure of seeing it knocked down with bludgeons, which is sometimes not very easy, especially if there are plenty of wild boars among the game.

The ordinary hunt is held every week, during the winter particularly, and lasts from morning to night. The prince attended with a large retinue of fifty or sixty of his houshold, besides his huntsmen, hunts generally, as we do, hares and foxes; but sometimes wolves, and at others unhoods his falcons, in quest of pheasants and partridges.

When the Grand Signor goes to any of his country seats, he generally travels in a kind of coach, so con­trived that those ladies he takes with him can have [Page 16] the pleasure of viewing all external objects, without being seen themselves.

Their coaches are not at all like ours, but much more convenient for the country; the heat being so great that glasses would be very troublesome. They are made a good deal in the manner of Dutch stage-coaches, having wooden lattices painted and gilded; the inside being also painted with baskets and nose­gays of flowers, intermixed commonly with little poetical mottos. They are covered all over with scarlet cloth, lined with silk, and very often richly embroidered and fringed. This covering entirely hides the persons in them, but may be thrown back at pleasure, and thus permits the ladies to peep through the lattices. They hold four people very conveni­ently, seated on cushions, but not raised.

The sultan, when he wants to make the common people believe he has no fears, goes out incognito in a hired boat, with only two or three attendants. I have seen him come out in this manner from a back door of his garden, says Lady C. just after his fleet had sailed; a fire the night before was calculated to renew his fears, if he had lost them. But here, it is known when he sallies forth without guards or ceremony. It is like children who sing in the dark, to make their nurses believe that they are not afraid.

[Page 17]Travelling is cheaper in Turkey than in any other part of the world, on account of the small expence of horse-hire, and the cheapness of provisions; and particularly to Christians, who have only to apply, through the medium of their ambassador, to the of­ficers of the Porte, who will grant them a Firman from the Grand Signor, by which, nearly all their travelling charges are borne at his expence. There are no stated posts in Turkey; but at the distance of three or four leagues, there are houses of enter­tainment, and horses stationed for the Grand Signor's couriers, and those persons to whom he gives these Firmans, or orders.

When a nobleman or gentleman having a Fir­man, arrives at one of these stages, there are persons ready to take charge of his baggage and horses, while he refreshes himself, and provide, him with fresh ones. There is always some refreshment to be had at these places; so that let a traveller arrive at what­ever hour of the day or night he pleases, he is certain of being well entertained.

As for the caravanseras, or inns, where those travellers stop, who have no Firman, they are to be met with at proper distances, in almost every town or village. Those in the towns, as we have remarked, are magnificently built of stone, and covered with [Page 18] lead; they are in the form of a square, with a quadrangle within, and a little piazza, or cloyster, in one of the sides, with cells to lodge in, like those in the monasteries. They are usually furnished with matts or straw, but no beds to lie on; and the tra­veller is not only provided with his lodging gratis, but, in many of them, with his diet; and such is the hospitality of the Turks, that if a poor tra­veller has no provision of his own, he may, with­out ceremony, sit down and eat with any of his countrymen.

Lord Baltimore gives us the following description of a caravansera in Romania—In our journey, says he, we lodged in a large and commodious Khan, capable of accommodating three or four hundred persons; the entrance was through a grand stone portal, into a quadrangle, bigger than the Royal Exchange, with a large fountain in the middle. On each side were apartments without furniture; one side for the women, and the other for the men. From this quadrangle issued stables capable of holding 5000 horses. It is entirely built of free-stone, with regular masonry, and the whole covered with sheet lead. It must have cost an im­mense sum, and was built through the vanity and devotion of a Grand Vizier; the Turks as we have [Page 19] already observed, esteeming it an act of piety to build such inns for the free reception of travellers.

The Turks are accustomed to chew opium, as our seamen chew tobacco, and I apprehend, upon the same principle. Sailors say it keeps them warm, and it is well known that persons accustomed to opium, feel a chilliness upon leaving it off. Being by their religion forbidden the use of wine, and requiring something, occasionally, to raise their spirits, was the origin of this custom; and the pleasing in­toxication, or insensibility it brings on, with the uncommon flow of spirits it afterwards occasions, has led them to a continuance of this destructive habit. A Turk will chew as much opium in a day, as would destroy half-a-dozen men unaccustomed to it: a convincing proof that habit is second nature, and that what is one man's food, is another man's poison.

Those who have given themselves up to the im­moderate use of this drug, are easily known by the kind of rickets which, in the end, it never fails to produce. There are shops in a particular part of the city, on purpose for the sale of it; the lovers of opium go into them, and call for a dish of coffee; after which they smoke two or three pipes, and then swallow the pernicious drug, in pills, drinking with them a cup of cold water; after this they take ano­ther [Page 20] dish of coffee, and a fresh pipe, and while this last pipe is in their mouth, they begin to feel a vo­luptuous sensation, which thrills through all their veins, and lulls their senses in such a manner, that they remain in a state of inaction, with their eyes half open, as if they were between sleeping and waking. They continue in this sensation two or three hours, according to the quantity they have taken; during which time they pretend they have tasted the most sensual delights, it is possible for the human body to enjoy, and that it is in this state of intoxication their Prophet Mahomet inspires them with good ideas, and communicates to them his own and the Divine will. The pale and melancholy figures which these miserable slaves to their intemperate vo­luptuousness exhibit, would be sufficient to raise our pity, says Baron Tott, did not their lengthened necks, their heads turned on one side, their back-bone distorted, their shoulders raised up to their ears, and a number of other extragavant attitudes which result from this disease, present a most ridiculous and melancholy picture. Those most used to this pernicious custom, he adds, will swallow four pills at once, each larger than an olive. An agreeable re­verie at the end of three quarters of an hour, or an hour at most, never fails to animate these auto­matons; they throw themselves into a thousand dif­ferent postures, but always extragavant and merry. [Page 21] This is the moment when the scene becomes most interesting; all the actors are happy, and each re­turns home in a state of total irrationality, but in en­tire and full enjoyment of a happiness, they say, not to be procured without it. Disregarding the ridicule of those they meet, who take delight in making them talk absurdly, they fancy themselves possessed of whatever they wish for.

There is one custom, says Lady M. peculiar to this country—Adoption—very common among the Turks, and yet more so among the Greeks and Ar­menians. Not having it in their power to give their estates to a friend or distant relation; to avoid their falling into the Grand Signor's treasury, when they are not likely to have any children of their own, they will choose some pretty child of either sex, amongst the meanest people, carry the child and its parents before the Cadi, and then declare they receive it for their heir. The parents, at the same time, renounce all future claim to it; a writing is drawn and witnes­sed, and a child thus adopted, cannot be disinherited. Notwithstanding this noble provision, many common beggars have been seen, that have refused to part with their children, in this manner, to some of the richest among the Greeks; so powerful is the instinc­tive affection natural to parents, though the adopting father is generally very tender, as they call it, to [Page 22] the child of his soul. I own, says Lady M. this custom pleases me much better than our absurd one of leaving legacies and estates to persons of our own name; it is much more reasonable to make an infant happy and rich, whom I educate after my own man­ner, brought up in the Turkish phrase, upon my knees, and who has learned to look upon me with a filial aspect; than to give an estate to one without merit, or relation to me—merely because he bears the same name.

The principal recreations of the Turks, are smoak­ing and playing at chess, but they never play for mo­ney, that being contrary to the precepts of the alcoran. They will likewise listen patiently for hours together, to the stories and buffooneries of their merry-an­drews and juglers. They never, by way of exercise, walk backwards and forwards in a chamber, or in any public walk, as is the custom among us, but look upon it as ridiculous, and laugh at the Christians for so doing. Seeing an Englishman walking up and down a room, one asked a friend of his, if he was not disturbed in mind.

The diversions of those bred up to a military life are very different. These consist in shooting at a mark with bows and arrows, at which exercise they are very expert; they are likewise very adroit in [Page 23] the use of fire-arms; and there are some who will hit a mark with a gun at full speed on horseback.

Another diversion is fishing, and the manner in which they fish has something extraordinary in it: they take this diversion in the night time, and make use of fire, for this purpose; fastening an iron grate at the end of a stick, and burning straw on it, or small wood which makes a great blaze; the fish are attracted by the light, gather round it in shoals, and are caught in a net laid to ensnare them.

Music also is a customary and most familiar amuse­ment with them. Their martial music is of the most barbarous kind, enormous hollow trunks, beaten by mallets, unite heavy noise to the lively and clear notes of little timbrels, which they accompany with clarinets and shrill trumpets; the tones of which are forced, to compleat the most discordant confusion of sounds that can be imagined.

Their chamber music is on the contrary very soft, and if its monotony of semi-tones, which is at first offensive, should be condemned, it must be allowed to possess a kind of melancholy expression, with which the Turks are extremely affected. A violin with three strings, raised to the pitch of the guim­bard, or viol d'amour which they have adopted; [Page 24] the Dervise flute, sweeter than our German flute; a sort of drum; a kind of mandoline, with a long handle and strung with wire; the pipe or flute of Pan; and the tabor, intended to render the time more exact, compose their orchestra, placed at the end of an apartment, where the musicians crouching down upon their hams, play melodious and lively airs, without written music, but always in unison; whilst the company, in profound silence, become in­toxicated with languishing enthusiasm, the smoke of their pipes, and pills of opium.

Turkish music, adds Lord Baltimore, though very different from ours, is by no means disagreeable; it consists mostly in unisons. There is a temple in Pera in which is performed twice a week, the dance of the Dervises, one of the most extraordinary ceremonies to be seen any where: Christians are admitted to a sight of it, the Turks esteeming it so delightful a performance, as to induce every one who sees it to turn Mahometan. Seven or eight Dervises, with high conical caps and a kind of long petticoats, nar­row at top and broad at the bottom, enter a large circle, and after having bowed to their president, be­gin to turn round in a certain measure to music, that at first plays very slowly, but increases by degrees to the utmost rapidity, whilst the Dervises accelerate [Page 25] their motions in like manner, and continue it for about twenty minutes, without being the least giddy.

We shall conclude our account of the character, customs and manners of this famed people of the East, from Lord B. Those who delight in fine paintings, carving, fine furniture, Grecian architec­ture, the Roman classics, in the various labyrinths of medicine, in respect shewn to them, in politeness, gallantry, gazettes, operas, plays, concerts, and as­semblies; or those who would learn a regular exercise from the Prussian infantry, the admirable construction of French fortifications, the great science of naviga­tion from an English navy, or profound knowledge in almost any thing whatever, will not find their ac­count in Constantinople, or any place near it.


CHAP. X. Births, Marriages, and Funerals.

THE Turks have a notion that when a woman leaves off bringing forth children, it is because she is too old, let her face say what it will to the con­trary. This opinion makes the ladies so ready to give proofs of their youth, which is as necessary here, in order to be a received beauty, as it is to produce proofs of nobility, to be admitted a knight of Malta. They do not content themselves with using the natural means, but fly to all sorts of quack­eries, to avoid the scandal of being past child-bearing, and often destroy themselves in so doing. Without any exaggeration, says Lady M. all the women of my acquaintance have twelve or thirteen children; and the old ones boast of having had five and twenty or thirty, and are respected according to the number they have produced.—When they are with child it is their common expression to say, they hope God will be so merciful as to send them two this time; and [Page 27] when they have been asked how they expected to provide for such a flock as they desire? they answer, the plague will certainly kill half of them; which indeed generally happens, without much concern to the parents, who are satisfied with the vanity of having brought forth so plentifully. What is most wonderful, is, the exemption they seem to enjoy from the curse entailed on the sex, that of bring­ing forth children with labour and pain; they see company on the day of their delivery, and at the fortnight's end return visits, and dress themselves out in all their jewels and new cloaths. There are no professed midwives, neighbours assisting each other in these kind offices.

At the first symptoms of an approaching labour in the Seraglio, the Vizier, the Mufti, and the grand officers, civil and miltary, are sent for to wait the moment of delivery, in the hall of the Sopha, which is the intermediate apartment that separates the Ha­rem from the rest of the buildings, occupied by the Grand Signior and his houshold. Immediately after the delivery, the Kislar Aga comes out of the Harem with the infant, to present it to the great officers of state, who draw up a certificate of its birth and sex; after which the guns of the Sopha are fired, and these are repeated by those on the cape of the Seraglio, and at Tophana. To these different salutes succeed [Page 28] those of the Custom-house, the Fleet and the Tower of Leander.

Marriage among the Mahometans, is only a civil act or contract entered into in the presence of the Cadi or judge, who, in this case, officiates only as a common notary. There is no religious ceremony performed on this occasion, nor is the bride even re­quired to be present. The father or some of her re­lations appear in her behalf, and this ceremony through custom has the force of law. The portion as well as the paraphernalia, which are objects of the most importance are registered in this instrument; which secures the return of them to be made in case of divorce. After the contract is signed, the relations of the bride bring her with great ceremony to her husband's house, who undresses and puts her to bed.

A very remarkable circumstance in the Turkish marriages is that the wife never brings a portion to the husband, but the husband on the contrary assigns one to his wife. This marriage portion cannot be registered in the marriage contract, because it is only stipulated, and not payable except in case of the death of the husband or of a divorce. In this it differs from the Kapin which becomes due at the expiration of the term prescribed by the contract. This is so true, that when a woman demands separation from her [Page 29] husband on account of ill-treatment, or for want of a proper maintenance, she must give up her portion in presence of the judge, and pronounce the following form of words, usual when such a divorce is ob­tained: Nikiahum khalal, bachum agad; i. e. "My portion resigned, my person free." If the husband solicits the divorce, he is obliged to allow his wife her portion, her cloaths, and her jewels, and she then restores him the contract in presence of the judge.

They have likewise an inferior kind of marriage which they call Kapin. This contract is likewise made before the Cadi, but it is only for a limited time, and a sum of money is stipulated to be paid by the husband to the woman, if he puts her away at the expiration of the time. This species of marriage was instituted for the convenience and pleasure of strangers and travellers. The Turks are allowed seven of these wives, but few of them will have more than one or two on account of the heavy expences attending them. Their other wives are their women-slaves, and of these every man may have as many as he pleases; and the children he has by them are consi­dered as legitimate, and have as much right to their father's inheritance as any of the rest, if he en­franchises them by his will; otherwise they remain slaves to the eldest by the lawful wife: but if a Turk takes a slave to his bed, and she has children by him, [Page 30] he is not allowed to dispose of her again, but she be­comes one of his family. A Mahometan may marry women of any religion under the sun, provided there are books written or printed in its favour: even the eunuchs are allowed to marry, and several of them have many wives, Mahomet himself having set the example. A Turk is allowed four legitimate wives, and he is limited to this number rather from economy than the rigour of the law; for as he is obliged to make a settlement upon each at his marriage, the ex­pence would be insupportable.

The Turkish laws forbid maids and married women to unveil to any man, but the husband, or relations within a certain degree. A Turk therefore marries the daughter of his neighbour or his widow without knowing her. He can only determine by the report of his own women, or some person by whom she has been seen.

They relate a pleasant story of a man who, as is usually the case, not having seen his wife till after his marriage, and finding her far from handsome, two or three days after their nuptials, when she desired him to name the persons who were to have the privilege of Namaharem; that is, of entering her Harem; (this is generally restricted to the father, uncle, and brothers of the married lady) that she might not endeavour to [Page 31] conceal herself from them, returned for answer, "I give you my free permission, my dear, to shew your­self to all the men in the world, except to myself."

On a moment's reflection we shall perceive that this law of Namaharem cannot be so scrupulously ob­served among the common people, as by those whose situation places them more at their ease. The artist may call in the assistance of his eyes to direct his choice, when the want of fortune renders his right to a plurality useless. Misfortune almost always meets with something by which it is consoled. It is only the abuse of happiness that is destitute of every alle­viation.

Plurality of wives is of this latter kind; it leads to extravagant expences. By whom can they be sup­ported, except by those who having been engaged in commerce are become rich by their economy, or by such as have arrived at opulence by their employ­ments. The fortune of these persons is merely personal, which avidity accumulates, and terror conceals; which luxury dissipates and opportunity renews. The un­certainty of their situation increases their haste to ac­quire and to squander.

The Turks rarely leave large fortunes to their chil­dren. Sums sufficiently considerable to serve for [Page 32] portions would be capable of exciting the avidity of the Sultan; and he would easily find pretences to sieze them, by searching into the means by which they were acquired.

A Turk therefore is seldom rich enough to main­tain any considerable Harem, till by the favour of his patron he has arrived at employments of great authority, and where this authority becomes lucrative in proportion as it is abused.

But, mixed with other young persons, whom the same ambitious expectations have attached to the same master; reduced to live among men only; car­ried away by the violence of his passions; separated from the women, though excited by knowing they are near; if such a Turk is obliged to cede to nature, he cannot but wander from her laws.

We have already seen that the Turkish women who cannot be procured but by marriage, nor known till that has taken place, are equally reduced to live entirely among themselves. What therefore must be their education? Born in opulence, they are ei­ther the daughters of a legal wife, or of a slave, the favourite of the moment. Their brothers and sisters have had different mothers, who were no other than slaves in the same house. Without any employment [Page 33] but that furnished by jealousy; scarcely able to read or write; or if they read, reading nothing but the alcoran; exposed in their hot baths to all the incon­veniences of a forced perspiration, so frequently re­peated as to destroy the freshness of their complexion, and the grace of their features, even before they are marriagable; indolent through pride, and frequently mortified by the efficacy of the means employed be­fore their eyes to please their proprietors; what gra­tification can such women says Baron Tott be sup­posed to give their husbands?

It is very remarkable that the concubinage of the husband does not make the wife jealous, as in Chris­tian countries; however, the husbands are obliged to caress their wives once a week at least, if not they may lodge a complaint with the Cadi, and demand a divorce if they think proper: complaints of this kind are very frequent among the lower class of people; as to the better sort they know how to indemnify themselves, by more agreeable and more secret means. The dishonour attending the infidelity, wan­tonness and lubricity of Turkish wives, does not fall upon the husband, but upon the relations of the wo­man who made the contract for her before the Cadi. The Grand Signor is not obliged to marry, but the first four women who have children by him are called the Sultanas, his wives.

[Page 34]Lady M. mentions two other particulars respecting their marriages, worthy of being remarked: when a man has divorced his wife in the most solemn manner, he can take her again upon no other terms, than per­mitting another man to pass a night with her, and there are some examples of those who have submitted to this law, rather than not have back their beloved. The other point of doctrine is very extraordinary. Any woman that dies unmarried, is looked upon to die in a state of reprobation. To confirm this be­lief they reason, that the end of the creation of wo­man is to increase and multiply; and that she is only properly employed in the work of her calling, when she is bringing forth children or taking care of them, which are all the virtues that God expects from her. Our vulgar notion that they admit not wo­men to have souls, is a mistake. It is true, they say, women are not of so elevated a nature, and there­fore must not hope for admission into the paradise appointed for the men, who are to be entertained by celestial beauties. But there is a place of hap­piness destined for souls of the inferior order, where all good women are to be in eternal bliss. Many of them are very superstitious, and will not remain widows ten days, for fear of dying in the reprobate state of a useless creature. But those that like their liberty, and are not slaves to their religion, content themselves with marrying when they are afraid of [Page 35] dying. This is a piece of theology very different from that which teaches that nothing is more accept­able to God than a vow of perpetual virginity.

It is very pleasant, says Lady M. to observe how tenderly the admirable Mr. Hill, who so gravely asserts he saw in Sancta Sophia, a sweating pillar, very balsamic for disordered heads; as well as all his brethren voyage-writers, lament the miserable confinement of the Turkish ladies, who are, perhaps, more free than any ladies in the universe, and are the only women in the world that lead a life of un­interrupted pleasure, exempt from cares, their whole time being spent in visiting, bathing, or the agreeable amusement of spending money, and inventing new fashions. A husband would be thought mad that exacted any degree of economy from his wife, whose expences are no way limited but by her fancy. It is his business to get money, and hers to spend it, and this noble prerogative extends itself to the very meanest of the sex. Here is a fellow who carries embroidered handkerchiefs on his back, to sell, and as miserable a figure as such a mean dealer may be supposed, his wife will scorn to wear any thing less than her cloth of gold, her ermine furs, and a very handsome set of jewels on her head. It is true they have no places of amusement but the bagnios, and [Page 36] there can only be seen by their own sex; however, it is a diversion they take delight in.

At one of these, adds Lady M. I had an oppor­tunity of seeing a Turkish bride received, and all the ceremony used on that occasion, which made me recollect the epithlamium of Helen, by Theocritus, and it seems to me that the same customs have con­tinued ever since. All the female friends, relations and acquaintances of the two families newly allied, meet at the bagnio, and several others go out of curio­sity, to the number of two hundred women. Those that were or had been married, placed themselves round the rooms on the marble sosas; but the virgins very hastily threw off their cloaths, and appeared with­out any ornament or covering than their own long hair braided with pearl, or ribbon. Two of them met the bride at the door, conducted by her mother and another grave relation. She was a beautiful maid of about seventeen, very richly dressed, and shining with jewels, but was presently reduced to a state of nature. Two others filled silver gilt pots with per­fume, and began the procession, the rest following in procession to the number of thirty. The leaders sung an epithalamium answered by the others in chorus, and the last two led the fair bride, her eyes fixed on the ground with a charming affectation of modesty. In this order they marched round the three large rooms [Page 37] of the bagnio. It is not easy to represent the beauty of this sight, most of them being well proportioned and white skinned; all of them perfectly smooth, and polished by the frequent use of bathing. After having made their tour, the bride was again led to every matron round the rooms, who saluted her with a compliment and a present; some of jewels, others of pieces of stuff handkerchiefs, or little gallantries of that nature, which she thanked them for by kissing their hands.

We shall now entertain our readers with the ce­remony of marriage among the Armenians, at Con­stantinople. The lady is equally invisible as among the Turks, and the contract is made by the friends and relations of the parties. On the day fixed for celebrating the nuptials, one of their priests goes to the house of the young lady, and gives the nuptial benediction. The bride is closely veiled during the whole time of the ceremony, and when over, the husband returns home; at night the bride is brought to his house, surrounded by her relations, where she is conducted to an an apartment filled with women, to partake of an entertainment; the bridegroom en­tains her male relations with those of his own in a chamber apart. When the entertainment is over, they all go, except the bridegroom, and pay their compliments to the bride, to which the lady makes no [Page 38] reply; for was she to utter a syllable, she would be deemed a bold, wanton hussey; after this she is con­ducted to the nuptial chamber, where the bridegroom is ready to receive her. She still continues veiled; and after they have placed her on a stool, the company withdraw. As soon as they are alone, the bridegroom approaches the bride, and, whilst she is trembling with fear, lifts up her veil; it is then for the first time, he beholds a face that is to be familiar to him for life. Whatever may be his sentiments, he no doubt conceals them, and according to custom, em­braces her; no return is made to his caresses, but by a downcast look, or by tears; and as soon as possible she gives the first token of her submission, by rising to fill a glass of wine, and hand him some sweetmeats; this done, she fills another for herself, the first she pre­sents to her husband, and then, touching each others glasses, they drink to their mutual happiness. The bridegroom then undresses his bride and himself, and the moment they are getting into bed, contrives to give the signal for a concert of music, which is im­mediately performed in the anti-chamber, accom­panied by voices, in honour of Hymen.

We will close these details of the marriage-cere­mony in Turkey, with Lady Craven's observations on their Harem, or apartment for the ladies. The Harem, says she, is sacred, even to that rapacious [Page 39] power which has seized the master's life, only because he was too rich. It may be said that in Turkey likewise, women are safe from an idle, curious, im­pertinent public; and what is called the world can never disturb the ease and quiet of a Turkish wife. Her talents, her beauty, her happiness or misery, are equally concealed from malicious observers—Of misery, unless a Turkish woman is beyond exception unreasonable, her portion cannot be very great; for the wife whose wretched husband earns subsistence by carrying water, or burthens, sits at home bedecked with jewels, or goes out as her fancy directs, and the fruits of his labour are appropriated to her use. In great houses, the wives of the Turks, who compose the train of a Turkish husband, are destined to be subservient to the state of the first wife, and she treats them as she pleases in her Harem.

It is not the custom among the Turks to make enquiries about their wives, and it would be con­sidered the height of indecorum in Turkey, to ask a Mahometan how his wife did.

The art of medicine is very little known among the Turks, being a very healthy people they need few physicians, and it is not without some risk that they exercise their skill, in this country; for should their patients die under their hands, they may be [Page 40] accused of having killed them. This excellent state of health which they enjoy, is attributed to their frequent use of the baths, and their extraordinary temperance. In common disorders, such as the head-ach, tooth-ach, pains in the ear, &c. they usually scarify, lance or burn the part affected, and this ge­nerally proves a sovereign cure. If we may credit Lord Baltimore, the chirurgical art does not seem to be in the least countenanced in this country.

There are few physicians, fewer apothecaries, and no surgeons here, says his lordship, the inhabitants therefore, he concludes, can know little of the horrid mischiefs occasioned by a certain disease we labour under in great cities.

The first physician to the Grand Signor, says Peyson­nel, is honoured with the title Hekim Bachi Effendi, and wears the large round turban called Eurf, the badge of the first class of the law professors. No physician whatever, native or foreigner, can exercise that pro­fession without his consent, nor open a shop without his licence. It may appear surprizing to our readers to hear of physicians opening a shop, but such is the established custom at Constantinople, and throughout all Turkey. It is the practice of all the physicians who are Greeks or Jews, and even many Europeans, who are almost all apothecaries likewise. The Grand [Page 41] Signor in his indispositions frequently consults Euro­pean physicians, who, when they are fortunate enough to obtain his confidence, often acquire an influence in matters foreign to their profession; but they are not allowed to administer any remedies to the Sultan, without the consent, and even presence, of the Hekim Bachi, to whom the care of the sovereign's health by right belongs.

Those dreadful stories told of the plague, says Lady M. have very little foundation in truth. I own I have much ado to reconcile myself to the sound of a word, which has always given me such terrible ideas, though I am convinced there is little more in it than in a fever. As a proof of this we passed through two or three towns most violently infected. In the very next house where we lay, two persons died of it. Luckily for me, I was so well deceived that I knew nothing of the matter; and was made to believe, that our second cook had only a great cold. However we left our doctor to take care of him, and they both came to us afterwards in perfect health, and I was then let into the secret, that he had had the plague. There are many that escape it, neither is the air ever infected. There can be no doubt it would be as easy a matter to root it out here, as out of Italy and France; but it does so little mischief, they are not very solicitous about it, and are con­tent [Page 42] to suffer this one distemper instead of our variety, which they are utterly unacquainted with.

Lord B. likewise, at the very beginning of his remarks on Constantinople, has words to the same effect; and first, says he, I can assuredly affirm that the plague there is not so dangerous as we imagine, nor do I look upon it more contagious than other epidemic fevers; besides, mankind perish by such various, invisible and unknown infections, that the diseases incident to peculiar countries, should never prevent a person of sense from visiting or residing in them.

The small-pox, which used to be so fatal in this country, is entirely harmless in Turkey, by the in­vention of ingrafting, which is the term they give to inoculation. It is a set of old women there, who make it their business to perform the operation, which they do every autumn, in the month of Sep­tember, when the great heat is abated. People send to one another to know if any of their family has a mind to have the small-pox; they even make parties for this purpose, and when they are met, commonly fifteen or sixteen together, the old woman comes with a nut-shell full of the matter of the best sort of small-pox, and asks what vein they please to have opened. She immediately rips open that they offer [Page 43] to her, with a large needle, which gives no more pain than a common scratch, and puts into the vein as much matter as can lie upon the head of her needle; she then binds up the little wound with a hollow bit of shell, and in this manner opens four or five veins. The Greeks superstitiously open one in the middle of the forehead, one in each arm, and one on the breast to mark the sign of the cross; but this has a very ill effect; all these wounds leaving little scars, and is not done by those that are not superstitious, but who chuse to have them in the leg, or that part of the arm that is concealed. The effect which this in­grafting produces, is nearly similar to the effect it has in England, (and it is to her ladyship alone we owe this salutary custom having been introduced into this country.) The children, or young patients, play together all the rest of the day, and are in perfect health to the eighth. Then the fever begins to seize them, and they keep their beds two days, very seldom three. They have very rarely above twenty or thirty in their faces, which never mark; and in eight days time they are as well as before their illness. Where they are wounded, there remains running sores during the distemper, which is no doubt a great relief to it. So many thousands undergo this opera­tion every year, that they may be said to have the small-pox here by way of diversion, as they take the wa­ters [Page 44] in other countries. There is no example of any one dying of it.

If a Mahometan is very seriously indisposed, it is the custom in Turkey, as in other countries, for the priests to go and pray by him, and if they find his end approaching, to join with his friends in recommend­ing a chearful submission to the Divine will, against which it would be impious either to murmur or re­pine. On his death the women in the Harem set up such hideous howlings, as if they were in the ago­nies of despair. Preparations are then made for his interment, which are much the same as with us; ex­cept that the colour of the coffin in which the body is placed, is painted differently, according to the pro­fession of the person to be interred; if he was a sol­dier, it is red; if of the family of Mahomet green, and that of any other person, some writers say white, others black.

Mourning, says Baron Tott, is not worn by the Turks; but although this manner of paying respect to our deceased relations is certainly of little conse­quence, the haste with which they bury their dead certainly is not so. It seems, says he, as if this na­tion, naturally so grave and plegmatic, possessed ac­tivity in that business alone. They scarcely wait five or six hours, before they perform this last duty to [Page 45] their kindred; and are not prevented by any fear lest those they bury should not be actually dead. The misfortunes which result from this practice are scarce ever known. Yet I have seen a Turk, says the Baron, taken up again; who, recovering from his insensibility, had strength enough to cry out, and make himself heard; but he was still in some danger of becoming the victim of ceremony, or rather of the dislike which the Judge and Iman, discovered to restore the dues they had already received.

To this abominable hurry in burying their dead, the Turks who carry the bier, add an extreme quick­ness of pace; Mahometans believing the deceased to remain in a suffering state till the end of this ceremony.

Relations and friends attend the corps to the grave, the priests marching in the van, the women in the rear, who every instant set up such piteous cries, beat­ing their breasts and tearing their hair, as if sorrow had bereaved them of their senses. When they come to the burial place, the body, contrary to the custom of this, and other Christian countries, is taken out of the coffin and put into the grave, for the Turks never bury their dead in a coffin. It is deposited in the ground in such a manner, that the corps may sit upright to undergo the examination of the angels, which are believed to resort to the grave to en­quire [Page 46] into the faith of the deceased. The mourners then depart. When the grave is filled up, the poorer sort of people erect a stone over the head of the de­deceased, for the angel that examines them to sit upon.

After the interment has taken place, the women make frequent visits to to the tomb of the deceased, where they pass several hours at a time. The friends and relations likewise go there to pray to God, that he would be pleased to deliver him from those pains, which the black angels might inflict; and, calling him by his name, they cry, "Fear nothing, answer boldly;" for they have a notion that the soul returns again to the body, and that as soon as any person is interred, two black spirits, of an hideous form, come into the grave and take hold of the deceased, by the tuft of hair, which the Turks always leave on their head for this purpose, and interrogate him in these words. Who is thy God? What is thy religion? Who is thy pro­phet? To which he is to reply, My God is the true God, my religion is the true religion, and my prophet is Mahomet. But if the deceased is self-convicted on account of the number of his sins, then his guilt makes him cry out through fear, Thou art my God, and my prophet, and I believe in thee. Upon this reply, they say one of the evil spirits gives him such a blow on the head, with a bar of iron, as drives him seven fathoms deep in the earth, from which the other im­mediately [Page 47] draws him up again with an iron hook; but no sooner is he drawn up, than the first knocks him down again, and so they continue tormenting him till the day of judgment.

But if he returns a favourable answer, the two black spirits instantly leave him, and two others whiter than snow come in their place, and seat themselves, one at his head, and the other at his feet; where they stay by him till the day of judgment. Many persons bring victuals and drink to the graves, and leave it there for travellers, that they may pray for the dead, for whose sake it is there laid.

The interment of the Grand Signor does not dif­fer from that of others, except in the importance of the great officers who accompany the body to the mosque. Of the latter, it is customary for each emperor to build one; and in the court of the mosque a cupola is constructed, under which the corpse is to be deposited; and, it is is to be remem­bered, that the Turkish emperors are buried with the same celerity as their subjects.

The burial places for the dead are very numerous, and, in a manner, surround Constantinople and Pera, forming very shady romantic walks, as the trees and grave-stones are huddled together in a confused [Page 48] manner, both presenting great variety to those who ramble among them. It is difficult to give a just idea of the beauty of the trees; which, particularly in these burial places, are never touched; they spread therefore, and grow in the most luxuriant and graceful disorder. There are no fences to restrain or mark the form of their burial places, some extend a mile or two, and if it was not for one disagreeable reflexion, would be as pleasant to a foreigner, as a Turk; but when it is considered, that it is pestiferated earth we tread on, that every fresh grave may contain a body rotting with the plague, and likewise the slight man­ner in which it is covered with earth, from the hurry it is thrown in, no one can, with prudence, remain for any time among them.

The Turks, who are predestinarians, and therefore imagine that it is to be fate, and not the precaution taken by Christians, which prevents their falling a sa­crifice to this fatal disorder, walk unconcerned under the dangerous shades of trees that hang over their deceased neighbour.

It is surprising, says Lady M. what a vast quantity of land is lost this way in Turkey. Sometimes I have seen burying places of several miles, belonging to very inconsiderable villages, which were formerly great towns, and retain no other mark of their an­cient


[Page 49] grandeur, than this dismal one. On no occa­sion do they ever remove a stone that serves for a monument. Some of them are costly enough, being of very fine marble. They set up a pillar with a carved turban on the top of it, to the memory of a man; and as the turbans by their different shapes, shew the quality or profession, it is in a manner putting up the arms of the deceased. Besides the pillar com­monly bears an inscription, in golden letters, reciting their virtues. The ladies have a simple pillar, with­out other ornament, except those that die unmarried; who have a rose on the top of their monument. The sepulchres of particular families are railed in, and planted round with trees.

The sight of the tombs surrounded by cypresses, and the immense extent of ground, peaceably occu­pied by the dead, so near to where the living reside, fills the mind with a kind of gloom, which is often inexpressibly pleasing. Alas! are we born then to die! And was not Homer in the right to compare men to the leaves of the trees! None but the Turkish burial places are allowed to be ornamented with cy­presses. Those of the Jews, Armenians and Greeks, are surrounded with mulberry trees and poplars.

Their tomb-stones are of marble; and thus it is that the finest marbles of antiquity announce now the remains of some obscure individual. I have seen, [Page 50] says Bisani, Cadies walking about them melancholy and disconsolate; and am told that the Greeks and Armenians are accustomed to spend their festivals among them, after having been to weep there the day before. This custom of planting trees round the tombs is very ancient; for we read, even as far back as Homer, that Aelion's tomb was adorned with elms.

CHAP. XI. Commerce, Manufactures, and Coins.

THE Turks carry on very little commerce, be­yond the confines of the Ottoman Empire. One branch of their trade consists in their navigation of the Black Sea, with two kinds of vessels, called Caiques and Voligues: the cargoes of these differ, according to the parts for which they are designed. The trade to the coast of Asia, in the vicinity of the river Fasti, is confined chiefly to wood for fuel, and for building. For the European coasts, the cargoes consist of coals; and from more distant territories, near the Danube, they bring corn, bees-wax, and cattle.

The Crimea abounds in oxen, small cattle, wax, honey, butter, and corn; all necessary articles for [Page 51] which, there is a constant demand to supply the mar­ket of Constantinople, and a considerable profit is derived from this traffic. But the most considerable branch of trade is that carried on by the Mediter­ranean sea, in a species of Turkish vessel, called Cayrines. Drugs and coffee are transported by the Red Sea, to Suez, and from thence upon camels to Cairo; from Cairo they are forwarded, by the Nile, to Dalmatia, Rousset or Alexandria; and from thence to Constantinople. The woollen cloths, worn by the common people, are fabricated at Salonica. Fine cloths were formerly manufactured at Constantinople; but that manufactory is lost, either through want of skill in the conduct, or, which is more probable, through the intrigues of the French agents. Cam­blets are made in Natolia, a country abounding in fine wool: the rich silk girdles, and other beautiful silk manufactures, are wrought at Scio, in the Archi­pelago. The cotton stuffs are manufactured at Alex­andria and Cyprus, and linen cloths in almost every part of Turkey.

All the islands of the Archipelago furnish wines. Tinos has its silk manufactories. Damascus and Aleppo their soap manufactories, and silk fabrics; Diarbekir its red morocco. The prices of all these commodities are regulated by custom, and the dis­cretion [Page 52] of the dealers, who are in general satisfied with small profit.

Thus we see the principal commerce of the Turks consists in transporting the commodities, of the dif­ferent provinces of the empire, either in their natural or improved state, from one place to another: they are not willing to run any risk or hazard for greater advantages. In general, they are idle, superstitious, and haughty: idleness confines them in their shops and warehouses; superstition and pride prevent their leaving their own country, to travel into others in­habited by infidels, to the hazard of losing the Maho­metan faith, and corrupting their pure morals. This is the language of the chief part of the Turks, in other respects persons of the highest reputation for integrity.

With respect to the conquered nations, a great many of the Greeks are employed in the commerce of the Black Sea, and there are some hundreds of Caiques solely belonging to that people. The rest who have not the means of carrying on this branch of traffic, employ themselves in the retail trade, with the foreign merchants established at Constantinople.

The Armenians, on the contrary, never risk any thing by sea; and the most considerable trade they [Page 53] carry on consists in jewels, which they buy rough of the Europeans, and fashion to the Eastern taste; a traffic that produces them very considerable advan­tages. The Jews do not engage in navigation them­selves, but risk great capitals, carrying on some com­merce with all the nations of Europe. Many of them are physicians, and exercise their function by permission of the physician of the Grand Signor, who is almost the only constituent of the University of Constantinople; and on whom all those who exercise the medical skill depend, except the European phy­sicians. A great number of Jews are brokers for all kinds of merchandise. The Persians formerly carried on a very great traffic at Constantinople, but that trade is now very much on the decline.

The trade from England to Turkey is carried on by a limited number of English merchants, dependent on the Turkey company of London, who consign to them, by a single annual convoy, such articles of com­merce as they judge may be easily sold or exchanged: the quantity is always in proportion to the wants of Turkey, and they take particular care never to over-stock the market. This precaution prevents their experiencing any loss from a glut of merchan­dise, and supports that great repute which the mer­chandise from England has always enjoyed. The chief articles of their trade are lead, tin, watches; [Page 54] all kinds of clock-work, hard ware, woollen cloths, spice and china. The attention of those persons, says Habesci, who are deputed as factors for this trade in Turkey, and who carry it on with an exact observance of the rules and laws which they are to go by, is worthy of imitation. Further, it consists chiefly of articles of great value, the sale of which is certain. This is the reason that all the English houses esta­blished in Turkey are rich. An English merchant who died lately at Pera, (Mr. Parker) left immense riches to his heirs. His country seat alone was va­lued at 400 purses, (each purse £ 108. 6s. 8d.) by the Captain Bashaw, who desired to purchase it. At Constantinople there is no merchandise to load back to England: the ships are in general obliged to take in their loading at Smyrna, which consists in raw cot­ton, wool, Bursa silk, and a great deal of Angora hair for camblets. The caravans which used to come from Persia to Smyrna, with great quantities of silk, have ceased coming, since the Russians have been al­lowed a free navigation on the Caspian Sea; from whence they transport this silk to Astracan, and from thence it goes to Petersburgh. This is the reason that the English, at present, very frequently fall short in their cargoes homeward, both at Smyrna and Aleppo.

The Dutch trade is very much on the decline to what it used to be; and that which they have now in any [Page 55] of the ports of the Levant, is but very trifling. The private interest of individuals, has ruined the Dutch trade in Turkey; which, though formerly very flou­rishing, is now nearly annihilated.

The commerce which the Russians carry on at Constantinople, and other parts of Turkey, though but little noticed, is by far the most advantageous, and considerable, of the European nations; it con­sists principally of skins of every kind, to make Turkish pellisses. All kinds of people, of every age, and sex, wear pellisses in Turkey. The sale which the Russians have in them is incredible; and some bear very high prices. Black fox and ermine skins are more esteemed than any of the rest; and a small quantity of these two species of furs, amounts to a very large capital. The Russians take nothing in return but Morocco leather, oranges, lemon juice, and dried fruits. It is on the Black Sea that this trade is carried on; and as by the last treaty of peace the Russians have permission to pass in­to the Mediterranean, they go to the islands of the Archipelago, in order to load back with wine, and the other products of those islands. No other nation whatever has been able to obtain the per­mission of the Porte, to trade upon the Black Sea; though the Court of France has made repeated ef­forts for that purpose.

[Page 56]The Germans have for a long time been endea­vouring to establish a trade with the Turks, which might be accomplished three ways; by land, by the Danube, or from Triest, down the Adriatic. Those articles, however, with which they could trade to any advantage, are of great weight or bulk, and conse­quently must incur larger expences in the freight; besides being already imported by other nations into Turkey in great abundance, as iron, cotton, steel, &c. &c. and from the quality of these merchandises it may be deduced, that their trade with the Turks will ever be of little importance.

It is but very lately that the Swedes and Neapoli­tans have sent ministers to the Porte, in the charac­ters of Envoys extraordinary, with a view to establish a commercial intercourse with Turkey. The Swedes have just made a beginning by sea. A single ship arrives every year at Constantinople, laden with iron, and some other trifling products of the barren soil of Sweden. But there are a great number of Swedish vessels employed in transporting the Turkish merchandise to different parts of the Ottoman Em­pire; and particularly to the coast of Barbary, from whence a very considerable profit is derived; though the Swedes, who navigate these vessels, are to be considered as carriers, rather than mer­chants.

[Page 57]The Neapolitans carry to Turkey, a species of silk stuff worked at Messina, and by the Turks called Zebins; for which there is a great demand, on ac­count of their beautiful appearance, though they are very slight, and quickly change colour. The returns are small, and of little consequence; the ballance, therefore, is in their favour.

But the richest, and by far the most regular of all the European commerce established in Turkey, is that of the French. The value of their commerce with the Turks is estimated to exceed twenty millions of Turkish piastres a year; which, admitting a Turkish piastre to be equal to four shillings, makes above four millions sterling, annually. The principal article of their commerce is cloth, of which they send out three sorts, all very acceptable to the Turks, the price being always lower than that of English cloths; the colours also are more lively and durable.

This commerce is carried on by French merchants established even in the very villages of Turkey; they depend, however, on the chamber of commerce at Marseilles, and can remain only a limited time, after which they must return to France; and give up their business to others. No individual among these mer­chants can dispose of his cloths without the prior knowledge, and permission of his ambassador or con­sul, [Page 58] because the sale must be made in equal propor­tion among them, by these means all underminings and deceptions are prevented, that might sap the foundation of so valuable a branch of trade.

There is a general bank for the whole French nation, established in every sea-port of the Levant, to which all the French merchants who reside in Turkey pay a certain tax, in proportion to the cloth they sell, and which is no great burthen upon them, considering their great profits. From the funds of these banks many advantages arise, among others, that of insuring the capitals of the merchants in France; because, in cases of bankruptcy, part of their loss is refunded to them, from the common stock. It likewise defrays the extraordinary expences of the nation, for the hotels of the French ambas­sador or consul, in Turkey, and for the maintenance of many poor families there. By this institution, the economical administration finds its account there, and the nation its interest, tranquility and honor. The French likewise derive another advantage which consists in transporting merchandise, on account of the Turks, from one sea-port to another. And, in every little sea-port and small town, the French have a consul, or vice-consul, to promote and protect their commerce.

[Page 59]Baron de Tott, who was sent a few years since, by the French ministry, to the Levant, as Inspector Ge­neral of the French commerce in Turkey, made several alterations in these particulars. This Baron de Tott, says Habesci, was as much in the interest of the Turks as of his own country, and, consequently, was well paid by both parties. He passed for a man of great abilities, but, adds Habesci, I had the oppor­tunity of studying his character, during three months, at Smyrna. Being employed to inspect the com­merce of that sea-port, his time was more deeply engaged in paying his court to a Greek lady, who was married to a very unfortunate, but very honest, Frenchman; and this lady made the Baron commit a number of follies very unworthy of an Inspector General. The French consul at Smyrna, M. Pey­sonnel, whose remarks on the Turks we have already frequently had occasion to introduce, and which ap­pear to carry with them great discernment and can­dour, seems to have fallen the victim of Baron de Tott's endeavours to please this lady; M. Peysonnel, adds Habesci, merited rather to fill the place of the Baron, than to be dismissed by one so much his in­ferior in abilities. Good luck, and certain other circumstances, of which he is not ignorant, occasioned his promotion. In France, such promotions are common, as well as in other countries where their manners are adopted.

[Page 60]The Venetians were, formerly, the richest European Merchants established in Turkey. But other nations have since turned to their advantage the disgraces and losses which fell upon them by their frequent wars with the Porte. The manufactures which have been esta­blished in different parts of Europe, have likewise been of great prejudice to them; but what injured their commerce most materially, as well with the Turkish as with other states, was the navigation of the Dutch, and other powers, to the East Indies, by the Cape of Good Hope. At present, their commerce with the Turks is confined to a small quantity of gold stuffs, and a species of damask called Damasquetti, which is worn by almost every family in Turkey.

There is no doubt that the commerce of the Eu­ropeans with Turkey is so very disadvantageous to Turks, as to be one cause of the decline of the em­pire. The merchandise carried into Turkey is very valuable, and what is exported not the least so. The merchants, therefore, established in Turkey, having no articles of commerce to export, equal in value to what is imported into the country, are obliged to make their returns in gold, money and diamonds, and by these means the country is impoverished. The most valuable Turkish coin is the Foncli ducat, of very fine gold, equal in value with the Venetian ducat. Four or five millions of these [Page 61] ducats, says Habesci, are sent every year out of the kingdom. One may judge, therefore, how many millions of these pieces of gold must have gone out of the country for these two last centuries. There is no law to prohibit the exportation of specie from the Turkish dominions. The eunuchs, the vizier, the great officers of state, and even the Grand Sig­nor himself, all contribute to ruin the empire; for they are fond of accumulating great riches; they are continually receiving money, and scarcely ever parting with it again: it follows then that these great sums, which are so hoarded up, must con­siderably impede the circulation of money in Tur­key.

The tyranny of their government destroys that happy security, which is the mother of arts, industry and commerce; and such is the debasement of the human mind, when borne down by hardships and op­pression, that all the great advantages of commerce, which nature has as it were thrown under the feet of the inhabitants of this country, are neglected. The Turks command the navigation of the Red Sea, which opens a communication with all the riches of the Indies. Their capital is seated on a neck of land that separates Europe from Asia, and communicates on the South with the Mediterranean sea; which opens a passage to all the European nations, as well [Page 62] as to the coast of Africa. The same strait commu­nicating northwards with the Black Sea, opens a pas­sage, by means of the Danube and other rivers, into the interior parts of Germany, Poland and Russia.

Yet, in this extensive empire, with all these advan­tages for a foreign commerce, and where all the com­modities, necessary for manufactures of every kind, are produced; the Turks content themselves with working up, on a very confined scale, the few trifling articles of cottons, carpets, leather and soap. The most valuable of their commodities, such as silk, a variety of drugs, and dying stuffs, they generally ex­port raw, and unmanufactured.

It appears from Peysonnel's strictures on Baron Tott, that Lord Baltimore errs in supposing Constan­tinople to be a free port. The duties indeed are very low, which makes it next to a free port; being not more, according to Peysonnel, then two per cent, and all merchandise is besides estimated much inferior to its real value. It is to be observed further, adds Mr. P. that this duty once paid, every European merchant provided with a Tasham, or quittance from the officer, may convey his goods to any part of the empire, without paying any thing more. No extor­tions are practised in the customs, on account of the Tariff, and disputes with the officers are very rare.

[Page 63]We should not omit to mention the lenity with which the laws in Turkey, treat those who deal in contraband commodities. When any such goods are seized and carried to the custom-house, the pro­prietor may claim them again, on paying double duty.

The Turks seem likewise to have shewn great generosity to the French merchants, at a time when the plague made great ravage in the capital, in suf­fering their merchandise to be immediately conveyed to the magazines, without undergoing any examina­tion, accepting the customs according to their own declaration. Of this very honourable generosity, some of the French merchants had the meanness to take advantages, notwithstanding the menaces of their ambassador, by daring to give in unjust accounts to the chief commissioner of the customs, who, though he had too much sense to discover the fraud, disdained to make any complaint. We are happy in seeing no charge of this kind made against our own nation.

The Turks can never make any great progress in the fine arts, while they adhere to the dictates of their religion, as the laws of Mahomet forbid their sketching the human figure in any shape. They paint flowers, however, and other ornamental figures, to [Page 64] admiration. There are also shops in Constantinople, where they engrave cornelians, and other sorts of stones: the Turks have, likewise, an art of polish­ing their horn, so as to make it look like tortoise-shell, and this they manufacture into spoons, it being contrary to the precepts of their alcoran, as we have before observed, to make use of silver ones. Their sabres are also in very great esteem all over Europe; the temper of their steel, in all articles of their cutlery, being superior to that of all other countries. Another principal manufacture which they have unrivalled, in point of excellence, is their Morocco, or Turkey leather. Their embroideries, in gold and silver, on this leather, are worked with great taste and elegance. They particularly excel in their pocket-books, which are embroidered all round the edges in a very superb manner. There are in Galata, a great number of shops which deal only in this article, so much are they in esteem by all foreigners who resort to Turkey. To those arts and manufactures, on which the Turks deign to bestow any time or attention, like the an­cient Greeks, from whom they are said to have descended, they infinitely surpass all other nations in the beauty, skill, and excellencies of their work­manship.

The gold and large silver coin, of all countries, is current in Turkey. The proper coins of the coun­try [Page 65] are, first, those of gold; namely, the altines, or ducats, which are about seven shillings each, and the zechinos, worth about nine shillings. Secondly, of the silver, the zeloti is worth about two shillings and two-pence farthing; the krip nearly a shilling; the grosh is worth about three-pence; the para worth about three aspers, and the aspers, (says Busching,) about one penny half-penny. Tott calculates them at not more than a farthing. A purse contains five hundred rix-dollars, or one hundred and eight pounds six shillings and eight-pence. In their com­merce, they reckon by piastres, as we do by pounds sterling. A piastre, in Turkey, is equivalent to four shillings English.

The silver coin, in Turkey, used formerly to be at such a very high standard, that the remittance of it to Europe, was found more advantageous than any other article of exportation from the Le­vant. A French merchant having satisfied himself, by an assay, of the justness of this speculation, con­verted the produce of all the merchandise he had sold into piastres and zelottes, which he melted down, and remitting the silver to France, found the profits fully answer his expectation. His success encouraged him to continue this practice, and he might have made an immense fortune by it, had he not divulged his secret, but not being able to resist the vanity of [Page 66] boasting of his lucky thought, others, taking the hint, presently imitated him. Their example was soon fol­lowed by all the French and foreign merchants, not only [...] Co [...]stantinople, but in all the sea-ports of the Levant; and this destruction of the silver coin, so eagerly practised by the European merchants, who traded to Turkey, diminished the currency to such a degree, that the Porte perceived it, and found out the cause. The Ottoman ministers then resolved to reduce the coin to so low a standard, that no person was afterwards tempted, either to melt it down, or to send it abroad.

CHAP. XII. Of their Religion.

THE Turks are of the Mahometan religion, and appropriate to themselves the name of Moslemin, which has been strangely corrupted into Muselman, signifying persons professing the doctrine and pre­cepts of Mahammed. A great difference of opinion prevails among the Mahometan doctors, with re­spect to the interpretation of these precepts; Maho­metism is divided into as many sects as Christianity; and its first institution as much neglected and ob­scured [Page 67] by interpretations. But none are so opposite and contrary to each other, as the comments of Omar and Ali, who in fact, instituted two religions, the followers of which became bitter enemies to each other. The Turks in general have adopted the ex­planation of Omar, and the Persians that of Ali. The creed of Omar being then the established religion of the Ottoman Empire, we shall confine ourselves here to that alone.

The first article of their faith is, that there is but one God, and that Mahomet is his prophet; no Turk must expect eternal salvation, unless he firmly adheres to this doctrine. There are also five pre­cepts of practical duty enjoined to constitute a good Muselman, which are called the fundamentals of their religion. The first is ablution; the second prayer, which must be performed five times every day; the third, is the observation of the fast of Ramadan, or Ramazan; the fourth, is to give alms indiscrimi­nately, and lastly, to perform, at least once in their lives, the pilgrimage to Mecca.

To these principal and essential articles, a great number of others are added of an inferior obliga­tion; such as abstaining from pork and wine, keep­ing Friday holy, as we do Sunday in our church, and in being circumcised.

[Page 68]Ablution is the first of their indispensable duties. It is divided into three distinct species. The first is that performed preparatory to entering a Mosque, or before prayers. The manner of performing it is this.—They begin with washing both hands, re­peating at the same time, these words—"Praised be God who has created clean water, and has given it the virtue to purify us, and render our faith illus­trious." After this, they take some water in their right hand three times, and wash their mouths, say­ing,—"I pray thee, O Lord, to let me taste of that water which thou hast given to thy prophet in Pa­radise—more odoriferous than musk—whiter than milk—sweeter than honey, and which has the power to quench, for ever, the thirst of him who drinks of it." This done, they snuff a little water up the nos­trils, and say, "Grant, O Lord, that I may smell the sweet odours of Paradise, and enjoy them, and suffer me not to breathe those of hell." Then they wash their faces, three times, all round, and behind their ears, saying, "Make clean my face, O Lord, and that of those who obey thee; that they may resemble thy prophets in the day of judgment." Water is then taken with the right hand, and thrown up to the elbow three times, repeating, "Give me, O Lord, at the last day, the book of my good works into my right hand, and pardon my offences." The same operation being performed with the left hand, during the repe­tition [Page 69] of a similar sentence. The crown of the head is then washed, repeating, "Let thy mercy surround me, O Lord, when I shall appear before thee." Water is now taken up with both hands, and the orifice of the ears washed with the thumbs, repeat­ing, "Make me, O Lord, one of those thy ser­vants, who hearken to what is written in the sacred books, and obey thy commandments." Finally, with all the fingers they wash the neck, saying, "Deliver me, O Lord God, from hell, and from the chains put round the neck and feet of sinners." The feet of course are washed during this ejaculation, but it is sufficient to be done externally over the sandals, or short boots which they wear, and the ceremony fi­nishes with, "Hold me up firmly, O Lord, and suffer not my feet to slip, lest I fall over the bridge into hell." The Turks believe there is a bridge to pass over, in order to get to paradise, as narrow as the edge of a knife, and that hell lies under this bridge. The prayer which concludes this general ablution is, "Accept my prayers, O Lord, pardon my sins, re­ceive the offerings I have made, and do not permit the prayers I have said, to be fruitless."

The second species of ablution is used with the warm bath when they rise in the morning, after they have passed the night in their Harams.

[Page 70]The third consists in ablutions after easing the ne­cessities of nature; some are even so scrupulous to perform this ceremony after breaking wind.

With respect to public prayers, as the alcoran or­ders them to be said five times in the space of twen­ty-four hours, the first begins at day-break,—the se­cond at noon,—the third, exactly between noon and the setting sun,—the fourth, immediately after sun set,—and the fifth, an hour and a half afterwards. Each mosque having turrets, persons appointed for that purpose, as hath before been remarked, ascend them, and cry out with a loud and intelligible voice at each stated time, that it is the hour of prayers. The ve­neration, attention, and true spirit of devotion, with which the Turks perform their prayers, from first to last, is highly praise-worthy. Nothing is capable of diverting their attention, which is carried to such a superstitious extreme, that if they happen to cough, or sneeze, they begin all their prayers again, and go over them with the greatest patience, as often as such an accident happens. The different positions of their bodies, and their contortions, whilst praying, are numberless. They will extend their arms, place their hands upon their ears, bend their bodies, kneel, prostrate themselves, and sometimes put their foreheads to the ground, like the Indians and Chinese.

[Page 71]The Turks, says Le Brun, very seldom miss these five hours of prayer, but especially the first, and the last two; for should it be discovered, that out of the five times enjoined them for prayers, they do not perform them, at least three times, they would be severely punished. Nor is there any dispensation that will avail them in this particular. If they cannot go to the mosque, they are obliged to say their prayers wherever they are, and even when on a journey, they must allight from their horses at the stated hours of prayer. If they are travelling in company with a caravan, the master of it makes a halt, and turn­ing towards Mecca, either calls out himself, or or­ders some other person to give notice, that it is the hour of prayer, upon which, all the Turks allight, and begin their prayers. Christians who are with the caravan, are permitted to keep on their horses, but they are not allowed to go forward, till the others have finished their prayers; unless they are the more numerous party, for in that case, the Turks themselves turn out of the road to pray.

The third article of a Muselman's faith, is an ob­servance of the fast of Ramazan, so called from the name of a lunar month. From break of day, whilst this month lasts, the Turks neither eat, drink, smoke, or smell any odour; in short, they do no­thing to administer pleasure to the five senses till sun­set. [Page 72] Such is the law, and those who transgress it, are punished very severely; even with death, if the of­fence has caused scandal. Formerly, in the height of their religious zeal, the violaters of the fast of Ramazan, had melted lead poured down their throats; at present, either the Turks are more strict, or the zeal of their superiors is abated; for this bar­barous punishment is no longer heard of. But it may be easily conceived, that the night is turned into day, during the Ramazan, for the Turks are of too indolent a disposition to work when they do not eat, so that they sleep through most of the day. It is said, in the alcoran, that during this month, they may eat, and drink, all night long, till they can dis­cern a white thread from a black, by the morning light.

The fourth article of their creed, obliges them to give the tenth part of their income to the poor. But this precept is not so well observed as the former, by those who have considerable revenues; and this is one reason, among others, why the opulent Turks endeavour to conceal their riches from the public.

The fifth, and last article, is the pilgrimage to Mecca, which is held to be of such importance, that he, who from, bad health or, the state of his affairs, [Page 73] cannot undertake it, though the law may exempt him, thinks himself very unfortunate.

The pilgrims for Mecca, set out from Constanti­nople in the month of May, and repair to Damascus, where they join the other pilgrims, from Natolia and Asia. Afterwards, they unite with those that come from Persia, Egypt, and other parts of the Ottoman Empire. The whole number commonly amounts to sixty thousand; though Sir James Porter makes their number amount to two hundred thou­sand; but this is a great error, and must mean to in­clude all the trading, and other travellers, who either for safety, or convenience, travel with the caravan; yet, reckoning these with the suttlers and slaves, the whole will not amount to this enormous number. At a small distance from Mecca, there is a mountain on which the pilgrims offer up sacrifices to God, in ho­nour of Mahomet, by sacrificing some sheep upon altars, the flesh of which is given to the poor. The day after the sacrifice, the pilgrims, before they ascend the mountain again, strip off their usual cloathing, and put on the coarsest dress that can be conceived; to shew they renounce the pomp and va­nities of the world, and aspire only to paradise. They are obliged to walk round the outside of the temple seven times; and then going out of the city, by the gate they entered, every one takes up a stone, [Page 74] and slings it to a certain distance, to denote his contempt for all other religions. In the temple of Mecca, they kiss the black stone, which fell from heaven, to point out the spot on which the Temple should be built: it was originally white, they tell you, but being re­peatedly polluted by the lips of sinners, it has long since been changed to a jet black. Its virtue consists in absolving those who kiss it with devout faith, from all their sins.

The temple of Mecca is magnificent and rich; in the centre, is the tomb of Mahomet, which the com­mon people believe to be suspended in the air. The Grand Signor sends every year, to this temple, five hundred Venetian ducats, an alcoran bound in gold, and a rich gold embroidered stuff, to cover the tomb of the prophet. When the new covering is put on, the old one is cut into small pieces, and delivered to the faithful, who preserve it with the greatest vene­ration.

According to Peysonnel, the Sultan sends two co­verings, one to Mecca, and the other to Medina, together with the other royal offerings, designed for those holy places. These are carried by the Surra Emini, or Intendant of Alms, who is likewise to take charge of the money arising from legacies be­queathed by individuals. The first covering, is in­tended [Page 75] for the Beith Oullah, or house of God, at Mecca, which is the grand object of the pilgrimage, and is commonly called, the Kiaba, or Cube, be­cause its form is a perfect cube. This covering is a black woolen stuff without any ornament. The Sur­ra Emini, who carries the new one, brings back the old, and presents it to the Emperor, who distri­butes the pieces of it to the grandees, and his fa­vourites. These pieces are held in the highest ve­neration, and those who obtain them, give orders, that at their burial, their heads shall be covered with them in the coffin; and care is taken to let these pre­cious fragments appear on the outside, over the rich stuff which covers the bier, in the funerals of the great. The second covering is of silk and gold, and is carried to Medina, to the tomb which it is designed to envelop.

Devotions being ended, the pilgrims return to Damascus, in the same order they arrived. Many of these pilgrims make repeated journies to Mecca, not for devotion, but to purchase merchandise, which is there to be bought very cheap. And as it is per­mitted for any one, who cannot perform the pilgri­mage in person, to send a deputy; there are others who make a traffic of these pious deputations. They are maintained, and fed by those who send them, for whom they perform the customary prayers and [Page 76] sacrifices; these people generally take great care to conceal the name and quality of their employers, by which stratagem, one deputy will obtain a great num­ber of these devout commissions. In short, it is a profession that affords a very comfortable livelihood.

The caravans of pilgrims to Mecca, used to be held sacred by the Arabs, and even by common robbers. However, a few years since, the caravan, from Persia to Mecca, was attacked. It was cus­tomary for the caravan to take conductors from a particular tribe of Arabs, encamped in the environs of Bassora, whose chief received a certain sum for protecting the caravan to Damascus, and this tribe was one of the most powerful among the Arabs. It happened, in the year 1776, that in the caravan, from Bassora to Damascus, there was the daughter of Kerim Kan, a powerful Persian prince, accompanied by a train of ladies, all very rich. The chief of the tribe, observing the great splendour and riches of this caravan, and the quality of the pilgrims, demanded a more considerable sum than usual to protect them, which they refused to pay; and addressed themselves to the chief of another tribe, who agreed to protect them for the same sum they had formerly paid. The caravan accordingly set out from Bassora, but when it had reached the heart of the desart through which it was obliged to pass; the chief of the first tribe, with [Page 77] his followers, suddenly fell upon the Arabs who guarded it, of whom they made great slaughter; the pilgrims were then all stripped, the daughter of Kerim Kan not excepted, and after having plundered the caravan, the travellers were afterwards left to pursue their journey to Damascus, where they arrived in a most wretched plight. I saw one of the company, a merchant, says Habesci, who, but a few days before, was in possession of five hundred thousand piastres, which is between twenty and thirty thousand pounds, reduced to the necessity of asking charity. This ad­venture made the fortune of a Frenchman who re­sided at Tripoly, in Syria; for the princess being unable to borrow money from the Turks, from their enmity to the Persians; the Frenchman generously offered her his purse, which she accepted; and when she returned home, Kerim Kan remitted him, not only the original sum he had advanced, but double interest, and such magnificent presents, that the French merchant was enriched for the remainder of his life.

Kerim Kan sent ambassadors to the Porte, to com­plain of this daring outrage, and demand satisfac­tion; it being the duty of the Grand Signor to pro­vide for the safety of the caravans that go to Mecca, while they are upon his territories; but the Porte only gave evasive answers, and alledged, that the [Page 78] Arabs were rebels, and that the tribe who had com­mitted this outrage, inhabited the territory of Bas­sora, which was subject to the government of Bagdat, it therefore belonged to the Bashaw of that city to indemnify him. Kerim Kan, enraged at this answer, marched his troops to Bassora, which he took, and plundered; the riches he amassed, by this expedi­tion, were immense; and not being satisfied, he di­rected his course to Bagdat, which he likewise be­sieged, and kept blocked up six months; when the Grand Signor agreed to give him ample satisfaction, and a peace was concluded. I was at Constanti­nople, says Habesci, when the Ambassador from Kerim Kan arrived, and observed, he had audience of the Grand Signor, without loss of time.—To re­turn to the religious tenets of the Turks, it remains only to remark, that circumcision is not enjoined by the alcoran, but is only a ceremony which the Turks perform as an ancient custom, derived from their ancestors.

With respect to the precepts, which forbid the drink­ing of wine, and eating of pork, I can take upon me to affirm, says Habesci, that they have only a nominal exist­ence. Friday, which should be considered as a day of particular devotion, is now converted into a day of recreation. And it is, on this day, that the public houses of entertainment are filled with Turks, who [Page 79] eat and drink to excess, of every thing that is for­bidden. The Turks, at Constantinople, adds the same author, drink more wine than is consumed at Paris, and the importation of this article alone, yields a larger revenue, than any other branch of commerce whatever.

We scarce know how to credit this assertion, that wine is not prohibited by the alcoran. Lady M. in her remarks on the religion of the Turks, begins with observing, "tis certain, we have but very imper­fect accounts of the manners, and religion of this people. This part of the world being seldom visited but by merchants, who mind little but their own af­fairs; or travellers, who make too short a stay, to be able to report any thing exactly of their own know­ledge. The Turks are too proud to converse fami­liarly with merchants, who can give no better ac­count of their ways here, than a French refugee, liv­ing in a garret in Grub-street, can of the court of England. I had the advantage, she adds, of lodg­ing three weeks, at Belgrade, with a principal Ef­fendi, that is to say, a scholar, and an intimate daily conversation with him, gave me an opportunity of knowing their religion, and morals, in a more particular manner, than perhaps any Christian ever did. This man, she says, made no scruple of de­viating from some part of Mahomet's law, by drink­ing [Page 80] wine with the same freedom we did. When I asked him how he came to allow himself this liberty; he made answer, that all the creatures of God are good, and designed for the use of man; however, that the prohibition of wine was a very wise maxim, and meant for the common people, being the source of all disorders amongst them; but that the Prophet never designed to confine those who knew how to use it with moderation; nevertheless, he said, that scandal ought to be avoided, and that he never drank it in public. This is the general way of thinking amongst them, and very few forbear drinking wine, that are able to afford it."

It appears therefore, from this extract, taken from Lady M. that wine is prohibited by the Turkish law; notwithstanding its being drunk to such excess, as af­firmed by the former writer.

Le Brun likewise gives the reason why it was pro­hibited; that Mahomet, in passing through a village, observed great rejoicing at a wedding, and that wine was the occasion of the mirth, which made him drink it very copiously. But that returning back, the next day, by the same road, he saw the marks of a great deal of blood having been spilt; and con­jecturing that those persons, whom he had seen so convivial together the day before, had fallen out [Page 81] and wounded each other, he forbid the free use of wine, and recommended his followers never to drink of it in future, but by way of physic.

The grand festival of the Turks is the Bayram, corresponding to the Easter of the Christians. It begins the moment the new moon can be discovered, which succeeds that of the Ramazan. Happy is the man who can first discover it, for which he is amply rewarded by the Mufti, or Grand Visir, and the tidings are immediately made public by a general discharge of artillery, and music instantly striking up. The common people then leave their work, go about congratulating each other, and betake themselves to different amusements, every counte­nance expressing uncommon satisfaction and pleasure during the three days that this festival continues. The first morning after the new moon, the Grand Signor sets out, as soon as it is light, for the principal mosque in Constantinople, attended by his whole court, in the most superb dresses; and as he passes along, throws money to the populace, and at the mosque sacrifices three sheep. His return from the place of worship is accompanied with equal splendor, after which he enters the divan chamber, and seats himself on the throne, to receive the compliments of the Grand Visir, and all the officers of state, with the whole body of ecclesiastics; who all prostrate [Page 82] themselves at the foot of the throne, crying "May the days of the Sultan be happy!" The last person who pays his respects, is the Agha of the Janissaries, who, on his return home, is attended by a retinue as splendid as that of the Grand Signor. Every Turkish lord receives the same compliments that day from his inferiors.

The Sultanas who are shut up in the old seraglio, have the liberty, likewise, on that day, to pay their respects to the Grand Signor, and to visit the Sultana-mothers; it is, therefore, the pleasantest day, to them, of the whole year, for they are permitted to walk in the delicious gardens of the seraglio, and may obtain any little favour they ask of the monarch. The principal personages of the empire dine, on that day, at the seraglio, on a particular invitation from the Sultan; but he does not eat with them. Before they partake of this entertainment, sixteen of the principal officers of state are robed, by the Sultan himself, with rich pellices, or caftans, a ceremony corresponding with the investiture of the different orders of knighthood, by the other princes of Eu­rope. This solemnity ended, the Grand Signor withdraws to the interior part of the seraglio. Se­venty days after the Grand Bayram, there is another festival called the Little Bayram. The Sultan goes to the mosque, with the same ceremony, on the first [Page 83] day of this festival, as he does on that of the other, and sacrifices three sheep; with this difference, that the sheep must be larger than for the Grand Bayram, and painted of all sorts of colours; they must, like­wise, have the sign of the half moon, or crescent, on them: these sheep are placed at a small distance from the door of the mosque; it being required that the Grand Signor should kill one of them with his own hand, before he enters the mosque. Every person of fortune kills some sheep on that day, as a sacrifice. The Little Bayram lasts three days, but the sacrifice of sheep is only on the first; whereas on the Grand Bayram, every day is a day of sa­crifice.

The most magnificent and the largest edifices at Constantinople are the mosques. They are almost all built upon the same plan, having a dome and minarets, that is to say, a kind of turrets from which the inferior Imans call the people to prayers. At the stated hours appointed for that purpose, they go up to these minarets; and in those mosques which have none, stand at the porch, and clapping their thumbs to their ears, call out with a loud voice, in Arabic, Alla Hecbar, which signifies, "God is great." this they repeat several times, and then invite the people to prayers; in those mosques where there are several minarets, filled with people, crying out, [Page 84] altogether, very loud, and in different tones; so many voices make a symphony very pleasing to the ears of Mahometans.

Though the voice of these criers does not sound so loud as the ringing of bells, which is not permitted by their religion; yet, coaches not being in use in the streets of Constantinople, nor any trades carried on in that city, the noise of which deafens the ear; their notes, which are generally pretty shrill, easily pass through all the quarters of the city, and may be heard at a considerable distance. The good mussul­men take great delight in ascending the minarets to assist these Imans in their holy office. There are a great number of these mosques called royal ones, but they are only to be found in the cities of Bursa, Adrianople and Constantinople, as having been the residence of the Sultans. The fixed revenues of the principal one, that of St. Sophia, which we have already so amply described, amount to fifty thousand pounds sterling. The revenues of these mosques are by no means either equal or certain, as some depend on pensions from the Sultan, or contribu­tions from the people, and others on the lands of villages, sometimes of whole provinces. The people inhabiting places obliged to contribute from the pro­duce of their lands to the support of the mosques, enjoy very great privileges, among which is an ex­emption [Page 85] from quartering of soldiers, or any other person in the service of the prince. To be sensible of the value of this privilege, it is necessary to remark, that the military, and other persons em­ployed in the Grand Signor's service, are very numerous, and almost always in motion; so that the countries through which they travel, are ruined by them; for they are very oppressive, and insist on being treated almost as well as the monarch himself.

The mosques founded by private persons cannot confer these privileges, because they have no reve­nues arising from land; their whole income arises from the interest of sums lent, which is eighteen per cent: this privilege of lending money on interest, being granted only to the mosques and the Jews; for the Mahometan laws strictly forbid this way of traffic, in any other instances, under penalty of losing the principal, if discovered.

To build a mosque, is not a custom followed indifferently by all the Turkish emperors, since all have not a right, that being only to be acquired by conquest. The Sultan, before he can build a tem­ple within the walls of Constantinople, must have gained some victory over the enemies of the empire, or have extended the Ottoman possessions, and there­fore merited the surname of Gazi, or conqueror. [Page 86] Sultan Mahmoud, who had legally acquired this right by gaining the battle of Grosca, against the Ger­mans, and taking Belgrade, erected a very beautiful one within the capital. When he had resolved on raising this edifice, he procured from Italy, France, and England, the most elegant designs and models to be found in Europe, proper for his undertaking. From these, that prince, who possessed great abilities and taste, formed himself the plan of his mosque, which he shewed to the Ulemas, or body of eccle­siastics and lawyers united. They objected that it more resembled a Christian church than a mosque, and advised their master to give it a form more agree­able to the Mahometan taste, that it might not of­fend the common people. Sultan Mahmoud, obliged to give way to the insinuations of the heads of the law, produced a monstrous mixture of the European and Turkish style, though still magnificent and ele­gant. He ornamented the court of this mosque with a superb colonade, the idea of which was fur­nished by the church of St. Peter, at Rome, which he executed in miniature. He employed, in this work, the rich columns that had formed the peris­tyle of the ancient palace of the kings of Pergamus, which had escaped the ravages of time, but were taken down, and removed to Constantinople. Sul­tan Mahmoud died before this building was finished; Osman, his brother and successor, consulted the pro­fessors [Page 87] of the law, to know if he might compleat it, and give it his name. The Mufti delivered his Fetfa, or opinion, in which he declared, that this building not being finished, or dedicated to religious worship, could only be looked on as an edifice, the property of which incontestibly vested in his brother, by right of inheritance; and by consequence, he might take possession of, and complete the unfinished building, consecrate it by the prayers of the faithful, and give it his own name. In virtue of this decree, the mosque, though built by Sultan Mahmoud, was called the Splendor of Osman: by which name, the mosques erected by different emperors are usually distinguished.

The Mufti is the sovereign Pontiff, he is, at once, the expositor of the law of Mahomet, he has, therefore, a two-fold sovereign authority, in all cases, religious and civil. His election depends entirely on the Grand Signor, who, commonly, ap­points to this high office, men who are eminent for their integrity and learning.

When the Mufti is elected, which must be from the order of Moulahs, he is ordered, by the Grand Signor, to repair to the palace; where he invests him in his dignity and office, with his own hands, by cloathing him with a pellice of ermine, lined with [Page 88] white cloth; giving him, at the same time, a hand­kerchief embroidered with silver, containing a thou­sand Turkish piastres, in gold. He then pays a visit to the Grand Visier, who receives him at the foot of the stairs, and conducts him to the great hall of the Divan, where he gives him the seat of honor, and puts another pellice upon him, of ermine, lined with green cloth: when he departs, the Visir attends him to the door, and orders him to be waited on by several of his officers, loaded with the rich pre­sents which he is obliged to make him, upon his election.

The Mufti is held in as much reverence by the Turks, as the Pope is at Rome. He is not denied the privilege of marriage, though he is expected to make his residence at Constantinople. His authority is so great, that when he passes a definitive sentence, the Grand Signor himself never contradicts it. The difficulties which are proposed to him, and his sol­lutions, whether as to cases of conscience, or any other matters are committed to writing. His reply is generally very concise, consisting only of a simple affirmative or negative, to which are added these words, "God is the best judge," by which he shews he does not pretend to infallibility. The Grand Signor has a power of displacing him, but [Page 89] yet he never ventures to engage in any affairs of importance, without his consent previously obtained.

Next to the sublime office of Mufti, is that of the Caddilaschirs, or Judges, of which there are two, one for Romania, and the other for Natolia. Their jurisdiction extends to military causes, as their title sets forth, for Caddi means judge, and laschir signifies militia. This office makes a person eligible for that of Mufti.

To the Caddilaschirs succeed the Moulahs. This body of people, who are the expounders of the law and religion, in Turkey, furnish many examples in former times, that, when unanimous, they are entire masters of the people; and can influence them so as to dethrone the most skilful and vigilant monarch that ever reigned. They are very numerous, and are treated with particular distinction by the Sultan.

The superintendants or superiors of the Mosques, are chosen by the Grand Visir: these are called Imans. Upon a vacancy, the inhabitants within the district of the Mosque, present another to the Visir, who generally accepts their recommendation, and of his own authority, without any previous cere­mony, invests him Iman of the Mosque to which he has been recommended. The Mufti has no ju­risdiction over them, but, in civil and criminal [Page 90] cases, they are subject to the jurisdiction of the common magistrate.

The Emirs may likewise be ranked in the class of ecclesiastics: they are distinguished from the rest of the Turks by a green turban, the favourite colour of the prophet.

They are eligible to any office in the state, and may aspire to the most honourable. The privileges they have are very great, and, among others, that of having any person's hand cut off, who affronts or strikes them. The Turks, however, have found the means of evading this barbarous law; for when they meet any Emirs in the street, who are drunk, and have any altercation with them, which frequently happens, they take off their green turbans, with the utmost respect, and then give them a good drub­bing: the only mark of an Emir being his green turban, when it is taken off, they pretend not to know them, and this stratagem secures them from punishment.

An eternity of rewards and punishments is one of the fundamental maxims of their religion. Yet there are sects among the Mahometans who do not believe in it. For example, the Giahamites say this eternity is metaphorical, as when we wish the reign of a prince [Page 91] may endure for ever; and the Giahedites believe that the damned, in course of time, will be changed into fire, like all other matters consumed by that element. Among the followers of Ali, there is a sect which takes its name from a doctor called Alk­hathab, who teaches that the delights of paradise, and the pains of hell, are nothing more than the pleasures and afflictions of the present life.

It must not be imagined that the happiness promised by Mahomet, is confined to the pleasures of sense alone; for though the prophet says that true believers will find in his paradise, gardens on the borders of rivers, where they will live to all eternity, with women whose youth and beauty will ever remain; yet, he adds, that besides these delights they will enjoy the sight of God, which will make them perfectly happy. His hell contains very uncommon objects, nothing but the heads of devils. An angel, likewise, presides here on the part of God, and this hell, according to the alcoran, has seven doors, The greatest, how­ever, of all their misfortunes, in this place, will be their separation from God.

Predestination is one of the frightful doctrines taught by the alcoran; viewed, however, under certain aspects it has its advantages. It is to this doctrine that the Porte is indebted for the facility with [Page 92] which such numerous armies are raised. It likewise tends to calm the useless affliction of a father on the death of his children, or of a person who has lost all his property by some reverse of fortune, or his honour, through the injustice of his equals. The populace who carry every thing to extremes, acts in the same manner with regard to predestination. Du­ring the plague, they will purchase the cloaths of a person who is just dead of this disorder, which they will instantly put on their back, and say that they can only die of that death which is decreed them by fate. This doctrine of predestination is very ancient in Eastern countries. We read in Homer, says Bicari, that the affairs of this world are conducted by a kind of fatality to which Jupiter himself is obliged to sub­mit, equally with the lowest of mankind.

The resurrection of the dead is likewise implicitly believed by the Turks. One of the signs, which are to precede it, say they, is that all the animal cre­ation will die, that the mountains will fly in the air like birds, and that the heavens will melt and run upon the earth.

Their ablutions and circumcision are likewise drawn from the ancient customs of the East. It would be ridiculous to insist that circumcision was not abso­lutely necessary in the East, when it is known that [Page 93] there are many people in Asia who would otherwise be useless to society. And with respect to their ab­lutions, the Assyrians according to Strabo, made use of them at all times, after performing the duties of marriage. The eating of pork was forbidden, either because it was unwholesome in the country where Mahomet introduced his religion, or else to make his court to the Jews, who were dispersed in all those parts where his doctrine was preached.

The Mahometans believe both in the new and old testament. They often cite the new testament, and will sometimes cite what is not to be found in it; say­ing that the Christians have altered the text, because they have retrenched every thing relating to Mahomet. And the Jews, they add, have done the same by the old testament.

The Turks bear no enmity to each other, and whenever any disputes arise amongst them, they al­ways endeavour to be reconciled before Friday, the day of their Sabbath; being obligated, before they begin their prayers, to declare in the presence of God, that they freely forgive their enemies; or else they believe their prayers will not be acceptable.

If persons dispute, or come to blows, in Turkey, notwithstanding all the entreaties that are made use [Page 94] of to prevent them, any one is at liberty to separate them, by calling out charoe ulla, that is "by the Law of God," they are then carried before the Cadi, or Judge, who punishes them for their obstinacy. For this purpose the offender is laid on his back, and re­ceives two or three hundred strokes, on the soles of his feet; besides having a fine, of two or three thou­sand aspers, levied upon him, for suffering himself to be so far carried away by his passions.

The severity of this law, has not only restrained the Turks within the bounds of their duty; but has likewise accustomed them to refrain from swearing, and profaning the sacred name of God; a practice too common among other nations, who pretend to be more civilized than the Mahometans. The greatest oath, they use to attest the truth of any thing is, valla hebilla, which means, "by the God whom I adore."

The Turks, like the Christians, have their con­vents and religious orders. The origin of these in­stitutions, both with respect to the time and cause of them, is like those of the Roman Catholics, entirely fabulous. The two principal orders are, the Der­vises, and the Santons. I had the curiosity, says Lady M. to visit one of the monasteries of the Der­vises, and to observe their devotions; which are as [Page 95] whimsical as any at Rome. Their fellows are confined to an odd habit, which is only a piece of coarse white cloth, wrapped about them, with their legs and arms naked. Their order has few other rules, except that of performing their fantastic rites, every Tuesday and Friday; which is done in this manner. They meet together in a large hall, where they all stand, with their eyes fixed to the ground, and their arms across, while the Iman, or preacher, reads part of the alcoran, from a pulpit placed in the midst; and when he has done, eight or ten of them make a melancholy concert with their pipes, which are no un-musical instruments. Then he reads again, and makes a short exposition on what he has read; after which they sing and play, till their superior (the only one of them dressed in green) rises and begins a sort of solemn dance. They all stand about him in a regular figure, and while some play, the others tie their robe (which is very wide) fast round their waist, and begin to turn round with an amazing swiftness, and yet with regard to the music, moving slower or faster as the tune is played. This lasts above an hour without any of them shewing the least appear­ance of giddiness, which is not to be wondered at, when it is to be considered they are all used to it from their infancy; most of them being devoted to this way of life from their birth. These turning round amongst them, some little Dervises of six or [Page 96] seven years old, says Lady M. who seemed no more disordered by that exercise than the others. At the end of the ceremony they shout out, "There is no other God, but God, and Mahomet is his prophet!" After which they kiss the superior's hand, and retire. The whole is performed with the most solemn gravity. Nothing can be more austere than the form of these people; they never raise their eyes, and seem de­voted to contemplation. And, as ridiculous as this is in description, there is something very affecting in the air of submission and mortification they assume. By a rule of their institution, a Dervise must not eat more than eight ounces a day.

Those Dervises who are sufficiently impudent to take advantage of the general ignorance of the Turks, set up for prophets, and prophecy with impunity. If it happen, that the event justifies their predictions, they are looked upon as saints, and held in great esteem; nay, those, who for want of success, can pass only for fools, find admission every where. Nothing can resist their effrontery; the name of God, profaned by these rascals, says Baron Tott, always imposes on the superstitious multitude; and I have seen one of them come and seat himself, insolently, by the Grand Visir, whilst I have been privately discoursing with him; and people of great consequence kept at a dis­tance. The fanaticism of the public obliges the most [Page 97] enlightened persons to submit; and the most eminent Turks have no other means to get rid of this rabble, than by giving them money; which serves only to make them more troublesome and insolent.

Their principal convent is at Cogni, in Natolia, without the walls of the city; its circuit is about a mile and an half, and it contains five hundred cham­bers, for as many Dervises; but the greatest part are generally from home. When I visited them, says Habesci, I found but ninety in the convent, the rest being dispersed throughout the empire; either in other convents, or living privately with women; for though they are allowed to marry, their wives are not permitted to live with them in the convent. They are called poor Dervises, but with little reason, for they take care to provide themselves with all the conveniences of life; yet, to keep up appearances, their cloathing is coarse and simple; consisting of a shirt made of ordinary linen, a robe, or tunic, of a dark coloured flannel, and a surtout of white woollen cloth; their stomach and their legs are naked, upon their heads they wear a round cap of camel's hair, and they have a leather girdle round their waist. They generally have a chaplet in their hands, and keep constantly turning over their beads, repeating, at the same time, the name of God. Be­sides the observance of the Ramazan, in common [Page 98] with the rest of the Turks, they fast every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. The rapidity with which they turn themselves in their devotions, says Habesci, is so great, that it is impossible to distinguish their coun­tenances, or their forms; and they do it with so much dexterity, that it is the most astonishing spec­tacle in nature. Some of them fall into extacies, in imitation of their founder; who, when he was ex­hausted with his whirling round, fell into swoons, and then had his visions from the prophet, to found the institutions. They eat great quantities of opium, and are so stupified by this drug, as to be almost de­prived of reason, and all corporeal sensation. Some of them are thrown into the same state by wine, and other fermented liquors, of which they consume more at present, than the rest of the Turks.

The religious tenets of the Santons, are very dif­ferent from those of the Dervises. They hold it as a maxim, that if God permits them to live through the day; it is that they may make the best of it, which they contend, is by gratifying their passions. They constantly repeat these words, "To-day is for us, and to morrow for him that shall then be alive." There is neither austerity, nor hypocrisy in this or­der of men; for they preach publicly, that paradise may be as easily gained by making use of the good things of this world, as by abstinence and severity of [Page 99] manners. For this reason, they think only of eating and drinking, and spending their time in all manner of amusements. They look upon the tavern as sacred as the mosque; and hold the homage paid there to Bacchus, as pleasing to the Divine Being, as that of­fered to him in our places of worship.

There is another sect of religious in Turkey, who make charity the basis of their institution; this they extend even to animals; and one of their prin­cipal concerns is to feed, and take care of, the dogs that are employed in the streets; they will frequently likewise purchase pigeons, and other fowls, for the pleasure of letting them fly. There is another or­der, who do not profess abstinence of any kind; but whose sole employment is, to sing the praises of God in Arabic verses. The novices of this order undergo a very rigid noviciate; they are shut up alone in a chamber forty days, and have no other nourishment, than twenty-four drachms of dry bread every day. It is only by supporting this trial, with fortitude and chearfulness, that a candidate can obtain admission to the fraternity.

The greatest part of the Janissaries profess the doctrine of another sect, which discharges its follow­ers from every obligation to attend prayers; the founder having maintained that they were not neces­sary [Page 100] to obtain eternal life; this order, of course, is very pleasing to military people, who are in general not much disposed for practical devotion. But unfor­tunately, he is accused of having propagated the lawfulness of that most unnatural vice; which is but too much practised by the Turks of the present age.

According to Peysonnel, all the Turkish monks are divided into two orders; the Mevlevis, and the Bek­tachis. The Mevlevis are cloistered, and live toge­ther in convents; though they have liberty to go out, during their hours of recreation. Those who turn round and howl, belong to the order of the Mevlevis, though they have different rules; just as the Capu­chins, Recollets, and Cordeliers, are all of the or­der of St. Francis, though they differ from each other, in their regulations and habits. The Bekta­chis have no convents, or fixed habitations, but wan­der about. They often attach themselves to the great. I have known several Pachas, adds the above author, who have taken them with them, when they travelled; and kept them constantly in their houses, as the Italian Nobles do their confessors. Some of them are exceedingly acute, active, subtle, and pos­sessed of considerable wit and information. Many of these Dervises Baktachis usually follow the army, when it takes the field; and no Orta, or regiment [Page 101] of Janissaries, makes the least motion to change their garrison, open a campaign, or perform any cere­mony, without one of these Dervises preceding their march. On such occasions, they generally have the feet, legs, and a part of the body naked; they throw cross-ways, over their shoulders, the skin of a tyger, lion, or some other wild beast; and carry in their hand a pike, halberd, or battle-ax; and as they march, sing verses in praise of the Orta; and offer up prayers for the glory of their holy religion, and the prosperity of the Turkish Empire.

The Mahometan religion, says Habesci, is divided into a greater number of sects, than any other. The common opinion is, they amount to seventy-two; but there is reason to believe, they greatly exceed that number.

To be convinced of this, it is necessary to pay particular attention to the conversation of different Turks, on the subject of their religion; we shall thereby discover, that almost every individual has a system of his own, different from his neighbour; so that it is impossible to speak with precision, of all the Mahometan sects. The two principal ones, from which all the rest have sprung, as we have before ob­served, are those of Omar and Ali; the Ottoman Turks are disciples of Omar, and the Persians of the [Page 102] latter. The hatred that subsists between these two sects is incredible. Of their implacability, and the essential difference▪ in their religious tenets, it may therefore be expedient to render a more particular account.

The origin of their reciprocal hatred is very ancient, being derived from the Persian legislator himself, and arose in the following manner, says Ha­besci; Mahomet, in his last moments, having declared Ali his successor, the three other competitors, upon the death of the prophet, took advantage of Ali's absence▪ who was then propagating the Mahometan faith, on the confines of Persia, and entered into an alliance to exclude him from the high station, to which the prophet had appointed him; and by force of arms they set up Abubeker, as the true heir and successor to Mahomet.

Ali, finding that the last will and orders of the prophet were rendered null, and his hopes disap­pointed by this measure, acted nevertheless with great moderation towards his antagonists. As Abubeker was very old, he satisfied himself, for the present, with the power he had acquired, at the head of his army, on the borders of Persia; not doubting, but that after the death of Abubeker, the dying orders of Mahomet would be obeyed, and he should be elected [Page 103] supreme chief of the Mussulmen; but he was a se­cond time deceived; for upon the death of Abubeker, Omar was elected his successor; and was no sooner invested with the sovereign authority, than he sought for every opportunity, by force of arms, to oppress and reduce the adherents of Ali, who remained on the frontiers of Persia, highly exasperated; but un­able, with his inferior force, to oppose the progress of his rival. Thus circumstanced, he had recourse to religious policy; for, by explaining the precepts of the alcoran, in a manner totally opposite to the opinions and practice of Omar's party, and boldly maintaining his to be the true faith of Mohomet, he branded Omar with the opprobrious title of heretic; and gained a great number of converts; who de­serted the standard of his rival, and fled to him for protection. The charge of heresy was retorted by Omar and his followers, and both parties condemned each other to the flames of hell. After the death of Omar, such a formidable force appeared, under the command of Ali, that he was peaceably raised to the throne; but, instead of endeavouring to unite both parties, in one common interest, he used his utmost efforts to crush the doctrines of his predecessor, which had an effect contrary to what was expected; for the animosity and vengeance of his opponents, took such deep root, from this ill-timed persecution, that it could never be eradicated; and, when, it was [Page 104] found that the doctrines of Ali, owing to his superior influence, prevailed in both the Arabias, in Persia, and in other adjacent countries; the disciples of Omar grew more zealous in support of the opinions of their deceased master, and took care to transmit, from father to son, that mortal hatred which, to this hour, animates both persuasions.

The first great article of difference, in their rituals, respects the chief of their religion. The Ottomans believe, that the Mufti of Constantinople is the only supreme infallible head of the church; the Persians believe, the same of the Mufti of Persia. This dif­ference gave rise to numberless persecutions, and a swarm of different sects, springing from the same source. The Persians reject, with horror, three of the greatest doctors of the Mahometan laws, Abube­ker, Osman, and Omar.

The virulence of these two sects is so great, that both parties have condemned each other to the flames of hell. The Persians, to enrage the Ottomans as much as possible, despise the green colour, which was the favourite one of the prophet, and even put it to the meanest uses; making their socks and slippers of it, that they may tread the colour under their feet. They eat all kinds of meat, and drink wine, without any scruple; but the chief accusation of the Turks [Page 105] is, that the law of Ali permits one woman to marry several men. The Persians are likewise commanded by their law, to lay waste, and ruin, the countries belonging to the Turks; to strip their women quite naked, and to carry them off to be made slaves. From these principles the Turks conclude, that it is impossible a Persian should ever become a good and faithful servant; or ever be converted to the true faith. This persuasion, says Habesci, is so rooted in the minds of the Turks, that no Persian is ever suf­fered to enter the walls of the seraglio, in Constan­tinople; though persons, professing all other reli­gions, may be admitted there, and become good Musselmen.

The Turks believe, or affect to believe, that the souls of the Jews, after their death, are converted into asses, to carry the souls of the Persians into hell. In fine, they positively maintain that a Turk, who kills a single Persian, has more merit than in kill­ing five Christians in battle.

A vast number of sects, as we observed before, have sprung from those of Osman and Ali; which either from their obscurity, or their absurd opinions, do not merit notice; more especially as they are deemed heretical by the Persians, as well as the Turks: however, it ought not to passed over in si­lence, [Page 106] that some of them acknowledge Christ to be the true Messiah; and approach so near the Christian religion, that this is the principal cause of their re­jection by the Mahometan believers.

The Turkish government is well apprized, that many of its subjects are of the sect of Ali; and among these, there are some who hold considerable civil employments, and others who may happen to command their armies: besides, the inhabitants of al­most all the frontier towns, on the side of Persia, not only follow the religion of Ali, but are prejudiced in favour of the Persian government; because the go­vernors of the Persian provinces are not so tyran­nical as their own. The Turks, therefore, take every precaution to prevent a rupture with the Per­sians; who if they were not torn to pieces, by civil dissertions, would constantly seek some plausible pre­text, for commencing a war with the Turks; partly from inveterate hatred, but more from a desire of ex­tending their dominions.

By a due attention to the life of Mahomet, and the religion he has established; it is very clear, that all his precepts may be considered as political maxims; on the due observance of which, the grandeur and pros­perity of the Turkish government has ever depended. An enquiry then, how far the modern Turks have de­viated, [Page 107] from the original institutes of their founder, cannot but be highly interesting; as it will lead to an explanation of the causes, of the present humiliating situation, of a once formidable power; whose arms were dreaded, in former times, by some of the most respectable states of Europe, and their alliance courted by others; whereas, in the present moment, they ex­cite the pity of some Christian princes, the contempt of others, and the ambition of a third; ready to seize every opportunity to aggrandize itself, at the expence of its weak, but inoffensive neighbour. Notwith­standing the great appearance of devotion among the Turks, the principle of whose religion is Deism; yet its very opposite, Atheism, says Habesci, has gene­rally prevailed of late years. Let this be a lesson for deists in Christian countries. It is not in the ex­ternal observation of the Ramazan, in their ablutions, or in the pilgrimage to Mecca, that we must look for the present state of religion, in Constantinople, the seat of the Turkish empire. It is by conversation, with Turks of distinguished rank and fortune, either in office under government, or living on their revenues, that we can alone discover the degeneracy of the pre­sent Ottoman race. Some are Pythagoreans; and, firmly believing the transmigration of souls, would not, on any account, be the death of an animal. Others are professed Cartesians, who doubt of every thing, [Page 108] and never maintain any opinion decisively: from per­sons of this pliant description, the Mufti is chosen.

The Platonic system has likewise a numerous party, among the professors of the law, and the Imans of the royal mosques; they believe in the unity of the Deity, and in the love they ought to bear their neighbours; which makes them extremely civil and complaisant to strangers. As far as the alcoran agrees with these principles, they venerate it; but in other respects, they pay no regard to its numerous absurdities.

But as no people entertain such doubts of their religion as the Turks, it is not in the least suprising, that they have proceeded one step further, and em­braced atheism. This fundamental error has pene­trated the most private recesses of the seraglio, and infected all parts of the empire. The Bashaws of pro­vinces, in particular, converse freely upon the system of nature. By the word Nature, they mean that in­ternal principle which disposes, and regulates, the conduct of all existent beings; from this principle, they say, the sun, moon and stars, derive their origin; and from the same principle, man has the faculty to raise himself upright, to grow, and to bend like the flowers, the grass, or the trees in the fields.

[Page 109]Some years since a printing press was permitted at Constantinople, which might have put an end to the national religion of a people, so doubtful and wa­vering in their opinions; if a general insurrection, fomented by the doctors of the law, had not put a stop to it. Forty thousand scribes, who had gained their living by copying books, and writing all that is necessary to be known in that city, would not readily submit to a novelty, that was to reduce them to indigence.

One of the political principles of Mahomet's reli­gion was, to propagate it by persuasion; and, if that did not succeed, by force of arms; for it was neces­sary at all events to increase the number of his sub­jects. His successors, and all the different sectaries, adhered strictly to this principle, till of late years. Though they affected to tolerate religions of every kind, yet they spared no pains to make them embrace Mahometism. If a man, who had children, under fourteen years of age, became a Turk, from mo­tives of interest perhaps, all the family were ob­liged to follow his example; and, if they pre­tended that they were past that age, the Turks would find means to terrify them into a denial of it. If a Christian or a Jew, had the least amorous in­tercourse, with a Turkish woman; upon her bare de­position alone, without any other evidence, the un­fortunate [Page 110] infidel was either instantly put to death, or obliged to turn Mahometan.

All those who, in a fit of passion, said they would turn Mahometans, (or if such an expression escaped them, though it was in a moment of intoxication,) were afterwards put to death, if they retracted their sentiments. A criminal of any religion, of whatever crime he had been guilty, treason ex­cepted, might save his life by turning Mahometan; by these means, their religion has been so univer­sally propagated, and extended throughout the East; and, even to this day, it is not unusual to see fifty proselytes at a time, demanding the turban from the Grand Visir, or the Mufti; but then it is done with a view of succeeding better in their several arts and trades in Constantinople; for most of them, in the end, either escape to some christian country, or to mount Libanon.

The following anecdote from Baron Tott, in de­lineating the character of an eccentric prime minister, it may not be amiss here to insert.

Divested, says he, by the natural strength of his mind, of all those prejudices, with which the Turks are generally deb [...]ed; this Visir diver [...]ed himself, even on the most shocking subjects. It will easily [Page 111] be imagined that Mahometism itself was not secure from his jests.

A European, one day, appeared at the Porte, and signified, more by signs than by words, that he was a German, and desired to turn Turk. On being questioned as to his motives for renouncing his religion, he informed the visir that he was born at Dantzick, and had travelled, with all speed, from thence to Constantinople, purposely to embrace Mahometism. This resolution appeared too extra­ordinary to the visir, for him not to attempt to discover the real motive; and the candidate being again interrogated, devoutly answered, that Mahomet had appeared to him in a vision, to invite him to merit the blessings attendant on Islamism. Is not this a strange knave? said the visir,—Mahomet has appeared to him, at Dantzick! To an infidel! Though in the course of seventy years, during which I have been punctual to my prayers, he has never done me the like honour. Inform him, dragoman, I am not to be deceived with impunity, that he cer­tainly has killed his father or mother; and that, un­less he will candidly confess what crime he has been guilty of, I will hang him up instantly. Terrified at this menace, the traveller confessed he had been a school-master, at Dantzick, where he had had the misfortune to occasion some disagreeable suspicions; [Page 112] that the parents of the children, with whom he had been instructed, had given him a great deal of trouble on this subject; and that the magistrates likewise, were disposed to shew him no mercy: in order therefore to escape their sentence, and from being informed, that at Constantinople, so much noise is not made about so trifling a matter, he had come there to change his religion, and hoped to be soon sufficiently instructed, to contribute to the education of the Turkish youth. Let him make his profession of faith, said the visir, and take the new convert to such a mollach, mentioning his name, that he may provide for him; they were made for each other, I have sent him a companion; but let them charge the Iman of that quarter, to instruct and inform them both, that no religion has ever tolerated such practices.

Mahometism having been established by force, it was a maxim never to surrender a town, in which there was a mosque; and as soon as one was taken from the enemy, the first thing done was to build a mosque in it, that the Turks might be the more zea­lous for its preservation.

In order to inspire the soldiers with more than or­dinary courage; they are made to believe that those, who die fighting against the infidels, are instantly transported into paradise, and placed by the side of [Page 113] their prophet; who, from heaven, has been witness to their heroism. And this belief formerly produced feats of valour.

We will now beg leave to point out the decline of this great empire, which happens, sooner or later, to all civil societies, by a departure from the principles on which they were first established. Within the last half century, we have seen the Turks yield to the superior intrepidity of the neighbouring christian powers; and to the intrigues of the more distant ones, carried on by their ambassadors at Constanti­nople. Neither officers nor soldiers, believe now, they shall go instantly to paradise, if they are slain in the field of battle, and therefore they fly from before the enemy: in the sea service, in particular, the Turks can scarce ever be made to stand to their guns.

By land, it is well known, they have given up many towns, both to the Russians and Germans, in which there are mosques. While Prince Repnin re­sided at Constantinople, the Divan gave orders to deliver him all the Russian slaves, even those who had embraced their religion. Christians who have pre­sented themselves to the Grand Visir, to receive the turban, have likewise been refused, for fear of giving umbrage to the ambassador, from the country in [Page 114] which they were born. Europeans have even been known to have turned Mahometans, for their personal interest, and afterwards to have renounced their re­ligion again for christianity, notwithstanding which they have been suffered to remain at Constantinople unmolested. All these circumstances seem to denote, an approaching revolution in the Turkish system of re­ligion; or a total subversion of this, once formidable, empire. Perhaps the plan for its annihilation is al­ready laid, in more than one European cabinet. Russia has just paved the way, by seizing an exten­sive, and valuable part of its domains; the Crimea, and the town and district of Oczakow.

CHAP. XIII. Army and Navy.

THE Ottoman empire was founded by the sword, and it was only by force of arms that it ar­rived to that degree of power, which rendered it formidable to the christian world. The heroic en­terprizes of the Turkish troops, and the incredible fatigues they underwent in former times, are con­vincing proofs that they were not only, by nature and custom, rendered robust and hardy; but that [Page 115] they were also endowed with excellent capacities: these accomplishments, however, could not exempt them from those revolutions, to which all nations are subject. A relaxation from the rigid discipline, esta­blished at their first institution, has introduced a ge­neral corruption: so that they are totally degene­rated, and are no longer the terror of the neigh­bouring countries. Every military corps, throughout the empire, is become the mere spurious issue of what it was in former times.

The military forces of this great empire are, as in other countries, divided into distinct classes. They consist of infantry and cavalry. To the infantry be­long the Janissaries, the Topeis, the Kombaragis, the Bostangis, the Mekteregis, the Serigis, and the Le­vant. The cavalry consists of Spahis, Zainis, Tima­riots, Zebiris, Zebganis, and Muclagas. These forces have not all the same pay. The Zainis, and the Timariots▪ are paid from such lands as the Grand Signor gives them, which are in the nature of the old feudal tenures in christian countries; the rest are paid from the Imperial treasury.

In treating of each class of the Turkish military, we shall follow the division usually made in other countries, by ranging it under the following heads: land forces, artillery, and marines.

[Page 116]Of all the Ottoman troops, the corps of Janis­saries, from its ancient reputation, and the very great number of soldiers of which it consists, was the most respectable. But, at present, these troops are a re­proach to the empire; no infantry, of any nation in Europe, says Habesci, are upon so despicable a footing. They are contaminated with every vice, and are consequently pusilanimous; they are, more­over, composed of the lowest dregs of the people. Badly cloathed, without musket or sabre, and, sub­ject to no discipline, they are only ready to devour the miserable soup, sent them by the sultan for their daily food; and to strike terror into the breasts of all Christians, Greeks, and Armenians, whose busi­ness obliges them to pass through the streets where they are quartered: these they insult with impunity, because no christian is allowed to make any reply to them. So cowardly were these troops, in the last war, that of 60,000 who marched from Constanti­nople for the Crimea, not above 6,000 arrived there.

This subversion of discipline, is partly attributed to the present mode of enlisting recruits, and the indolent lives they are suffered to lead in time of peace. Instead of the recruiting parties going into the towns and villages, to enlist the most robust and comely youths, they will receive any person into the corps of Janissaries. Roman-catholics, Jews, and [Page 117] Heathens, are accepted by the officers on the recruit­ing parties; if they have but the appearance of youth and strength, without any enquiries into their prin­ciples. The Armenian patriarch, who resided at Constantinople, during the late war, having created a suspicion, by some expressions in his sermons, that he was a Roman-catholic, the Armenians complained to the Grand Visir, and obtained an order to send him to the gallies; but the patriarch being apprized of his danger, he immediately sent for a Colonel of the Janissaries, to whom he made known his situation, and prayed to be enlisted into his company, which was accordingly done the same day, and he invited the colonel, with the rest of the officers, of his regi­ment, to dine with him at his house the next day, which happened to be Sunday; he officiated as usual, and, upon coming out of the church, found one party of Janissaries ready to conduct him to the gallies, and another to protect him; but the former instantly retired, upon hearing from the latter, that the prelate was a Yengi-cheri, or new Janissary, and their officers joined the company at dinner, where they were all very merry at the expence of the Grand Visir, whose order to arrest the partriarch was the subject of ridicule.

The Janissaries are the Ottoman Militia; they are divided into 160 chambers, or regiments, says Ha­besci, [Page 118] and each regiment ought to consist of 1000 men: but at present they do not amount to more than half that number. The proper term is Jengit­s [...]eri, compounded of Jengi, new, and Ischeri, a sol­dier. These troops were formerly the flower of the Turkish forces, says Buschin, and were first formed out of captive christians, by the Emperor Amu­rath I. They are of a superior rank to all other soldiers, and are also more arrogant and factious; and it is chiefly by them that the public tranquility is disturbed. Forty thousand of them are kept con­stantly at Constantinople, for the city-guard, and to assist the officers of justice; the rest are dispersed in the different provinces of the empire. Every regi­ment has its separate chamber or barracks, and nei­ther women, nor wine, nor any thing that can corrupt their morals, should enter these chambers, under the severest penalties; but the degeneracy of the times has destroyed all rigid discipline, and their chambers now are the sinks of iniquity.

Each chamber has its Odda-Bachi, or Colonel-Com­mandant, its treasurer, its standard-bearer, and its cook Besides their pay, they have a daily allowance from the Sultan, of mutton, rice, and butter. They enjoy, however, very great privileges; and an es­teem for their persons, is so thoroughly rooted in the minds of the common people, that they are generally [Page 119] treated with great respect, if they do not misbehave themselves very much. The Grand Signor himself is always a Janissary, and has his name enrolled in one of the chambers; from which he receives his pay of seven aspers a day. The pay of a Janissary, on his first enlisting, is one asper a day, which rises af­terwards, as far as seven, according to merit.

Before the Bostangis were raised to the rank of body-guards, as a counterpoise to the power of the Janissaries, the latter were more highly esteemed, and took more pains to merit it. And it is certain, if they could submit to better discipline, they might still be formidable; not only to their enemies, but even to their own sovereigns. For the Grand Sig­nor is very sensible that he reigns chiefly by the support of this numerous corps, and that they have it in their power, not only to dethrone, but even to strangle him. Many have been the examples, in former times, to demonstrate the truth of this ob­servation. There is a chief in every province, who commands all the Janissaries in that district, and who ought to take care that each of them is provided with a serviceable musket and a sabre. In time of war they fight without order, being totally ignorant of military discipline. They should, in time of peace, by the rules of their institution, be daily [Page 120] exercised in trials of strength and dexterity, to inure them to fatigue, and accustom them to agility.

Baron Tott mentions an instance of this astonish­ing agility, which he was eye-witness of, in his journey through Moldavia. We were passing, says he, through an agreeable valley, with hills on each side, where sheep were feeding under the care of their shepherds. I was questioning one of the Ja­nissaries who escorted us, concerning the quality of the wool; you shall judge for yourself, said he: on this, he spurred his horse through a flock of sheep, gallopped through the midst of it, selected one of the largest, pursued and overtook it; stooped, seized it by the fleece, raized it with one hand, and re­covering his position, threw it across the bow of his saddle, and rejoined me full speed. In vain did I endeavour to make him restore his prize to the owner, or pay him the value of it; he laughed at my delicacy, and, at night, regaled himself and his companion, on his booty.

The Agha of the Janissaries, at Constantinople, has very extensive authority; and in the magnifi­cence of his train, and the richness of his apparel, nearly equals that of the Grand Signor. He resides in a kind of castle, situated upon a hill, nearly in the centre of the city; his guards are very nume­rous, [Page 121] and there are twenty-four constantly watching in a tower raised above the castle, to observe what passes in the city, and give immediate notice of any fire. If they fail in their duty, in this particular, their master is involved in disgrace, and punishment. The rules and orders, in cases of fire, are very singular; for, if the Grand Signor arrives at any place where there is a fire, before the Grand Visir and the Agha of the Janissaries, whose business it is to use their utmost expedition, to prevent its spreading; the Grand Visir is obliged to pay him a fine of 12,000 gold ducats, and the Agha 5,000 to the Sultan, and 5,000 to the Visir, if he gets there before him. For this reason, the guard in the tower, before they cry fire, give notice to the Agha, who has always three excellent horses in readiness. The Sultan and the Grand Visir have, likewise, the same number, ready saddled and bridled; so that it is oftentimes a complete trial of skill in swift riding, to answer a very benevolent purpose. The late Sul­tan Mustapha, frequently won the race, because he strolled about the city in the night, in disguise.

The Agha of the Janissaries, at Constantinople, is also obliged to be ready, at the door of the mosque, when the Sultan goes to public prayers; to take off his boots, on alighting from his horse, before he enters the mosque; and, upon his return, must draw them [Page 122] on, and assist him to mount. After which, he is al­lowed to ride by the side of his royal master.

The enrolled Janissaries, according to Peysonnel, are so numerous, that if their number could be ascer­tained, it would amount to several millions; for all men get themselves enlisted that can, being by this enrollment exempted from certain duties and offices. They are, however, estimated at only forty thousand; for which reason they are called Kirk Bin Koul, or the forty thousand slaves; and though there may be four hundred thousand on the pay list, which Baron Tott asserts, it is certain the treasury does not issue pay for more than fifty thousand, that being only re­ceived by the Janissaries of the Odas, or barracks at Constantinople; and those who, in the garrisons, have followed their kettles. All those who are not with the standard are called Yamaks, and receive no emolu­ment. The division of this body of forces, accord­ing to the above author, is in Ortas, Buluks, and Sey­mens; forming in all one hundred and ninety-six companies. The Janissaries are distinguished from the other Turks by their broad caps; which, being made like the sleeves of a casaque, hang down behind, half a foot long, gilt with silver and embroidered, and have a cone on the forehead.

The arms of the Janissaries are a sabre, a bow, an arrow, and a lance. Being drawn before the seraglio, [Page 123] to alter their exercise, and receive new instructions from Count Bonneval, in the use of fire-arms, they threw their muskets disdainfully on the ground; and, drawing their sabres, cried out "these arms have suf­ficed to conquer this empire, and will suffice to main­tain it."

They are punished, for ordinary crimes, by the bastinado, or blows on the soles of their feet; and, if they are guilty of any crime, deserving of death, they are strangled, put into a sack, and thrown into the sea; a cannon being likewise fired, for every Ja­nissary that suffers in this manner. These punish­ments are always inflicted in the night; as no Janis­sary, nor any other soldier, can be publicly punished. The Janissaries call each other brethren, and are so attached to one another, that they will not suffer the least insult, to be offered to any of their corps. No person, besides their officers, is permitted to strike them, under pain of death. And, if they should chance to give any other person a blow, he must not resent the affront by striking; as no protection what­ever, can save the life of a man who has struck a Ja­nissary. It is from this great respect shewn them, that the foreign ministers have always some of them in their houses, as guards; and foreigners in general, are glad to be attended by them in public, being secure from any insult, whilst accompanied by them.

[Page 124]The Turkish cavalry, called Spahis, were formerly the most considerable of the Ottoman forces, both with respect to rank, valour, and discipline; but their power, and influence, at last rose to such a height, as became dangerous to the Sultan; against whom they frequently entered into conspiracies, and sometimes broke out into open rebellion. The consequences were, the degradation of the whole corps, by Mahomet IV. who gave preference to the Janissaries, granting them such privileges, that he knew would disgust the principal officers of the Spahis. This arrangment had the desired effect; for the Spahis, following the example of their leaders, abandoned the court, and retired to the provinces, where they continued to re­ceive their pay; but when called upon, in time of war, just appeared to answer to the muster-rolls, and then returned to their respective homes, and left the sovereign to face the enemy, with other troops. From that aera, they lost the honour of being considered as a corps-de-reserve, for the body-guard of the Sultan; and their places were supplied by the Janissaries. But these likewise, having abused the trust reposed in them, the Bostangis, in time, were formed into a corps of Mi­litia, regularly disciplined, and well armed; and to them, the honourable employ, of being body-guard to the Sultan, in his seraglio, and surrounding his pavil­lion when he is encamped, is at present confided; [Page 125] and a formidable guard they are; for their numbers, when compleat, amount to 12,000.

It is remarkable, that when any of the Turkish troops lose their confidence with the Sultan, they alike lose the esteem of the people; though the greatest part, of the Ottoman army, consists of troops taken from the general mass of the people. Such is the present state of the Spahis, who are held in such sovereign contempt, by their countrymen, that they must perform wonders in the field, to regain their lost reputation.

The Spahis, properly so called, are divided into two classes. The ancient, who have a yellow ensign, and are distinguished by the name of Cascars; and the modern, who humbly call themselves Spahis-Oglars, or servants to the others. They carry a red ensign; and, notwithstanding the more modern date of their institution, and their modest title, they are more re­spected than the ancient Spahis; and have prece­dence, on a march, in commemoration of their hav­ing restored the order of battle, and gained a victory, in the reign of Sultan Mahomet III. These two clas­ses, in time of war, amount to 12,000, and are paid from the Imperial treasury.

There are two other corps of cavalry, called Zainis and Timariots; who hold lands under the Grand Sig­nor, [Page 126] by ancient military tenures, and are summoned to appear in arms, when a war breaks out; but who find means, after a personal appearance, to leave the camp, and return home, if they have no inclination to take the field; so that they cannot be relied upon, in time of danger. These compose the major part of the Turkish cavalry; and the only distinction, between these latter corps and the former, is, that they serve by feudal tenure, and receive their pay from the land they hold.

The hope of gaining some portion of land, in­duces great numbers to join the Zainis, and serve at their own expence, in time of war, as volun­teers. If they perform any signal action, they are sure to succeed to the lands of the Zainis, who are slain in battle. If a Zaini, or Timariot, is old, or incapable of service, he may resign to his sons. If he is killed in battle, his income is divided in equal portions, among his children; but if it amounts to only 3,000 aspers a year, the eldest son is the sole heir, and takes his rank. But if he dies a na­tural death, at home, in time of peace, the governor of the province has the disposal of his revenues. In Natolia, there are many lands privileged, because they pass by inheritance, from father to son; and the possessors of them are not obliged to serve in person, but may send a lieutenant, with the number [Page 127] of horsemen required, in proportion to their in­come.

The Zehesis, who, at their first institution, con­sisted of a single corps of 600 men, had the inspec­tion and care of preserving and cleaning the arms. At present they have changed their employment, and their numbers are considerably augmented. They are computed at 30,000 horsemen, and are divided into sixty chambers, but they are seldom complete. This corps is considered in the same point of view, as the cuirassieurs among the other great powers of Europe.

The Segbans are another species of cavalry, that the bashaws of provinces are obliged to bring to the army, in time of war. These are a kind of dra­goons, for they fight on foot, as well as on horse­back, and form a corps of reserve; it being their duty to take care of the baggage.

The Molagis are considered, by the Turks, as military men, but, in fact, they are only servants to the bashaws, who having always a numerous re­tinue, keep a great many domestics, who cost only their diet and dress, the Turks never giving any wages. They form a kind of united body in the camp, and make a numerous army of men; but, [Page 128] though they are young, robust, and generally well made, we do not find they ever signalized themselves by any one act of heroism. On the contrary, a great part of them are pretended christians, and the vilest set of men upon earth. These are the men who, when a christian church is taken, commit every kind of sacrilege, break open convents, violate the nuns, and fighting under Turkish banners, exercise most horrid cruelties on the inhabitants of christian countries.

Next to the Janissaries, the infantry most in repute in the Ottoman service, is the corps of Topchis, or cannoneers; and the Kombaragis, or bombardiers. The former of these two corps amounts to 18,000 men, of which 6,000 are constantly kept at Constan­tinople, and the rest dispersed throughout the pro­vinces; they are divided into regiments, in the same manner as the Janissaries. Out of so great a num­ber, says Habesci, there are not above a dozen of them who are good engineers; being totally ignorant of theory, the only skill they acquire, is by practice; so that in time of action, the service of their artil­lery is commonly left to chance.

The corps of bombardiers ought to amount to 2,000, of which, 600 always remain in the capital. But their numbers are never complete, for the of­ficers [Page 129] wait till the very moment of marching, to fill up their regiments. This accounts for their want of knowledge. It must be confessed, however, they are very expert in casting cannon, and melt their metals with great skill.

The Turks have no iron cannon, and either know not how, or disdain to cast it. All their artillery is of brass, nor have they any other on board their ships; for though we find pieces of iron ordnance, in some of their fortified places, or on board their merchant-ships, they have all been taken in war, or purchased from the Swedes, Danes, or other Europeans. It is, indeed, very surprizing that their founderies should have no furnaces proper for melt­ing iron; since that at Tophana sends every day to Constantinople, a prodigious number of brass pieces, some of them of an enormous calibre, excellent, beautiful, and long since brought to perfection, ac­cording to the proportion and models of the Euro­pean artillery. They are continually to be seen ranged along the shore, at Tophana, frequently in double and triple rows; nor can we, without great injustice, accuse the Turks of total ignorance in the art of casting artillery. It is, in fact, difficult to conceive, how they can produce one so beautiful, without furnaces proper for casting the small field-pieces, of which they are in want.

[Page 130]The cannon, however, for which the Turks are famous all over Europe, are called perieres, or small cannon; their only fault is, that they are too short, so that on board of ships, especially under the wind, there is always great risk of their setting the vessel on fire. The Turks formerly purchased their gun-powder of the English; but a renegado, calling him­self an Englishman, taught them the art of manu­facturing it; which they have brought to such per­fection, that English powder is no longer imported into the Ottoman dominions. Yet, owing to the avarice of the makers, in augmenting the quantity of charcoal and sulphur, and diminishing that of salt-petre, the dearest ingredient, they have adulterated it to such a degree, that it is no longer equal, in strength, to the best English powder.

Baron Tott, who was employed to make a reform in the Turkish artillery, mentions a bon-mot of Sultan Mustapha, which does not augur much in favour, of the knowledge of the Turks, in that department of the science of war. The Baron had been employed to throw some pontoons, over a small river near the capital, in order to satisfy the Porte that this kind of bridge, which was a novelty in Turkey, was sufficient for the transportation of artillery. In passing over a dangerous frozen place, the Baron, notwithstanding his great precaution, met with a fall, and sprained [Page 131] his left leg very much. The Grand Signor, though frequent in his enquiries after the Baron's health, was too active to allow him the rest that was necessary. The Prince, coming afterwards to examine the struc­ture of these military bridges, after keeping me a long while standing, says the Baron, spoke to me with much concern of the accident I had met with; on which one of his officers, who had been ordered to attend me in this business, thinking to make his court to the Sultan, by extolling my activity, talked much of the fatigue I made him undergo; though, in re­ality, he only discovered his own indolence. "Do you not know the reason of this great difference be­tween you?" said the Grand Signor, "I will explain it. When Tott came into the world, he fell upon his feet, and immediately began to run; whereas you fell on your breech, and there you have remained."

The carriages of their guns are made of oak, and are very heavy, and coarsely wrought; and the iron work is as much too slight, and will not hold out any wear. All persons whatever, except those belonging to the corps of artillery, are strictly prohibited to en­ter the foundry.

Baron Tott mentions an enormous piece of ord­nance, which will carry a marble ball of eleven hun­dred pounds weight. This piece, cast in brass, in [Page 132] the reign of Sultan Amurath, was composed of two parts, joined together by a screw, where the charge is contained, after the manner of an English pistol.

There is likewise, in the Turkish army, a corps of Infantry called Mekteregis; whose business it is to plan out the camps, in time of war; and to fix and dress the pavilions, or royal tents, for the Sultan, and great officers of state, Their skill and alertness, in the execution of their functions, is highly extolled; and the institution of this corps is not only econo­mical, but the cause of preserving exceeding good order, in the Turkish camps; by preventing all dis­putes, about precedence in the situation, or splendor in the officers' pavilions.

They have also the management of striking the tents, packing them up, and transporting them from place to place, when the army is on a march. Their number amounts to 6,000.

One, among many other reasons, why the Turkish army is so numerous, says Peysonnel, is, that the people in Turkey are divided into two classes; the Askeris, or military; and the Beledis, or peasants. Every Mahometan, who does not belong to some military corps, is obliged to pay a capitation tax, and is assessed for his share of the imposts, levied on [Page 133] cities, towns, and villages; and though this law be not vigorously put in execution, it causes many per­sons to enter their names on the lists.

The attention of government, says Lord Baltimore, is directed to keep up a variance, between the law and the army; for, unless they unite, a revolution in government can never take place. War, at pre­sent, is not sought after by the Turks, especially by great men; who are always sure to fall a sacri­fice; for, if the Janissaries are successful, they grow insolent; and, if they are defeated, they despond in a very great degree; either of which occasions the destruction of their leaders. The following anecdote will serve to shew something of their disposition. After the death of Mahomet II. the Janissaries began an insurrection, and put to death several of the visirs, and bashaws; plundered the houses of others, and committed a great many outrages. There lived at that time, in the city, an old bashaw, called Isaac, who had formerly been visir to Sultan Amurath; he was a very good natured man, but extremely igno­rant, and a very had politician; and, to put a stop to the sedition, it was thought proper to place some person on the throne; he therefore went and brought forth young Corcud, Bajazet's brother, who was ab­sent, and caused him to be proclaimed emperor, in the room of his father; distributing, at the same [Page 134] time, great sums of money among them, that they might return to their duty. A short time after, the Janissaries mutinied again; and, under pretence of excusing their past faults, came to the Divan of the Sultan, and told him, "that all they had done was, by no means, for the sake of plunder; but, merely to re-establish the affairs of the empire, the laws of which were no longer observed: that none, but the children of villagers and citizens, had military em­ploys bestowed on them; whereas, by the decrees of the first Ottoman emperors, these posts ought to be filled up, only by those who had served in the troops, and grown old in the exercises of war: all their pre­tensions, they said, went no further than to obtain that, henceforward, the captains, colonels, generals, and governors of provinces, should be appointed from their corps." The good old fool Isaac, says Lord B. having read their propositions, replied, on the part of the Grand Signor, "that their demands were very reasonable; that in future due regard should be paid to them, and that they might retire in peace." Having been so easily gratified, and dis­missed, they returned again directly, and cried out, that they would also have chosen, from amongst them, the Cadiliskier, who is sovereign judge of the army; and ought to be most profoundly versed in the law. The Bashaw answered them, "My children, such an office ought to be held by a person of wisdom, who [Page 135] has studied the law; is there any one among you who is capable of it?" The Janissaries replied, "that there was one of their comrades, called Saroug Bu­chiuk, who knew how to read pretty well, and who did not write amiss; that by study, and application, he might acquit himself very well in this office;" which, the bashaw having heard, said to them, "I am satisfied, the Cadiliskier also shall be yours. Re­main in peace."

Habesci, who was secretary to the grand visir, in the reign of the late sultan, makes the amount of the military force, of the Ottoman empire, to be 432,570; half of which appear to be cavalry, and the remain­der infantry. But, it being evident, that this im­mense body of forces, cannot form one single army, we must make the necessary deductions, to see what land-forces the Grand Signor can bring into the field, to face an ambitious enemy, who is making daily in­cursions into his dominions; and dis-membering the Ottoman empire, by piece-meal; while the christian princes of Europe seem totally unconcerned; not considering that the empress of Russia, if she goes on as she has done, will assuredly gain that univer­sal monarchy in Europe, to which Louis XIV. of France aspired; and, to prevent which, the blood of millions was shed, and many royal trea­suries exhausted.

[Page 136]Should this Crown of Russia once get possession of Constantinople, and make it the seat of govern­ment for the Russian empire, the infatuated English nation, will then bitterly repent their bad policy, says Habesci, in having sent their most skilful ship-builders to Russia, assisted by their best naval officers, to com­mand her fleets. Already have they had proof of Russian ingratitude, in the firm support, given by the Empress, to the famous armed neutrality.

After deducting for guards and garrisons, in the different cities and fortresses of this extensive em­pire, it will not be found, that very little more than half this immense army, can ever take the field at once. If the Sultan commands the army in person, or, even if the grand visir heads it, the number of men is considerably increased; because they are fol­lowed by the cavalry, usually in the suite of admi­nistration, and by large bodies of artisans from the capital: this mixed multitude amounts, at least to 50,000 horsemen; but these augment the number, without adding to the strength of the army.

An ancient custom, the origin and rise of which is no longer known, has mixed the most insipid buf­foonery, with the art of assembling together the forces of this great empire. This ridiculous cere­mony is called, by the Turks, Alay; or, the triumph. [Page 137] It consists in a kind of masquerade, in which each trade successively presents to the spectators, the me­chanical exercise of its respective art. The labourer draws his plough, the weaver handles his shuttle, the joiner his plane; and these different characters, seated in cars, richly ornamented, commence the procession, and precede the standard of Mahomet; when it is brought out of the seraglio, to be carried to the army, in order to insure victory to the Ottoman troops.

This standard is of green silk, and preserved in the treasury, from whence it is never brought, but to be carried to the army. Another relick is likewise pre­served with it in the treasury. This is, every year, dipped into a quantity of water, which is afterwards distributed, in phials, to the grandees of the em­pire. The infidels, for such there are, even among the true believers, pretend this relick is only an old pair of the prophet's breeches: but, it is certain, this holy water is dear enough, to those who are favoured with it; and those who dispense it, know how to em­ploy the things of this world, and the salvation of the world to come, to purposes of extortion.

This banner, which they name Sandjah Cherif, or the Standard of the Prophet, is so revered by the Turks, that, notwithstanding its reputation has been [Page 138] so often tarnished, it still retains their implicit confi­dence, and is the sacred signal under which they rally. Every thing proclaims its sanctity. None but the emirs are allowed to touch it, they are its guards; and it is carried by their chief. The mussulmen alone are permitted to look upon it; if touched by other hands, it would be defiled; if seen by other eyes, profaned; in short, it is encompassed by the most barbarous fanaticism.

Though the Grand Signor is obliged to be at very great expences, for the maintenance of such a nu­merous army, yet he derives very considerable ad­vantages from it; for he is heir to all his officers, who die without issue; and if they leave daughters only behind them, he comes in for two-thirds of their effects.

Every part of the military establishment of the Ottoman empire, at this hour, announces its decline; but none more so, than the weak state of its marine. In former times, the Turkish fleet was almost innu­numerable; but since the war of Candia, against the republic of Venice, which lasted twenty-one years, no formidable fleet has been sent to sea by the Porte. The great, and repeated, losses the Turks sustained, du­ring that war, gave birth to a saying, familiar in the mouths of the Ottoman subjects, that "God made the land for the Turks, and the sea for the Christians."

[Page 139]But the total destruction of the marine force of the empire, was not accomplished till the last war against the Russians. It was reserved for the brave Admiral Elphinstone, who commanded a Russian squadron in the Archipelago, to put a finishing hand to the small remains of power, the Turks possessed at sea. After having driven their fleet entirely out of the Archipelago, he pursued, and forced them to take shelter in the bay of Cesmi, opposite the isle of Scios; there he obliged them to run their ships on shore, and, notwithstanding the fire of the fort, burnt and destroyed the greatest part of their fleet. This action has rendered his name so tremendous, to the Turks in those parts, that I have heard them quiet their chil­dren, says Habesci, by telling them that Elphinstone was coming.

It is true, after the peace, the indefatigable Hassen Bachi, the present high admiral, exerted himself in a signal manner to restore their marine; and, in three years, had forty sail of the line at Constantinople, fit for immediate service, besides several others, in dif­ferent ports of the empire; but, for want of ex­perienced officers, many of these have been wrecked in the Black Sea; so that, at this time, they have not half the number of ships, requisite to protect the coasts, and islands, of their extensive empire.

[Page 140]The lieutenant to the high admiral, generally commands the fleet upon any expedition; or when it puts to sea, to defend the coasts.

The captains of galleys are called Beys; they are all very rich, of the best families in Turkey, and generally are bashaws with two tails; to whom are assigned the revenues of certain land, for their salaries and the maintenance of their vessels; or else the Sul­tan gives them the government of some maritime place, such as Mitylene, Rhodes, Scios, &c. The Sultan likewise provides the hull of the galley, and furnishes a certain sum to arm her; the equipment, provisions, and men, must be found by the bey.

They have also galliots, and other small vessels, called Cungiabai, almost like brigantines, calculated for the navigation of the Black Sea; because they are light, and draw but little water. All these smaller vessels, are under the direction of the general of the galleys; who has for his salary, the revenues of some of the most valuable islands in the Archipelago. And it is very remarkable, the commanders of these inferior classes of their marine, have the precedence, and are more respected than those who command their first-rate ships, and their great fleets; if the reason is demanded, the mussulmen reply, that it is founded on the antiquity of their galleys, or some such fable.

[Page 141]Three different rates of ships compose the Turkish armaments. Those of three decks, of course, are the first. The length of these is sixty ells; and the ell of the arsenal of Constantinople, contains two geometrical feet and a half. Each of these ships carries 106 pieces of brass cannon: and, in order to render such an unwieldy machine a little manageable, the masts and the sails are of an enormous size. The crew of these ships amounts to 1200 men, called Levants; besides 100 Greek sailors, to manage the rigging. The wages of the Levants are 60 piastres, for six months; and, in the winter-months, they are discharged; but they serve, in expectation of pen­sions for life, if they signalize themselves.

The second rates are called Sultanas; they are thirty-four ells long, carry sixty-six guns, 800 Le­vants, and 100 Greek sailors. The third rates are called Caravalles; these measure forty ells, are built like frigates, and mount from thirty-six, to forty-five pieces of cannon, their crew consists of 200 Le­vants, and thirty Greek sailors.

The Ottoman ships are, almost all, built by Greeks from the Archipelago; and though they are totally defective in theory, having no rules to go by, but those of practice; yet they are so well built, and their beauty and proportion so surprising, as not to [Page 142] be surpassed, by any ships, of the most polished na­tions in Europe. All that part of their ships under water, is built of oak; but the upper parts are of fir, which renders them lighter, and less dangerous to the crews, in time of action; for fir does not fly off in splinters, like oak. But the following circum­stances contribute to render their ships less durable than those of other nations. The masts are made of several pieces of wood, joined one above another, and secured with iron. The sails are made with cot­ton, which take the wind better, and are more ma­nageable than linen; but they soon tear, and wear out. The cordage is wretched; and, will neither last half the time, nor bear half the stress of other ropes. The quantity of tallow, put about the cord­age, to spare the labour of their seamen, is incre­dible; and what they consume on the hull of a ship, is in proportion of fifty pounds to one, used on board the ships of other countries; consequently, this ar­ticle alone is an enormous charge, in the equipment of their fleets.

The marine arsenal of Constantinople, is situated upon the port; in that part opposite the city, where it begins to widen. One part of this arsenal, is set apart for large ships, and the other for small vessels. A very large dome was built, to secure them, while on the stocks, from the injuries of the weather; but, [Page 143] either from custom, or for convenience, the large ships are always built in the open air; and the dome used only for galleys, and galliots. All magazines, for the service of the fleet, are kept within the en­closure of this arsenal; the circumference of which is about three English miles, and it is well secured from fire and thieves, by a strong stone wall. The magazines, the number of which is increased very much, of late years, are covered with lead, and are full of all sorts of stores.

It is the duty of a capitan Bachi, to take care to furnish these magazines, with all the articles neces­sary for the construction, and equipment of the fleet; and to have a plentiful stock in hand. If they were not kept always well supplied, it would be considered as his fault; and he would certainly be deposed, and perhaps strangled: because wood, iron, and sails, are to be had, in the greatest abundance, at a small dis­tance from the capital. It is likewise, in his depart­ment to provide sailors, in time of war; and, of these, there ought to be no want, as the city of Con­stantinople, alone, can supply 30,000; and the Archi­pelago is full of them. Yet during the last war, the capitan Bachi was obliged to compel artisans, and shopkeepers, to serve on board the Turkish fleets; owing to the failure, on the part of government, in not having paid the wages of their sailors, on former [Page 144] occasions: this circumstance has contributed to the decline of the maritime strength of the empire.

Another method, taken by the Porte, to supply the want of seamen, was, to oblige the islands of the Archipelago, to furnish a quota of ships and sailors, according to ancient custom. The succours, which government has a right to demand, from its de­pendencies, when a war breaks out, are,—Four ships from Algiers, completely armed and manned; three from Tripoli; three from Tunis; and, from Eygpt, twenty-four Cajrines; which serve as merchant ships, in time of peace; but, in time of war, are fitted out as armed vessels, mounting fifty guns each, and having 600 men, far superior, in point of bravery, and skill in manoeuvring a ship, to any other seamen, in the Ottoman service. However, of all these suc­cours, scarce any arrived during the last war; so little was the resentment, of an enfeebled empire, to be dreaded by its dependent governments.

CHAP. XIV. Language and Learning.

THE common language of the country, known by all ranks of people, is the Turkish, which was, originally, a mixture of Arabic, Persian, and Greek. The Christians, of different countries, re­siding at Constantinople, and in the provinces of the Turkish empire, have each of them a language peculiar to themselves. For instance, the Greeks speak both the Greek and Turkish; and in the same manner, the Armenians converse in their maternal tongue, and in that of the Turks. The language of the Greeks of the present day, has scarcely any resemblance to the ancient Greek tongue: it is a wretched jargon; and the true Greek of antiquity, is so totally lost in Greece, that hardly six persons can be found in all the country, who know any thing of it. To the eternal dishonour of the Greeks, it is in the polished Christian kingdoms of Europe alone, that learned men are skilled in the ancient languages. But what is still worse, the mi­serable [Page 146] jargon of the modern Greeks, has taken such deep root, that books of all sorts are printed in it; which will effectually prevent the restoration of their ancient tongue. The Jews commonly con­verse in Spanish; and the Turks, having commercial connexions and daily intercourse with this mixture of inhabitants, know a little of the language of each. At the Ottoman court, another language is spoken; which is that of the Persian. All commissions and in­structions to the great officers of state, military com­manders, and governors of provinces, are written in this pure language, which they call Farsi.

The confusion of languages in Constantinople, according to Lady M. must be very great. In Pera, the suburbs, says she, they speak Turkish, Greek, Hebrew, Armenian, Arabic, Persian, Russian, Sclavonian, Wallachian, German, Dutch, French, English, Italian, Hungarian. The perpetual hearing of this medley of sounds, produces a very extraor­dinary effect upon the people that are born here; for they learn all these languages at the same time, and without knowing any of them well enough to write or read them. There are very few men, women, or even children, here, that have not the same compass of words, in five or six of these languages. This may seem almost incredible in this country, and takes off very much from the merit of our ladies, who [Page 147] set up for such extraordinary geniuses, upon the credit of some superficial knowledge of French and Italian.

The Turkish language, says Peysonnel, is originally the same with the Tartarian, or language of Za­gathia, in which many books have been written. By the adoption of the Arabic and Persian, it is become one of the finest in the world. All copious languages have been formed in the same manner. The Arabic, which is an ocean, derives its origin from the Hebrew, in itself confined and barren.

The different characters are by no means left entirely to the choice of the writer; but are appro­priated, by custom, to particular species of compo­sition. The Neskbi, used in printing, is employed in works of science; the Tealik, in poetry; the Divani, in the firmans, or edicts of government, and epistolary correspondence; the Sulus, for mottos, public inscriptions, &c. He who is unable to write all these different characters, writes as well as he can; but if he intends to publish a book, present a memoir to a minister, a petition to a great man, or a poem to his patron, he will take care to have them copied, by some professed writer, in the cha­racter assigned by custom to these several uses; in the same manner as with us, a person unable to [Page 148] write the law, or other hands, will hire some one to copy his writings in the customary character.

Scarce any thing can be said on the subject of literature which is so much neglected at Constantino­ple, that there is but one library in the whole city, worthy of notice; and it is of very modern date, having been founded by Ragheb Bacha, who, after having been bashaw of several provinces, at last became visir, in which post he died. He was a man of genius, and wherever he travelled, made it his business to collect valuable books in every lan­guage, and upon most subjects, whether written by Mahometans, Christians, or Jews. This rich legacy he bequeathed to the public; and, together with the library, founded a school for the education of Turkish boys. A Turkish printing office has, likewise, been lately established at Constantinople; which after great opposition, obtained leave to print all kinds of books, except those on matters of religion. Though the Turks are not men of science, to which their great legislator Mahomet, has forbid them to apply to, as tending to puff them up with vain pride; yet, as men of wit, they surpass most nations. There are no people any where to be met with, who can relate an amusing tale, with more grace and elegance. They likewise excel every other nation in the mar­row, pith, elegance, good sense, and ingenuity of [Page 149] their proverbs, which, adds the above author, are always the surest test of the intellectual abilities of any people. Like the Italian improvisatoris, they have their professional speakers, who, in order to make their court to the great, undertake to carry on the conversation, and amuse the company, on any subject whatever.

It must not be thought, however, that the Turks are so totally deficient in literature, as they have been represented by many writers; and though they have neglected tactics, navigation, and military dis­cipline, yet they are in possession of the elements of Euclid, all the philosophy of Aristotle, and the entire works of Plato, whose surname of divine, they pre­serve, and whom they stile Filatoun el Lillabi. They have, likewise, among them a multitude of Turkish, Persian, and Arabic books, on grammar, logic, me­taphysics, morality, history, astronomy, astrology, and the cabala; on geography, physic, chemistry, alchemy, and medicine; on law, theology, and con­troversy; with an infinity of poems, fables, moral tales, and romances.

The Turks have also their regular colleges, called Medressas, the same as with us. They contain, as we have observed before, scholars of all ages, from those who are so young, as to have made but little [Page 150] progress in literature, to the Sohtas, or students ar­rived at years of maturity. These Sohtas, are a class of literati, who devote themselves to the study of grammar, the Arabic language, rhetoric, philo­sophy, their religious ceremonies, and jurispru­dence. Some of them arrive at the first dignities, while others remain in the subaltern places of Imans; Mutevellis, or administrators of the revenues of the mosques; Naibs, or first clerks to the Mollahs.

According to the strict rule of their public or­dinances, the professors of the law cannot be advanced to places of importance, unless they have first been Sohtas, have gone through a course of study in the medressas, and have been advanced to the dignity of Muderris, or principal of the college, which is granted by Imperial diploma. The monarch can grant them writs, by which they are immediately advanced; but the usual forms must always be so far complied with, that the person then raised, must be furnished with diplomas of all the degrees through which he ought to have passed. Nevertheless, these dispensations have frequently occasioned great murmurs among the Ulemas, as they often oblige men of merit, who deserve a more rapid advance­ment, to remain all their lives in a subaltern station.

[Page 151] Bisani, in his remarks on the Turkish literature, mentions one of their doctors, who had read the alcoran over twenty four thousand times. He like­wise notices an Abbé, who published a treatise on the literature of the Turks, with extracts of most of the books in the public library at Constantinople; without knowing a syllable of the Turkish language. The method he took was curious; it was to make the dragoman read the titles, and different parts of each work to him, in Italian, while the Abbé wrote down his notes; and, notwithstanding his ignorance of the Turkish language, having had an ingenious dragoman to translate to him, the work is said not to have been without merit.

We shall conclude this chapter with some few passages from the alcoran, and likewise some ex­tracts from their prosaic, as well as poetic writers; to give our readers some idea of the morality and poetry of the East.

The finest moral in the Alcoran, is, "Forgive easily, do good to all, and dispute not with the ignorant."

Sublime and masterly also, is this passage in the same book, where God stops the deluge—"Earth swallow down thy waters; sky, drink up those thou [Page 152] hast poured forth. The waters were immediately gone, the commands of God were executed: the ark rested on the mountain, and these words were heard, WOE TO THE WICKED."

Mahomet, in his journey to heaven, says the same book, saw an angel who had a thousand thousand heads, in each of which were a thousand thousand mouths, in each of these mouths, a thousand thou­sand tongues, and in each of these tongues, a thou­sand thousand dialects, with which he constantly ce­lebrated the praises of his most glorious and immense Creator.

The following are some of their maxims:

"When destiny is against you, all forethought is useless. When the measure is full, numbers are no more wanting".

"The success of human affairs depends not on men: it is Providence, and divine decree decides all things."

"The world is nothing, the affairs of the world are nothing; do not, therefore, be anxious after the acquisition of nothing."

[Page 153]"He that afflicts himself for what may happen, does wrong; for should what we dread happen, or not; the disquiet we take, brings no sort of re­medy or advantage with it."

"Do you desire the prince to be soft and mode­rate? Exercise among yourselves justice, and be obedient to his commands: consider that your be­haviour is the principal cause of the good or bad treatment you will receive. A prince may be com­pared to a looking-glass; what you see therein, is but a reflection of the object you present to it."

"Four things should never flatter us; familiarity of princes, the caresses of women, the smiles of our enemies, nor a warm day in winter; for these things are not of long duration."

"The worst of princes is he whom the good fear, and the bad hope."

"He that thinks to content his desires by the possession of what he wishes for, is like one who puts out fire with straw."

"Wise men use their estates liberally, and, during their life, make their friends partakers of them; but the avaricious are so foolish, that they amass riches even for their enemies."

[Page 154]"The most excellent of all virtues is purity of intention. Justice for an hour is better than devo­tion for a year."

"The time you employ ill, is carried away by the wind of the common vicissitudes of the world, without its being ever again retrievable."

"A man who dresses himself beyond his station, is like one who puts vermilion on his cheeks, whilst an ulcer is devouring him."

"When the mind is tired, and you seek to re­lieve it by some diversion; use it like salt on your meat, sparingly."

Haleb al Nagar, being asked, "what was the most excellent thing in man?" replied, "Sense." "But if he has none, what is the best thing he can have?" "Honesty," replied Haleb. "And if he has not that?"—"The counsel of his friends," replied the doctor. "And in want of that?"—"Taciturnity."— "And when he cannot have either of these things?" "A sudden death, as soon as possible."

An Eastern poet addressing himself to the wind, passing by his door, in its way to his mistress, says,

[Page 155]"You shall have my life for a recompence, if, in the moment when you blow by the door of her ha­bitation, you repeat her these words; I beheld, at the corner of the street, a desponding lover, who, pressed with extreme desire to see you, is at the point of death."

The same poet says, in another place, "Extreme was the pleasure I felt on hearing your footsteps, ardent as I was to see the only object of my wishes, after a thousand languishing moments of faint hopes."

"By the tears in my eyes, and the wound in my heart, the clay of which I am made, consumes in flames, and dissolves in water, at the same time."

"At your approach, which charms my heart, I said it was the zephir, which brings with it so sweet an odour, after having passed over fields, full of a thousand sweet scented-flowers."

"These roses are like the cheeks of a modest young lady, when her lover approaches to salute her."

CHAP. XV. History, Constitution, and Government.

TO give our readers some idea of the origin of the Turkish empire, it will not be amiss to begin with an account of the founder of the Mahometan religion.

That Mahomet was the author of the Mussulman faith, is a well known fact. He was born at Mecca, in Arabia Felix, in 571. His father, an Arabian Chief, dying while he was very young, his uncle seized upon his patrimony, and made several attempts to have him taken off by poison, or assassination, which obliged young Mahomet to conceal himself under different disguises, and pass a miserable life, till he had the good fortune to be taken into the service of a rich widow, who afterwards married him. This event happened in the thirtieth year of his age, and he had the dexterity to conceal from his wife, an infirmity, which, had it been known, would have prevented his good fortune; he was [Page 157] subject to epileptic fits, and when he found them coming on, had made it a practice to withdraw him­self from her company, and from society; in order, as he alledged, to pass his time in devotion. His wife being accustomed to these retirements, before marriage, he easily made them subservient to his ambitious views afterwards. The first object of his attention was to recover his paternal inheritance, and the knowledge he had acquired by frequent converse with the Christians and Jews, made him conceive the bold project of becoming a legislator, and found­ing a new religion. The spirit of the times was pe­culiarly favourable to his enterprize. The Arabs, grown cool, and relaxed, in the worship of their idols, ever degenerated into atheism. The Christians were divided into sects; persecuting each other, with brutal fury, for the glory of God; and sacrificing, to their common animosity, the inoffensive Jews, who retaliated their cruelties.

Thus circumstanced, Mahomet began his astonish­ing career. His temporary seclusions from his wife, and from the world, became more frequent; and he affected to lead a solitary life, assumed an exemplary piety in his discourse, and a constant addiction to prayer, meditation, and contemplation. When his wife, who became more inquisitive and superstitious, surprized him in one of his epileptic fits, as soon as [Page 158] he recovered, he solemnly protested that the splendid appearance of the angel Gabriel, who came to him, by the express command of God, to declare his di­vine will, concerning the true religion, had entirely overpowered him. She, either actually deceived, or pretending to be so, propagated a report that he was a prophet. His admirers began to increase; upon which he spoke more freely on the subject of his vi­sions, and the revelations made to him, by the angel. In this imposture Mahomet was powerfully assisted by Sergius, a Greek priest, who took great pains to per­suade his followers of the truth of Mahomet's prodi­gies; and, being full of novelty, they became his disciples. Mahomet finding his partisans daily in­creasing, boldly threw off the mask, and affirmed he had received a commission from God, to propagate his new religion by force of arms. And that he might establish his temporal authority, on a firm basis, he made alliances with the chief inhabitants of Me­dina; to which place he had fled from the persecu­tions of his relations, and married the daughters of four of the principal noblemen; by whose assistance he took the field, with a numerous army of his dis­ciples, collected from the adjacent towns and villages, and made himself master of Mecca.

The rapid successes of Mahomet, excited the jea­lousy of the neighbouring princes, who all declared [Page 159] themselves his enemies. The Arabs of Syria were the first to to take arms against him; but, before he undertook to subdue them, dreading the valour of the christians, like an able politician, he entered into an alliance with them; by which he engaged not to mo­lest them, in their civil and religious liberties; and they, on their part, agreed not to give any assistance to the enemies of the mussulmen.

By this treaty, Mahomet secured against any pow­erful opposition, saw himself at full liberty to assume the sovereign power; and, in the course of twenty years, had the satisfaction to see his religion embraced by several nations, and his empire aggrandized by the Saracens, who owned him for their master; and, being a powerful people, had conquered several pro­vinces in Asia. Mahomet's new dominions, therefore, took the title of the Saracen empire, by which it is known in history.

At the head of numerous armies, this most enter­prising, and successful impostor subdued great part of Africa, many provinces in Europe, and still more, in Asia; and died, in full possession of every earthly dignity, in the year 631, leaving his extensive ter­ritories to be governed by his successors. The title of Caliph, which had been bestowed on him, when he was invested with the diadem at Mecca, in a li­mited [Page 160] sense, signified no more than high priest; but in his person, it comprehended the idea of King, Priest, and Prophet; and, as none of his successors could support a claim to these three characters, an at­tempt was made to dispose of the temporal dignity, to one of his relations, he having left no son; and the spiritual, to another. This occasioned a con­tention, which had nearly overthrown the new em­pire; at length Omar, one of his four generals, and favourites, whom he called the sword of God, was elected, by the army, to fill the Saracen throne, to whom the rest of the competitors submitted. After his death a fresh dissention took place, concerning the succession; which, by degrees, weakened the em­pire, and laid the foundation of another revolution, the establishment of the Turkish, upon the ruin of the Saracen empire.

The glory of the Saracen empire ended with the reign of Watik, who subdued great part of Italy; pe­netrating, in the year 847, almost to the gates of Rome: but he was succeeded by a brother, whose cruelty, and debauchery, rendered him so odious, to his subjects, that intestine commotions took place, which terminated in the revolt of the most distant provinces. And, in the end, the Mahometan reli­gion had three chiefs, at the head of different sects, who completed the ruin of the Saracen empire. For [Page 161] the Caliphs of Bagdad, in 1082, in order to support the ancient government, called to their assistance, a warlike people, from the extremity of Tartary, called Turks.

The Turks were a people who lived in obscurity, without any system of government, and were but little known before the middle of the ninth century; when they made a formidable appearance at sea, from the Caspian ports, and ravaged the coasts; they then laid waste Armenia, Georgia, and Mingrelia, and defeated the armies of the Persians, and the Saracens, En­couraged by these enterprizes, they invaded Thrace; and the emperors Constantine, and Romanus being unable to make head against them, were obliged to bribe them with large quantities of gold, to retire from their dominions: which they did, flushed with conquest, and fixed their residence in the Turquestan. In proportion as these Turks aggrandized themselves, the Saracens degenerated, and were, at length to­tally subdued by the Turks; who took possession of Persia, Babylon, Diarbeck, and Mesopotamia.

In 1096, they became so formidabe, and extended their conquests so far, as to approach the very gates of Constantinople. Such frequent, and powerful, irruptions spread a general terror; and obliged the Greek emperors, and the Christians inhabiting Pales­tine, [Page 162] to apply for succour to the European powers; but more particularly to the Pope, from whose influence, with the Christian princes, they expected to obtain a military force, superior to that of the Turks. This application gave rise to the famous expedition to the holy land, decreed by the coun­cil of Clermont; the consequence of which was, the taking of Jerusalem, by the French, in 1099. Several expeditions, universally known by the name of Crusades, succeeded the first, and lasted near two centuries, till the Christians were totally sub­dued by the Turks.

The Emperors of Constantinople, in those days, were constantly involved in domestic discord. Scarce one of them died peaceably in their beds. A new mo­narch was no sooner seated on the throne, than he made the most strict search for the relations, and friends, of his predecessor; whom he either mas­sacred, or, exercised such cruelties on their persons, as rendered them incapable of all the offices of life; and these tortures, and assassinations, were hardly at an end, before his own turn came, and himself, and his friends, submitted to the same fate from his suc­cessor. An empire, so turbulent, could not fail of being torn to pieces by civil faction, and rendered so weak, as to promise an easy conquest to any hero, [Page 163] in the Turkish dominions, which were now extended to the neighbourhood of Constantinople.

Ottoman was the chief whose genius disposed him to watch every motion of the Greeks; and when their civil discords had produced a state of anarchy, he laid siege to Constantinople, and took it by as­sault. After this revolution, he extended his domi­nions by conquest, and thus became the founder of the Turkish empire; which, at one time, was equally the terror, and admiration, of all Europe; as much as it is now an object of pity and contempt. In the year 1300, he took upon himself the title of Empe­ror of the Othmans, or Ottomans, calling the people after his own name. It is from this prince, that the present Grand Signor deduces his pedigree.

His residence he fixed at Yengescheri; and, ex­clusive of many other towns, in 1326 took Prusa, in Bithynia, now called Brusa, which his son and suc­cessor, Orchan, made the seat of his empire.

Othman was succeeded, by a race of the most war­like princes mentioned in history. About the year 1357 they passed the Hellespont, and took Adria­nople, which Amurath made the feat of his empire. It was this prince who instituted the corps of cavalry called Spahis, and divided among them the territories [Page 164] he had conquered. He was the first mussulman who submitted to the operation of circumcision; which was performed upon him, in public, with great so­lemnity. To this emperor also, the grand visirs are indebted, for the origin of their dignity, and un­limited power. His son, and successor, Bajazet, was very successful, both in Europe and Asia. He was a prince of the boldest, and most sanguinary dispo­sition of his time. To revenge the death of his fa­ther, he marched against the Bulgarians; and, with his own hands, slew Eleazer, their prince, and gave the lands, in Bulgaria, to his cavalry. His conquests were afterwards so rapid, and extensive, that it seemed as if no obstructions could set bounds to them; and historians relate, that such were his own sentiments on that subject. But he was mistaken; for Timur, or Tamerlane, emperor of the Tartars, marched against him, and gave him battle, on the same spot where Pompey had formerly defeated Mithridates. Tamerlane, with an inferior army, totally defeated the Turks; and Bajazet, attempting to save himself by flight, was overtaken by the Tartarian cavalry; who conducted him to the tent of Tamerlane, where his haughty deportment, and insolent language, fixed his future, singular fate. For being asked by his con­queror, how he would have disposed of him, if the fortune of war had reversed their fate; answered, with scorn and bitterness, I would have put you in an


[Page 165] iron cage, and carried you in triumph, to make you the object of public derision. With equal justice then, said his conqueror, may I pass this sentence upon you; and accordingly, this cruel oppressor of nations, was enclosed in an iron cage, and allowed only sufficient food, of the coarsest kind, to keep him alive. Tradition likewise informs us, that Ta­merlane mounted his horse, from the top of his cage, and obliged the wife of Bajazet to wait on him, at table, naked. The wretched captive, despairing at length of all hopes of liberty, in a fit of rage, struck his head with such violence against the bars of his cage, that he put an end to his miserable existence, in 1403.

The successors of Tamerlane, by declaring war one against another, left the Turks more powerful than ever; and though their career was checked, by the valour of the Venetians and Hungarians, they gra­dually reduced the dominion of the Greek empe­rors; and, after a long siege, Mahomet the Second took Constantinople, in the year 1454; the Greeks losing all courage and discipline after the death of Constantine, their emperor, who was slain in the assault. Mahomet then caused the head of the Greek emperor to be cut off, and carried it round the city, stuck upon a spear, to insult the wretched inhabitants. Three days after the city was taken, he made a tri­umphal [Page 166] entry into Constantinople; when he ordered proclamation to be made, that he should in future make it the place of his residence, and the capital of the Turkish Empire. Thus, after an existence of ten centuries, from its first commencement under Constantine the Great, ended the Greek empire, an event which had been long foreseen, and was owing to many causes; the principal one being the total de­generacy of the Greek emperors, their courts, and families; the dislike their subjects had to the popes, and the Western church, one of their patriarchs de­claring publicly to a Romish legate, "that he would rather see a turban, than the pope's tiara, on the great altar of Constantinople." But as the Turks did not exterminate, but only reduced, the nations to subjection; the remains of the ancient Greeks still exist, particularly in Constantinople, and the neigh­bouring islands; where, though under grievous op­pressions, they profess christianity under their own patriarchs.

The Greeks having established a new Imperial throne at Trebizond, the conqueror of Constanti­nople thought his victories incomplete, while any part of the Eastern empire remained in the hands of the Christians; he therefore meditated the conquest of this place, which the dissentions among the European powers enabled him to accomplish. The conquests [Page 167] of this emperor were so very numerous, and exten­sive, that he is reported by historians, to have sub­verted two empires, conquered twelve kingdoms, and taken two hundred cities. Shining accomplish­ments, and detestable crimes, appear to have been blended in his conduct. He had a sovereign con­tempt for all religions, and called the founder of his own, "the chief of a banditti." He, however, cul­tivated learning, and the polite arts; was skilled in many languages, and master of geography and his­tory. He likewise practised drawing and painting, for his amusement; and invited Bellini, the Venetian painter, to his court. In fine, Mahomet might have rivalled the most illustrious heroes of antiquity, if his debaucheries, his licentiousness, and his cruelties, had not tarnished the lustre of his military glory, and fine accomplishments. Some, of the many well attested instances, of his savage barbarity, are denied by Voltaire, and other historians; but independent of his putting to death several captive princes, in violation of treaties of capitulation; his cutting off the whole house of Notaras, because that nobleman refused to give up one of his daughters to his lust, and his ordering seventeen of his pages to be ripped up, to discover which of them had eaten a melon, that had been stolen from him, are sufficient to make his memory detestable.

[Page 168]Such has been the origin and progress of the Turkish empire; which, though it had its commence­ment many centuries back, does not appear to have acquired its present extensive dominion, and seat of empire, till towards the latter end of the fifteenth century.—An empire evidently founded in conquest; and where, though property may perchance be sacred, life seems to have been of little value; as depending solely on the will of the prince and his ministers.

Next to Mahomet the second, Solyman the second, better known in history by the title of Solyman the magnificent, seems to have been the most distinguished of the Ottoman line of Emperors. He ascended the throne in 1520. It was he who took the cele­brated island of Rhodes, which had been in the hands of the knights of St. John, of Jerusalem, upwards of two centuries. His conquests were so consider­able in Asia, Africa and Europe, that his dominions extended from Algiers to the Euphrates, and from the boundaries of the Black Sea, to those of Greece and Epirus.

Historians have discovered a striking resemblance between this prince, and the celebrated Charles V. Both were equally qualified for peace or war; and memorable for the great number of journies, sieges, and battles, in which they were personally engaged. [Page 169] Solyman was undoubtedly the greatest warrior, and Charles the ablest politician. There are likewise some other traits in the two characters totally dissimi­lar. Charles was sincere, true to his engagements, and merciful to his captives, his severity to the pro­testants excepted. Solyman, on the contrary, was capricious, a violator of treaties, and inhumanly cruel. After the victory of Mohatz, when he made all Hungary tributary to the Ottoman empire; fifteen hundred prisoners, chiefly consisting of Hungarian nobility, were placed in a circle, and upon a signal given by the sultan, beheaded, almost at the same in­stant, upon the field of battle. He likewise sacri­ficed Ibraham Bassa, one of his best generals, and an able statesman, to the vengeance of Roxalana, order­ing his throat to be cut in his presence; and his of­ficers were often obliged to undertake impracticable enterprizes, in which they perished miserably, from a dread of being put to an ignominious death, if they disobeyed. One of his generals, to whom he had sent to build a bridge over the Drave, returned him for answer, that it was impossible. The emperor, firm in his resolution, sent him a long linen bandage, with the following words written upon it; "The em­peror Solyman, thy master, dispatches to thee the same courier thou has sent to him; and orders thee to build the bridge over the Drave, without paying any regard to the difficulties that may occur in the execu­tion [Page 170] of it. He gives thee to understand likewise, that if the bridge is not finished on his arrival, he will have thee strangled with the piece of linen, which announces to thee his supreme will.

Solyman was the first Ottoman emperor who made an alliance with the French; and it was the origin of a partiality, for that nation, still subsisting at the Porte.

The beginning of the seventeenth century, presented a compound of ambition, cruelty, and lust, in the person of Amurath the third, who began his reign with a barbarous act of Turkish fratricide, in causing five of his brothers to be put to death in his presence. He took advantage of an insurrection in Persia, to send 100,000 men to conquer that kingdom; and whilst this scene was passing in Persia, he sent another army into Poland, which laid waste great part of that country; burning no less than 500 noblemen's seats, besides several towns and villages. Every expedition, made by this tyrant, was marked with blood; till the very Janissaries, disgusted with his cruelties, set fire to Constantinople, and destroyed above 150,000 houses; and then, assembling in a tumultuous man­ner, before the gates of the seraglio, demanded the head of the high treasurer. The whole city was in the utmost consternation, and impatiently expecting [Page 171] a revolution; when Amurath, who well knew his life and crown depended on his personal courage, burst forth from the palace, sabre in hand; and fell, with incredible fury, on the leaders of the revolt; killing several with his own hand, and so intimidating the rest, that they fled; and, soon afterwards, submitted to a severe reform in their discipline, happy, at any rate, to obtain a pardon. His reliance upon these troops being re-established, he made great prepara­tions for invading Poland and Moldavia; but was di­verted from this design, by the powerful intercession of Queen Elizabeth. The Christians inhabiting Cro­atia were not so fortunate; for Amurath made a dreadful slaughter of these wretched people, to the amount of sixty-five thousand.

Having now traced the origin and progress of this great empire, till it arose to its present grandeur, we shall proceed to give some account of its adminis­tration, and the political maxims, by which it appears to be governed.

In the succession to the Turkish empire, no atten­tion, says Habesci, is paid to age, or birth-right; the Turks thinking it sufficient if, in their elections, they keep to the Ottoman family. Women, however, are entirely excluded from the Ottoman throne. The government is purely monarchical, but if the em­peror [Page 172] indulges not the humours of the mutinous Ja­nissaries, he is not only in danger of being deposed, but of even being put to death.

The first care of an Ottoman prince, when he comes to the throne, says Baron Tott, is to let his beard grow; to which Sultan Mustapha added the dying of it black; in order that it might be more ap­parent on the first day of his appearance, when he was to gird on the sabre; a ceremony by which he takes possession of the throne; and which is equiva­lent to our coronation. The Persian monarch does the same. See the plate, page 87, vol. viii.

It is always performed by the Mufti, at the mosque of Youb; a little village famed for its earthen wares, and its dairies; and situated near the bottom of the harbour, forming a kind of suburb to the city. This ceremony takes place immediately on the sultan's coming to the throne. All the streets, from the se­raglio to Youb, are lined on both sides by Janissaries, in the habits and bonets of ceremony: but without arms, and with their hands crossed before them.

The ministers, great officers, professors of the law, and, in general, all those persons, who by their situation are connected with government, precede the Grand Signor in this procession; which begins, as processions do in other countries, by the person­ages [Page 173] who are of the least consequence; and who file off without order. They are all on horseback, and are each of them encircled by a number of valets on foot, according to the rank and fortune of their masters.

The professors of the law are remarkable by the largeness of their turbans, and the simplicity of their horses trappings; but the Agha of the Janissaries, accompanied by his attendants, makes the most splen­did appearance of any of the great officers. Besides the number of valets, who surround his horse, he is preceded by two rows of Tchorbadgi, or Colonels; who, on the right and left, march on foot before their general. These officers precede him in yel­low boots, each one with a white staff in his hand, and a helmet on his head, embroidered with gold, and ornamented with a grand plume of feathers, after the Roman manner; forming a long lane of such crests, at the bottom of which appears the Janissary Agha, who over-tops all his numerous at­tendants. But an object really curious is, the dress of the Achetchi Bachi, who walks on foot, in the middle of the two rows of colonels, and only some few paces before his general. An enormous Dalma­tic of black leather, loaded with great knobs of silver, covers a kind of waistcoat likewise of leather, and no less strangely ornamented. This latter is fastened [Page 174] on by a large girdle, with great hooks, and a clasp which sustains two enormous knives, the handles of which almost entirely hide his face; while spoons, bowls, and other utensils of silver, hung by chains of the same metal, scarcely leave him the use of his legs. He is indeed so loaded, that on all public occasions, which oblige this officer to wear this extraordinary dress, he is propped up by two Janissaries, who sup­port his ornaments.

The Tchaooche-Bachi, one of the ministers of the Porte, whose office principally relates to civil affairs, is preceded by the bailiffs, of whom he is the chief; each of them bearing an ostrich's feather on the side of his turban. The Bostangi-Bachi is in like manner preceded by two rows of Bostangis, with their staves in their hands; whose red habits, and head-dresses, present to the eye a very agreeable uniformity. These different officers of the empire, as they pass along, salute, on the right and left, the Janissaries drawn up on each side, who return the compliment by bowing; but pay this honour with much more respect to the turbans only of the Grand Signor, which are carried in state before the Sultan. Two of these head-dresses, ornamented with feathers, were intended at first, only for a change, instead of that which the Emperor wears, if he thought proper; but this custom, meant [Page 175] merely for convenience, has at length become a sub­ject of ostentation.

These turbans, placed on a kind of tripods, of a scarlet colour, are carried in the right hand, by two men on horseback, surrounded by a great number of Tchoadars; and these officers are to incline the tur­bans, though but a little, to the right and left; while the Janissaries, by seven or eight at a time, make a profound reverence to salute the Imperial plumes.

In this procession, not less curious to be seen than difficult to be described, the visir and the mufti, both clad in white, the first in sattin, and the second in cloth, walk on the side of each other, surrounded by their attendants, and preceded by led horses, and the Chatirs, or footmen of the Grand Visir. On the side of this minister walk the Alay-Tchaooches, or Law-Serjeants, who keep their silver rods, hung round with little chains, and resembling children's corals, in constant motion, with the noise of which he is at­tended quite into his palace. A covered chariot, rudely made, and ill carved, but richly gift, and containing a little sopha, commonly follows the mufti, to receive him when he is fatigued.

Afterwards come the Captains of the Body-Guards, and the principal and under equeries, who precede [Page 176] the led horses of the Grand Signor. These horses are covered with very rich trappings, which trail on the ground, and leave nothing to be seen but the head of that animal; the front of which is orna­mented by a large plume of heron feathers: they likewise each carry a horse's tail, hung to the throat band of the bridle; and a sabre on the saddle, with a mace passed through the circingle, both covered by a buckler. Each horse is led by two men on foot, who hold a leathern thong, fastened to the head of the animal. Two rows of Assekis, or detachments from the royal gardeners, immediately follow after; and a troop of Zulustchis, or Body-Guards, with scarlet helmets, and lances erect, walk, richly dressed, in two rows, and precede the Peisks. These, clad after the Roman manner, carry the fasces surmounted with a silver hatchet; and march before the Solacks, a body of left-handed men who guard the Sultan's person, and so called from being obliged to draw their arrows with their left hand; these are armed with their bows and arrows, and bear rich helmets, ornamented with plumes of feather shaped like a fan, the extremities of which uniting, form two lines of these crests, between which the Grand Signor pro­ceeds, alone, on horseback. The plumes he bears rise above this suberb group, and his approach in­spires a melancholy silence; the Janissaries bow, pro­foundly, until the line of feathers has entirely hid the [Page 177] Emperor from their sight; while his Highness, on his part, has the goodness to return the salute, by a slight motion of his head, to the right and left.

An infinite number of Tchoadars surround and follow the Grand Signior. They encompass, at the same time, the Seliklar Aga; who carries the Im­perial sabre on his shoulder, and is clad in a habit of cloth of gold; which is the only Turkish dress that fits the shape.

The Kislar Aga next appears, or chief of the eunuchs, followed by Kasnadar Aga, or keeper of the privy-purse, who closes the procession, and dis­tributes money to the people, running after him in crowds. The Capidgilar Kiayassay, or Captain of the Guards, and the Bostangi-Bachi, who precede the Grand Signior whenever he goes in public, are obliged, on his return to the seraglio, to allight at the first court, and go before his Highness. When they approach it, they increase their pace, prostrate themselves at his horses feet, and introduce him into the second court, walking before him to the place where he allights, and is received by the officers of the interior apartment.

Most of the Mahometan doctors, the expounders of the Turkish law, have declared that the sovereign [Page 178] is above the laws, and may revoke his promises, and even his oaths, when he discovers they are prejudicial to his absolute power, and unlimited will. Each monarch, at his coronation, swears he will be the defender of the Mahometan religion, of its rights, customs, and ceremonies; and of all the laws of Ma­homet. There are, however, other doctors of the Mahometan law, who refuse to acknowledge the power of the sovereign to judge, and decide in matters of religion; and they are nearly the same ar­guments, which the Romish theologists urge, against the Imperial and royal authority.

The following anecdote, respecting this subject, merits our attention. In the reign of Sultan Osman, a mufti, in giving judgment upon an affair which be­longed to religion, made use of words similar to those of the pope of Rome, to express his divine authority and infallibility. But when the sentence was pro­nounced to that excellent monarch, he annulled it; "I will not be a schismatic, by acknowledging two popes. I know there is one at Rome, but I will not allow of another at Constantinople."

In the following relation likewise of a fact, from Baron Tott, of but little importance in itself, yet sin­gular, and worthy to be remarked, we shall see Sul­tan Osman, the late sultan, notwithstanding this arbi­trary [Page 179] power assigned to him, by the doctors of the Mahometan law, obliged to employ the authority of an officer, of very inferior rank, with a refractory Janissary, who refused obedience to his orders.

This Janissary being drunk, and pursued by the guard, who, as we before observed, have commonly no other arms but large sticks, availed himself of the superiority which his Yatagan, (a kind of knife very long, and bent, which serves as a sabre gave over them, to defend himself like a lion. He had already driven several of his enemies from the field; and fa­tigued by his exertions, prepared for a new engage­ment, by resting on the steps of a Khan, whilst the guard converted the attack into a blockade. The Grand Signior, who frequently went about the city in disguise, but which conceals him from no one, hap­pening to be on the spot, approached the offender, told him to lay down his weapons, and surrender himself prisoner; but nothing could move our hero, who even dared to look his sovereign carelessly in the face, and threaten the first person who should approach him.

The Sultan then asked him to what Orta he be­longed, and, upon his telling him, sent for his of­ficer, who presently arrived. "Disarm that man," said the Grand Signior, "and conduct him to the castle." The officer directly takes off his girdle. [Page 180] This girdle is of copper, and weighs fifteen pounds; with which the officers may knock down, or kill, any Janissary. The soldiers respect this insignia of rank very much, in those who wear it; for though of an in­ferior order, they have great authority. Advancing therefore, towards the rebel, with it in his right hand, while he held out to him his left, he said, fellow soldier, give me your weapon and follow me; which he imme­diately did, with an air of the most humble submission. So much more influence will prejudice always have, than fear; and more power, than ever despotism.

The same sultan was soon after obliged to pay a tri­bute to popular custom, of which he was himself the victim. The art of the physician had, invain, endea­voured to re-establish the health of that prince; at the same time that the maxims of government concealed his indisposition. At length, his disorder increasing, he was obliged to shut himself up in his palace, and reserve his strength, to appear every Friday at the mosque. This public ceremony, which custom has consecrated, may not be neglected without exciting great disturbances, among the soldiers and the people.

The contradiction which appears, at first view, in a law that requires submission to such a custom, from a person so despotic as the sultan, will vanish, if we consider that it is necessarily dictated, by the des­potism [Page 181] of the multitude; which is the object of per­petual dread to arbitrary power. Secluded from the public eye, in the impenetrable apartments of his se­raglio, the sight of him alone can prove his existence. It will likewise be perceived, that without this pre­caution, a visir, possessed of sufficient art to terrify, or corrupt, two or three persons, after the death of his master, might conceal it long enough, to bring about some revolution in the government.

It was not therefore without exciting some very loud murmurs, that Sultan Osman neglected, one Fri­day, to appear in public at the mosque; and in order to appease the disturbances, that this mission had oc­casioned, he determined to go the Friday following, with the usual ceremonies, to that of Sancta Sophia, which is nearest the seraglio; notwithstanding the ex­treme state of weakness and languor, to which his disorder had reduced him. This prince on his re­turn, scarce able to keep his seat on his horse, though supported by his attendants who surrounded him, fainted away, between the two gates, which divide the courts of the seraglio, and died in a few minutes after he was brought into the palace.

A book of the laws of Mahomet establishes as a maxim of religion, that mussulmen not only may, but ought to, violate, and cancel, any treaties; detri­mental [Page 182] to the interest of the empire, or of their re­religion. It was in virtue of this maxim, that Ma­homet▪ obliged to raise the siege of Mecca, and make peace with its inhabitants, came upon them afterwards by surprize, and took the city in violation of treaty. Being asked by Abubeker, his disciple and general, why he did not keep his word, which he had sworn to, when he signed the treaty of peace; he answered, he had acted in that manner, to teach his successors, by his example, that no treaties were to be kept, when the promulgation of his holy religion, or the exten­sion of the empire, required they should be broke through.

Accordingly the Ottoman history abounds with ex­amples of Turkish perfidy to Christian princes. One only of which we will mention, as related by his­torians; it being more memorable than the rest.

A treaty of peace and friendship, in 1606, was concluded, signed, sealed and published, between Achmet the First, and Rodolphus the Second, Empe­ror of Germany. While the Plenipotentiaries of the Porte, and those of the Emperor, were still at Pest, opposite to Buda, consulting together, in order to put the last hand to some regulations arising out of the treaty; and at the very moment when the Turkish ministers, from the Porte, were giving a public din­ner, [Page 183] to those from the Emperor, the Turkish garri­son in Buda, imagining, that at such a time, they should find the walls of Pest defenceless, sallied out, and attempted to take the town by surprize; the vi­gilance of the German troops, however, whose of­ficers suspected some perfidy on the part of the Turks, prevented their base design from taking effect, and they were repulsed with very considerable loss.

The Grand Signior is successor, both to the Cali­fat, and the chief of the military government. This despotism, says Tott, is founded on the alcoran, and the interpretation of that book is exclusively pos­sessed by the Ulemas. Every thing must submit to the law, and every thing must submit to the sove­reign. These two powers have the same source, and it is easy to perceive the disagreement and conten­tion which must arise, since their right is equal, and their interests different.

In this passage, says Peysonnel, Baron Tott destroys that compleat and dreadful despotism, against which he declaims. As soon as there exists, between the des­pot and the people, an intermediary body whose au­thority is equal, though its interests are different; if this body be the depositary, the interpreter of the law, to which the sovereign is obliged to submit, no less than the meanest of his subjects; and if this [Page 184] body, and the despot, are obliged to fear and respect each other, despotism can no longer exist. And though it be true, as is asserted by the Baron, that the monarch may with a single word, banish, or even put to death, the mufti, and all those of his body who displease him; it is equally true, that the pro­fessors of the law may, in an instant, by seditious dis­course, or offering Yaftas, or papers, as is practised, to the mosques, or in other public places, raise the people, and dethrone, or assassinate the sovereign. Several muftis who have been banished, have been the occasion of greatly alarming the monarch. The famous Mufti Essad Effendi was in banishment, when from his country-house on the Bosphorus, he excited those riots against Sultan Mahmoud, which effected the destruction of the Kisler Aga, Seuleiman Aga, and the Armenian; nor would the emperor himself have escaped, had he not instantly determined to sa­crifice those favourites.

The first person in rank, next to the sultan, is the Grand Visir, or prime minister; his power is un­limited, and his station the highest in the empire. The Turks call him Vizir-Azemt, which signifies chief of the council, or vicar of the empire.

The seal upon which is engraved the name of the great seal, is in his custody; and he always [Page 185] wears it in a little purse, suspended about his neck. In consequence of this trust, he partakes of the so­vereign authority; for, by means of the impression of this seal, all the orders he issues, and which are dependant only on his will and pleasure, are instantly executed.

This office was instituted by Sultan Amurath II. as we have already observed, to reward one of his generals, who had conquered Adrianople. By creating this office, he deputed to him the sovereign authority, as to the executive part of government, and from that time, it has been handed down to our day, with some alterations, which shall be noticed in their proper place.

The Grand Visir's court and his suite are very nu­merous. More than a thousand persons attend him, when he goes to the Divan; he is always a bashaw of three tails. The income he draws from the royal treasury is very moderate, the salary being only 20,000 Turkish piastres; but from other resources he amasses immense riches. Every bashaw, on his first appointment to a government, is obliged to pay a considerable sum to the Grand Visir, and that the government of a rich province, may not be ex­changed for one of less value, the bashaws, likewise, make him annual presents, the Grand Visir having [Page 186] always some political pretext for frequent changes of the governors of provinces. When a bashaw of three tails dies, his effects are transported to the seraglio, and thrown into the private treasury of the Grand Signior, but they pass first through the hands of the Grand Visir, who generally takes care to appro­priate a considerable part to himself. In short, all persons who have any business to transact with the Porte, cannot dispense with the established custom of making some valuable present to this officer.

It is computed, likewise, that there are 12,000 common prostitutes in Constantinople, who pay a gold ducat per week, for liberty to pursue their in­famous commerce; and this tribute is divided be­tween the Grand Visir, the Bostangi Bashaw, and the Agha of the Janissaries. All the public houses of Galata, Pera, and the banks of the canal of the Black Sea, pay almost as much as the common women; and this impost belongs solely to the Visir. Besides these means of adding to his yearly income, he has other methods of extorting money; so that it is impossible to form an exact calculation of his revenues, as they depend so much on the disposition of the person who holds this high office.



[Page 187] Darandali-Haggi Mahmet Bashaw, who was Grand Visir, under the late sultan, only for about a year and an half, amassed, within that time, six millions of Turkish piastres, besides jewels, rich stuffs, and other valuable effects; the consequence of which was, that his immense riches were seized by the sultan, who never suffers his visir to be guilty of great extortions, but that he may confiscate the plunder all at once, under the colour of public jus­tice.

The custom of putting the Turks to death because they were too rich, is now laid aside; so that a Grand Visir who gives up his treasures quietly, is only dis­missed, or, perhaps, banished to some island of the Archipelago.

The authority and powers of the Grand Visir, are not so extensive as in former reigns; the chiefs of the black eunuchs, having gained the ascendant, owing to the frequent access they have to the sultan, who passes much of his time in the harem. He is not permitted, as formerly, to put persons to death, without the sultan's orders. In former reigns, the Grand Visir beheaded the bashaws of provinces, and sometimes even the favourites of their monarchs, without their knowledge. Another loss the Visirs have sustained, is, the privilege of opening all let­ters [Page 188] from the generals of armies, and governors of provinces, and only imparting so much of their con­tents as they thought proper; by which means they had those officers entirely under their direction, but this dangerous custom is now entirely abolished, and the sultan obliges them to send all letters upon public affairs, to the feraglio, where they are examined by the Kisler Agha, and the Grand Visir is as ignorant of their contents, as the sultans were formerly; and only receives implicit orders to answer them, in such and such a manner, without knowing any thing fur­ther.

The Visir still retains the right of appeal from all other tribunals of justice; and for this purpose he comes to the divan twice a week, attended by all his own officers, and by those belonging to the other tribunals; he, likewise, holds a divan, and ad­ministers justice in his own house. In the general divan, where he is present, no magistrate, or judge, is allowed to sit down, except the chief justices of Romelia and Natolia. These two have a power of passing their own sentences, in presence of the visir, but he can, likewise, annul them, as soon as they are passed.

All petitions presented to the Grand Signior, must be given to the visir, but those complaining of his [Page 189] administration are presented to the Sultan, in his way to, or from, the mosque: the method is, says Ha­besci, for the petitioner to place his petition upon his head, and to raise himself, as much as possible, above the croud, so that the monarch may see him, who immediately sends an officer to take the petition, and bring it to him.

The Spahis and Janissaries cannot be punished by the Grand Visir, unless their commanders in chief give their consent: a revolt would be the conse­quence of acting otherwise. The Grand Visir has always a Kiaga, or lieutenant, which is a very im­portant post, and must be filled by a person of great capacity and experience, who is able to give the best advice to his principal.

When the visir gives audience to ambassadors and foreign ministers, he is seated upon a corner of the Imperial sopha, alone; at his right hand, stands the Reis Effendi, or principal secretary of state, and on his left the Kiaga; the foreign minister is seated opposite the visir, upon a stool.

Sometimes the Grand Visir gives audience to the foreign ministers at the arsenal, or at one of the sultan's country palaces, in which cases, neither [Page 190] Kiaga, nor Reis Effendi, are present, and there is less ceremony, but more business transacted.

Being invested almost with sovereign authority, he often heads the army, in room of the Sultan; and is there idolized by the soldiery. Great as this officer may appear in the eyes of his people and exalted as he may be in his own eyes, the grand visir met with a rebuff from Charles XII. of Sweden. This mo­narch having taken part with the Turks, against the Russians, and being defeated by the Czar, at the battle of Pultawa, in 1709, he fled into Turkey; the Turks renewed the war with the Russians and the Poles, and coming into the grand visir's camp at the fields of Pruth; and entering his tent, just at the time the visir had signed the articles of peace, between Russia and Turkey; and seeing that his interests had had been entirely neglected. he reproached the visir in very violent terms, for not having drawn more ad­vantage from the chance of war, and taken the Czar prisoner, when he had him in his power. The visir replied, with an imperious air, that if all the Chris­tian monarchs were to be kept prisoners in Turkey, and thus kept absent from their states, who would there be to govern? Alluding to Stanislaus, King of Poland, then a prisoner in Turkey; and Charles fly­ing to the Turkish camp for protection. The Swedish monarch felt the sting of this remark; and, looking [Page 191] on the visir with indignation, entangled his spurs in the visir's robes, and throwing himself on a sopha, rent them to the bottom.

When the grand visir makes a campaign, all the re­cords of chancery, and the archives dependent upon it, are transported with him, and make part of his baggage; this strange custom is still kept up, notwith­standing the inconvenience they have found from it; by the loss of all their writings, when they were obliged to raise the siege of Vienna, and retreat with the utmost precipitation. During the absence of the grand visir with the army, a substitute is appointed at Constantinople, whose authority however is very in­considerable; for, as the public registers are in the visir's camp, he cannot decide any important cause, without sending to consult him for precedents. This substitute is called the Kaimacan, and his administra­tion is only provisional; for the moment the visir re­turns, it ceases; and the persons holding this office, are strictly forbidden to mention publicly, that they have been Kaimacans; or to speak of the affairs of their administration. If in time of war, whilst the grand visir is at a distance, the Sultan should be in­clined to leave Constantinople, two Kaimacans are ap­pointed; one to attend on his person, and the other to remain in the city: in which case there are likewise two separate administrations. This event happened [Page 192] when Sultan Mahomet IV, fixed his residence at Sa­lonica, during the war of Candia.

There were formerly six visirs, besides the Grand Visir, and they were called Visirs of the bench; they made a part of the cabinet council, and delivered their sentiments freely, without being under any dread or controul of the grand visir. In the reign of Sul­tan Achmet III. his Grand Visir, Ibrahim Bashaw suppressed them, under pretext of economy, but in reality, that he might not be subject to be opposed by them in the council; and the better to silence the pre­tensions of those who were then in possession of those dignities; he gave them lucrative appointments, at a distance from the capital, which indemnified them for their loss of power; but a revival of their office had been frequently in agitation, which induces us to no­tice them.

The Defterdar is the high treasurer of the empire; an office totally distinct from that of treasurer of the seraglio. The Defterdar collects all the revenues of the empire, by his proper officers, of whom he has a numerous train, and is obliged to supply all the demands of the state, as well in time of war as in peace; his utmost attention therefore, is directed to the improvement of the revenues, and the dimi­nution of the expences of the empire. When the [Page 193] high treasurer is a bold enterprizing man, he is ca­pable of doing much mischief throughout the whole empire; and, if he be dishonest, the consequences are severely felt by the people. In the year 1750, a defterdar, who was a native of Georgia, and had risen to that employment from being a slave, fled from Constantinople, attended only by two domestics, and one of his women; the treasures he took with him consisted of 28,000 purses, each purse containing 300 Turkish piastres, and was never heard of more.

The Reis Effendi has a double employment, being both secretary of state, and chancellor of the empire. All the affairs of foreign princes pass through his hands. His employments are the most lucrative of any in the state; except that of the Grand Visir. He issues all diplomas for the investiture of lands, governments, and other public offices throughout the empire. No ship, of any nation, can leave the port of Constantinople, without his permission in writing; which, by the Turkish tariff, costs five piastres. This revenue alone is very considerable, owing to the pro­digious population of the city; and the great trade it carries on with all the nations of Asia, Africa, and Europe. The perquisites of the chancery are like­wise immense, arising from the business he transacts with all the provinces of the empire; so that if the Reis Effendi is a covetous man, he may amass asto­nishing [Page 194] treasures, even with a fair character; but if he be dishonest, he has a thousand ways of adding to his lawful emoluments by extortions. But notwith­standing the great influence, and authority of his em­ployments, they do not entitle him to a place in the divan, nor in the cabinet council; unless the business before them concerns his department.

The Nissangi is commonly understood to be the keeper of the great seal, though in fact it is always in possession of the grand visir; but the Nissangi writes, with his own hand, the cypher containing the name of the reigning monarch; which must be put to every order, or grant, from the Sultan; without which it is null and void. The dispatches and public papers, of such an extensive empire, must be almost numberless, and the Tura, or cypher, is taxed according to the importance of the papers; those of the least conse­quence paying seven piastres. He attends at the royal divan, and his place is on a collateral bench, at the right hand of the grand visir.

The Teskeregi is a kind of vice-chancellor, an of­fice of great importance. He has all the registers of the chancery, and all writings, belonging to that of­fice, in his custody; and it is his duty to see that all firmans, or royal mandates, are well written and ac­cording to rule. He is therefore, responsible to the [Page 195] Reis Effendi for the diligence, fidelity, and dispatch, of his subaltern officers, who are very numerous; and constantly employed in the offices belonging to the chancery. The greatest secrets of state, and the most private conferences, are imparted to him; he is even called upon, occasionally, to give his opinion on very weighty affairs; though he is not obliged to it by his office, and his advice is often followed. He com­monly succeeds the Reis Effendi when a vacancy hap­pens, either by death, or the removal of that officer. His income depends, in a great measure, upon the Reis Effendi; and is, more or less, according to the business transacted in the chancery.

The governors of the provinces are divided into three classes. The Beglier-beys, the Bashaw-beys, and the Sangiacks. Their rank is distinguished by the number of horse's tails that are borne before them, as marks of honour, in the nature of standards, or ensigns.

The Beglier-beys have three; the Bashaw-beys two; and the Sangiacks one. It is a vulgar error to say, Bashaw of three tails; for that dignity belongs only to the Beglier-beys, who are princes over princes; and far superior to bashaws. The horses' tails are as much a mark of honour, as any order, civil or mili­tary, instituted by any of the other European sove­reigns; [Page 196] but the account of its origin being little known, some modern writers have turned it into ri­dicule; while others have written very ignorantly on this subject. I shall therefore first describe the stan­dard, and then give an account of its institution.

It consists of a long substantial pole, on the sum­mit of which is fixed a leaden ball doubly gilt, to which are fastened a number of horses' tails, denoting the rank of the governor; and it is adorned with banners which descend a considerable length from the ball, and float in the air.

It is as ancient as the time of Abubeker, who hav­ing lost a battle in Syria, was abandoned by his troops, who fled on all sides; when one of his offi­cers, whose presence of mind was equal to his valour, hit upon an expedient to rally the dispersed forces. For this purpose he took a long pole, and having no­thing proper to fasten on it, as a signal to be seen at a distance, he cut off his horse's tail, and having fas­tened it on the top of his pole, he kept waving it in the air; at the sight of this signal, which the Maho­metans considered as a token of some favourable turn in their affairs, they made the best of their way to the standard, recovered the shock of their late de­feat, attacked the enemy, with great vigour, and gained a decisive victory: the horse's tail was highly [Page 197] honoured, in consequence of this successful stratagem of war, and from that time was respected, as the most honourable ensign in the Ottoman armies. The Tail was given to every commander, of any consider­able body of troops, and soldiers were usually inlisted under this standard; in process of time, custom con­verted it into a mark of dignity; but in order to dis­tinguish the different ranks of commanders, they varied the number of tails; and this difference at present denotes the rank and authority of the gover­nors of provinces.

There are two kinds of Beglier-Beys. Those of the first order are called Cajel-Beglier-Beys; whose revenues arise from lordships, and from all the lands in general, within the district of their governments. The second are called Saliani-Beglier-Beys; whose salaries are paid from the Sultan's treasury, under the direction of the defterdar, on whom they are greatly dependant.

Next to the grand visir, the Beglier-Beys are the most respected personages in the empire, and have the greatest authority. Their governments are al­ways either kingdoms, or extensive provinces; and they have several Bashaw-Beys, and Sangiacks, be­sides a prodigious number of inferior officers, subject [Page 198] to their will and pleasure. The wealth of the Beglier-beys is immense.

Osman, Beglier-bey of Damascus, not many years deceased, left in his treasury twelve millions of piastres in specie, besides a great quantity of rich jewels; and he likewise died possessed of very valuable landed property; yet Damascus is not reckoned one of the best governments. According to the laws of the em­pire, all his effects should have been confiscated, and transported to the Imperial treasury, but his eldest son, who was Bashaw of Sayda, in Syria, purchased from the Sultan, his father's inheritance, for 10,000 purses, with this express condition, that the Grand Signior should give him a third tail, and appoint him to his father's part of Beglier-bey of Damascus. The contract was ratified, because the monarch knew he could not at that time obtain better terms by compulsion; but after the peace was firmly esta­blished by the Russians, the Porte prosecuted him with such violence, that he was obliged to keep a standing army for his defence; in the end, however, his government was taken from him, and his trea­sures were seized; but out of regard to the memory of his father, who was highly esteemed at Constan­tinople, an inferior government in Mesopotamia was bestowed on him; but this unfortunate man always neglecting to pay the customary tribute to the Grand [Page 199] Signior, and the usual douceurs to the Vizir, he was shut up in the fortress of Siras Sebastus, and his three tails taken from him; after some time he was released, and I saw him, says Habesci, at Aleppo, very poor, and supported by a younger brother, who had been a bashaw, but had abdicated his govern­ment, and lived retired in that city.

Each Beglier-bey, in time of war, is obliged to furnish soldiers for the army, in proportion to the stated revenues of his governments, and the ratio is, one man for every five aspres and an half: he is also obliged to furnish them with subsistence.

In Asia, there are eighteen Beglier-beys, or princes of three tails, whose salaries are, three or four excepted, about a million of aspres a year, ex­clusive of Bassora and Bagdat, which are now united into one government, the salary of which is 18,000 ducats, and for every ducat paid them by the Sultan, they must provide a soldier.

In Europe there are fourteen of these Beglier-beys, their salaries are from five hundred thousand to a million of aspres. Each of these principal govern­ments has its mufti, cadi, reis-effendi, defterdar, agha of the Janissaries, and Spathilar Aghasi. The agha of the Janissaries is commander in chief of [Page 200] that corps, and the Spathilar Aghasi is commander of the provincial troops in each province.

There is also a Beglier-bey for Grand Cairo, who has a salary of six thousand ducats, though Egypt is in fact at present only nominally dependant on the Grand Signior.

When they are in march against the enemy, or going to encamp, the Beglier-beys of Natolia, Bag­dat, Grand Cairo, and Romelia, have the prece­dence of all others, and they give it to each other, according to the antiquity of their respective govern­ments, computing from the time they were con­quered by the Mussulmen.

It would be tedious and useless to enter into the particulars of the inferior governments which depend on the principal ones, and have their mufti, cadi, &c. yet they are all appointed by their governors, and not by the Grand Signior, as in the chief provinces. However, some of these dependant governments have sometimes made their principals, and even the Grand Signior himself tremble by their insurrections, particularly those of Beylan and Pajas, in the vicinity of Alexandretta, and of Cogni, in Natolia.

[Page 201]It has always been difficult to give a just idea of the political system or constitution of monarchial go­vernments, the whole depending commonly upon the caprice of the sovereigns, or the private interests of those who surround him. The history of Turkey abounds with melancholy instances of the most un­just and bloody wars, and of the most astonishing re­volutions in kingdoms, proceeding from the slightest causes. Though property, as we have before ob­served, is highly respected in Turkey, heads, says Habesci, are taken off with as little ceremony as an English gardener would cut off a parcel of cabbages from the stalks, and that without any apparent reason. This seems to have been the mode of conduct in the old French government. No man could have his pro­perty taken from him, but by a regular course of law, as in England, but his person was liable to be im­prisoned in their Bastile, at the pleasure of the mi­nister, though it does not appear that such orders have ever been wantonly exercised for the last hundred years, whatever giddy brained Frenchmen may as­sert to the contrary; and probably in extensive go­vernments, like that of France, it may be for the ge­neral welfare of the community, that such discre­tionary powers should be lodged in the hands of the minister. Property seems equally sacred in Turkey. A late Sultan, says Baron Tott, had determined to build a mosque, its situation was fixed upon, and he [Page 202] seemed likely to meet with no difficulty in making the necessary purchases; when a Jew, who possessed a house of small value in the centre of this piece of ground, refused to part with it at any price. Large offers were made in vain; the Israelite was inflexible, and his avarice gave way to his obstinacy. All the courtiers, accustomed to see every opposition bow before the prince, pleased themselves with the hopes of seeing the Jew's house erased, and himself dragged to punishment. But happy the princes who confound not the sovereign with the man, nor believe it al­lowable to use their authority to gratify their revenge. Such was Sultan Solyman; he descended from the throne to consult the law, and wrote thus to the mufti: A man desires to build a temple to the di­vinity; all the mussulmen, proprietors of the ground on which it is to be erected, are in haste to partici­pate in so good a work: one only, and he a Jew, refuses all offers. What punishment does he deserve? None, replied the mufti. Property is sacred, with­out distinction of individuals; and a temple may not be erected to God, in violation of so holy a law. It is favourable to the desire which the Jew, no doubt, has, to leave to his children a property, the value of which they would, perhaps soon dissipate; but it is the right of the sovereign to insist on hiring any ground for which he has occasion. A contract, therefore, for the hire of the ground must be made [Page 203] out to the Jew and his descendants, and then the house may be pulled down and the mosque built, without fear that the prayers of the mussulmen of­fered up therein should be rejected.

Habesci, himself admits, that revolutions would happen more frequently than even in former pe­riods of the Turkish history, if a summary justice was not sometimes exercised as well within the walls of the feraglio, as in the city of Constantinople, and in the provinces.

With respect to public economy, all the foresight and prudence, that can be wished for in the most civilized countries, is observed in Turkey. A rea­diness to receive, and a great care to guard and pre­serve the public money, is the character of the Turkish ministers of the finances, and they have likewise an adroitness peculiar to them, of imposing taxes that will not give disgust, and an inconceivable alertness in suppressing them the moment any popular discon­tent appears. But to counterbalance this act of pru­dent policy, there is another of cruelty and injustice, not practised in any other nation. The Sultan is uni­versal heir to the effects of his deceased subjects, and unless he thinks proper, will only leave the eldest son sufficient for common subsistence. It is true this common law is not always enforced, but it is never­theless [Page 204] a fundamental right of the sovereigns in Turkey. Though this stretch of despotism has the appearance of public economy, as the value of the effects is paid into the public treasury, yet its prin­cipal object is the support of the arbitrary power of the monarch: for the right is seldom exerted, except the deceased person was very rich, or held a con­siderable office under government. The Ottoman so­vereigns know very well, that great riches enable men to form powerful parties, to make dangerous con­nections, and to attempt revolutions, if they happen to be disaffected. It is for this reason principally, that they seize the effects of rich bashaws after their decease; that their sons may not secure themselves, by means of their numerous adherents in their fathers governments.

There are likewise among the Mahometans, as well as among the Christians, a set of men who fancy themselves born superior to the rest of the human race, by inheriting noble blood; and such men in despotic governments, are greatly to be dreaded.

Another very singular method is taken by the Sultans to reduce the great riches of the bashaws, of whose influence in the empire they are become jea­lous; and that is by marrying them to their own daughters, sisters, or nieces, by compulsion; for they [Page 205] dare not refuse the proposal of being so nearly re­lated to their Sovereign; and they are under the ne­cessity of making very rich presents to the intended bride, and after the marriage must maintain them in a manner suitable to their Imperial rank. This suc­cessful method of draining their purses, likewise gives a different turn to the ambition of their dangerously great men; as instead of being at the head of parties in opposition to the Sultan, they warmly espouse the interest of their august relation, and are the chief spies on the conduct of other bashaws not in the same circumstances. Thus a princess is disposed of with­out expence, and the tranquillity of the state at the same time further secured. As a provision likewise against hereditary successions to nobility, the chil­dren of such marriages are excluded by law from rising to any great office under government.

Many of these princesses have been married to fourteen or fifteen successive bashaws. For as the principal object of the Porte is to destroy that power­ful influence which exorbitant wealth creates, the Sultan obliges a bashaw of seventy or eighty years of age, to marry a princess hardly two months old, the husband, in that case being obliged to be at the ex­pence of her maintenance, and that of her household. He dies perhaps after a few months, and the princess is transferred by marriage to a second bashaw, older [Page 206] and more infirm than the first, and thus she passes from husband to husband; so that in the course of twenty years she may easily have been the widow of a dozen husbands, whom she has never seen; and when she is arrived at an age to be united to a man, then they give her a husband, to whom she is de­livered, and with whom she resides constantly like other wives. These ladies are called Sultanas, and during the premature marriages we have mentioned, a hotel is provided for them, in which they live apart from the Porte, but it must be either in Constan­tinople, or its environs.

Another political maxim of the Turkish govern­ment is the frequent change of the principal officers of state. For upon the appointment of a new officer, or his promotion to a higher post, he is obliged to make very considerable presents to the Sultan, and the short duration of these ministers in their posts, does not permit them to adopt any ideas adverse to that blind obedience and slavery which is the support of despotism. Besides, these ministers to indemnify themselves for the great disbursements they have made in presents, are obliged to oppress and rob the people they govern; and this has an admirable ten­dency to accomplish one principal end in the Turkish system of politics, which is to depress the spirits of the people in the provinces by frequent vexations [Page 207] and extortions, that they may be accustomed to bear the yoke of slavery without murmuring, It is well known, that no bounds can be prescribed to the in­satiable love of riches; if therefore some of the bashaws of provinces and their sangiacks should have gone too great lengths, in order to amass money ra­pidly, under the apprehension of being removed; they are effectually removed, by having their heads taken from their shoulders, and the Sultan thus de­monstrates his love to his subjects, and fills his coffers by the seizure of the immense riches of the criminal.

The second branch of the Ottoman system of po­litics, respects the interests of the state, at home and abroad. No people ever possessed the art of dissi­mulation, or, to speak in the courtly stile of Chester­field, of simulation, in a greater degree than the Turks. They know how to make an opportune sa­crifice, even of their most darling passions, to their political interests. It is an absurd idea, too gene­nerally entertained, that the Turks are choleric and untractable; on the contrary, when it suits their pur­pose, either as a nation or as individuals, no people are more pliant; they will even submit to the grossest in­sults, to gain a favourite point, or an important object.

They have the addroitness on the subject of public affairs, to publish just what they think proper, to [Page 208] amuse the people, and to blend truth with falshood, so artfully, that it is hardly possible to discover the de­ceit; thus deluded, at several periods of the Russian war, the Turks believed they were in the arms of vic­tory, when they were almost surrounded by the enemy, and defeated in every quarter.

The Ottoman cabinet spares neither pains not ex­pence, to acquire an intimate knowledge of the views, and interests of all the other powers of Europe. And having scarce any public ministers, at the different courts, it is remarkable they obtain earlier, and better intelligence, from their secret enemies, than is received, or transmitted home, by the whole corps diplomatique. A memorable proof of this was given at Constantinople, upon the death of the late King of France, Louis XV. The Grand Visir notified this event publicly, five days before the courier from France brought the intelligence to the Marquis de St Priest, the French ambassador, at Constantinople. These emissaries are either Greeks or Jews, and they find the means of conveying intelligence to the Porte, much sooner than any minister. The policy of the Turks in this article, says Habesci, is admirable; for the dignity of the Sultan is never committed by any act of these emissaries; whereas if a declared minister receives an insult, his royal master is obliged to re­sent it; or if he commits any gross error, at the court [Page 209] to which he is sent, his master must be respon­sible. Such emissaries likewise mix freely with the people, and thereby gain information which would never be given to an avowed minister. So well served is the Porte by these agents, that Habesci, who was secretary to a late grand visir, asserts he has seen, upon the visir's table, exact lists of the military forces of the principal powers in Europe; with calculations of the utmost amount of ships, and troops, they could possibly assemble for particular purposes; details of their reciprocal misunderstand­ings; interesting anecdotes of the internal adminis­tration of their respective governments, and de­lineations of the ruling characters of their prime ministers.

What shall we say then of a court so well informed, where the major part are soldiers, and where the want of success in their generals is punished with death; in fine, where measures are so well concerted, before a war is commenced, when we see its empire hasten­ing to dissolution; but that despotism and avarice, on the part of its rulers; and cowardice and indo­lence, on the part of the people, uniting with super­stition and voluptuousness, are undermining its foun­dation? It is possible however, some man of genius may start up, and, availing himself of the docility, and flexibility, of his countrymen, train and lead [Page 210] them on to victory, to conquest, and deliverance from the dreaded yoke of the Russians.

Another article of domestic policy in Turkey is, to secure a constant supply of the necessaries and conveniences of life, on easy terms. The Turkish government merits much praise for its strict attention to the articles of provision; of which there is always very great abundance, at Constantinople; notwith­standing the immense number of its inhabitants, ex­ceeding that of any other capital in Europe. The markets are daily supplied, not only abundantly, but on more moderate terms than in any other city; and the variety is so great, that the most luxurious appe­tite may be easily gratified. For this purpose, the government takes care to keep up a good understand­ing with all those places, from whence provisions, or other conveniences of life, are brought to Constan­tinople; they will suffer indignities, outrages, and even seditions, without resentment, from the Tartars of the Crimea; because they furnish the city with vast quantities of provisions, forage, &c. It is for the same reason the Turks are so careful to preserve to themselves, the navigation of the Black Sea.

CHAP. XVI. Laws and Revenue.

ALL law proceedings, in Turkey, are reduced to the deposition of witnesses; no other proofs are admitted, or required; and witnesses, according to Habesci, are to be purchased at any rate. The judge has it always in his power to declare which are false, and which are true witnesses; this opens the door to private interest; for the best witnesses are ge­nerally those, whose employers can make the richest presents to the judge; and when the partiality and oppression of those judges have stirred up the people, to carry their complaints to the foot of the throne, the Sovereign, the above author adds, most graciously condescends to open the Imperial treasury, to receive the riches they have amassed, as fines for the false judgment they have given, and to appoint new judges, as venal as their predecessors.

Fortunately for the dismissed judges, they belong to a corps dreaded by the sultans, and therefore are [Page 212] permitted to wear their heads in obscurity the re­mainder of their lives.

It is scarce possible to give credit to the severity of the punishments inflicted in Turkey, or the rapidity of executing them. The Turkish government hardly makes any distinction of offences; for it punishes equally with death those violations of the law, how­ever trifling, which happen through negligence or in­attention, as well as the most atrocious crimes. In an empire like the Turkish, this extreme severity is almost essential to its preservation. The frequent changes of the governors of provinces, and other great officers of state, who are generally promoted to answer the particular views of the Sultan, or grand visir, without any regard to abilities or merit, is the fruitful source of many evils, which frequent and sudden executions are supposed in some measure to remedy.

With respect to the military, the same severity being extended to every rank of officers, it is re­markable that instances of cowardice or misconduct in Turkish generals happen very seldom; on the contrary, the dread of punishment has made them perform the most heroic actions. The rigour of the laws, and the certainty of being put to death for violating them, affects all orders of men [Page 213] throughout the empire. It obliges them who hold public offices to be attentive and diligent in the dis­charge of their important duties, and produces in the mass of the people that humility and moderation, which is not to be met with in the common people of any other country.

In fact, it is very astonishing that in so large and populous a city as Constantinople, inhabited by per­sons of different nations and religions, a murder or a robbery is scarce ever committed; it therefore most assuredly owes its public tranquillity and good order to the regulation of its police, which we have already noticed.

The Grand Visir, the Capitan Pacha, the Agha of the Janissaries, and the Bostangi Bashaw, are the only ministers who have the right of inflicting con­dign punishment each in their respective departments. But the grand visir is absolute in this particular, over all manner of persons whatever, including even the other ministers just mentioned; for he is the executor of the supreme will of the Sultan, unless he chooses to draw the hand of justice himself, a circumstance which frequently occurred in the early part of the Ottoman history, but of which there is no instance of late date; the Turkish sovereigns having imitated the examples of Christian powers, by throwing the [Page 214] burthen of every act of cruelty and oppression on the head and shoulders of their ministers or political porters. The inferior officers of justice may inflict pecuniary punishments, imprison and chastise by corporal pains.

The modes of execution in Turkey, not practised in the Christian nations of Europe, are impaling, suf­focations, and strangling; but of late years behead­ing with the scimitar is the most prevailing; and with respect to great men, and upon sudden emer­gencies, after the fatal mandate is issued, it is executed in the most speedy manner possible, the capigi bachi, or the executioner, frequently coming with his attendants upon the person he is ordered to dis­patch, by surprize, in his house, or in his gardens, or on the highway, and according to the situation in which he finds him to be, sometimes laying him across the knees of one, while another strikes off his head at a blow; at other times when sitting upon his sofa, smoaking his pipe, or taking his coffee, off goes the head of the person whom the capigi bachi was orders to put to death, at a moment when such a catastrophe was least expected; the warrant having been shewn to his attendants by the executioners in their way to his apartments, imposes profound silence, and an im­plicit obedience from the dread of their own per­sonal safety being endangered if they make any noise. [Page 215] In cases of resistance, which proceed only from the unforunate victim himself, or perhaps the zeal of some devoted slave, a horrid mangling ensues; the executioner, who has made himself expert in his office, by throwing up apples in the air, and cutting them in half as they descend, aims at the neck as well as he can, but missing his mark, makes dreadful havock in destroying his victim.

These Capigi Bachis, says Baron Tott, are a kind of chamberlains, who introduce all those persons, who have audiences of the Grand Signior, into his presence. They are likewise to execute all the orders of the Sultan, of what nature soever they may be. To collect provisions, levy troops, confirm a pacha in his post, drain him of his wealth, cut off his head, conduct him into exile, or poison him on the road, make a part of the office of Capigi Bachis.

When the Porte wished formerly to dispatch any powerful bashaws, one of these Capigi Bachis were sent to him, who came under the mask of friendship; but their attempts having frequently miscarried, they have been obliged, says the above writer, to adopt the resource of assassinating or poisoning those officers they have resolved to punish. In this case, the per­son employed, disguises himself as well as he can; and furnished with an order which he carefully con­ceals, [Page 216] endeavours to get at the person proscribed, chooses if possible, the opportunity when the divan is sitting, of killing his man, presents his order, and runs no further risk if he has been sufficiently dextrous not to fail in his blow.

To render robbers on the highway punishable, they must be taken in the commission of some daring crime. The legislator of the Arabs, says Tott, thought, no doubt, he owed this complaisance to a nation which lived only by rapine. If any murders are committed in a village, the cadi repairs there and lays a fine on the inhabitants, without troubling himself to take the offenders. On this account the country people are but too apt to conceal the crimes that have been com­mitted from the judge, whose presence is more dan­gerous to them than that of the thieves, who like tradesmen in our cities, not having taken up their freedom, are punished when found at work; but when rich, quit their occupation, recount the feats they have performed, are honoured with respect, and arrive at employments in which they have again opportunity to exercise their abilities.

It is a shocking truth, adds the above author, that murders are suffered to be pardoned in Turkey, at the intercession of the nearest relations of the party murdered. Of this Baron Tott gives a very remark­able [Page 217] instance. A Turk in haste to inherit, had mur­dered his father, and was condemned on the strongest proof to lose his head. One of his friends, the com­panion of his debaucheries, hastened to the judge, with a large sum of money, where he was informed that the sentence had already been pronounced. Not discouraged at this information, he continued to press the Cadi, whom the sight of such a bribe had al­ready won over to his interest. I cannot, said he to his client, acquit your friend without a stronger proof of his innocence than the evidence on which he has been convicted. Be bold enough to declare yourself the murderer of his father, procure two wit­nesses, and I will condemn you to undergo the pu­nishment to which he has been sentenced; he will be immediately re-instated in all his rights, and have the power to grant you a pardon. The undertaking was hazardous, no great confidence could be placed in a parricide, however he consented. The con­victed criminal was accordingly released, pardoned the pretended murderer, and this villainy. conducted in due form of law, says the Baron, was completely successful.

Besides the processes which are caused by judicial informations, verification of title, and appeals to su­perior tribunals, all private quarrels and accusations are, in the first instance, brought before the judge, [Page 218] without the other party daring to refuse his appear­ance, if the dispute has taken place in presence of a number of people.

At the very name of justice, the multitude will al­ways take part against him by whom it has been re­fused: it is sacred among all nations; it is the central point of the human mind; it may be mis­taken, we may endeavour to elude it, or deceive others, but we cannot deceive ourselves.

He who gains the day, always pays the costs; the fear of losing what they have, cannot therefore re­press the desire of defrauding others; and the pu­nishments denounced against false witnesses in Turkey, to be led through the streets on an ass, with the face turned towards the tail, are rarely executed; accord­ing to the above author, the judges to whose interest they contribute, owe them too much respect.

A Turk, adds the Baron, was desirous of dispos­sessing his neighbour of a field, of which he was the legal possessor. He began by procuring a sufficient number of witnesses to depose that the field had been sold him by the proprietor; he afterwards applied to the judge, and remitted him 500 piastres, to engage him to authorise his villainy. This measure sufficiently proved the subtlety and wickedness of his claims, and [Page 219] excited the indignation of the cadi; he dissembled his anger however, and gave a hearing to the parties. The lawful owner of the field dwelt on the insuffi­ciency of the other's title. You have no witnesses then said the judge? No matter, he adds, I have five hundred for you which depose in your favour. He then produced the purse he had received as a bribe, and drove away the false claimant.

This anecdote, says Baron Tott, though it does honour to the integrity of the judge, does none to the law; which is always the same, namely that if one party denies, the other is permitted to prove by witnesses. For instance, says the Baron, if I am sued by a man I have never seen, for a debt I never owed, I shall be obliged to pay him, on the depo­sition of two Turkish witnesses, who shall affirm their knowledge of the debt.

Peysonnel, in this part of his strictures on Baron Tott's memoirs, remarks, that instead of reciting the laws, the Baron only relates how they are abused. Had he taken the trouble to turn over their Mulleka, which is their written order, and contains all the pre­cepts of their religious worship, and the whole of their jurisprudence, both civil and criminal; if he had consulted Durer and Kalebi, its two principal commentaries; if he had examined the collections of [Page 220] the Fetfas, or sentences of the most celebrated muftis; and especially those of Ali Effendi, he would have found a multitude of wise and well digested laws and decisions no less equitable than ingenious. He would have published them, and with reason declaimed and thundered against those unjust judges who had ren­dered them of no effect. Far be it from me, says Peysonnel, to attack, or even support, the integrity of Christian magistrates. But if any one should weigh, in the balance of equity, the inconveniences of the two systems of judicature; if, without speaking of the corruption, favour, cabals, intrigue, solicitations, and influence of men in power, were he only to put into the other scale, in opposition to the defects of Mahometan justice, the ceaseless litigations which in the courts of Europe last from generation to genera­tion; the hydra of forms; the labyrinth of rights, and customs; the privileges of nobles, cities, and cor­porations; and the enormous expences of justice, which have often amounted to ten times the property in dispute; it would be difficult to decide which scale outweighed the other.

Instead of giving an abridgment of the ordinances of Soliman the Great, which extend to every part of the civil, feudal, and military juridiction, as well as to the expenditure of the revenue, and which give a determinate and accurate idea of the extent of the [Page 221] power of the Sultan, of the bounds prescribed him by the laws, and of that portion delegated by him to the Visirs, Agas, and the subaltern officers in the provinces, he has contented himself with asserting, that these visirs and pachas, are so many rascals, who derive from each other the power of oppressing and arbitrarily plundering the people, and that the fruits of these numerous extortions and villainies, all flow into the reservoir of the despot, which swallows up the entire wealth of the subject. He, with other writers, loudly declaims against the proofs by wit­nesses, by which all causes are decided in the Turkish tribunals; he likewise declaims against the number of false witnesses, which are but too easily procured for money, without considering that the testimony of witnesses is the basis of all criminal proceedings in every country, and that false witnesses are unhappily every where but too numerous, while the truth or falsity of their assertions can only be discovered by the sagacity of the judge.

The Baron has certainly cited several instances not very honourable to Ottoman justice. But would it be equitable, in order to give an idea of the justice exercised in the higher courts of France, to cite as examples the proceedings against sorcerers, or the condemnatlon and unjust punishment of Mareschal de Marillac, of Calas, or of many others. Ought not [Page 222] a writer on such subjects to distinguish between the nature of the law and its abuses, which proceed from ignorance, error, prevarication, or tyranny? The Turks have, no doubt, like other nations, their mo­ments of relaxation and insanity, in which the laws lose their force, the people their understanding, and the government its authority; in which there is no counterpoise to the tyranny of the monarch, the avidity of those in office, or the rapacity of subalterns, in which all good institutions are neglected, and every thing is plunged in confusion and anarchy. But would an author be thought to give a just idea of the French monarchy in selecting the reigns of Charles VI, VII, and that of Louis XI, or by describing the massacre of St. Bartholomew, or the commotions of the League, or the Fronde? A nation, which in the last century, carried its victorious arms to the very walls of Vienna; and even in the year 1789, triumphed over the united efforts of the Russians and Germans, and concluded, after a brilliant victory, the glorious peace of Belgrade. How unjust in modern writers to represent such a people as a swarm of law­less barbarians, without order, justice, manners, or character, and ignorant of the first principles of every science. Trials in Turkey, remarks Thevenot, ex­cept in some very intricate cases, seldom last above four or five hours, so that the laws delay cannot be complained of in this country.

[Page 223]To prevent murders and robberies during the night, no person is permitted, says the above author, to walk the streets of Constantinople after it is dark, except in the month of Ramazan. Should the under bashaw, who is captain of the watch, and walks his rounds in the night like our constables, meet with any person transgressing the law, he is carried before the cadi, who examines him; and if he cannot give su­cient reason for being in the streets, after the night has set in, though it should be even moon-light, he is fined and bastinadoed; and though he should be dis­missed without any punishment being inflicted on him, it is considered as a disgrace to have been even taken up and carried before the judge.

Le Brun likewise observes, that if any person is found murdered, and it is not known who committed the murder, the person opposite to whose house the murder was committed, if in the streets, is fined to the amount of three hundred crowns. From this law however, the Franks are exempted. If the mur­derer be taken, and the next of kin are minors, he who committed the murder must remain in prison till they are of age.

It is the office of the Bostangi Bachi, to give the torture to those unfortunate persons, from whom they endeavour by this cruel expedient, to force a con­fession [Page 224] of whatever they may suspect to be concealed. The place in which it is inflicted is called the oven of the Bostangi Bachi, which name is given it from its situation. Immediately on entering the walls of the seraglio, are the barracks of the Bostangis; near which is an oven used by the bakers to bake bread and biscuits for their use. On one side of this oven is the prison, in which those unhappy persons who are to undergo the torture are confined. After the prayer Yatson, which is at two in the morning, when the Bostangis are retired to rest in their barracks, the prisoners are conducted to a place at some distance, to avoid the intercession of the Bostangis, who are sometimes moved with pity at their sufferings, and there the Bostangi Bachi inflicts on these unfortunate wretches several different kinds of torture. When any one therefore is delivered into the hands of this terrible officer, the common people say, he is in the oven of the Bostangi Bachi.

The principal punishments in Turkey, for lesser crimes, are the bastinado, which is a certain number of blows given on the soles of the feet. For this pur­pose there is a kind of engine made of very thick wood, in the middle of which are two holes, about twelve inches apart, into which they put the feet of the person who is to receive this punishment. He is then laid on his back, and his legs are tied to [Page 225] this engine, called by the Turks a Falacca. Two persons, upon this, lift the Falacca so high, that he who is to be punished touches the ground only with his shoulders, which prevents his moving or making any resistance. Two others then come with short sticks, or rather laths, about half an inch in thickness, and give him the number of blows that he is sentenced to receive. This punishment is very severe, and will sometimes prevent a person from having the use of his feet for several weeks or months, if it has been received to the number of three or four hundred blows for any great crime. But five and twenty or thirty strokes, the usual number, are thought nothing of, and will not prevent a person from walking about as before. Some travellers mention their having seen persons receive the bastinado for selling articles of the most trifling value a little short of weight; nay even for endeavouring to impose upon children, though it might be only to the value of a farthing or two; so rigid are the Turks in their adherence to justice.

The bastinado is sometiems inflicted on the breech, but then the drawers are not taken off. In this man­ner likewise the women are punished. This cor­rection is considered even more severe than that in­flicted on the soles of the feet, especially if a great number of strokes are given; as the putrefied and dead flesh is afterwards obliged to be cut off with a [Page 226] razor, to prevent its turning to a mortification, and the persons who have undergone this chastisement, will be sometimes confined perhaps for many months to their bed. The Turks are allowed to inflict the bastinado upon the soles of the feet on their slaves, the dread of which makes them extremely attentive and submissive in their obedience to their masters. Schoolmasters likewise do not whip their scholars as we do in England, but correct them on the soles of their feet.

One apparent good property of the civil law among the Turks, is what we have in part before noticed, which is the right every individual has of pleading in his own cause. But of what advantage, says the Baron, is this privilege in a country where the judg­ment is arbitrary? Hence it arises that the Jews, the Armenians, and the Greeks have invested their chiefs with a kind of civil jurisdiction, to which they some­times submit, to avoid having the property for which they contend devoured by the Cadi, who decides the cause. But except among the Jews, who pay more obedience to the Kakam, than the Christians to their patriarch, it is very common for those adjudged to have been in the wrong, to refer the matter to the Turkish judges. A sufficient proof, we think, that the Turkish courts of law, are neither so arbitrary nor so corrupt as the Baron would wish to insinuate.

[Page 227]The law respecting slaves is another proof of the humanity and wisdom of the Turkish legislature; it not only requires the master to part with his slave, if the slave be dissatisfied with his situation and treat­ment, but it likewise refuses to admit the evidence of a slave either for or against his masters.

The Emperor's council of state is called Galibe Divan, and meets twice a week in the sultan's palace, on Sundays and Thursdays. The Grand visir sits as president, with the two judges of Romelia, and Na­tolia, one at his right, and the other on his left hand. When the Sultan convenes a general council, to which all the grand persons of the empire are sum­moned, such a divan is called Ajak Divani; the whole assembly standing.

The high court of justice is generally held in a large hall of the grand visir's palace, called Divan Chane. The grand visir is obliged, says Busching, to sit four days in this hall, to administer justice to the people; unless, which seldom happens, he should be prevented by affairs of a very important nature. In this case, his place is supplied by the Chiaux Bachi, or the master of requests. The bills or re­presentations of the parties are read, and the assistant judges generally give their opinion of the cases laid before them: if their verdict be agreeable to the [Page 228] grand visir, it is written on the arzuhal, and the grand visir subscribes it; if he disapproves it, he him­self pronounces a decree, and orders a copy of it to be given to the parties. By this means suits are soon brought to an issue in Turkey. The same mode of administering justice holds through all the provinces.

As to the revenues of the Turks, it is very diffi­cult for a stranger, says Habesci, to obtain a just ac­count of them. For this reason, he adds, I have undertaken to satisfy the reader on this head, having myself been employed in those departments.

All the revenues of the Ottoman empire are di­vided into two departments, one in the seraglio, and the other in the city. The principal is called Miri, and the second Kasna. The Miri is the treasury of the empire and the Defterdar directs it, who has under him twelve officers, to which all the revenues of the empire arising from tributes, customs, &c. are re­turnable; and from these the army is paid. The treasurer is allowed the twentieth part of all the money brought into the treasury, which brings him in near fifty thousand pounds sterling a year; one fourth of which he is however obliged to pay to the grand visir's com­missary. The money of the treasury is called Dei­tulmali Muslimin; or, the public money of the mus­sulmen; and it is not to be touched by the Emperor, [Page 229] but in cases of the greatest immergency, much less for private occasions.

The revenues of the empire paid into the Imperial treasury, says Habesci, amount to thirty millions of Turkish piastres, without reckoning the produce of the gold and silver mines. This income of thirty millions is drawn from various resources. In the first place, from the Karag, which is the capitation-tax that the Christians and Jews pay, women excepted; and likewise those who are under the protection of the foreign ambassadors. Every male, at the age of fourteen, must pay this tribute: it is divided into three classes; the highest pays eleven piasters, the middle class half that sum, and the lowest only a fourth part of it. If the state is urgent for supplies, this tax is then doubled. When the tax is only single, it amounts one year with another, to about six mil­lions of piasters. The salt-pits and the fisheries pro­duce about four millions more. The disposal of par­ticular places under government, brings in another three millions. The public funds produce five mil­lions or more, and the customs eight millions; the three principal Custom-houses are those of Constan­tinople, Smyrna, and Salonica; were the duties paid in these three places under the same regulations as the customs in other countries, says Habesci, they would bring in four times as much. The taxes paid [Page 230] on tobacco, coffee, spices, and some other articles, amount to four millions more, which make in all the thirty millions above-mentioned.

The disbursements of the Imperial treasury are for the fleet, the pay of the Janissaries, and other land-forces; the salaries of the officers of state, judges, &c. with other incidental charges, which al­together greatly exceed the revenues. This bank, says Habesci, is at present in a very bad state, besides a debt of sixteen millions, which it owes to the Grand Signior's treasury; it is likewise in arrears to the Ja­nissaries for their pay, and to many of the civil of­ficers for their salaries and pensions.

The revenues of the Kasna, or private treasury of the Grand Signior, are of two kinds. The tributes paid by different nations, which are certain and fixed; and the incidental revenues which are much more considerable. These incidental ones, are derived from the inheritance of the bashaws who die without heirs, from pecuniary punishments, from the tenth of all sorts of acquisition, and from a part of the produce of the mines. The silver ones situated in the neigh­bourhood of Erzerom, which formerly yielded a very great revenue, now bring in little or nothing; be­cause there is no wood in the environs, and the car­riage of it becomes too expensive. Those of Diar­bekir, [Page 231] which were very abundant in the finest gold, do not produce the sixth part of what they brought in formerly; the people who worked them having been driven away by the continual incursion of troops.

Notwithstanding these disadvantages, the Grand Signior's treasury is in a very flourishing state. The plunder of so many rich bashaws has brought in im­mense funds, and the sultans have for many years back reformed their household, and limited their expences: they have also lessened the salaries of their servants, and even the ornaments of their wo­men, on which the sultans of former times bestowed immense sums. As for the personal expences of the Sultan, such as buildings, clothes, and gallantry, they are defrayed, says Habesci, by his ministers.

The Grand Signior is the sole dispenser of this im­mense treasure, and it is with the utmost difficulty he can be induced to lend any sum to the treasury of the state, if its wants are not uncommonly pressing. The ministers also, on their part, avoid as much as pos­sible, having recourse to him, to shun the reproaches of a bad administration, or the mortification of seeing their Sovereign chagrined at such an application.

But when necessity obliges them to apply for re­lief, which has frequently been the case of late years, [Page 232] the Grand Signior, who was of a timid disposition, has instantly complied with their request; but at the same time taken every precaution to be reimbursed as soon as possible, and even with interest. There are also certain political maxims in the seraglio for the management of this treasury, which make the sultans deem it prudent to refuse, as far as it lies in their power, to part with any very considerable sums; well knowing that with money they can at any time appease tumults that may chance to arise, and prevent revolutions.

CHAP. XVII. Of the Crimea.

THE Crim peninsula, Chersonesus Taurica, called in the Turkish maps, says Busching, the Crim island, is of the same figure with the Morea, and by the ancients reckoned to be nearly of the same ex­tent. It is environed by the Black Sea, and the sea of Asoph, except at the very narrow neck of land which joins it to the continent.

In treating of Tartary, we have already said some thing of the Crimea, but it being a province wrested

MAP of the CRIMEA &c From D'Anville.

[Page 233] from the Turks by the Russians, and now in their possession, having rather a better opportunity here of describing it more fully, we shall do it.

The Precopite Tartars, inhabitants of the Cherson­nesus, now called the Crimea, or Little Tartary, between the Wolga and the Tanais, were till lately in alliance with the Ottoman Porte; there existing between them and the Porte a reciprocal convention, that if the male line of the Ottoman emperors should fail, the Khan of Crimea was to succeed to the em­pire of Turkey; and in default of male issue in the Khan, the Ottoman monarch was to inherit the Crimea. This convention was the cause of that union which subsisted so long between them, and for the same reasons the Tartars suffered patiently that their Khans should be elected by the sultan of Turkey, who however could not choose any person that was not of the blood-royal of the Khans. In former times the eldest son of the Khan was required to re­side at Constantinople, as a hostage of the fidelity of the Crimea: but for many years back, this compact was not executed on the part of the Tartars, they conceiving it unjust. The present state of the Crimea however, is very different from what it was only a few years ago; for in the last war between the Otto­mans and the Russians, the latter nearly conquered the whole country. It is true that, at the conclusion of [Page 234] the peace, every thing was restored nearly to its former state; but a short time after, the quarrels of the royal family of the Khans occasioned infractions of the treaty. Upon the death of the reigning Khan, several pretenders laid claims to the vacant throne of the Crimea. A principal article of the peace was, the free and absolute independence of the Crimea, and of the election of their Khans; but of the two chief candidates, one was partially supported by the Porte; of which the Russians complained as an in­fraction of the articles of independence. The memo­rials of the court of Petersburgh were not listened to; upon which the Russians supported vigorously the party of the other competitor, whose name was Sabil Guerai, and immediately sent a body of troops into the country to his assistance. Under this mask, Russia seems to have accomplished the grand project of Peter I.

The enemies of Guerai were overpowered, he was elected Khan, the Mussulmen Tartars were massacred, and Russia actually reigns in the Crimea, in the name of the prince she has protected.

All the fortresses in the Crimea, are in the hands of the Russians, Kaffa not excepted; of which city, by an ancient agreement with the Tartars, the Turks were allowed to keep possession; and all their efforts [Page 235] since, to drive them out of the Crimea, have been in­effectual. This country therefore at present may be said to be neither subject, tributary, allied, or even friendly to the Ottoman Porte. The interest of Russia is so well established in the Crimea, that it is said many Tartars have been baptized by the Russian priests, and one or more of their princes have even received an order of knighthood from the Empress.

Lady Craven, who has given a short, but scientific history of the inhabitants of the Crimea, from the earliest ages, prefaces her intended expedition into that country from Petersburgh, with saying:—I am told, that the air is unwholesome, that the waters are poisonous, and that I shall certainly die, if I go there; but as in the great world, a new acquired country, like a new beauty, meets with detractors, I am not in the least alarmed; for a person, not a Russian, who has been there on speculation, has given me so charming a description of it, that I should not be sorry to purchase a Tartarian estate.

I will now, continued she, endeavour to shew by remote and past ages, that the Taunde must naturally become a treasure to posterity.—Long before Homer, the first inhabitants of it, as far back as can be traced, were the Cimmerians, a numerous and warlike people, descended from the Thracians; during their incursions [Page 236] into Asia Minor, they were robbed of their territo­ries by the Scythians, but preserved the Crimea longer than the rest. The Scythians, however, drove them from the flat country in the sixth century, prior to the birth of our Saviour; but they remained concealed in the mountains, calling themselves Taourians, and from thence the peninsula took the name of Taourica, Taourinia, or Tauris.

About 480 years before the birth of Christ, the people from Mitylene founded a monarchy in the Crimea, which was governed forty-two years after­wards by Spartaeus. This king and his successors, we are told, favoured the Greeks, and in a great measure drove away the Scythians, who were after­wards entirely exterminated by the Samaritans. At this period the Taourians from the mountains mo­lested the new monarchy; till Mithridates, king of Pontus subdued them, and made himself master of the whole peninsula. About the birth of Christ, the Alains made the kings, who were possessors of the Bosphorus, his tributaries, and drove away the Taou­rians. These new masters held their power about a century and a half. In the second century the Goths succeeded them; and it was under their do­minion that Christianity was first introduced into the Crimea. The Goths were afterwards obliged to sub­mit to the Huns, and like all other possessors of the [Page 237] Crimea, when driven from the plains, they in their turn took refuge in the mountains, where they had their own sovereigns, who were Christians. In this manner they remained with separate principalities, till the sixteenth century; being tributary sometimes to one prince, and sometimes to another; when they were finally subdued by the Turks, and garrisons placed in all the principal cities. They likewise drove the Genoese from Kaffa, the principal town in the Crimea, where they had carried on a very ex­tensive commerce for two or three centuries; and forced the Tartars, who had taken possession of the plains, to be for some time tributary to them.

The great market for Circassians, of which we have heard so much, and know so little, says Lady Craven, was at Kaffa; where they came and sold their chil­dren to Greeks, Genoese, Jews, or Armenians, who sold them in their turn at Constantinople; but that was before the Turks had extended their power over the Crimea.

When the sovereignty of the peninsula passed to Mengheli-Gherai, chief of the Tartars, there were but few Tartarian inhabitants; but the wars he was en­gaged in against them, on the borders of the Volga, gave him an opportunity to bring back with him into the Crimea many thousand Noguais, whom he obliged [Page 238] to fix there. He was followed in this method of peopling the country by his successors, who furnished the Kouban, and the country between the Don and the Dneister, with their prisoners.

It was in the thirteenth century, that the inhabi­tants of the plains in the Crimea were subdued by the Mongouls, or Tartars, who were governed in clans by their princes, till Mengheli-Gherai converted the Crimea into a kind of state. The Goths paid a tri­bute to these people, as they had before done to the Polouses, who were settled in the plains, and whom the Tartars had conquered. In the first part of the Tartarian reign, a number of Kafes, or Circassians, established themselves in the Crimea; with whom the Tartars carried on a great trade in the town of Krim, from thence the peninsula took its name, by which only it is known to the Orientals at this hour. While the Latins were masters of Constantinople, they car­ried on a considerable trade there, as did likewise the Venetians. But the Genoese having, by a treaty with one of the Greek emperors named Paleologus, ob­tained an exemption of all duties in the Grecian states, and a free navigation of the Black Sea, they began to monopolize all the trade of the Crimea. Bloody wars ensued, in which they were almost con­stantly victorious; and they rebuilt, with the consent of the Mongoul Khan, the town of Kaffa, made it [Page 239] the chief repository of their commerce, and at last of such consequence that Kaffa for a time was the name by which the peninsula was called. It is true, they paid tribute to the Mongouls, while these preserved their power; but when their own intestine divisions had weakened it, the Genoese shook off their yoke, and the Mongoulian or Tartarian princes were even elected, or deposed, as the Genoese thought fit. At this period, the trade from India to the Crimea was di­vided into two branches by the Amon, the Caspian sea, and Astrachan; one ended at Tana; the other proceeded by Bagdad and Tauris, to Travespond and Savastopolis. Tana belonged to the Genoese and Venetians, under the supremacy of the Mongouls; the Genoese having consuls at these two latter places.

The Crimea was for a long time a formidable power to the Russians and Poles, till these nations became improved in military science. Until the peace of Carlowitz, both these countries were obliged to pay to the Khan▪ to the amount of 100,000 rix-dollars annually, to insure their countries from the incursions of the Tartars. Russia, however, has gained ground by degrees, and by arms and policy master of the peninsula; the last Khan has a pension from the Empress, and is retired to live as a private gentle­man. Long before he resigned his sovereignty; the Turkish cabinet on one side, and the crafty po­licy [Page 240] of the Russians on the other, left him no peace; even some hordes of Tartars insulted his tottering power. At present there are about 30,000 of the Empress's troops in that country, besides about 5,000 Cossacks in her pay; and the Khan's palaces, with some houses of the Tartarian nobles, are fitted up for her reception, in case she should chuse to visit that country.

The meteors, which the heavens here continually present, as well as the whiteness of the Aurora Bo­realis, prove the purity of the atmosphere. We may also attribute, what we may venture to call its ethereal qualities, to the immense dry plains, which extend on the north of this country, and to the neighbourhood of Mount Caucasus; the heights of which attract and absorb all the vapours which rise to the west.

Regular seasons, which gradually succeed each other, contribute with the goodness of the soil, to produce the most abundant vegetation. The same kind of black land, mixed with sand, extends from Leopold, in Red Russia, as far as the Peninsula. The heat of the sun fructifies every kind of grain with very little labour from the husbandman, who does nothing but plow the land he means to sow. Melon-seed, with peas and beans mixed, are scattered by a [Page 241] man who follows the plough. They do not even cover the grain, but depend upon the rain to labour for them; and the soil is abandoned to chance till harvest-time, when they endeavour to clear the crop of the confusion which this mixture of seed renders inevitable.

Among the numerous productions which sponta­neously overspread the face of the Crimea, asparagus, walnuts, and filberts, are distinguished by their size. The abundance of flowers is equally remarkable. Entire fields covered by the small tulip, form, from the variety of their colours, the most agreeable pictures.

The manner in which the vine is cultivated in the Crimea, serves not to meliorate the quality of the grape; and we see with regret, says Baron Tott, that the finest situations in the world cannot deter­mine the inhabitants to prefer them to the vallies. The slips are planted in furrows of eight or ten feet diameter, and four or five feet deep. The superior part of these ditches serves to sustain the branches; which thus supported, cover the whole orifice with foliage, under which hang the grapes, that by this means are hid from the sun; they are likewise abun­dantly fed by an ever humid soil, and moreover are often steeped in the rain-water there collected. They [Page 242] strip off the leaves a month before the vintage, after which they take care to cut the vine near the ground, and the vineyards remain, during winter, under water, owing to the inundation of small rivers.

Peysonnel, in a stricture upon Baron Tott, who complains of the badness of the bread in the Crimea, says, during the four years he resided at Bagtcheserai, one of its principal towns, he eat very good bread, which was all made by a Tartarian baker. This bread was in cakes near an ell long, very thin, very light, and perfectly well tasted. I drank also an excellent white wine, says he, of the growth of the country; great quantities of which are brought every year by the Cossacks of the Ukrain, and the Russians, and may be compared with our vin de Chabli. I also found there in great abundance, and extremely cheap, turkeys, fowls, pullets, geese, and all sorts of poul­try. I cannot conceive, says the above author, what were become of the hares, partridges, wild ducks, bustards, wood-pigeons, plover, lapwings, snipes, quails, and thrushes, with which we were so surfeited, as frequently to prefer butchers meat, and even salt provisions to these dainties; nor where were the fresh cod and oysters, with which Kaffa so frequently and abundantly furnishes the inland towns; the fish of Baliklava, the trout of the river Katchi, and the fine lobsters of the brook Boulganak, the melons and [Page 243] water-melons, finer and better than those of Pro­vence; the excellent and enormous cucumbers, as large as our long gourds, the artichoaks, or the as­paragus, the largest and sweetest in the world. The man who is dissatisfied in the midst of such plenty, ought only to accuse his own abstinence. or want of care. His reproaching the Tartars with not being able to make butter, is the more unjust, because butter is one of the principal articles of their commerce. The Crimea produces, annually, about three or four thousand quintals of this commodity, which are equal to five thousand of our quintals. Nearly as much is made by the Noguais of Djam­boilook, and the same quantity by those of Kouban. The best sort, called the flower of butter, in the Turkish language, is that with which the Grand Sig­nior is supplied; and a man must be no less unfortu­nate to want butter, in the Crimea, than to be un­able to procure wine in Burgundy, or oil in Pro­vence. Lady Craven likewise testifies to the excel­lence of the butter in the Crimea.

Among the various species of those birds, which abound in the Crimea, says Tott, the most remarkable is a kind of wild-goose, with larger legs than ours, and a plumage of a bright brisk colour. The Tartars pretend the flesh of this animal is exceedingly dan­gerous. I tasted it, says the Baron, and only found it good for nothing.

[Page 244]No country, he adds, has more quails than the Crimea, and these birds, dispersed during the fine weather, assemble at the approach of autumn, to cross the Black Sea over to the southern coast, whence they afterwards transport themselves into hotter cli­mates. The order of this emigration is invariable. Towards the end of August, the quails, in a body, chuse one of those serene days when the wind, blow­ing from the north at sun-set, promises them a fine night. They repair to the Strand, take their depar­ture at six or seven in the evening, and finish a journey of fifty leagues by break of day. Nets are spread on the opposite shore, and the sportsmen are in waiting for their arrival to take tythe of the emigrants.

Though the quantity of water is great in the Crimea, it forms no considerable rivers; the proximity of the sea suffers no current to be more than a brook; the strongest heats, never leave the channels dry, and the inhabitants, every where find limpid streams, which meander agreeably through the meadows, and wander among the rocks. The Italian poplar flou­rishes here, and are numerous enough to make us suppose it a native of the Crimea, if the Genoese establishments did not indicate by whom it may have been transplanted.

[Page 245]The first observation of natural curiosity which presents itself in the Crimea, is the uniformity of a bed of rocks, which is found on the tops of all the mountains of the same level. These rocks, which rise more or less to the surface, afford indisputable traces of water, and bear the character of those which are at present exposed to the efforts of the sea. They are likewise apparently interspersed with fossil oysters, but so enveloped as not to be procured but by the aid of the chissel.

Among the fossils, which adhere to these rocks, there is likewise the Echinus marinus, or sea urchin; the living species of which is peculiar to the Red Sea. The vallies of that part of the Crimea contain exten­sive beds of univalve fossils, and almost all of the species called Chinese bonnets. These fossils differ from those found in the Mediterranean, by the su­perior thickness of the shell. So abundant are these shells in some vallies, that they absolutely stifle vege­tation. They are mixed with fragments of soft gravel, infoliated and herberised, the principal bed of which is seen in the bottom of little gutters.

The plains of the Noguais, which extend along the continent of the Crimea, are almost on a level with the sea, whereas the isthmus is from thirty to forty feet more elevated. This superior plain occu­pies [Page 246] the northern half of the peninsula, after which the land, intersected by rocks, and loaded with moun­tains, running from west to east, is overlooked by the Tchadir-Daegue, or the Tent-mountain. This mountain, placed too near the sea, for its base to add much to its elevation, can only be classed in the second order of mountains. But if we cast an eye over the map, we shall perceive in it that chain which connects the Alps with Mount Caucasus. In fact we behold a branch of the Apennines, which traverse Europe from west to east; separate Ger­many from Italy, Poland from Hungary, and Walla­chia from ancient Thrace; and after plunging in the Black Sea, re-appear in the same line, on the southern coast of the Crimea; scarcely leaving a pas­sage for the communication of the sea of Asoph, and the Euxine; then continuing their route to the Cas­pian sea, under the name of Caucasus, take after­wards that of Thibet, and extend themselves to the very eastern borders of Asia.

These researches into pristine geography, while they assert the progress of knowledge, will no doubt cast a new light on an argument which the spirit of system has long since sustained. The learned, who shall be curious to know the first aspect of our globe, will find it by following the same level, the traces of which are every where distinct. The highest moun­tains [Page 247] will afford them those levels which were first abandoned by the waters.

The towns of most note in the Crimea are, Kaffa, Bachtcheseray, the ancient residence of the Khans, and Perekop, or Orcapi, a fortified place on the isthmus, which joins the peninsula with the main land.

It is probable that the town of Kaffa, which is still the centre of commerce in the Crimea, was likewise the place of greatest trade among the Genoese. Yet, considering the port of Baluklava, and sometimes of ancient edifices to be seen there, one is led to sup­pose they did not neglect the advantages it possesses. The inhabitants of Kaffa, consist of Greeks, Turks, and Jews, but the Greeks constitute the majority, and enjoy a perfect freedom of religion, even under the Khans. Here are still several descendants of the old noble families of Genoa. This town is the largest of all the Crimea, and contains between five and six thousand houses. North west of it, are some very high mountains, at the foot of which this town stands in a very delightful situation. It retains a great deal of its ancient beauty, and the walls that were built by the Genoese, are yet remaining, in many parts of which are to be seen their Latin in­scriptions. The finest Christian churches, most of [Page 248] which were built likewise by the Genoese, have been converted into mosques. Their arms still appear upon many of them, as likewise the painted pieces of their saints, but their statues and altars have been destroyed by the Greeks.

Bactcheserai is the residence of the Cham of the Tartars, and though now considered as the capital of the Crimea, was formerly only a country seat, called the palace of the gardens. the sovereigns having fixed their residence in this place, attracted inhabi­tants to it; and the city preserving its name, has usurped precedency over the ancient town, which is now only a poor village, the former importance of which can only be gathered from its tombs.

This town lies on the west side of the peninsula, near the sea, and is situated between two hills, which serve to defend the place instead of walls. This town, says Lady Craven, is situated in so steep a valley, that some of the hanging pieces of rock seem ready to fall and crush the houses.

In my way hither, says she, I dined at the Cossack's chief post, and my entertainment was truly Cossack; a long table for thirty people, at one end a half-grown pig roasted whole; at the other, a half-grown sheep, whole likewise; in the middle of the table, an [Page 249] immense tureen of curdled milk; there were several side-dishes made for me and the Russians, as well as the cook could imagine to our taste.

The old warrior, with whom I dined, would fain have made me taste above thirty sorts of wine, from his country, on the borders of the Don; but I con­tented myself with three or four, all of which were very good. After dinner, from the windows, I saw a fine mock battle between the Cossacks; among which were three Calmucks, the ugliest fiercest looking men imaginable, with their eyes set in their head, in­clining down to their nose; and having uncommonly square jaw-bones. These Calmucks are so dexter­ous with bows and arrows, that one killed a goose at a hundred paces, another broke an egg at fifty. The officers of the Cossacks sung and danced, but their tones were equally insipid, and void of grace and harmony.

When a Cossack is sick, he drinks four milk for a few days; and this is the only remedy they have for a fever.

At night I lodged at a house that had belonged to a noble Tartar, where there is a Russian post, with about twelve hundred of the finest men I ever saw, and uncommonly tall. A Tartarian house has always [Page 250] another building at a little distance from it, for the convenience of travellers or strangers, whom the noble Tartar always treats with the greatest hospi­tality. The palace inhabited by the Khan, built first in the Chinese stile, and afterwards repaired in the Turkish, preserved some of the beauties of its first construction. It stands on the outside of the town, and is surrounded by very high rocks, where water abounds, which is distributed through the Kiosks and the gardens, in a very agreeable manner. This situation has one defect; it presents no other pros­pect than barren rocks, and the Khan is obliged to walk to the neighbouring heights, in order to enjoy a landscape, but the most beauteous and variegated.

The palace is an irregular building; the greatest part of it is one floor, raised upon pillars of wood, painted and gilt in a fanciful and lively manner; the arch, or last door-way, has very fine proportions, and a large inscription in gilt letters as its principal ornament. Court within court, and gardens within gardens, make a variety of apartments through which the Khan used to walk from his own residence to the Harem, which is spacious and higher than the other buildings. What had a very pretty effect was, that several of the square courts under these apart­ments were paved with marble, and have fountains in the center continually playing. The room allotted [Page 251] for my apartment, says her Ladyship, was a square of more than forty feet, having two rows of windows, one above the other, on three of its sides; and it was with difficulty I found a place in it to put up my bed.

This town contains about five thousand inhabi­tants. A great trade is carried on here for blades of swords, hangers, and knives, many of which are so well tempered as not to be distinguished from those of Damascus. Among the other excellent produc­tions of the Crimea, there is in this neighbour­hood a mine of earth, exactly like soap, reckoned very good for the skin, of which the Turkish ladies at Constantinople use a great quantity. The profits of this mine, which are very great, are enjoyed by a Tartar, who is married to the Kaima Khan, or prime minister of the Khan.

With this lady I was invited to dine, whose Ha­rem, with her husband's house, is situated in a very romantic manner, at the foot of some very extraor­dinary rocks, from which many clear springs issue, that supply the houses of this town, and her baths, with perpetual fresh water; on the summit of these rocks there is a very singular appearance, places where im­mense cables have certainly passed and been tied. The Tartarians insist that the sea once lay at the foot [Page 252] of them, and that ships were fastened to them. We dined in the husband's apartment; a very dirty shabby place for so rich a man. Tartarian cookery consists in much grease and honey. After dinner the Kaima Khan walked across a court, and I was desired to follow. I did so, into another court, where four women and some young girls met us, and last of all his sister. Her dress was magnificent, particularly her girdle, in the front of which were two circles like bracelet lockets, and in the centres of them were two fine emeralds. She offered me a large goblet, which held two quarts, of sherbet, a very indifferent kind of lemonade; after that coffee, and last of all sweatmeats. We conversed very well by signs, she appeared neither old nor ugly; but how is it possible to judge of a countenance hid under bad painting, and eye-brows which join into one straight line, drawn across the nose?

I wore a chemise of two rows of very fine lace, at the bosom, that I thought would surprize her; but lace and every magnificence which is not gold, silver, pearls, or diamonds, I am told, passes unnoticed. Linen is not much in use: their shifts, and the shirts of the men, are generally made of very thin silk, or silk mixed with cotton, which is seldom changed; but the very frequent use of baths makes this custom less loathsome than it would otherwise be.

[Page 253]When she had quitted the Harem, her brother staid behind a little, and afterwards came up to me, kissed the bottom of my gown, and presented me a very beautiful handkerchief of his sister's embroi­dery, which I was told I must accept. It was of muslin, the borders embroidered with different co­loured silks and gold, and, what I could not compre­hend, both sides are the same.

Perekop, situated on the isthmus, in the Sclavo­nian language, signifies a cut made through any place, being derived from the ditch, dug here in very re­mote ages, across the neck of land at the entrance of the Crimea, for the security of the peninsula, and which has been from time to time repaired, and of late fortified.

Baron Tott, in his description of this place says, we arrived here in tolerable good time, and passed the moat over a bad wooden bridge that joins the Counterscarp to a vaulted gate at the entrance of the platform, the porter of which every night keeps the peninsula of the Crimea under lock and key. No­thing can have a grander effect than the fortifications of Orcapi, another name given to the entrance of this celebrated peninsula. The works indeed, are some­what of the gigantic, but I know no place where na­ture has been better seconded by art. The solidity [Page 254] of the entrenchments may be warranted, it intersects the isthmus three quarters of a league in extent; two seas serve it for epaulment; it overlooks the plain beneath, about the height of forty feet, and will long resist the utter negligence of ignorance. No marks indicate the time of its construction, but every thing proves it anterior to the Tartars, or at least that they were formerly better instructed than they are at pre­sent. The Russians, in the last war, could only pe­netrate the Crimea, by passing a small marshy arm of the sea, and gaining the point of a very narrow neck of land, which runs parallel to the eastern coast. The same route had been successfully attempted by General Munick, in the campaigns of 1736, and 1737; yet this could not inspire the Tartars, either with the means, or the desire to preserve themselves hereafter from a like misfortune, by defending the extremity of that neck of land, where the least resistance must have stopped the enemy's march.

The salt-pits of this place make part of the sove­reign domains, and are farmed out either to Arme­nians, or Jews; and these two commercial na­tions, always rivalling each other, mutually raise the produce of the tax by this contest. They are equally unskilful in managing their works to the best advantage, and their avarice is always the dupe of their ignorance. They have sheds to receive, dry, [Page 255] and preserve the natural salt, formed in the salt-lakes. Hence the abundance of one year, cannot compensate the deficiences of another, when the rains wash away a produce so rich, and so easy to stow in safety.

We cannot quit the topographical description of the Crimea, without noticing the harbour of Sevasti­copolis; from whence Lady C. took shipping for Constantinople.

The singularity of the coast of the harbour, says Lady C. is unlike any other I ever saw: it is a long creek that is formed by the Black Sea, between two ridges of land so high, that the glory of the Catha­rine, one of the largest ships in the Russian navy, which was at anchor here, could not be seen from the land, on the shore, being above the pendant. The water is so deep, that this ship touched the land. All the fleets in Europe would be safe from storms, or from enemies, in these creeks, or harbours, for there are many of them. At the upper extremity stands Inkerman; which must have formerly been a very considerable town; at present the only remains are rooms hewn out of the rock. Here is a large cha­pel; the pillars, and the altar of which, are ex­tremely curious: the stone is whitish, and not unlike marble. I climbed up a stair-case, continues our au­thor, and crept in and out of very extraordinary [Page 256] spaces, that were large and commodious; I entered at the bottom of these singular habitations, and, like a chimney-sweeper, came out at the top; and though it cost me not a little trouble, in turning and climbing up so high, I had no idea of having mounted so much, till, on looking about me, I turned quite giddy, in seeing the bay of Inkerman, and all the Black Sea, at least two hundred and fifty feet, be­neath the place where I stood.

It is upon this southern part of the peninsula that vines are cultivated, and grow wild in great abund­ance; at present only a few private people have vine­yards. The Empress has indeed a Frenchman here, who seems however to care more about the strength of the wines, being sufficient to make brandy, which he distils in great quantities, than in teaching the cul­ture of the vines to the Russians. The fine turf, the excellent soil, the orchards, the climate, are alone sufficient inducements to make any one partial to this country. One very particular thing I took notice of was, a small pink flower, that spread like net­work over the turf—and asking what it was, found they were peach-trees; which, when very young, being nipped by the sheep, grow into little bushes.

Can any rational being see nature, without the least assistance from art, in all her grace and beauty, [Page 257] stretching out her liberal hands to industry, and not wish to do her justice. Yet I confess, concludes her Ladyship, I wish to see a colony, establishing ma­nufactures such as England produces, and returning the produce of this country to ours—establishing a fair and free trade from hence, and teaching industry and honesty to the insidious, but oppressed Greeks— waking the indolent Turk from his gilded slumbers, and carrying fair liberty, with her swelling sails, as she passes through the Archipelago and Mediterranean, to our dangerous, happily for us, our dangerous coasts.

CHAP. XVIII. Wallachia.

THE ancient Dace, which always had the highest reputation for the courage and valour of its people, consisted of the three provinces of Transyl­vania, Moldavia and Wallachia. All these three provinces were over-run by the Germans, Polonese and Turks; and not being able to hold out against such powerful neighbouring enemies, they were forced to buy the protection of the Ottoman Porte, by means of an annual tribute. Transylvania, from [Page 258] the advantage of its situation, upon the frontiers of the territories of the House of Austria, settled with the Germans, by an an annual tribute of 6,000 gold ducats. At present it is incorporated with the other hereditary domains of the German empire, and the Transylvanians are very happy, in comparison of the inhabitants of Moldavia and Wallachia. The other two provinces remain subject to the Porte, which sends them governors elected by the Grand Signior, from amongst the ancient Greek families, residing at Fanari. To these governors the Porte grants the title of Vayvodes, and of Beys, and the honour of two tails, which are carried before them, when they come out of the divan of the grand visir, after their appointment; and pass through the principal streets, with a numerous and splendid retinue, on their way to the capitals of their respective principalities. Their principal occupation, in their government, is col­lecting the tribute, which is generally paid to the Porte.

Wallachia formerly paid no more than sixty thou­sand piastres a year. But after the rebellion of the inhabitants of this province in 1665, against the Porte, a rebellion which was only suppressed by a bloody victory; the annual tribute was greatly augmented, and now amounts to two hundred and forty thousand piastres, or about fifty thousand pounds sterling.

[Page 259]For this province, says Habesci, it is a very ade­quate sum, and the inhabitants would be happy if they could enjoy tranquility, upon paying even dou­ble, or treble that amount. But the extraordinaries which they oblige them to pay, sabre in hand, are ex­orbitant. The Vayvode always keeps a grand court, and a magnificent retinue. His residence is at Buc­corest; no inconsiderable town, says Lady C. the situation of which is delightful. To obtain the government, he unavoidably contracts great debts, which he must draw from the province; but this is not all: in order to keep himself in place, by favour of his protectors at Constantinople, he must make them annual presents, and he will take care to amass sufficient treasures a-part for himself, against a re­moval from his government, if he is so fortunate to leave it without losing his head. To compass all these ends, the most horrible cruelties, and extortions are constantly practised. The inhabitants are reduced to the utmost misery; and, not being able to live any longer under such a yoke, seek for refuge in some more humane country. This humanity they experi­ence in the territories of the House of Austria.

The former governors of Wallachia could supply all the charges of their election and investiture with less than an hundred purses; in our days they must levy twenty times as much; such is the Ottoman [Page 260] avarice and Greek ambition. If the governors have the good fortune to be dismissed from their employ­ments with their lives, they have always the title of Bey, and their sons the same. There are several of these beys at Constantinople, and the richest of them scarcely better than a poor man; but they possess, in the place of money, a very great share of pride and contempt.

The Wallachians, considered as inhabitants of the country, are descended from the old Roman colony, settled here by the Emperor Trajan. This is evident not only from their language, which is a barbarous Latin, intermixed with several foreign words; but likewise from their customs and their diet; their thick pottages and onions, of which they are very fond; their dress, and attachment to the Italian lan­guage; as also to the Italians themselves, and to whatever comes from their country.

Buccorest, or Bucharest, the usual residence of the Prince, is a large straggling town, of a very pecu­liar form; the outward parts are very mean, consist­ing of houses, the greater part of which are under ground, like our cellars, and covered on top with straw, or bark of trees. The better sort of houses are near the Prince's palace, and covered with handsome wooden tiles, though the walls are built of very sub­stantial [Page 261] stone; having spacious court-yards, and gar­dens to them, enclosed by trunks of oaks, set as near as possible to each other. The streets appear like a continued bridge, being floored from side to side, with massy planks of ten yards long, and as many inches thick; which work, how expensive soever it may seem, is continued through all the buildings of the place, for an extent of some miles. The prospect of the city is pleasing at a distance, on account of the houses of the nobility, the palace of the Prince, and the number of churches and convents. These last are all of one form, regularly built, and rising with cupolas.

About two miles from the town is a convent, called in the Wallachian language, the Catrochan; which is accounted the most beautiful of several in this pro­vince; and therefore a short account of this, may serve as a specimen for the rest.

It is situated on the Dembowctza, which washes it on two sides; while the other two are adorned with a grove of lovely, close and shady oaks. The neigh­bouring pastures afford an entertaining prospect; whereas the parts near the convents, are disposed into regular, well-ordered vineyards and gardens. The fabric itself is an oblong quadrangle, built of regular and massive stone, divided into cells for about forty [Page 262] monks, with lodgings for the abbot, a common re­fectory, kitchen and other public apartments. But in the middle of the area is erected the chapel, of the exact figure of the ancient Greek churches, that is distinguished into the porch, outward chapel, body of the church, chancel, and altar; the several parts being regular and stately, supported with pillars, and covered with cupolas. The ornaments of painting, gilding and embroidery, are excceding rich; and the pictures so numerously disposed, as to possess every part of the church, in the inside, as well as the out­side of the front. Here also are kept the two horses' tails, allowed by the Turks to be carried before this prince; together with the bandier of the province, and another called the paschal colours, in which the Holy Trinity is prophanely represented; and God the Father expressed by the image of a reverend old man, looking over the body of our Saviour, as it hangs upon the cross.

The air of this province is temperate, the soil very fruitful, particularly in grain, with which it is obliged to furnish the market of Constantinople, when there is a scarcity in Egypt. The wines of this province, says Chishull, especially about Tergovist, are exqui­sitely fine. It is likewise in great repute for its most excellent horses. The province is well watered by a considerable number of large and small rivers, which [Page 263] discharge themselves into the Danube, and which makes it so luxuriantly rich, and abounding with woods and pastures, though but thinly inhabited; and that in caves and huts, rather than houses. Its chief income proceeds from wax, honey, hides, horses, salt-mines, and the customs on some places of the Da­nube. By these it is able to maintain its prince and barons splendidly; besides paying a yearly tribute to the Turk, which is settled at three hundred and twenty purses, equal to thirty-two thousand pounds sterling; besides three times that sum, extorted beyond the compact. The lands of the province are entirely in the hands of the prince and barons; the rest, who are peasants, being all either slaves or servants, whose persons or service are at the disposal of the several nobles, on whom they depend.

The prince has all the rights of sovereignty, ex­cept that of declaring war, and coining his own mo­ney. Justice is here performed according to the an­cient laws of the province, which are agreeable to the Roman law. The power and act of pronouncing sentence, is wholly in the breast of the prince; after which, as in Turkey, the execution immediately ensues. For the better adjustment of tribute, and other common duties, the whole province is divided into seventeen counties, of which each is to furnish its respective proportion. In time of war it ordi­narily [Page 264] maintains twenty thousand men, of which about the fourth part continues in pay, in time of peace.

The Wallachians profess the eastern Greek re­ligion, and, as in their writing, they use the same letters with the Russians, so they agree with them in using the same religious ceremonies. The common­ality are most wretchedly ignorant, and even the highest attainments at which the ecclesiastics aim, seldom goes beyond reading and singing well.

The churches of each parish, as well as the chapels of many monasteries, which are seen here, are usually very pleasing to the eye, well built, richly adorned, profusely painted, and for the most part furnished with bells, though in some places may be seen the wooden plank, common to the Greek churches in Turkey, where bells are not permitted. The porch of their churches is generally daubed with supersti­tious representations of the punishments of hell; and oftentimes the inside of these churches is prophaned with some inconsistent corporeal image of the Holy Trinity; a thing permitted here against the professed principles and declarations of the Greek church. The government of them is subject to the patriarchs of Constantinople.

[Page 265]Persons of rank, among the Wallachians, are so fond of the Italian language, that they apply them­selves to it more than to their mother-tongue; and generally send their sons to the university of Padua. Great numbers of the Mahometans live also inter­mixed with the Wallachians.

I visited the press of this place, says Chishull, where I found them printing some pieces of devotion in Arabic, under the care of the patriarch of Antioch, to be by him distributed about his diocese. Besides this, they were undertaking to print a large folio of the famous Maximus Hieromanachus, being the course of the several Sundays throughout the year. On this occasion, I bought several Greek books, lately printed in this province, one of which contained all the liturgies, hymns, rituals, lessons, and other de­votional tracts, used on all occasions in the Greek church, through the course of the whole year.

Such of our fashionable female readers as roam in imagination to foreign courts, may probably not be a little amused and delighted with Lady Craven's mag­nificent reception at the court of the prince of Walla­chia. A coach, says her Ladyship, made, I believe, in the year 1, came to the door, with six brown-bay stone-horses, that seemed to spurn the earth they trod on, and with grooms walking by the side of each [Page 266] of the horses. A kind of chamberlain, with a long flowing robe, embroidered all over with gold, and a white staff in his hand, accompanied by the prince's private secretary, attended to conduct me. The whole town, by this time, was got round the equi-page, and we proceeded very slowly to the first court of the palace, in which I went through a double row of guards, some of them Janissaries, and the others Arnauts and Albanians. In the second court there was another double row of the same guards that ex­tended up a large flight of steps, leading to the au­dience chamber; in the corner of which, a space was divided off with cushions, upon which sat the prince, dressed and attended a la Turque; over his head were ranged the horses' tails, the great helmet and feather, the magnificent sabre, and other arms, with which I had seen him parade the streets of Constan­tinople. Coffee and sweetmeats were served on my entrance; after having partook of which, and re­mained some time in conversation, I rose to take my leave; when one of his chamberlains desired me, in a whisper, to set down again; my ears were then immediately assailed with the most jarring noise I ever heard. Upon which, with a very grave loud voice, the secretary said, "c'est pour vous Madame, c'est la musique du Prince," and the prince desired me to look out into the court. There I saw trumpets of all kinds, brass plates striking together, and drums of [Page 267] all sizes; some of which, not larger than breakfast cups, were ranged on the ground, and the strikers of them squatted on the ground to beat them. Each musician was endeavouring to drown the noise of his neigh­bour, by making a louder, if possible; I do not know that my nerves were ever so tried before. This scene however, did not last long, I was then called to have an audience of the princess. She was sitting a la Turque, with three of her daughters by her, who were about nine, ten, and eleven years old. The princess might be about thirty, she had a very handsome face, something like the Duchess of Gordon, only the fea­tures and countenance of the latter have more soft­ness, and her skin and hair are fairer. Her person was rather fat, and she was above six months ad­vanced in her eighth pregnancy. She took my hand and seated me by her. There were twenty ladies, in the room, one of whom instead of a turban, had a high cap of sable put behind her hair, that was combed up straight over a kind of roll. This head-dress was far from being ugly or unbecoming. The princess told me, it was a lady of Wallachia, and that the cap was the dress of the country. After the princess had asked me all those questions usually put to travellers, I was desired to sup with them, to which I consented, but requested I might return to my lodgings, to write to Constantinople. I scarcely had got home, when two of the prince's people, with the secretary came [Page 268] in, followed by many more of his houshold. The secretary desired me to go and look over a gallery that surrounded the back court of the house; I did so, and saw a beautiful Arabian horse, in the midst of a great mob, with two Turks holding his bridle. The secretary told me the prince hearing I was fond of horses, desired me to accept that, which a bashaw of three-tails had given him, a few days before, and he hoped I should accept it with the regard with which it was presented. I gave him as civil an an­swer as I could imagine, and very handsome presents in money to the grooms, and to the whole set of stable-people.

The supper was served in a more magnificent man­ner than I should have imagined; a table upon legs, and chairs to sit on, were things I did not expect. The prince sat at the end of the table, his wife on one side, and I on the other. Several ladies sat down to supper with us. The princess had nine females be­hind her chair to wait upon her. Several silver things were set upon the table accidently, the produce of England, such as salt-sellers, cruets, &c. &c. but there were four candlesticks that seemed to be made of alabaster, set with flowers composed of small rubies and emeralds, that were very beautiful. Detestable Turkish music was played during the whole supper, but relieved now and then by Bohemians, whose tunes [Page 269] were quite delightful, and might have made the heaviest clod on earth desire to dance. The prince saw the impression this music made upon me, and de­sired they might play oftener than the Turks. It seem, says Lady Craven, these Bohemians are born slaves, the property of the reigning prince of Walla­chia. There are, as he told me, five thousand of them left; formerly there were five and twenty thou­sand. About half past eleven, I rose to take my leave, and received from the princess several very beautiful embroidered handkerchiefs, and was obliged again to excuse myself from staying only a twelve-month with her, which she said would be a great amusement to her, as my presence was full of graces. I retired with all the attendants I had before, only with the addition of, I believe, a hundred flambeaux, and all the Turkish and Bohemian music playing by the side of the large gold coach.

This horrid discord and comical procession got the better of my gravity; and though the secretary was there, I laughed all the way to the Consul's house, where apartments were prepared for me. Mr. V's ideas of good breeding, a gentleman in the carriage with me, were so discomposed by my laughing, that he assured the secretary the perfection of my ear for music was such, that the least discord in it made me laugh; and he repeated this in all the ways he could [Page 270] turn it. I said, Oh! oui, c'est bien vrai; but between while, I said in English, what would you have me do, I feel like punch parading the streets, with all these trumpets and this mob about me.

CHAP. XIX. Bessarabia, Oczakow, Tartary, &c.

THE country comprized under the name of Little Tartary, contains, according to Baron Tott, not only the Crimea, but the Kouban; a part of Circassia, and all the lands which separate the em­pire of Russia from the Black Sea. This circuit con­tinued from Moldavia, almost to Taganrog, is from thirty to forty leagues wide, and nearly two hundred long. From east to west, it includes Yetitchekoolai, Dgamboylook, Yedesan, and Bessarabia. This latter province is inhabited by Tartars; who, as well as those of the Crimea, have fixed habitations in their villages; but the inhabitants of the three other pro­vinces have only felt tents, which they carry where­ever they please.

[Page 271]Those people called Noguais Tartars, are settled in the vallies that traverse their plains from north to south, and their tents, ranged in a single line, form there a kind of villages of thirty and thirty-five leagues in length, which distinguish the different hordes.

It may be presumed that the rustic, frugal life, which these people lead, favours population; as it is observed that the people are less numerous, un­der the roofs of the Crimea, and in the provinces of Bessarabia, than in the tents of the Noguais. The best calculation we can make is, from a view of the military forces which the Cham is able to as­semble. This number, says Baron Tott, during his residence in that country, amounted to 200,000 men; and the Baron adds, that the Cham was able to raise double that number, without prejudice to the neces­sary labours of the state.

The revenues of the Cham, notwithstanding the numerous armies he can bring into the field, scarce amounts to 25,000 pounds sterling, for the main­tenance of his houshold. The raising of forces is no expence to him. All estates are held by military tenure. Neither does the Sovereign support any ex­pence of justice; he decides all disputes, throughout his states gratis; as each jurisdiction does, in its respective districts.

[Page 272]The Cham of the Crimea, though sovereign over these provinces, is only so in the nature of Lord Pa­ramount. These provinces have their nobility, whom the Cham is obliged to convoke, on all extraordinary occasions; the government retaining the old feudal system, established in Europe some centuries back, and to which it is supppsed these Tartars gave rise.

The towns of most note in these provinces are Bender, a Turkish fortification on the Dniester, fa­mous for the retreat of Charles XII. in 1709, after the battle of Pultawa, where he remained four years; and Oczakow, taken from the Turks, in the last war between them and the Russians.

Oczakow is a very strong place, situated at the in­flux of the Dnieper, into the Black Sea. It receives its Turkish name from the Dnieper, by the Turks, called Ozi, and lies on the declivity of a mountain, with a castle above it. When Count Munich sat down before it in the year 1737, its fortifications were in excellent order, and its garrison consisted of a large body of chosen Turkish forces; but the Count, com­pelled by want of fodder for the horses and other cattle, risqued an assault, and carried it the third day after opening the trenches. The Russians held the place till the following year, when they evacuated it, after having demolished the works.

[Page 273]This fortress, says Baron Tott, occupies a small de­clivity, which leads to the river. A fossé, and covered way are the sole works, which defend the place. It has the form of a parallelogram, inclined length-ways; and here may be seen, says the Baron, a numerous artillery, each piece of which, ill-mounted, is en­folded by two enormous gabions, which, serving for merlons, form the embrasures.

The Boristhenes, the ancient name given to the Dnieper, the entrance of which river this citadel is meant to defend, is confined and narrow towards its mouth, by a projection of land on the opposite shore, called Kilboornoo, by and within which, a kind of lake is formed, lengthened towards the north, from whence the river descends. Its width is more than two leagues from Oczakow to the opposite fort, situated on the sandy point, in which direction it is usual to cross the Boristhenes. The vessels used on these occasions, carry sail when the wind is favour­able, and are pushed also with boat-hooks, owing to the shallowness of the water, which is never too deep to make use of them, except for a few fathoms to­wards the middle.

After three hours of this tiresome navigation, says Tott, who crossed this river in his way to the Crimea, we landed at Kilboornoo, opposite the castle. Its [Page 274] artillery, destined to co-operate with that of Oczakow, in defending the river, could not send its fire to a sufficient distance, but must always permit an entrance through the middle. Were batteries situated on Kil­boornoo point, and others on the opposite shore, they would constantly secure the entrance of the river against every kind of vessel.

The country, between the Dniester and the Dnieper, by some called Yedesan, and by others Oczakow Tartary, is inhabited only along these two rivers, and near the sea, the other parts being quite waste, and therefore called Dzike Pole, or the desart plain. It affords, however, good pasture, but has not a single tree upon it. In the year 1709, after the unfortu­nate battle of Pultawa, Charles XII. travelled over it in his road to Turkey, suffering inexpressible hard­ships by the way.

Such is the only information we have been able to collect respecting this fortress, the retention of which Russia thought a sufficient equivalent for the suc­cesses of a glorious war; it was, however, so strongly opposed on the part of the Turks, by the mediatory powers of Prussia and England, before it was con­sented to be yielded up to them, as nearly to have embroiled all Europe in war; and which nothing per­haps prevented, being more strongly contested by the [Page 275] mediating powers, but the unwillingness of the lower class of people in this country, to our being engaged in a war with Russia.

The importance of this fortress to Russia, must be very evident, when it is considered that it commands the entrance of a river, in which are her principal docks for building ships, to navigate the Black Sea; and from whence all her naval stores must descend to furnish the harbours of the Crimea.

Ismahel, says Tott, a town of Bessarabia, on the left of the Danube, near its mouth, serves as a maga­zine for the sending corn down the Danube, and fur­ther adds a species of industry peculiar to itself; which is the manufacturing of shagreen skins, called by us, Turkish shagreen. Here are places round the town set apart for dressing them. At first they are worked like parchment, and are sustained in the air horizontally, by four poles, so disposed that they may receive the impression of a very astringent little grain, with which they are covered; after standing a certain time, they are found perfectly prepared and finished.

Notwithstanding the barren picture which these countries constantly offer, and the facility with which a comparison might be drawn between this soil, and [Page 276] that of Moldavia and Poland, yet such is the force of of habit, that it vanquishes all sensations. The No­guais conceive it impossible to traverse their plains without envying them their possession. You have travelled a great way, said one of the Tartars to Baron Tott, but did you ever see a country like ours?

The plains we crossed, says Baron Tott, in the memoirs of his journey from Moldavia into the Crimea, were so level and open, that no irregularity could be seen, not so much as a tree or a shrub. It was now near sun-set, says the Baron, and I saw nothing before me but a vast melancholy plain, when I suddenly felt my carriage descend, and beheld a file of tents to the right and left, extending further than the eye could see.

These vallies which intersect the plains from north to south, are about eight or ten fathoms deep, and though more than thirty leagues long, are but half a quarter of a league wide. Muddy rivulets run through the middle of them, and terminate towards the south in lakes, which communicate with the Black Sea.

On the borders of these rivulets are the tents of the Noguais, as well as the sheds meant to give shelter, during winter, to the numerous flocks and [Page 277] herds of these pastoral people. Each proprietor has his own mark, which is burnt into the thighs of horses, oxen, and dromedaries, and painted with colours on the wool of sheep. The latter are kept near the owner's habitation, but the other species united into herds, are towards the spring driven to the plains, where they are left at large till the winter, when they seek them out, and drive them to their sheds.

What is most singular, is, that the Tartar em­ployed in this search, has always an extent of plain, which from one valley to another, is ten or twelve leagues wide, and more than thirty long, yet does not know which way to direct his search, nor troubles himself about it. He puts up into a bag six pounds of the flour of roasted millet, which is sufficient to last him thirty days. This provision made, he mounts his horse, stops not till the sun goes down, then clogs the animal, leaves him to graze, sups on his flour, goes to sleep, awakes and continues his route. He neglects not, however, to observe as he rides, the mark of the herd he happens to see. These dis­coveries he communicates to the different Noguais he meets, who have the same pursuits, and in his turn receives such indications as help to put an end to his journey. It is certainly to be feared, says the Baron, that a people so patient, may one day furnish formi­dable armies.

[Page 278]No appearance of culture is to be seen on any route, because the Tartars avoid the cultivation of frequented places. Their harvest, on the side of roads, would serve only as pasture to travellers' horses. But if this precaution preserve them from this kind of depredation, nothing can protect their fields from a much more fatal scourge. Clouds of locusts fre­quently alight on their plains; and, giving the pre­ference to their fields of millet, ravage them in an instant. Their approach darkens the horizon; and so enormous is their multitude, as to hide the light of the sun. When the husbandmen happen to be suffi­ciently numerous, they sometimes divert the storm, by the agitation of their cries; but when these fail, the locusts alight on their fields, and these form a bed of six or seven inches thick. To the noise of their flight, succeeds that of their devouring activity; it resembles the rattling of hail-stones; but its conse­quences are infinitely more destructive. Fire itself eats not so fast; nor is there a vestige of vegetation to be found, when they again take their flight, and go elsewhere to produce fresh disasters.

The shores of the Pontus-Euxenus, towards the Bosphorus of Thrace, are sometimes covered half leg deep, with their dry remains. Curious to know the true cause of their destruction, says Tott, I sought the moment of observation, and was witness of their [Page 279] ruin by a storm, which overtook them so near the shore, that their bodies were cast upon the land, whilst yet entire. This produced an infection so great, that it was several days before they could be approached.

No people, says Baron Tott, are more abstemious; millet and mare's milk are their habitual food; and yet they are exceedingly carniverous. A Noguais might wager, that he would eat a whole sheep, and gain his bet, without danger of indiscretion. But their appetites are restrained by their avarice; which is so great, that they generally debar themselves of every thing they can sell. If any accident should kill one of their cattle, says the Baron, they then only regale upon his flesh; and this not unless they find it time enough to bleed the dead animal. They follow this precept of Mahomet likewise, with respect to beasts that are distempered; carefully observing each stage of the disease, that they may seize the moment when, in their avarice, condemned to lose the value of the beast, their appetite may still afford them some consolation, by killing it an instant before its natural death.

The fairs of Balta, and others established on their frontiers, are the emporium to which they annually bring their immense flocks and herds. The corn they grow, in such abundance, finds a ready vent by [Page 280] the Black Sea, as well as their fleeces. To these ob­jects of commerce, are added some bad hides, and great quantities of hare-skins.

These different articles united, annually produce the Tartars considerable sums, which they only receive in ducats of gold, Dutch or Venetian; but the use they make of these annihilates every idea of wealth. They are continually augmenting, without turning any part of their store into circulation. Avarice seizes and engluts these treasures, while the plains in which they are buried, afford not the least indication or guide, to future research.

Notwithstanding the avarice of the Noguais Tartars, the hospitality of the inhabitants of Bessarabia ap­pears to have been equally in the extreme. We ar­rived, before dark, at a village in Bessarabia, says the above author, at which my conductor intended we should sleep. He stopped in the midst of an open place, surrounded by houses, where I remarked each inhabitant stood at his door, with eyes fixed on us; while the Tchoadar, looking round, examined them, one after another.

Where are we to lodge? said I; I do not see that any one cares. You are mistaken, answered he. Every one is waiting, and wishing for the preference; [Page 281] whosever house you shall wish to fix upon, you will make the master happy.

During this discourse, I observed an old man, standing singly, before his door. His venerable air interested me. The lot fell upon him; and no sooner was the choice made, than all the inhabitants re-en­tered their houses. The ardour of my new host ex­pressed his satisfaction; and, as soon as he had shewn me into a clean lower apartment, he brought his wife and daughter, both with their faces uncovered; the first carrying a bason and a pitcher, and the second a napkin; which she spread over my hands, after I had washed them.

Pre-informed by my conductor, I submitted, with­out difficulty, to what hospitality dictated to these good people. After ordering supper, and leaving the care of preparing it to the women; the old man, who till then had supposed me a Tartarian nobleman, undeceived by the Tchoadar, came immediately, to beg I would excuse the small means he had of re­ceiving me properly. My answer made him easy; and, as I wished to question him on the surround­ing objects, I obliged him to sit down, smoke, and partake of some coffee, which my servant had brought.

[Page 282]This little civility, which a Tartarian nobleman would certainly not have paid my host, confirmed him in his inclination towards me. I then desired him to tell me why, with a view solely of exercising hospitality, they subjected themselves to a custom, the inconvenience of which he at present found; and which might ruin the most wealthy individual; if, by chance, the choice of travellers should frequently light on him only.

Old Man.

I feel, in the preference you have given me, nothing but the pleasure of having obtained it. We consider the exercise of hospitality as a benefit; and should any one constantly enjoy that advantage, he could only make others jealous; but we do not permit the use of any means, which might determine the choice of travellers. Our eagerness to come to our doors, is only to prove that our houses are in­habited; their uniformity preserves an equality, and my good star alone, has procured me the happiness of of having you for my guest.


Pray tell me, would you treat the first comer with the same humanity?

Old Man.

The only distinction we make is, to go and meet the wretched, whom misery always renders [Page 283] timid: in this case, the pleasure of assisting him is the right of the first person who arrives.


The law of Mahomet cannot be fulfilled with greater exactitude; but the Turks observe not the alcoran so faithfully.

Old Man.

Nor do we believe that, in exercising our hospitality, we obey this divine book. We are men before we are Mahometans. Humanity has dictated our customs, and they are more ancient than the laws.

My host, at his departure, shewed himself faithful to his principles; it was impossible to make him re­ceive the present, with which I would gratefully have acknowledged the reception he had given me.

The Baron, who aims to prove that Europe was originally peopled by Tartars, and not by Goths and Vandals, as is generally supposed, notices the furni­ture under this hospitable roof; which was a four-post bedstead, with a tester, bed, chairs and tables; and enquired if these were Tartar-furniture.

Old Man.

We know of no other.


I am the more astonished at that, since the Moldavians and Turks have not such furniture; and [Page 284] I scarce can conceive by what route these European customs have arrived here. Why have you not adopted, as well as your brethren of the Crimea, the furniture of the Turks?

Old Man.

You may see some customs here, un­known to our ancestors; but depravity cannot make the same progress in these parts, as in the Crimea; where our sultans set the example of Turkish effe­minancy, to which they have been accustomed in the capital of the empire.


I perfectly feel this distinction; but it throws no light on the origin of the European furni­ture I see here.

Old Man.

Yet nothing can better mark that origin. This family-furniture cannot be European; we are the root of the tree; it is your furniture which is Tartarian.

This answer served but to excite my curiosity, and multiply my questions; and I had the pleasure to hear my host repeat, all I had myself conjectured on this subject. He informed me also, that the Tartars near the Caspian Sea, and those beyond it, preserve the same customs.

[Page 285]The form of the Tartar-beds above cited, as well as the throne of the Grand Signior, which always represents a four-post bedstead, have a similarity, which may appear interesting. If we consider that the first governments were necessarily paternal; and that the Tartars afford, in this, as well as in many other mat­ters, the most ancient annals, we shall not be asto­nished that the form of the bed, on which their elders ought naturally to give judgment, has been adopted as a model for the throne of the east. If we add to this remark, the invasion of all Europe, by people originally Tartars, we shall find an explanation of the term, Bed of Justice; always employed in France, when the power of sovereign majesty is fully exerted.

Peysonnel, in reply to these conjectures, says, that the Goths, whose emigrants followed those of the Vandals, were like these latter, Celtic and Teutonic nations, and had neither the same origin, nor came from the same countries as the Tartars; and yet the Tartars, known by the name of Huns, did not over-run the western part of the continent, till long after the Goths, and even the Sclavi. The language of the Vandals and Goths, was the Celtic or Teutonic, the mother of the German; that of the Sclavi, whom we must not confound with the Vandals, is the mother of the Sclavonian, Russian, and Polish; and and the Tartar language, from which the Turkish is [Page 286] derived, has not the least similitude, or analogy, with the two others. The Goths came from the North, and originally inhabited those countries, which lie between the Northern Ocean, and the Baltic Sea. The Huns, under which general name are comprized all the Tartar tribes, who have extended themselves towards the West, came from the East; and from that flat high land, which extends to the North; and the chain of the mountains Caucasus and Tibet, continued almost as far as the peninsula of Corea.

The following particulars relative to their archi­tecture, may, says Tott, be of some utility to those who are interested in rural economy, though not to the disciples of Vitruvius; we beg leave to add, if sufficiently intelligible.

Pillars placed on the points which determine the angles and openings, kept in a perpendicular position by a beam, on which uprights are fixed, form the first plan, and are disposed so as to receive and sup­port the roof. This accomplished, other perpendicular pillars, but smaller, at twelve-inch intervals, are erected, round which hazel twigs are twisted in the manner of basket-work. This kind of wicker-work they fill with mud, mixed with cut straw, which they plaister with hair-mortar, within and without, and the whole white-washed and painted on the pillars, bases, [Page 287] doors and windows, gives the building an agreeable aspect.

This manner of erecting is infinitely more solid than it appears to be in description; and is certainly more healthy, than the mode of building among our peasants, in the remote parts of the country. I am likewise convinced that landholders who wish, either from interest, or motives of benevolence, to build cottages, in hopes of favouring population, would be every way gainers, by adopting this new method of construction. The expence is small, and they would thus give each cottager, the means of easily repair­ing his own habitation.

The simple and easy mechanism of their tents like­wise deserves to be described. The Tartars habitually encamped, ought consequently to have brought the art of making them to perfection. The whole force of their faculties is employed on this the first of ne­cessities, to a nation which has never known the luxu­ries of indolence, and which has therefore bent all its powers towards those things, in which the exercise of the body, the chace, and the implements of war are concerned.

A light paling, which can easily be packed and un­packed, forms a little circular wall of four feet and an [Page 288] half high. Its two extremities, kept near three quar­ters of a yard distant, make the entrance into the tent. A score of small rods, which join at the upper ends, and, at the lower, have a leathern ring, by which they hook to the paling, form the dome, and support the roof; which consists of a cowl, or co­vering of felt, that descends, and spreads over the walls, which are lined also with the same stuff. A girdle includes the whole, and some earth, or snow, thrown up round the bottom of the tent▪ prevents the air from penetrating, and makes it perfectly solid, without post or cordage. Others of a nicer con­struction, have the cones circularly open at top, which apertures give passage to the smoke, permit fires to be lighted in the tents, and render them in­accessible to the intemperance of the most rigorous climates.

The tent of the Cham was of this kind, but so large that more than sixty people might commodi­ously sit round a wood fire. It was lined with crim­son stuff, furnished with some cushions, and had a circular carpet.

The best education of the Tartars goes not beyond reading and writing, but though the education of the Mirzas, or Tartarian nobility, is neglected, they are eminent for their easy politeness. This is the effect [Page 289] of their familiar habits of living with their princes, without ever failing to pay them a proper respect.

There is no country where crimes are less com­mon than in Tartary; their plains, where malefactors might easily escape, yield but few temptations; and the peninsula of the Crimea, which affords more ob­jects to rapidity, is daily shut up, and leaves not the culprit the smallest hope to escape punishment.

Having already said a great deal of the different tribes of Tartars, when speaking of Siberia, &c. we will pass on to other matters.

CHAP. XX. Moldavia.

IT has been already observed, that Moldavia is sometimes comprehended under the name of Wal­lachia, considered in which light, that part of it lying on this side the mountain, is called Wallachia. This country takes the name of Moldavia from the rivulet [Page 290] Moldau, which runs from the upper parts into the country, mingling itself with the river Sereth. Its length extends from west to east; that is, from the river Sereth, to the Dneister, between thirty and forty Hungarian miles; and the breadth is about seventy.

Its principal rivers are the Sereth, the Pruth, and the Dneister, which form the boundary towards the east and north. All these three rivers receive se­veral smaller streams in their course, and the first two fall into the Danube, which is the boundary to the south; but the latter discharges itself into the Black Sea.

The soil we traversed, says Baron Tott, in his de­scription of this province, drew all my attention; new landscapes, equally interesting by a rich cultiva­tion, and a vast variety of objects, presented them­selves at every step, and I should have compared Moldavia to the province of Burgundy, if this Gre­cian principality had possessed the advantages which result from a moderate government.

But, alas! the condition of Moldavia is not better than that of Wallachia. It is governed by a Greek, who procures the appointment by the same means; and having the same interested views, the consequence [Page 291] is clear, that he must make the subject suffer equal oppressions.

The sums paid to obtain the government, and for the investiture, cannot be ascertained; it depends more or less on the number and character of the can­didates, and upon the honesty of the members of the divan. If these two provinces were governed as they should be, they would be well peopled, and very rich, no soil being more fertile; for, at present, though the ground is almost uncultivated, yet it yields even in those years not the most plentiful, an hundred for one in wheat, and all other sorts of grain. There are very commodious rivers for ren­dering commerce easy; their lands produce various articles to carry it on to advantage; such as wine, wool, leather, honey, wax, and large and small cattle. But the rivers are no longer navigated; the country wants inhabitants, those in easy circum­stances have not courage to cultivate the earth, be­cause they would only labour for others. We see tracts of land, the best and most fertile perhaps in Europe, of ten leagues in extent, entirely uncul­tivated.

Long ruled by their princes, according to the faith of treaties, these people ought still to have been free from the effects of despotism; and so they might, [Page 292] had not their princes been removable at the pleasure of the Ottoman Porte. Liable at first only to a very small tribute, Moldavia, as well as Wallachia, at that time, enjoyed a share of liberty. In the persons of their princes, they beheld, if not men of merit, at least men of illustrious families, whom the conqueror respected. But all was presently confounded; the subjected Greeks beheld themselves slaves, and emu­lation and distinction were lost among them. The trader was elevated to a principality; every factious pretender put in his claim; and these unhappy pro­vinces, frequently set up to sale, presently groaned beneath the most cruel vexations.

The town of Yassi, the capital of this province, situated in a boggy soil, is surrounded by hills, which every where present rural prospects, and on which might be built the most agreeable country houses; instead of which, a few cattle are scattered over them; and, if we except the houses of the Boyards, or great landholders, and those of the Greeks, who come from Constantinople, in the suite of the prince, all the other habitations of the capital bespeak the utmost misery.

The Boyards represent, with great arrogance, the grandees of the country, though in reality they are only rich proprietors of lands, and cruel tax-gatherers. [Page 293] Seldom do they live in amity with their prince, but generally are intriguing against him, and Constan­tinople is the centre of their factions. Hither doth each party carry his complaints and his money, and the Sultan Seraskier, of Bessarabia, affords a ready refuge to those Boyards, whom the Porte thinks proper to sacrifice to its tranquillity. The Tartar prince gives safety to the Boyard, and under his pro­tection he is often re-established; but for this pro­tection he must pay.

These various expences which the Boyards reim­burse themselves by oppressing individuals, added to the taxes which the prince imposes to pay his annual tribute, over-burden Moldavia so much, that rich as is its soil, it is scarcely sufficient. This province, as well as Wallachia, when they submitted to Ma­homet II. on condition of both being governed by Grecian princes, and only subjected to a moderate taxation, did not make so good a bargain as the au­thors of the treaty imagined. It was not foreseen, that the vanity of the Greeks would put the govern­ment up to auction; they were equally blind to the fatal consequences of that clause, by which the Grand Signior reserved the right of removing them at plea­sure. It is evident, this power of removal cannot fail of carrying taxation to the most grievous excess; and that universal depredation must be the necessary [Page 294] consequence; and thus we find that the whole art of these subaltern governments consists in seizing, and employing every means which can accelerate this devouring rapacity.

Nothing can display the oppressed state of the in­habitants of this province more than the violence ex­ercised towards them, in order to procure provisions by the milkmanders, or conductors, whose office it is to precede and prepare the way for ambassadors and others who travel at the expence of the Porte.

A family instantly dislodged to make room for us, (says Baron Tott, who had one of these conductors appointed to attend him through Moldavia,) two sheep killed, roasted, eaten, and not paid for, and blows unnecessarily distributed, put me out of hu­mour with my conductor, who set off the same even­ing to prepare the means of transporting my carriage across the Pruth. This stream separates the Pacha­lick of Kotchim from Moldavia. Ali Aga, the name of the milkmander, had on the evening before swam to the opposite shore; where, with the assistance of his whip, he had assembled three hundred of the Mol­davians, employed them the whole night in forming trunks of trees into a crazy raft, and had repassed upon it to our side. My conductor, proud of having constructed so great a work, invited me to re-mount [Page 295] my carriage. And how, said I, will you get it safely down to the edge of the river? Or how will you af­terwards keep it on your rickety raft, scarcely big enough to contain it, and which must sink under its weight.—How? By the help of this, said he, shew­ing me his whip, and above a hundred bony peasants, whom he had brought from the other shore. Be under no apprehensions, I would make them carry the uni­verse on their shoulders; if the raft sinks, these merry fellows can swim, and I will sustain it; should you lose so much as a pin, I would hang them every one.

The name of God, first pronounced, followed with a plenitude of lashes, were the signals to begin. They unharnessed, and brought the carriage in their arms to the edge of the precipice. There I beheld them, not without shuddering, ready to be crushed beneath the weight of my Berlin. Arrived at the water's edge, the next thing necessary was to set the raft a-float, which the hundred Moldavians at length accomplished, guiding it, (some wading, some swimming) with long poles to the other side, where buffaloes, ready prepared, were harnessed to the carriage; and in a twinkling, I saw it on the summit of the opposite cliff.

It may easily be imagined, that Ali Aga was tri­umphant, and that having been transported with my [Page 296] suite on the other side, by a second return of the raft, I did not depart without giving some five or six guineas to the workmen; but what may not be readily supposed, and what I had not foreseen myself, was, that my conductor, ever attentive to all my actions, and my most trifling gestures, stayed some time be­hind to reckon with these unfortunate labourers, for the small salary they had received.

He came up to us in about an hour, and posted on to prepare our breakfast, about three leagues fur­ther, where we joined him, while he was providing food for us, by means of the same tool, with which he constructed our raft. Had he not made a too fre­quent use of this weapon, I should have liked him very much, says the Baron, I therefore undertook to correct this battering propensity.


Your dexterity, and the good cheer you procure us, would leave me nothing to wish for, my dear Ali, were you not to beat these miserable Mol­davians so often, or were you to beat them only when they were disobedient.

Ali Aga.

What matters it to them, since I must beat them, whether it be before or after? And is it not better to proceed to business at once, than after loss of time?


Loss of time! And is your time then well employed in beating wretches who have not offended [Page 297] you; and who, with the utmost submission, alacrity, and good-will, execute things almost impossible?

Ali Aga.

What, Sir! have you lived at Con­stantinople, do you speak our language, and know the Greeks, and yet are ignorant that the Molda­vians will do nothing unless you first give them a good threshing? Do you suppose your carriage would have passed the Pruth without the exercise I give them all night, and till you arrived at the side of the river.


Yes; I believe that without being beaten, they would have done every thing you ordered them, through the fear of it. But be that as it may, we have no more rivers to cross, the post-houses must furnish our horses, and we shall only want provi­sions, which articles I am most interested in; and let me be frank with you, my dear Ali; the morsels you cut for me, with the lashes of your whip, stick in my throat. Leave me to pay for what I have; that is all I desire.


You would certainly take a good method to avoid indigestion; for your money would not even procure you bread.


Be that my concern; I will pay so libe­rally, that I will have every thing of the best kind, and with greater speed than you can procure it.


I can assure you, that you will not get so much as bread. I know the Moldavians; they in­sist [Page 298] upon being beaten: besides I am ordered to de­fray your expences every where; and these infidel-rascals are rich enough to support the heaviest im­posts. This they will think a light one, and will be satisfied, provided they be well beaten.


I beg, my dear Ali, you will grant my request; I am willing to pay for every thing; and I will engage that they will be willing to be paid, as well as to be kindly treated; only suffer me to ma­nage this matter.


But we shall be famished.


No, no; I have taken it into my head, and must make the experiment.


Well, you are positive, and so be it; but, remember it is not just that I should go without my supper; and when your oratory and money have failed, you will no doubt let me take my own method.


Certainly; and these stipulations being agreed to, I must beg that when we approach the vil­lage, where we are to sleep, the mayor may be sent to me, that I may treat with him amicably for pro­visions, &c.

In that case, said Ali, there is no occasion for my going before. He then ordered one of his people to ride on, and do what I had desired; and again re­peated, smiling, that he would not go without his supper.

[Page 299]Faithful to his engagement, my conductor, when we alighted, went towards the fire, sat himself down, silently enjoying my approaching disappointment. I, on my part, was not less eager in my hopes of pro­curing nourishment. I asked for the Mayor, they pointed him out; I approached, laid down ten crowns upon the ground, and spoke to him, in Turkish and in Greek, in the following Terms.


Here my friend, here is money to buy the provisions we want; I have always loved the Moldavians, and cannot bear to see them ill-treated; I beg you will immediately procure me a sheep and some bread. Keep the remainder of the money to drink my health.

N. B. A good live sheep is worth half-a-crown.

He not know understand.


How! Not understand! Don't you un­derstand Turkish?


No Turkish; he not know understand.


Well, let us talk Greek then. Bring me a sheep and some bread, that is all I ask.


No bread—Poor—He not know un­derstand.


What! have you no bread?


No Bread—No.


Unhappy people, I am sorry for you; but you will escape beating at least, and that is something. It is disagreeable, no doubt, to lie down supperless; [Page 300] you, however, are a proof that this misfortune happens to many honest people.—You hear, my dear Ali, and must own, if money can have no influence, neither could your stripes. These poor creatures have no food; for which I am more sorry, than for my own momentary necessities. We shall have the better ap­petite to-morrow.


Oh no; for my part, I assure you it will not be better to morrow, than it is to-night.


It is your own fault. Why did you let us stop at so wretched a village, where they have not so much as bread? Fasting must be your punishment.


A wretched village! Sir, if the darkness did not conceal it, you would be enchanted. It is a small town, where every thing is to be had in great abundance, even cinnamon.

N. B. The Turks are very fond of this spice, they put it into all their sauces, and compare it to every thing that is most exquisite.

So, so, I suppose your whipping-fit is come on you again.


By no means, Sir; it is only my supping fit; which certainly will not leave me. And, in order to satisfy my appetite, and prove to you that I know the Moldavians better than you, permit me to speak.


And will your flogging abate your hunger?

[Page 301]

Most undoubtedly. If you have not an ex­cellent supper, in a quarter of an hour, you shall re­pay me every stroke I bestow.


I take you at your word; but remember, if you punish the innocent, I will most certainly re­turn your favours; and wi [...]h a hearty good will.


As heartily as you please; do you only re­main as silent, during my negociation, as I did during yours.


That is but reasonable; I will take your place.

Ali Aga (rises, hides his whip, and taps him on the shoulder.)

How goes it my friend, how goes it?—Why dost not speak? What, dost thou not know thy friend, Ali Aga?—Come, come, speak.


He not know understand.

Ali Aga.

He not know understand?—Ah ha! This is astonishing! But sincerely, my friend, dost thou not understand the Turkish language?


No; he not know understand.

Ali Aga (knocks him down with his fist, and keeps kicking him while he rises.)

Take that, rascal, take that then to teach thee.

(in good Turkish.)

What do you beat me for? Do you not know very well we are poor people, and that our princes scarcely leave us the air we breathe.

Ali Aga.
[Page 302]
(to the Baron.)

Well, Sir, you see I am an expert master; he speaks Turkish already, mira­culously. We shall now be able to have a little con­versation together.

(To the Moldavian, leaning on his shoulder.)

Since it appears, my friend, thou under­standest the Turkish tongue, tell me, how fares it with thyself, thy wife, and thy children?


As well as it can with people, who are often in want of necessaries.


Pshaw, thou art joking, friend, thou art in want of nothing, except of being well basted a little oftener; but all in good time. Proceed we to busi­ness. I must instantly have two sheep, a dozen of fowls, a dozen of pigeons, fifty pounds of bread, four oques, or ten pounds of butter; with salt, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, lemons, wines, sallad, and good oil of olives, all in great plenty.


I have already told you we are poor creatures, without so much as bread to eat. Where must we get cinnamon?

(taking his whip from under his habit, and beating the Moldavian, till he runs away.)

You have nothing, have you, infidel knave? I will make you rich in a trice, the same way I made you find your tongue.

(The Greek flies, and Ali Aga returns, and sits by the fire.)

[Page 303]You see, Sir, my recipe is something better than yours.


To make the dumb speak, I grant, but not to get a supper; for which reason I believe I am a quantity of stripes in your debt; your method of procuring provisions being no better than mine.


Oh there will be no want of provisions. If in one quarter of an hour, precisely, all I have or­dered does not arrive, here's my whip, take it, and use it as I have done.

In fact, the quarter of an hour was not expired, before the mayor, assisted by three of his brethren, brought all the provisions, without forgetting even the cinnamon.

After such a proof, says Baron Tott, how could I continue to plead in behalf of humanity? My error was inconceivable, I submitted; and, in spite of my feelings, left my conductor to provide food, in future, without disputing about the means.

CHAP. XXI. Bulgaria.

THIS province is bounded on the North by the Danube; on the East by the Black Sea; on the South by Mount Haemus, which separates it from Romania; and on the West by Servia. It is thus named from the Bulgarians; a branch of the Sar­matae, and was formerly called Lower Mysia. The Danube, which runs through this country, for the space of eighty miles, receives the Ister at Axiopolis. It has another river, Ischar, which rises in Mount Haemus, and falls into the Danube, near Nicopolis.

At the foot of the mountain, which divides Bul­garia from Servia, is a warm bath, where the water gushes out in a stream, about the size of a man's body; and but sixty paces from it, in the same valley, is a spring as cold as ice; the smell however, mani­fests that they both contain nitrous, and sulphureous particles. On this mountain is a Greek convent, for monks of the order of St. Basil. In the frontiers of Servia, between the mountains of Suha, and the river [Page 305] Nessava, are several warm baths, whose waters are of a sulphureous quality, and issue from the mountain, being deeply tinged with the red sands and stones which it contains. At the foot of mount Witoscha, a few miles on this side Sophia, towards the borders of Romania, are also four warm baths of great repute in this country; and the mountain, exclusive of its iron mines, is covered with villages, corn-lands, meadows, and vineyards.

The country in general may be said to be very mountainous, but the levels and vallies are extremely rich and fruitful, producing wine and corn, even to superfluity. The mountains too are also far from barren, affording excellent pasturage; in parti­cular that of stara plamina, which reaches as far as Widin, being towards its summit quite bare and de­solate; but in the middle and lower part extremely fertile.

This province, says Chishull, however decried by Ovid, and disparaged by our modern geographers; for the richness of its soil, variety of rising and fall­ing ground, elegance of prospect, and a competent provision of wood and water, is perhaps not to be paralleled by any other spot in the universe.

[Page 306]Among the natural curiosities of this country, are also to be reckoned the vast number of large eagles in the neighbourhood of the town of Bababagi, where the archers all over Turkey supply themselves with feathers for their arrows, though these feathers are in number only twelve, and those only in the tail of this bird, each of which are commonly sold for a crown.

As an instance of the longevity of the people of this province, Chishull mentions having seen an old Bulgarian Christian, named Staon, aged one hun­dred and twenty years; who told him he had all his life been subject to great and continual sickness, and had three times changed his teeth; once in his in­fancy, and twice in his old age. They were now for the most part entire, says Chishull, his senses of hear­ing and tasting very lively, and his sight but little decayed; his beard and his eyebrows had of late be­come perfectly black, but the hair of his head was milk-white, and the skin of his breast like the bark of an old weather-beaten beech.

The Great Balcan, formerly called Hoemus, is a chain of mountains, which rise to a great height, one upon another, and extending themselves first from east to west, take afterwards another direction from north [Page 307] to south, which separates part of Thrace from the Sardian territory of Dacia.

In crossing the highest chain of the mountains of Balcan, says Tott, the aspect of their different strata, the variety of the rocks, which nature seems to have broken with effort only to afford indications of the treasures she there incloses, present at each step, those great characters which extend our ideas on her origin, and lead us to contemplate her works with still greater ardour and interest.

The ascents over these mountains are very steep, says Lord Baltimore, and lie in the midst of great woods; the road, or rather track, is in as bad a con­dition as can be conceived; one high hill is no sooner surmounted, than you descend rapidly into a deep valley full of rocks, mud and water.

Chishull gives a more pleasing account of his pas­sage over these mountains. From Dobral, near which place is a large town famous for dying and preparing the fine purple and yellow leather, which it vends in great quantities; we begin to ascend the foot of Mount Hoemus, where the road winds so artificially, as to take away the difficulty of ascent. Here crossing a rapid river, which forms its channel, in the body of the mountain, and through a variety of diverting [Page 308] shades and clifts, we arrive at length at an open plain on the top of the hill; and there at a true country paradise of Bulgarian Christians, called Challikca­vack; and here, says Chishull, I happily attained that wish of Virgil,

—O, qui me gelidis in vallibus Hoemi
Sistat, & ingenti ramorum protegat umbra.
GEOR. LIB. ii. v. 488.

"Oh, that I were in the pleasant vallies of Hoemus,
"Reposing under the lofty shades of its trees."

The damsels of the parish entertained us with a dance, which though performed with no great art, or variety in the steps and figure, had a certain plain­ness and simplicity which was very pleasing. The ornaments of their dress were a sort of cravat, con­sisting of various silver coins, and large bossy silver bracelets, and we were dismissed the next morning, with corn strewed in our way.

On the top of the hill, we proceeded for some time in a level road, through a stately grove of oaks; after which the road begins to descend, and being shortened by the pleasure of the shady scene on each side, leads unexpectedly into the adjoining plain. In this we travel about an hour, near the foot of the [Page 309] delightful Hoemus, and then find our quarters ready to receive us at a Christian village called Tragoe. And indeed all the villages we had hitherto passed from Adrianople, were entirely inhabited by Chris­tians; who, by nation are Bulgarians, but by their faith, of the Greek communion.

Near this village is Eski Stambol, a name given by the Turks to the remains of an ancient city (possibly the Oescus Triballorum) which, at the foot of Hoemus, shews the entire tract of two walls; the inward one square, and about a mile in circumference; the out­ward, almost circular, and containing the compass of five miles. But besides these it has no reliques of carved work, or any inscription that may give light to the true name or history of the place. In one corner only, of the inward wall, are several crosses, and an image of the Virgin mother, barbarously cut with two or three rude lines of modern Greek cha­racters. By the above-mentioned walls runs a small river from the Hoemus, now called by the Italians, Monte Argentato, and by the Turks, Batkan.

It should be remarked, that the above author was then in the suite of our ambassador, which may ac­count for his superior accommodations to those of a private individual. I was informed, says Lord Bal­timore, we should have a view of the Adriatic and [Page 310] Black Seas, at once, from the summit of the Great Balcan, but I suppose, we did not mount sufficiently high; though I was often struck with the immensity of space and prospect around us.

We suffered a deal of fatigue, adds his Lordship, in passing these mountains, and were very near losing all our baggage; which, together with ourselves, was often preserved by the strength and care of our attendants.

We crossed one river more than sixty times, which meandered through the woods between stones and stumps of trees, rendering the passage very danger­ous and rugged. These woods are very dangerous to pass, says his Lordship, even as far down as the banks of the Danube, being full of thieves and straggling parties of libertine Crim Tartars, who are very civil and friendly to strangers in their own country; but abroad, are the greatest villains and thieves imaginable. So much are they so, that a very little while before we passed through Moldavia, they had plundered great part of it, carrying away men, women, children, cattle, and whatever else they could lay their hands on; and this they do, notwith­standing their strict alliance with the Grand Signior, who does not think it prudent to attempt to chastise [Page 311] them; but partly by threats, and partly by presents, persuades them to desist.

The journey we have made hither, says Lady M. from Belgrade, to Adrianople, cannot possibly be passed by any person not in a public character. The desert woods of Servia, and the inaccessible parts of Mount Hoemus, are the common refuge of thieves, who rob fifty in a company, so that we had need of all our guards to secure us; and the villages are so poor, that only force could extort from them neces­sary provisions. Indeed, the Janissaries had no mercy on their poverty, killing all the poultry and sheep they could find, without asking to whom they be­longed; whilst the wretched owners durst not put in their claim, for fear of being beaten. This is literally and exactly true, however extravagant it may seem; and such is the natural corruption of a military go­vernment, their religion not allowing of this barba­rity any more than ours.

In that part of Mount Hoemus, or the Great Bal­can, which borders on Romania, there are but two passages; one of which it is said was made by the Em­peror Trajan, and capable of being defended by a small force, against a very numerous army.

[Page 312]The Emperor Trajan's gate stands among hills, says Busching, where the steep rocks, and dreadful pre­cipices, scarce admit of any access. It was erected by that emperor, in commemoration of his marching an army through this country, having made himself a road through places before impervious. It consists of two stone pillars, with an arch over them, repre­senting a large open gate. This building is now very ruinous, and is composed of hewn stones and bricks. The curious in subjects of antiquity, have been too busy in taking off the stones, which has greatly de­faced this stately monument.

The other pass is near a little river, called by the Bulgarians, Saltiza; this passage is not so strait and narrow as the other, but being full of rocks and dangerous precipices, may be defended by a small force.

Nor are those parts which lie on the confines of Macedonia more easy of access; for when Perseus, the last king of Macedonia, had fortified those passes against the Romans, it was believed, says Florus, there was no passage left for the enemy, unless they fell immediately from heaven. What renders the passage of these mountains still more difficult for an army, is the excessive cold felt on their summits, and which has been the destruction of many thousands, [Page 313] few constitutions being able to pass suddenly from extreme heat to that of cold, without being incom­moded.

The towns of most note in this province is Sophia, one of the most beautiful towns in the Turkish em­pire, and the capital of the province. It is also fa­mous for its hot baths, that are resorted to both for pleasure and health. Each house has a garden, well planted with trees and shrubs. The river Ischa, in some places, takes its course through the town, and in others winds along the environs. It is the resi­dence of a Beglier-bey, and was built by the Emperor Justinian, out of the ruins of Sardica, which was its ancient name. The more modern one of Sophia it is supposed to derive from the empress Sophia, wife of Justinian. This town, says Lady M. is situated in a large beautiful plain, on the river Ischa, and sur­rounded with distant mountains, which affords such a fine coup d'oeil, that it is hardly possible to see a more agreeable landskip. The city itself is very large, and extremely populous.

Silistria is likewise a town frequently mentioned in history, a large and well fortified town on the Da­nube. At no great distance are the remains of the wall erected by the Greek emperors, against the in­cursions of the barbarians. Very few of the inhabi­tants [Page 314] of this place are Turks. Its great antiquity is evident from the walls, which have all the appearance of Roman, and not Turkish architecture.

The inhabitants of the plains in this district, who derive their descent from Tartarian emigrants, are noted for their singular hospitality; which is so great, that when a traveller, of any religion or country what­ever, passes through any of their villages, all their house-keepers of both sexes come out to salute him; entreating him in the most obliging manner to take up his lodgings with them, and kindly accept of what God has been pleased to bestow on them. The per­son whose invitation the traveller accepts, entertains him and his horses, if they do not exceed three, for the space of three days; and that too with a cor­diality and chearfulness, which can scarce be paralleled.

On the confines of these plains, and on the borders of the Black Sea lies Varna, the place where it is said Ovid was sent into banishment; but the chief part of his time was passed at Tomi, in this province, to the west of Varna. The borders of a lake, where he often walked, have become famous, says Lady C. and the gentleness of his manners, and the sweet tone of his voice, have been recorded down to the present inhabitants. He represents the inhabitants as [Page 315] covered with the skins of beasts, and characterises them by the breeches they then wore, braecataque turba Getarum. He describes Tomi as a town for­tified with walls, where he was obliged to keep close, for fear of the barbarians, who used to take advan­tage of the Danube being frozen over, to plunder the opposite shore.

Varna lies about two days sail from Constantinople, with a fair wind. By this route Lady Craven re­turned to Vienna, passing through Wallachia and Transylvania. The mountains we have already de­scribed, over which she must otherwise have passed, being then infected with such a large body of robbers, that a whole regiment of soldiers would scarce have been a sufficient escort.

The inhabitants of this province, according to Lord Baltimore, are of the race of Scythian Tartars, who speak a dialect of the Sclavonian language. They came originally from the oriental Scythians, who in­habit the banks on the other side the river Wolga, to the north of the Caspian Sea. They are Chris­tians, and are said to have adopted that religion from the discourses and miracles of certain bishops, whom these barbarians in their incursions into the Roman empire, had taken prisoners.

[Page 316]The habitations of the peasants are of a conic form, in the shape of sugar-loaves, white-washed within side, but having neither chimnies, windows, nor fur­niture in them.

This province, says Busching, is divided into four sangiakships, or governments of officers, next in rank to a bashaw of two tails. The Beglier-bey, who has under him twenty-four of these sangiaks, in this and the adjoining provinces, resides at Sophia.

CHAP. XXII. Macedonia,

IS bounded on the North, by the river Nessus, or Nestus, east by the Archipelago; on the south it joins Thessaly and Epirus, and on the west Al­bania. The figure of it is very irregular, but the situation very advantageous, and the air clear, sharp, and healthy. The soil is in general fertile, and the maritime coasts in particular abound in corn, wine, oil, and every thing that can be desired, either for use or pleasure. In the inland parts are several un­inhabited wastes. It had mines formerly of almost all kinds of metal, but particularly of gold. Among [Page 317] the many high mountains in this country, is that chain of the Scardi, which traverses the northern part of it. Pangaeus was formerly noted for very rich silver and gold mines. The mountains of Hoe­mus join the Scardi, separating this country from Romania. Mount Athos is one of the most cele­brated mountains in the whole world, and shall be particularly described in the sequel. Of woods, and all kinds of timber, here is great plenty; and the many fine bays in this province are a great conve­nience to trade. The most remarkable of these are the Golfo di Contessa, (sinus strymonicus Golfo di monte santo, (sinus singiticus) and the Golfo di salo­nico, (sinus Thoermaeus). The principal rivers are the Platamone, (Aliaemon) which runs into the bay of Salonichi; the Vistriza, (Erigion) which mingles with the following, viz. the Vardar, (Axius) the greatest river in all Macedonia, taking its rise in the Scardian mountains, and falling into the bay of Salonichi.

The Strymon rises in Romania, or Thrace, and discharges itself into the Golfo di Contessa.

Besides the bays formed by the Vardar and Stry­mon, there are some others of note.

Macedonia having been formerly inhabited by se­veral nations, had a great number of towns. The [Page 318] most remarkable places in it now are Salonica, an­ciently Thessalonica, situated at the bottom of a bay in the Aegean sea, to which it gives its name, be­tween two and three hundred miles west of Constan­tinople; and Mount Athos, commonly called Monte Santo, on which are twenty-two convents, besides a large town well fortified, the residence of the bashaw.

Mount Athos lies on a peninsula, running out into the Aegean sea, and is, indeed a chain of mountains, extending the whole length of the peninsula, being seven Turkish miles long, and three in breadth; but it is only one single mountain, that is properly called Athos. Its uncommon heighth appears from the ac­count of Plutarch and Pliny; who affirm, that when the sun is at the summer solstice, probably a little before its sitting; the mountain casts its shadow as far as the market-place of Myrrhina, in the island of Lemnos, which in the best maps is fifty-five Italian miles distant; whence the height of Mount Athos may be inferred to be about eleven stadia. On it are twenty-four convents of Caloyers, or Greek monks, of the order of St. Basil, besides a great number of cells or grottos, with the habitations of no less than six thousand monks and hermits; though the proper hermits, who live in grottos, are not above twenty; the other monks are Anchorites, or such as live in cells: It is evident from Aelian, that [Page 319] anciently the mountain in general, and particularly the summit, was accounted very healthy, and con­ducive to long-life; whence the inhabitants were called Macrobii, or long-lived. We are further in­formed by Philostratus, in the life of Apollonius, that numbers of philosophers used to retire to this moun­tain, for the better contemplation of the heavens, and of nature; and after their example it unquestion­ably was that the monks built their cells. These monks, who are called inhabitants of the holy moun­tain, are so far from being a slothful set of people, that, besides their daily offices of religion, they per­form all manner of work, cultivate the olive and vineyards; are carpenters, masons, stone-cutters, cloth-workers, taylors, &c. They live also a very austere life, their usual food, instead of flesh, being vegetables, dried olives, figs, onions, fruit, cheese; and on certain days, Lent excepted, fish. Their fasts are many, and severe; which, with the healthfulness of the air, renders longevity so common there, that many of them live above a hundred years. In every convent are two or three studying monks, exempted from manual labour, but who use exemplary dili­gence among the many celebrated writings of anti­quity to be found in their libraries. Here it is the Greeks chiefly learn their divinity. The monks are in high esteem for the orthodoxy of their doctrine, and the sanctity of their lives. These convents and [Page 320] churches have bells, which are rarely allowed to the Greeks; and are also environed with high and strong walls planted with cannon, against any surprize from corsairs. Besides churches and convents, the moun­tain also has a town, called Kareis; inhabited also by monks, and the residence of the Turkish com­mander, who is appointed by the Bostangi-bachi, to defend the place against the corsairs. In this town a market is held every Saturday, among the monks and anchorites, which last bring hither knives, and little images, in order, by exchanging them for money, to purchase bread; but the monks, more indolent, carry them about every where, and receive alms for them. This mountain is under the protection of the Bostangi-bachi, to whom it annually pays twelve thousand dollars; and a much larger sum is paid at Salonica, to the use of the Grand Signior. This heavy tribute is discharged by alms, and the liberal contributions of Russia, and the princes of Wallachia and Moldavia. No fowls or cattle are kept upon this mountain, though on paying a certain considera­tion, graziers are allowed to fatten their cattle here.

Some narratives, says Tott, have pretended they possess a collection of valuable manuscripts; but it is much more certain they do not read them. It is equally true, that the books of the ancient Thessa­lonica, as well as those of Constantinople, have been [Page 321] since the conquest of those places, locked up; and that the barbarians have poured melted lead into the locks, so that the remains of Grecian literature, de­livered into the hands of superstition and ignorance, are so carefully concealed, by those enemies of learn­ing, that we can scarce flatter ourselves we shall ever be able to recover any fragments of it from their tyranny.

The town of Salonica is situated at the bottom of a gulph of the same name, from whence it extends to the foot of an adjoining mountain. It is defended by three old castles towards the sea, which are but in a ruinous situation, and there are two more in the upper part of the city. Its circumference may be about five or six miles, and it is surrounded by a strong wall. The houses are wood, painted red, and towards the top, black, where are generally inscribed some verses from the alcoran, or some lines of eastern poetry, in gilt letters. Most of them are or­namented with terraces, and the court-yards frequently contain cypresses, the favourite tree with the Turks, who are naturally of a melancholy cast. The streets in general have wooden projections from the houses, to screen passengers from the heat of the sun, which impedes the circulation of air, and of course makes the town less healthy.

[Page 322]This city was anciently called Halia and Therma, but Cassander having rebuilt it, called it by the name of his queen Thessalonica, who was sister to Alexander the Great. To its admirable situation for trade is per­haps owing all the regard which the several con­querors of Macedonia have shewn it. The advan­tages derived from it are such as are scarce to be met with elsewhere; and as it attracted the admiration of the ancients, so it has the encomium of the moderns. Nor is it distinguished only by the greatness of its traffic, but it is also very remarkable for the stately remains of its ancient grandeur; such as triumphal arches, churches of an extraordinary beauty and stateliness, now converted into Turkish mosques; particularly that of St. Demetrius, which consists of one church built over another, and having in it above a thousand pillars of jasper, porphyry, &c.

In this and other churches are the monuments of several celebrated personages; and without the city are great numbers of antique fragments, with inscrip­tions. Numbers of coins are also frequently found here. It is the residence of a Turkish bashaw, and likewise of a Catholic and Greek archbishop, who has eight suffrages under him. In the year 1313, the city was sold to the Venetians, who were dispossessed of it about eight years after, by Amurath the second. The Christians were so very considerable formerly in [Page 323] this city, that St. Paul has addressed two of this epistles to them.

This town, says Bisani, to which Cicero was ba­nished, at the instigation of his antagonist Verres, still contains some remains of antiquity, both sacred and profane. In the mosque of St. Sophia is a pulpit of verd antique, from which St. Paul, according to tradition, preached to the Thessalonians. The Turks hold this monument in great veneration. At some distance from this mosque, which was formerly a Greek church, may be seen an amphitheatre, half sunk into the earth, ornamented with bas-reliefs. In another part of the city is the portico of an ancient temple, though the columns and figures of it are mu­tilated; some of them are finely executed, and par­ticularly a Leda. Scarce any of the streets are with­out columns and pieces of marble, with Greek in­scriptions, which the Turks have employed in the construction and ornamented of their houses.

The burial places are out of the town, near the sea-shore. Every grave has two stones, as at Con­stantinople, one at the head and the other at the foot of the grave. Near some of them, says the above author, I saw fountains, with wooden bowls placed in a kind of niche, for the convenience of those who chose to drink.

[Page 324]In the upper part of the town is the burial place allotted for those who have been victims to the plague. While we were absorbed in these melancholy, but useless reflections on the innumerable calamities which afflict mankind, says Bisani, some Turkish children were amusing themselves by pelting us with stones, thrown from slings; and saluting us with the usual compliments of being infidels, a title with which they are accustomed to distinguish the Franks.

In returning home, we met with a very pretty Turkish girl, between fifteen and sixteen. Her eyes, the only thing we could distinguish, were inexpressi­bly fine. When we were near her, one of our party had the imprudence to make signs to her, which is a sure means of being assassinated. A little boy, who accompanied her, was extremely angered at this mark of disrespect, and looking at us with all the fury of a child, he put his hand to his poignard, and muttered something to us in Turkish, which we could not un­derstand. Not chusing however, that any other Turks should come up and explain it to us, we thought it most adviseable to turn down a different street, and decamp.

The street [...] swarm with sparrows, doves, crows, ravens, storks, dogs and cats, which no person dares to modest, much less to kill; as the Turks [Page 325] would, in that case, put them to death, like the Egyptians of old.

They reckon about eighty thousand inhabitants in this city; the Jews, who have several synagogues here, make above one fourth of this number; the Greeks and the Franks another fourth part, and the Turks the remainder. If a Turk stands in need of the services of a Jew, he generally honours him with the title of pimp, cuckold, or some such pleasing ap­pellation. It is true they do not mind being buffeted or ill-treated, provided they are paid for it.

While we remained at anchor here, says Bisani, we had Turkish visitors every day to see our vessel; who expressed themselves full of rapture with every thing they saw, while they kept counting their beads. The petit-maitres carry about with them in Lent, chap­lets; the beads of which are made of very fine trans­parent stones. and fastened by a silver chain to their girdles. They have gold watches; and the hilts of their sabres, which they all wear, are ornamented very curiously with embossed silver. We had also some Greek peasants who came to visit us, whose dress was very singular. Over a woollen robe, the ground of which was white, and worked with a va­riety of colours, they wore a kind of short cassock, without sleeves, which covered only part of their [Page 326] neck; while the remainder was imperfectly concealed by necklaces of Turkish money, intermixed with antique medals. Their hair, which was divided into ringlets, hung loosely down their shoulders. In this manner they formed a circular dance, placing the musician in the middle; who, while he played, imi­tated the different steps they were to perform, and sung different couplets, which they repeated.

It is well known that idiots make their fortunes in the Mahometan countries; or at least that they live at their ease, without being obliged to work for their livelihood. In the corner of a coffee-house, in this city, says Bisani, we saw a negro woman lying on an old matt, with scarce any covering on her; who was old and ugly as the very devil, though she did not seem to be sensible of it. She would swallow down any thing, even snuff and tobacco; which shewed she had entirely lost that reason which the gods are said to have given us in their anger. Yet she lives free from care, and has no wants; which the piety of true believers, a name by which the Mussulmen dis­tinguish themselves, have not anticipated and pro­vided for, above these ten years. I saw another idiot amusing himself in the streets with caning some of the Janissaries. This respect, which the Mahometans have for fools, is carried sometimes even to adoration. Of which the following is an instance:—A Caliph of [Page 327] Bagdad, having heard there was a fool who called himself God, sent for him one day to examine if he was really a fool, or an impostor. When he was come, he told him there had been a person brought to him the other day, who counterfeited the fool, and said he was a prophet sent by God. I ordered him, says the Caliph, to be put in prison, and he was tried, condemned, and hanged. The fool re­plied, you acted right, and did then what it was in­cumbent on one of my faithful servants to do: this action of your's pleases me much, for I had not be­stowed the gift of prophecy on that wretch, and he acted without any order or mission from me. On this the Caliph was ready to worship him; for the Turks believe these people to be agitated by the spirit of God. This idea of things, however, is very an­cient, and in a certain degree is found among civi­lized nations, as well as among savages.

The nature of the Turkish government is well dis­played at Salonica, by the opposition which despo­tism experiences from the soldiery. The turbulent spirit of the military, which always increases, when opposed by feeble measures, and seizes all the au­thority of which it can deprive the sovereign power, has usurped the government of Salonica. Many Pachas have successively been its victims; but this opposition to despotism, far from destroyings its ef­fects, [Page 328] only serves to increase its tyranny; and the Janissary Aga, the officers who command under him, and every private Janissary, are so many tyrants, whom the Porte opposes with caution, the Pacha fears, and who are the terror of the whole country.

The practice usual with the Turks of keeping per­manent garrisons, added to the want of discipline among the troops, give them in some sort the pro­perty of the place at which they are stationed; they there exercise rights consecrated by custom, which they unite to maintain, though entirely opposed to the good order of the state.

It is on this principle that the Galiondgis mono­polize the sale of lambs at Constantinople, and force people to buy them. The Turkish soldiers, in every city, enjoy privileges of the same nature; and their union gives fresh force to the spirit of fraud, which attacks the treasury. This knavery prevails over all the coast of the Archipelago, where the exportation of corn is the principal article of clandestine commerce.

The prohibitions of the Grand Signior, so much the more severe, as he is himself the monopolizer of this commodity, are of no effect; and the com­manders of the galliots, employed to prevent the ex­portation, [Page 329] are the first to promote it, for a proper consideration paid them in advance. They then fix the station of the galliot, and that where the ship shall take in its illicit loading; with the time to be allowed for that purpose. The country boats bring the corn from the coasts, and Grecian and Turkish vessels are employed in the same service; nothing of which is noticed by the galliot; and covetousness, taking ad­vantage of negligence, gives itself up to every kind of fraud.

The cutting of wood upon this coast, says Tott, is equally an object of pillage. The most powerful individual of the country assumes the right of dis­posing of this property; and the navigator who buys fraudulently, and endeavours to better his bargain, necessarily encourages this spirit of rapine, which an­nihilates all good order, and causes the state, which fur­nishes him with sailors, to suffer inconceivable losses.

About thirty miles south-west of Salonica, lies Janniza, anciently Pella; which, though now an in­considerable town, was formerly the residence of the Macedonian kings, and the place which gave birth to Alexander the Great.

Philippi, a village having but few houses, stands near the ruins of the ancient celebrated town of that [Page 330] name. Its inhabitants consist only of a few poor Greeks; yet it is the residence of a Grecian bishop, who stiles himself metropolitan of Philippi and Drama, and has seven bishops under him. The city of Philippi stood on a hill, between the rivers Nessus and Strymon, on the borders of Thrace, to which in its most ancient times it belonged. It was at first called Crenides, or spring-town, from the many springs issuing out of the hill on which it stood; af­terwards Dathos, or Thasus, from the Thasii, who built it; and lately Philippi, from Philip of Mace­don; who, after having reduced it to ashes, re-built it with considerable improvements; and from that time it belonged to Macedonia. Near this town was fought the memorable battle between Brutus and Cas­sius, on one side; and Augustus and Anthony, on the other; in which the latter were victorious. Under Julius Caesar and Augustus, it was a Roman colony. At present it lies waste; though still boasting some curious remains of antiquity, particularly the ruins of a noble amphitheatre. The Apostle Paul has written one of his epistles to the Christians of this place.

Of all the religions existing, says Lady M. W. M. that of the Arnounts, inhabitants of this province, seems the most singular; they are natives of Aroun­tlinch, the ancient Macedonia, and still retain the courage and hardiness, though they have lost the name [Page 331] of Macedonians, being the best militia in the Turkish empire; and the only check upon the Janissaries. They are foot soldiers, and are all armed and cloathed at their own expence; they are dressed in clean, but coarse white cloth, carrying guns of a prodigious length, which they run with on their shoulders, as if they did not feel the weight of them; the leader singing a sort of rude tune, not unpleasant, and the rest making up the chorus. These people living be­tween Christians and Mahometans, and not being skilled in controversy, declare that they are utterly unable to judge which religion is best; but, to be certain of not entirely rejecting the truth, they very prudently follow both. They go to the mosques on Fridays, and to the church on Sundays; saying, for their ex­cuse, that at the day of judgment they are sure of protection from the true prophet; but which that is, they are not able to determine in this world. I be­lieve there is no other race of men, adds Lady M, who have so modest an opinion of their own capacity.

CHAP. XXIII. Albania and Thessaly.

ALBANIA, or Arnaut, comprehends the old Gre­cian [...]lyricum, and Epirus. The former was added to Macedonia by Philip; the word Epirus sig­nifying the continent. It is to Epirus that Italy owed its first apricots, whence it accordingly called them mala Epirotica. This province is bounded by Servia on the North; by Macedonia on the East; by Achaia on the South; and by the Ionian, and Adriatic Sea, towards the West. The inhabitants of this province make very good soldiers but have scarce any notions of learning among them; yet they are very skilful in making aqueducts; and, without any mathematical instruments, will measure distances, with all the ex­actness of a geometrician. Their method of treating hernia is also remarkable, but very rough.

The chief towns in this province are, 1. Scutari, called, by the Turks, Iscodar; a large and fortified town, situated upon a lake of the same name. It lies about five and twenty miles from the gulph of Venice. This city is supposed to have been the re­sidence [Page 333] of the ancient kings of Illyricum, and it is still the see of a bishop, though subject to the Turks.

2. Alessio, in Latin Lyssus, a town on the river Drin, not far from where it discharges itself into the Adriatic gulph; is famous for being the se­pulchre of Scandenberg, who died here about the year 1467, He resisted the whole force of the Turkish empire, for a great number of years, with a very inconsiderable army; and is said to have de­feated them, in no less than two and twenty dif­ferent engagements.

3. Durazzo, Epidamnus, or Dyrrachium, a small port, on a peninsula, having a pretty good harbour and castle. Its first name Epidamnus denotes the corruption of its inhabitants, who were so infamous for fraud, treachery, and voluptuousness; that the Romans, when they became masters of the town, changed its name to that of Dyrrachium, whence its present name is derived. This is the celebrated port, or gulph, of Venice, to which the Romans sailed, who went from the South-east parts of Italy, into Greece. It is likewise famous for having been the place of Cicero's banishment; and affording a retreat to Pompey, when he fled from Caesar at Brun­dusium.

[Page 334]The province of Thessaly, now called Janna by the Turks, derives its name from king Thessalus; but was more anciently called Oemonia, from Oemon, father of Thessalus. It is bounded by Macedonia, on the North; the Archipelago, on the East; by Achaia, towards the South; and by Epirus, towards the West. It was some time annexed to Macedonia, and at others divided from it. The celebrated Mount Pindus se­parates it from Epirus, or a part of present Albania. Among its once celebrated twenty-four mountains, the most celebrated is Olympus; which, for its un­common height, is celebrated by the ancient poets, and made the residence of the gods. The poets have feigned that it reached up to heaven, and yet it is not above an English mile in height. Pelion and Ossa are likewise among the number of mountains in this province. Here also are situated, the plains of Phar­salia; and between the mountains Olympus, Pelion and Ossa, is the delightful valley of Tempe; which was so adorned with the gifts of nature, and so de­lightfully watered, by the gently winding streams of the Peneus, now the Salampria, that it was reckoned the garden of the muses. This country is certainly fertile to exuberance, and seems to exceed all other parts of Greece. It produces oranges, citrons, le­mons, pomegranates, grapes of an uncommon sweet­ness, excellent figs and melons, almonds, olives, cot­ton, &c. and chesnuts take their Latin name from [Page 335] the town of Castanea, in Magnesia; whence they were first brought into the colder climates of Europe. It was noted anciently for its breed of cattle and horses; from which, and the extraordinary skill of the Thessalians, in horsemanship, in all probability, the fable of the Centaurs, who are said to have been half men, and half horses, took its rise. The modern Thessalonians are a well-made people. The most re­markable places in this province are,

Larissa, by the Turks named Genisakar; the ca­pital, situated near Mount Olympus, on the river Pe­neus, and in a hilly, and very delightful part of Thessaly. It is a good trading city, and the see of a Greek bishop. Here the celebrated Achilles was born.

The situation, say Brown, is very pleasant; the city being built on a rising ground, on the upper part of which stands a palace of the Grand Signior, who kept his court here in 1669, in order to be near Candia, which was at that time the seat of war; and likewise for the convenience of hawking and hunting; the country, about Larissa, being well adapted for those recreations. Notwithstanding the extreme height of Mount Olympus, in the imagination of the poets, it seems, according to the above writer, that no snow was to be seen on its summit, in the month [Page 336] of September; whilst on the Alpine, Pyrenean and Carpathian mountains, it lies all the year.

Farsa, said to be the ancient Pharsalus, and famous for the battle fought near this city, between Caesar and Pompey, lies thirty miles to the South of Larissa; though Cluverius places these celebrated plains more to the westward.

Janna, from whence this country takes its present name, is a well-built town, about forty miles to the north of Lepanto.

Tornoso, east of the above, is a spacious pleasant city, in which are eighteen Greek churches, and three Turkish mosques. The present bishop is under the archbishop of Larissa.

Armiro, or Etraria, is supposed to have been the port from whence the Argonauts set sail.

With respect to the persons, of the inhabitants of this province, Brown relates that the men are tall, and well proportioned, with black hair and eyes, and rubicond complexions; the women likewise are cele­brated for their beauty. The Macedonians, who in­habit the mountains to the northward, are much more rough and weather-beaten, in their appearance; [Page 337] whilst the natives of the Morea, to the southward, have swarthy complexions, compared with theirs; so that this province, whether we consider the sweetness and temperature of the air, the fertility of the soil, the variety of pleasing landscapes, or the beauty of the inhabitants, seems preferable, in these respects, to every other part of Greece; and justly to have me­rited the character the ancients gave of it.

CHAP. XXIV. Livadia

THE province of Livadia, which comprises an­cient Greece, properly so called; and to which belonged the little kingdoms of Acarania, Aetolia, Locris, Phocis, Doris, Boeotia, Megara and Attica; is bounded by Thessaly on the North; by the Archi­pelago, or Aegean Sea, towards the East; by the Morea, or Peloponnesus, on the South; and by the Ionian Sea towards the West. The principal rivers in this country, which is for the most part mountain­ous, are, the Sionapro, anciently called the Achelous, separating the Arcaranians from the Aetolians, the Ce­phisus [Page 338] and the Ismenus, which latter river discharges itself into the Archipelago.

The most remarkable places in this province are

Athens, according to Busching, now called Setines. This ancient capital of Attica, is situated near the gulph of Engia, about forty miles to the East of the isthmus of Corinth; and about the same distance from Cape Raphaei, the most eastern part of Livadia. It stands in the center of a large and beautiful plain; making up for what it may be deficient in fertility, by the healthiness of its situation. This city was at first called Cecropia, rom Cecrops, its founder; but af­terwards known by the name of Athens. Exclusive of its power, grandeur and opulence, it was highly celebrated for the incorruptible fidelity of its citi­zens; and for being the nursery of the most eminent philosophers, statesmen and orators: for its multitude, likewise, of great commanders, no city has ever equalled it. It was governed at first by kings, then by archons; but afterwards fell, successively, under the power of the Persians, Macedonians and Romans. In latter times it came under the dominion of the Turks, from whom it was taken by the Venetians. In the year 1455, the Turks again took it. In 1687 the Venetians recovered it. But in the last wars, be­tween these two powers, the Turks again got pos­session [Page 339] of it. These many vicissitudes have greatly diminished its splendor; but even in its present state, are many remains of its ancient grandeur, which give ocular demonstration of the great, and astonish­ing perfection of the Athenians, in sculpture and architecture. The inhabitants, at this time, are reckoned about ten thousand; three-parts of whom are Christians, and have a great number of churches, and places of worship. The Turks also have here five mosques.

Among the many great, and small remains of an­cient and stately edifices, those more particularly worthy of notice, says Busching, are, the temple of Jupiter Olympias, and, above all, the Parthenian, or magnificent temple of Minerva; now converted into a Turkish mosque, and accounted the finest piece of antiquity in the world. In the last Venetian war, this building suffered very much by the cannon. The two rivers, Ilyssus and Eridanus, that water the plain in which Athens now stands, are very small; the former being diverted into several canals for wa­tering the olive plantations, and the latter lost in the many branches through which it is conveyed over the country.

Athens had anciently three ports, of which Pha­lerum and Munichia lay to the eastward, and Piraeus [Page 340] to the west, of a small cape. The latter being an en­closed spacious harbour, with a narrow entrance, is still much resorted to; and, by the Greeks, called Porto Drago; but, by the Italians, Porto Leone, from a pillar there in memory of a lion, which was carried from hence to Venice.

The city was not more than two miles and a half from the sea, by Phalerum, but perhaps the distance is increased.

Phalerum was said to have been named from Pha­lerus, a companion of Jason, in the Argonautic expe­dition. Theseus sailed from it for Crete; and Me­nestheus, his successor, for Troy; and it continued to be the haven of Athens, to the time of Themistocles. It is a small port, of a circular form, the entrance narrow; the bottom of a clear fine sand, visible through the transparent water. The farm of Aristides, and his monument, which was erected at the public expence, were by this port. Munychia is of a dif­ferent form, or oval, and more considerable; the mouth also narrow.

The traveller, accustomed to deep ports and bulky shipping, may view Phalerum with some surprize; but Argo is said to have been carried on the shoulders of the crew; the vessels, at the siege of Troy, were [Page 341] drawn up on the shore, as a bulwark before the camp; and the mighty fleet of Xerxes consisted chiefly of light barks and gallies. Phalerum, though a bason, shallow and not large, may, perhaps even now, be capable of receiving an armament, like that of Me­nestheus, though it consisted of fifty ships.

The capital port was that called Piraeus. The en­trance of this is narrow, and formed by two rocky points. Within were three stations for shipping; Kanthanu, so named from a hero; Aphrodisium, from a temple of Venus; and Zea, the resort of vessels laden with grain. The wall was begun by Themistocles, and completed as the importance of the place de­served. This whole fortification was of hewn stone, without cement, or other materials, except lead and iron, which were used, to hold together the exterior ranges, or facings. It was so wide that loaded carts, could pass on it in different directions; and it was forty cubits high, which was half what he had de­signed. The bones of this great man, when trans­ported from Magnesia, by the Moeander, were, with propriety, deposited in the Piraeus, near the biggest port, called Kantharus; by which were the arsenals. "When you are got within the elbow, (says Pausanias) which projects from the promontory of Alcimus, where the water is smooth, you are near the scite of [Page 342] his tomb." It was in shape like an altar, or round, and on a large basement.

The Piraeus, as Athens flourished, became the common emporium of Greece. Hippodamus, an architect, celebrated, besides other monuments of his genius, as the inventor of many improvements in house-building, was employed to lay out the ground. Five porticos, which uniting, formed the long por­tico, were erected by the ports. Here was an Agora, or market-place; and, farther from the sea, another called Hippodamia. By the vessels were dwellings for the mariners. A theatre was opened, temples were raised, and the Piraeus, which surpassed the city in utility, began to equal it in dignity. The cavities, and windings of Munychia, were filled with houses; and the whole settlement, comprehending Phalerum, and the ports of Piraeus, with the arsenals, the store-houses, and the famous armoury, of which Philo was the architect, and the sheds for three hundred, and afterwards four hundred, triremes, resemble the city of Rhodes, which had been planned by the same Hippo­damus.

It was the design of Themistocles to annex the Pi­raeus to the city, by long walls. The side descend­ing to Phalerum was begun. Pericles completed it, and erected the opposite wall.

[Page 343]The Piraeus was reduced, with great difficulty, by Sylla, who demolished the walls, and set fire to the ar­moury and arsenals. In the second century, besides houses for triremes, the temple of Jupiter and Minerva, with their images in brass, were erected; and a temple of Venus, a portico, and the tomb of Themistocles.

The port of the Piraeus has been named Porto Leone, from the marble lion seen in the chart; and also Porto Draco. The lion has been described as a piece of admirable sculpture, ten feet high; and as reposing on its hinder parts. Near Athens was another lion, posture couchant, probably its compa­nion. Both these were removed to Venice, by the famous General Morisini, and are to be seen there before the arsenal.

At the mouth of the port are two ruined piers. A few vessels, mostly small craft, frequent it. Some low land, at the head, seems an encroachment on the water. The buildings are, a mean custom house, with a few sheds; and, by the shore, on the east side, a warehouse belonging to the French, and a Greek monastery, dedicated to S. Spiridion.

It was the boast of the early Athenians, says Chandler, that their origin was from the land which they inhabited; and their antiquity co-equal with the [Page 344] sun. The reputed founder of their city was Cecrops; who, uniting a body of the natives then living dis­persed and in caves, settled on the rock of the Acropolis. He was there secure from inundation; a calamity much dreaded after the deluge, which had h [...]pp [...]ned one hundred and ninety years before. The hill was nearly in the center of his little territory; rising majestically in the middle of the plain, as if designed by nature for the seat of government. The town, and its domain, was called Cecropia; but the name of the former was afterwards changed in ho­nour of Minerva. A wandering people, called Pe­lasgi, were first employed to level the summit of the rock, and to encompass it with a wall, which they completed, except on the south; where the deficiency was supplied by trunks of olive trees, and pallisadoes. The entrance was by nine gates. Afterwards Cimon, son of Miltiades, erected the wall on the south side, with the spoil he had taken in the Persian war.

The tyranny of Pisistratus was established by his getting possession of the Acropolis, or citadel; from which he could command, and over-awe the town be­low. His son Hippias was expelled; and then fol­lowed the invasion by Darius, and the battle of Ma­rathon. Thirty-three years after this, Athens was taken, and set on fire by Xerxes; and, in the next year, by his general, Mardonius; but, on the victories [Page 345] of Plataea and Salamis, it emerged from ruin, to su­perior lustre, and extended dominion. The Pelo­ponnesian war then ensued; the long walls were de­molished; and it was even proposed to raze the city, and lay waste the plain.

The victory obtained over the Thebans, at Man­tinea, left Athens at leisure to indulge in elegant dis­sipation. A poet was preferred to a general, and vast sums were expended on plays, and public spectacles. At this period Philip of Macedon was aspiring to the empire of Greece and Asia, Alexander, his son, sa­crificed a hecatomb to Minerva, at Athens; and forti­fied the Piraeus to keep the city in subjection. On his death, the Athenians revolted, but were defeated by Antipater, who garrisoned Munychia. They rebelled again, but the garrigarchy were re instated. Deme­trius, the Phalerean, who was made governor, beau­tified the city, and they erected to him three hundred and sixty statues; which, on his expulsion, they de­molished, except one in the Acropolis. Demetrius Poliorcetes reduced the garrison, and restored demo­cracy; when they deified him, and lodged him in the back part of the Parthenon, as a guest to be enter­tained by their Minerva.

Philip, son of Demetrius, encamping near the city, and laying the territory waste, the Athenians were re­duced [Page 346] to solicit protection from the Romans, and to receive a garrison, which remained till the war with Mithridates; when the tyrant Aristion made them re­volt. Archelaus, the Athenian general, unable to withstand the Roman fury, retreated into the Piraeus, and Munichia. Sylla burned both places, and de­feated the city and suburbs; not sparing even the se­pulchres.

This city now became dependent, more or less, on the different Roman emperors, till the time of Alaric, king of the Goths; who, under the emperors, Arca­dius and Honorius, over-ran Greece and Italy; sack­ing, pillaging and destroying. Then the Pelopon­nesian towns were overturned, Arcadia and Lacede­mon were laid waste; the two seas, by the isthmus, were burnished, with the flames of Corinth; and the Athenian matrons were dragged in chains by barba­rians. The invaluable treasures of antiquity, it is related, were removed; the stately and magnificent structures converted into piles of ruins; and Athens was stripped of every thing, splendid or remarkable. Synesius, a writer of that age, compares the city to a victim, the body of which had been consumed, and the hide only remained.

After this even Athens became an un-important place, and as obscure, as it had once been famous.


[Page 347] A chasm, of near seven hundred years, ensues in its history, except that about the year 1130, it furnished Roger, the first king of Sicily, with a number of ar­tificers, whom he settled at Palermo; where they in­troduced the culture of silk, which thus passed into Sicily.

Athens, as it were, re-emerges a little from obli­vion, in the thirteenth century; till towards the latter end of the fifteenth, by being made the seat of war, between the Greek and Turkish emperors, it sunk again. In 1464 it was taken by the Venetians.

It is remarkable, that after this conquest Athens was again, in a manner, forgotten. So lately as about the middle of the sixteenth century, the city was commonly believed to have been utterly de­stroyed, and not to exist; except a few huts of poor fishermen. Crusius, a learned and inquisitive German, procured more authentic information, from his Greek correspondents residing in Turkey, which he pub­lished in 1584; to awaken curiosity, and to promote further discoveries. One of these letters is from a native of Nauplia; a town near Argos, in the Morea. The writer says, he had been often at Athens, and that it still contained things worthy to be seen; some of which he enumerates, and then subjoins, "but [Page 348] why do I dwell on this place? It is as the skin of an animal which has been long dead."

The walls of Athens, when the city was in its pros­perity with the Piraeus, were twenty-four miles in cir­cumference. In its present state, says the above writer, this city is certainly, by no means inconsider­able, either in extent, or in number of inhabitants. It is placed, by geographers, in fifty-three degrees of longitude. its latitude was found, by Mr. Vernon, an English traveller, to be thirty-eight degrees, and five minutes. It enjoys a fine temperature, and a serene sky. The air is clear and wholesome, though not so delicately soft, as in Ionia. The town stands be­neath the Acropolis, or citadel; not encompassing the rock as formerly, but spreading into the plain. Corsairs infesting it, the avenues were secured; and in 1676, the gates were regularly shut after sun-set. It is now open again, but several of the gateways re­main, and a guard of Turks patrole at midnight.

The houses in this city are mostly mean and strag­gling; many with large areas, or courts, before them. In the lanes, the high walls on each side, which are commonly white-washed, strongly reflect the heat of the sun. The streets are very irregular; and anciently were neither uniform, nor handsome. They have water conveyed, in channels, from mount [Page 349] Hymettus; and in the Bazar. or market-place, is a large fountain. The Turks have several mosques, and public baths. The Greeks have convents for men and women, with many churches, in which ser­vice is regularly performed; and, besides these, they have numerous oratories, or chapels; some in ruins, or consisting of bare walls, frequented only on the anniversaries of the saints, to whom they are dedi­cated. A portrait of the owner, on a board, is placed in them on that occasion, and removed when the solemnity of the day is over.

Besides the more stable antiquities, of which we shall give an account in the sequel, many detached pieces are found in the town, by the fountains; in the streets, the walls, the houses and churches. Among these are fragments of sculpture; a marble chair or two, which, probably, belonged to the Gymnasia, or theatres; a sun-dial at the catholicon or cathedral, inscribed with the name of the maker; and, at the archiepiscopal house, close by, a very curious vessel of marble, used as a cistern to receive water; but once serving, it is likely, as a public standard, or measure. Many columns occur, with some maimed statues and pedestals; several with inscriptions, and almost buried in earth. A custom has prevailed, as at Chios, of fixing in the wall, over the gateways and doors of the houses, carved stones; most of which [Page 350] exhibit the funereal supper. In the courts of the houses lie many round pillars, once placed on the graves of the Athenians; and a great number are still to be seen, applied to the same use, in the Turkish burying grounds, before the Acropolis. These ge­nerally have concise inscriptions, containing the name of the person, and of the town and tribe, to which the deceased belonged. Demetrius, the Phalerean, who en­deavoured to restrain sepulchral luxury, enacted, that no person should have more than one; and that the height should not exceed three cubits. Another spe­cies, which resembles our modern head-stones, is sometimes adorned with sculpture; and has an epitaph in verse. We saw a few mutilated Hermae. There were busts on long quadrangular bases, the heads frequently of brass, invented by the Athenians. At first they were made to represent only Hermes, or Mer­cury, and designed as guardians of the sepulchres, in which they were lodged; but afterwards the houses, streets and porticos of Athens, were adorned with them, and rendered venerable, by a multitude of portraits of illustrious men and women, of heroes, and of gods; and it is related, Hipparchus, son of Pisistratus, erected them in smaller towns, and by the road-side; inscribed with moral apothegms, in elegiac verse; thus making them vehicles of instruction.

[Page 351]The Acropolis, or citadel, which was the city of Cecrops, is still a fortress, with a thick irregular wall, standing on the brink of precipices; and enclosing a large area, about twice as long as broad. Some por­tions of the ancient wall may be discovered, on the outside, particularly at the two extreme angles; and, in many places, it is patched with pieces of columns, and with marbles taken from the ruins. The garri­son consists of a few Turks, who reside there with their families, and are called by the Greeks, Castriani, or soldiers of the castle. These hollow nightly from their station, above the town, to approve their vigi­lance. Their houses overlook the city, plain, and gulph; but the situation is as airy as pleasant; though attended with so many inconveniences, that those who are able, and have the option, prefer living below, when not on duty. The rock is lofty, abrupt and in­accessible, except the front, which is towards Piraeus; and, on that quarter, is a mountainous ridge, within cannon-shot. It is destitute of water fit for drinking, and supplies are daily carried up in earthen jars, on horses and asses, from one of the conduits in the town.

The Acropolis furnished a very ample field to the ancient virtuosi. It was filled with monuments of Athenian glory, and exhibited an amazing display of beauty, opulence and art; each contending, as it [Page 352] were, for the superiority. It appeared as one entire offering to the deity; surpassing in excellence, and astonishing in magnificence. Heliodorus, named Pe­riegetes, the guide, had employed on it fifteen books. The curiosities of various kinds, with the pictures, statues, and pieces of sculpture, were so many, and so remarkable, as to supply Polemo Periegetes with matter for four volumes; and Strabo affirms, that as many would be required in treating of other portions of Athens and Attica. In particular, the number of statues was prodigious. Tiberius Nero, who was fond of images, plundered the Acropolis, as well as Del­phi and Olympia; yet Athens, and each of these places, had not fewer remaining in the time of Pliny. Even Pausanias seems here to be distressed by the multiplicity of his subject. But this banquet, as it were, of the understanding, has long since been with­drawn; and is now become like the tale of a vision. The spectator views with concern, the marble ruins, intermixed with mean, flat-roofed cottages, and extant amid rubbish; the sad memorials of a nobler people; which, however, as visible from the sea▪ should have introduced modern Athens to more early notice. They who reported it was only a small village, must have beheld the Acropolis through the wrong end of their telescopes.

[Page 353]When we consider the long series of years which has elapsed, and the variety of fortune which Athens has undergone, we may wonder that any portions of the old city has escaped; and that the scite still fur­nishes an ample fund of curious entertainment.

Atticus is represented by Cicero, as receiving more pleasure, from the recollection of the eminent men it had produced, than from the stately edifices, and works of art, with which it then abounded.

It was the fortune of Athens, whilst flourishing in glory, dominions and revenue, to produce Pericles, a man as distinguished by the vastness of his ideas, as by the correctness of his taste; and as eloquent as splendid. His enemies declaiming against his temples and images, and comparing the city, with its gilding and painting, to a vain woman hung with jewels, he took occasion to shew, it was wisdom to convert the prosperity of a state, sufficiently prepared for war, into a perpetual ornament, by public works, which ex­cited every liberal art, moved every hand, and dis­pensed plenty to the labourer and artificer, to the mariner and merchant; the whole city being at once employed, maintained and beautified by itself. "Think ye, said he, it is much I have expended? Some an­swered, very much. Be mine then, he replied, the [Page 354] whole burthen, and mine the honour, of inscribing the edifices raised for you."

The architects, employed by Pericles, were pos­sessed of consummate skill in their profession; and Phidias was his overseer. The artificers, in the va­rious branches, were emulous to excel the materials, by their workmanship. To grandeur of proportion, were added inimitable form and grace. The vigour of one administration accomplished, what appeared to require, the united efforts of many; yet each fabric was as mature in perfection, as if it had been long finishing. Plutarch affirms, that in his time, the struc­tures of Pericles alone, demonstrated the relations of the ancient power and wealth of Greece, not to be romantic. In their character was an excellence, pe­culiar and unparalleled. Even then they retained all their original beauty. A certain frankness bloomed upon them, and preserved their fame un-injured; as if they possessed a never-fading spirit, and had a soul invincible by age. The remains of some of these edifices, still extant in the Acropolis, cannot be be­held without admiration.

The Acropolis has now, as formerly, only one en­trance, which fronts the Piraeus. The ascent is by traverses, and rude fortifications, furnished with can­non; but without carriages, and neglected. By the [Page 355] second gate is the station of the guard; who sits cross-legged, under cover, much at his ease, smoaking his pipe, or drinking coffee; with his companions about him in like attitudes. Over this gateway is an in­scription, in large characters, on a stone turned upside down, and black from the fires made below. It re­cords the present of a pair of gates.

Farther up are the ruins of the propylea; an edi­fice which graces the entrance into the citadel. This was one of the structures of Pericles. It was com­pleted in five years, at the expence of two thousand talents. It was of marble, of the Doric order, and had five doors, to afford an easy passage to the mul­titude, which resorted on business, or devotion, to the Acropolis.

While this fabric was building, the architect, whose activity equalled his skill, was hurt by a fall, and the physicians despaired of his life; but Minerva, who was propitious to the undertaking, appeared, it was said, to Pericles, and prescribed a remedy; by which he was speedily and easily cured. It was a plant, or herb, growing round about the Acropolis, and called afterwards Parthenium.

The right wing of the propylea was a temple of victory. On the left, and fronting the temple of [Page 356] victory, was a building, decorated with paintings, by Polygnotus; of which an account is given by Pausa­nias. This edifice, as well as the temple, was of the Doric order; the columns fluted, and without bases. Both contributed alike to the uniformity, and gran­deur of the design; and the whole fabric, when fi­nished, was deemed equally magnificent and orna­mental. The interval, between Pericles and Pausa­nias, consists of several centuries. The propylea re­mained entire, in the time of this topographer; and continued, nearly so, to a much later period. It had then a roof of white marble, which was un-surpassed, either in the size of the stones, or in the beauty of their arrangement; and, before each wing, was an equestrian statue.

The propylea, or vestibules, have ceased to be the entrance of the Acropolis; The passage, which was between the columns, is walled up almost to their capital; and above is a battery of cannon.

The temple of victory, standing on an abrupt rock, has the back, and one side, un-incumbered with the modern ramparts. The columns in the front be­ing walled up, you enter it by a breach in the side, within the propylea, or vestibules. It was used by the Turks, as a magazine for powder, until about the year 1656; when a sudden explosion, occasioned by [Page 357] lightning, carried away the roof, with a house erected on it, belonging to the officer who commanded in the Acropolis; whose whole family, except a girl, pe­rished, and it is now abandoned to ruins.

The building opposite to the temple, has served as a foundation, for a square and lofty tower of ordi­nary masonry. The columns of the front of this building are likewise walled up, and the entrance is by a low iron gate in the side. It is now used as a place of confinement for delinquents; but, in 1676, was a powder magazine. In the wall of a rampart, near it, are some pieces of exquisite sculpture; re­presenting the Athenians fighting with the Amazons. In the second century, when Pausanias lived, much of the painting was impaired by age; but some re­mained, and the subjects were chiefly taken from the Trojan story.

Pausanias mentions, with enthusiasm, the astonishing whiteness of the marble, employed in building the propylea; and the immense size of the pieces, some of which were two and twenty feet in length. The height of the five door-ways was the double of their breadth. The central one was twelve feet seven inches wide; the two next eight feet eight inches; and the two smallest, four feet four inches. The por­tico, to which the five door-ways belonged, consisted [Page 358] of a large square room, roofed with slabs of marble, which were laid on two great marble beams, and sus­tained by four beautiful columns. The roof of the propylea, after standing above two thousand years, was probably destroyed, with all the pediments, by the Venetians, in 1687; when they battered the castle in front, firing red-hot bullets, and took it; but were compelled to resign it to the Turks, in the following year. The exterior walls, and in particular, a side of the temple of victory, retain many marks of their violence.

The chief ornament of the Acropolis was the par­thenon, or great temple of Minerva, a most superb and magnificent fabric. The Persians had burned the edifice, which before occupied the scite, and was called hecatompedon, from its being an hundred feet square. The zeal of Pericles, and of all the Athe­nians, was exerted, in providing a far more ample, and glorious residence, for their favourite goddess. The architects were Callicrates and Ictinus; and a trea­tise, on the building, was written by the latter, and Carpion.

The statue of Minerva, made for this temple by Phidias, was of ivory, thirty-nine feet high. It was decked with pure gold, to the amount of one hundred and twenty thousand pounds; so disposed, by the ad­vice [Page 359] of Pericles, as to be taken off and weighed, if required. The goddess was represented standing, with her vestment reaching to her feet. Her helmet had a sphinx for the crest, and on the side were grif­fins. The head of Medusa was her breast-plate. In one hand she held her spear, and in the other sup­ported an image of victory, about four cubits high. The battle of the Centaurs and Lapithae were carved on her sandals; and on her shield, which lay at her feet, the war of the gods and giants, and the battle of the Athenians and Amazons. By her spear was a serpent, in allusion to the story of Ericthonius; and, on the pedestal, the birth of Pandora. The sphinx, the victory, and the serpent, were accounted emi­nently wonderful. This image was placed in the tem­ple, in the first year of the eighty-seventh Olympiad, in which the Peloponnesian war began. The gold was stripped off, by the tyrant Lacharez, when Deme­trius Poliorcetes compelled him to fly.

It was observed of Phidias, that, as a statuary, he excelled in forming gods more than men; a short en­comium containing the subject of a panegyric. The Minerva of Athens, with a statue he made afterwards of Jupiter, at Olympia, raised him far above com­petition in ivory. Such an artist deserved to be ge­nerously treated; but Phidias had enemies, as well as his patron. He had inserted, in the shield of Mi­nerva, [Page 360] a beautiful figure of Pericles, without his knowledge, fighting with an amazon, the face partly concealed; a hand, with a spear extended before it, seeming designed to prevent the likeness from being perceived Much envy and obloquy followed, when that with our image was detected. Phidias was re­presented as an old man, and bald, but with a pon­derous stone uplifted in his hands; and this figure ce­menting, as it were, the whole work, could not be re­moved without its falling in pieces. He was accused of having embezzled some ivory, by charging more for the scales of the serpent than had been consumed. He fled to Elis, and was killed by the people, to secure their Jupiter from a rival.

Minerva preserved her station in the Acropolis, during all the revolutions of the Athenian govern­ment; till the extirpation of gentilism by Alaric. and his Goths. The potent and revered idol of Minerva then; it is likely, submitted to the common plunderer of the Grecian cities; who levelled all their images, without distinction alike regardless whether they were heaven descended, or the works of Phidias.

The Parthenon remained entire for many ages, after it was deprived of the goddess. The Christians con­verted it into a church, and the Mahometans into a mosque. It is mentioned in the letters of Crusius, [Page 361] and mis-called the Pantheon, and the temple of the un­known god. The Venetians, under Koningsmark, when they besieged the Acropolis, in 1687, threw a bomb, which demolished the roof; and, setting fire to some powder, did much damage to the fabric. The floor, which is indented, still witnesses the place of its fall. This was the sad fore-runner of farther destruction; the Turks breaking the stones, and applying them to the building of a new mosque, which stands within the ruin; or to the repairing of their houses, and the walls of the fortress. The vast pile of ponderous materials, which lay ready, is greatly diminished; and the whole structure will gradually be consumed, and dis-appear.

The temple of Minerva, in 1676, was, as Wheeler and Spon assert, the finest mosque in the world, with­out comparison. The Greeks had adapted this fabric to their ceremonial, by constructing, at one end, a semi-circular recess for the holy tables, with a win­dow; for, before, it was enlightened only by the door, obscurity being preferred, under the heathen ritual, except on festivals, when it yielded to splendid illu­minations. In the wall, beneath the window, were inserted two pieces of the stone called Phengites; a a species of marble, discovered in Cappadocia, in the time of Nero; and so transparent, that he erected with it a temple to Fortune; which was luminous [Page 362] within, when the door was shut. These pieces were perforated, and the light which entered, was tinged with a reddish, or yellowish hue. The picture of the Panagia, or Virgin Mary, in Mosaic, on the ceiling of the recess, remained; with two jasper columns belonging to the skreen; and within, a canopy sup­ported by four pillars of porphyry, under which the table had been placed; and behind it, beneath the window, a marble chair for the archbishop, and also a pulpit, standing on four small pillars, in the middle aisle. The Turks had white-washed the walls, to ob­literate the portraits of saints, and other paintings, with which the Greeks decorate their places of wor­ship; and had erected a pulpit on their right hand, for their Iman, or reader.

The fabric, which is built of most beautiful white marble, is in the form of a parallellogram, extending from East to West. Its length is two hundred and twenty-one feet, and the breadth ninety-four. The colonades which surround the building are forty-six in number. Their diameter is five feet eight inches, and their height thirty-two. The distance between each column is seven feet four inches. Eight columns are in front, as many behind, and fifteen on each side; to which, if the four corner ones be added, there are seventeen on each side; they are of the


[Page 363] Doric order, fluted, and without bases, and adorned with admirable sculpture.

It is not easy to conceive a more striking object than the Parthenon; though now a mere ruin. The columns within the naos have all been removed; but on the floor may be seen the circles which directed the work­men in placing them. The recess erected by the Christians is demolished, and from the rubbish of the ceiling the Turkish boys collect bits of the Mosaic, of different colours, which composed the picture. This substance has been found susceptible of a polish, and is set in buckles. On the walls are some traces of the paintings.

The travellers to whom we are indebted for an ac­count of the mosque, have likewise given a descrip­tion of the sculpture then remaining in the front. In the middle of the pediment was seen a bearded Ju­piter, with a majestic countenance, standing, and naked; the right arm broken. The thunder-bolt it has been supposed was placed in that hand, and the eagle between his feet. On his right was a figure, it was conjectured of victory, clothed to the mid-leg; the head and arms gone. This was leaning on the horses of a car, in which Minerva sat, young and unarmed; her head-dress, instead of a helmet, re­sembling that of Venus. The generous ardour and [Page 364] lively spirit, visible in this pair of celestial steeds, was such as bespoke the hand of a master bold and deli­cate, of a Phidias, or Praxiteles. Behind Minerva was a female figure without a head, sitting with an infant in her lap. On the left side of Jupiter were five or six other trunks to complete the assembly of deities, into which he received her. These figures were all wonderfully carved, and appeared as big as life. The rest of the statues are defaced, removed, or fallen. In the other pediment is a head or two of sea-horses, finely executed, with some mutilated figures.

It is to be regretted that so much admirable sculp­ture, as is still extant about this fabric, should be all likely to perish, as it were immaturely, from igno­rant [...]empt and brutal violence. Numerous carved stones have disappeared; and many lying in the ruinous heaps, moved our indignation at the barbarism daily exercised in defacing them Besides, the two pediments, all the metopes were decorated with large figures in alto relievo, several of which are almost entire. These are exceedingly striking, espe­cially when viewed with a due proportion of light and shade. Their subject is the same as was chosen for the sandals of Minerva, or the battle of the Cen­taurs and Lapithae. On the freeze of the cell, was carved in basso relievo, the solemnity of a sacrifice to [Page 365] Minerva, and of this one hundred and seventy feet are standing, the greater part in good preservation; containing a procession on horseback. On two stones which have fallen, are oxen led as victims. On another, fourteen feet long, are the virgins, called Canephori, which assisted at the rites, bearing the sacred canisters on their heads, and in their hands, each a taper; with other figures, one a venerable person, with a beard, reading in a large volume, which is partly supported by a boy. We purchased two fine fragments of the freeze, which we found in­serted over door-ways in the town; and were pre­sented with a beautiful trunk, which had fallen from the metopes, and lay neglected in the garden of a Turk.

On the north side of the Parthenon, is a cluster of ruins, containing the erectheum, and the temple of Pandrosos, daughter of Cecrops.

Neptune and Minerva, once rival deities, were joint and amicable tenants of the erectheum. The building was double, a partition-wall dividing it, which fronted different ways. One was the temple of Neptunus Erectheus, the other of Minerva Polias.

The ruin of the erectheum, is of white marble, the architectural ornaments of very exquisite work­manship, [Page 366] and uncommonly curious. The columns of the front of the temple of Neptune are standing with the architrave, and also the skreen and portico of Minerva Polias, with a portion of the cell retain­ing traces of the partition-wall. The order is Ionic. An edifice revered by ancient Attica, as holy in the highest degree, was in 1676 the dwelling of a Turkish family; and is now deserted and neglected; but many ponderous stones and much rubbish must be removed before the well and trident would appear. By the portico is a battery, commanding the town, from which the Turks fire, to give notice of the com­mencement of Ramazan, or of their Lent, and of Bairam, or the holy-days, and on other public occasions.

The Pandroseum is a small, but very particular building, of which no satisfactory idea can be com­municated by description. The entablature is sup­ported by women, called Caryatides. Their story is thus related. The Greeks, victorious in the Per­sian war, jointly destroyed Carya, a city of Pelo­ponnesus, which had favoured the common enemy. They cut off the males, and carried into captivity the women, whom they compelled to retain their former dress and ornaments, though in a state of servitude. The architects of those times, to per­petuate the memory of their punishment, represented [Page 367] them, as in this instance, each with a burthen on her head, one hand uplifted to it, and the other hang­ing down by the side. The images were in number six, all looking towards the Parthenon. The four in front, with that next to the Propylea, remain, but mutilated, and their faces besmeared with paint. The soil is risen almost to the top of the basement, on which they are placed. This temple was open, or latticed between the statues; and in it also was a stunted olive-tree, with an altar of Jupiter Herceus standing under it. The Propylea are nearly in a line with the space, dividing it from the Parthenon; which disposition, besides its other effects, occasioned the front, and flank of the latter edifice, to be seen at once by them who approached it from the entrance of the Acropolis.

Besides the statue of Minerva Polias, which was of olive, and that in the Parthenon, the Acropolis possessed a third, which was of brass, and so tall that the point of the spear, and the crest of the hel­met, were visible from Sunium. It was an offering made with a tenth of the spoils taken at Marathon, and dedicated to the goddess. The artist was Phidias. It remained to the time of Arcadius and Honorius; and Minerva, it was said, appeared to Alaric, as re­presented in this image. There were likewise some images of her, which escaped the flames when Xerxes [Page 368] set fire to the Acropolis. These in the second cen­tury were entire, but unusually black, and moulder­ing with age.

The hill of the Acropolis, on the side towards mount Hymettus, is indented near the end with the site of the theatre of Bacchus. This was a very ca­pacious edifice, near the most ancient temple of Bacchus, and adorned with images of the tragic and comic poets. Some stone-work remains at the two extremities, but the area is ploughed, and produces grain. The Athenians invented both the drama and the theatre; the latter originally a temporary structure of wood; but while a play of Aeschilus was acting, the scaffolds fell; and it was then resolved to provide a solid and durable edifice. The slope of the hill, on which perhaps the spectators had been accustomed to assemble, was chosen for the building; and the seats were disposed in rows, rising one above another, each resting on the rock as its foundation.


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