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" It has been called a military government, (says Mr. E.') from the nature of its origin, and the means most frequently employed in its administration ; and it has obtained the denomination of a theocracy, because its fundamental code is the Koran. Each of these statements contains something that is erroneous. A military government supposes the dictates of an arbitrary chief, requiring implicit obedience in every inferior, and prescribing a certain and inevitable punishment for neglect or transgression : it excludes all formality and delay, and it is enforced by military power. In theocracies, the will of the leader has not (or pretends not to have) the direction of the state : himself an instrument in the hands of a superior Being, he communicates to the people, at various times and as occasion requires, the commands of the Divinity. The Turkish government bears evident traces of both these systems, derived from the character of its founder; but there are some points of difference which prove it to be sui generis, an heteroclite monster among the various species of despotism. In the Mohammedan system of policy we may trace three æras. The first, which was of that kind usually denominated a theocracy, con. tinued during the lifetime of the prophet himself, who, like Moses and Joshua among the Jews, appeared in the double character of a military chief and an inspired legislator. The second was the govern. ment of the Saracen kalifs, his immediate successors : they bore indeed the double sceptre of temporal and spiritual power; but as they pretended to no personal communications with the Almighty, all the sanctity of their character consisted in being the descendants of the prophet, and the guardians and expositors of his law. The present Turkish constitution forms the third gradation : like the preceding, it has an inviolable code in the sacred volume of its religion ; like them also its reliance is on the power of the sword, and the modes of its administration are military ; but it has a great essential difference in the separation of the temporal and spiritual authorities. This division of power originated in the political er ror of the Otto. man prince, who, eager only for military glory, and perhaps wish. ing to cast a specious veil over their usurpation, when they finally suppressed the kalifat, did not assume to themselves all its functions, but resigned into the hands of the theological lawyers the spiritual supremacy. No despotism was ever more profoundly politic than that, which, wielding at once the temporal and spiritual sword, converted fanaticism itself into an instrument of sovereignty, and united in one person the voice and the arm of the Divinity. [P.18-20.]
The author then proceeds to shew the various alterations that have taken place in this administration, on the declension of the power of the Kalifs and the military spirit of the Sultans, and on the formation of the grand council which constituted a distinct political power. As in Russia, where a Mentshikoff, from selling pies at the corner of a street, became prime minister under Peter the Great, and prince of the holy Roman empire; and more lately a Potemkin, who from a poor singingboy, and afterward a subaltern in the army, became absolute
from sellinger Peter tely a Potem in the ato
in the administration of the government, and also a prince of Germany; so we find that, in Turkey, chief ministers are seen to rise from the meanest stations. The vizir Yusef, who com. manded in 1790 against the emperor, was raised by Gazi Hassan from a state of the merest indigence. He sold soap in a basket on his head in the streets before he became the servant of Hassan, who afteward made him successively clerk in the treasury of the arsenal, his own agent at the Porte, Pasha of the Morea, and, lastly, Grand Vizir.
Injustice, Mr. E. tells us, is the prominent feature in the character of their tribunals, and every day's experience confirms the censure of M. de Tott, by repeated instances of corruption. The dexterity of the Turkish Kadis, or judges, in deciding in favour of those who have paid them, is often very ingenious; many pleasant stories are told of them; and it is generally a sort of subject for a kind of comedians who act in coifee.houses or in private houses, but without dress or scenery; one of them performing the part of a Kadi, and two others personating the plaintiff and defendant.
• An Arab 'who had lent his camel for hire to a man bound for Damascus, complained to a Kadi on the road, that he had overloaded his camel : the other bribed the Kadi. "What has he loaded it with? asks the Kadi;--the Arab answers, 5 with cahué (coffee) and mahué,' i. e. coffee et cetera, [changing the first letter into m makes a kind of gibberish word which signifies et cetera,] sugar and mugar, pots and mots, sacks and macks, Sc. going through every article with which the camel was loaded; he has loaded it twice as muchas he ought.'-"Then, said the Kadi, • let him load the cahué and leave the mahué, the sugar and leave the mugar, the pots and leave the mots, the sacks and leave the macks, and so on to the end of all the articles en. amerated; and as the poor Arab had told every article, and only added el cetera, according to the Arab custom, without there being any Ec. he took up the same loading he had before.'
The second chapter treats of the Turkish finances; and the third, of the Turkish military force. On the subject of their religion, (Chap. iv.) our author says:
The most striking, as well as the most disgusting feature of Turkish manners, is that haughty conceit of superiority, arising froin the most narrow and intolerant bigotry. There have been but too many instances in history, of nations, who, having proudly arrogated to themselves the title of favourites of the Almighty, have on that account exercised an insolent disdain toward all who were without the pale of their religion. In no instance, however, has this folly ap. peared more disgustingly conspicuous than in the Turkish nation: it inarks the public and the private character; it appears in the solemnity of their legal acts, in the ceremonies of the court, and in the coarse "rusticity of vulgar manners.-If we listen to the dictates of . their law, dictates which ought to have been conceived with
. caution and uttered with calmness, we hear nothing but the accents of intolerance breathed forth with all the insolence of despotism.
Every subject who is not of the Mohammedan religion is allowed only the cruel alternative of death or tribute. The very words of the formulary given to their Christian subjects on ping the capi. tation tax, import, that the sum of money received is taken as a compensation for being rmitted to wear their hearts that year.,
• The insulting diftinction of Christian and Mohan medan is carried to so great a length, that even the minutiæ of dress are rendered subjects of restriction. A Christian must wear only cloaths and headdresses of dark colours, and such as Turks never wear, with slippers of black leather, and inust paint his house black, or dark brown. The least violation of these frivolous and disgusting regulations is punished with death. Nor is it at all uncommon for a Christian to have his head struck off in the street, for indulging in a little more foppery · of dress than the Sultan or Vizir, whom he may meet incognito, approves *.
If a Christian strikes a Molammedan, he is most commonly put to death on the spot, or, at least, ruined by fines, and severely bastinadoed ; if he strikes, though by accident, a sheriff, (or emir, as they are called in Turkish; i. c. a descendant of Mohammed, who wear green turbans,) of which there are thousands in some cities, it is death without reinission.
• The testimony of Christians is little regarded in courts of justice: at best, two testimonies are but considered as one, and are even overborne by that of a single Mohammedan, if reputed at all an honest man.
• The Christians can build no new church, and not without great. sums obtain a licence even to repair old ones. If a Mohammedan kills a Christian he is generally only fined.
• Sultan Mustafa, father of Selim, the present Grand Signior, when he mounted the throne, proposed to put to death all the Christians in the whole empire ; and was with difficulty dissuaded from doing it, on the ground of the loss of capitation. This prince, however, in the course of his reign, appeared to be actuated by a love of the strictest justice. What must that religion and those principles be, which could induce a just, at least a well-intentioned man, to massacre whole provinces of defenceless subjects!'
Mr. Eton must surely be aware that this conclusion is not universally true against any religion. What horrors have we not seen committed by princes, whom we must suppose to have been well-intentioned, professing the most benign religion that was ever adopted by man? We suspect also that the anecdote which he mentions is not deserving of credit.
During the wars betw'cen the Russians and the Turks, we remember to have frequently seen in the newspapers uncertain
* Mr.Eton should have excepted all Christians under the protection of ambassadors, or his statement is vague. Rev.
mention made of some fatal prophecy of antierit date, portend. ing the downfall of the Turkish empire, as having intimidating effects on the populace on every reverse of fortune. The following.paragraph throws light on this point:
" The enervation of mind, so common among the Turks, makes them at once superstitious, and disinclined to bear up against the evil which advances with giant stridts against their state. In the moment of popular apprehension, prodigies and predictions are easily forged; to these the credulous Turks eagerly listen : the lower orders are at the present day persuaded that the Russian standard will enter Constantinople through a certain gate, said to be pointed out by an antient prophecy; and the great men are so far from opposing this weakness by superior energy, that they look to the Asiatic shore as a secure retreat from the fury of the conquerors.'
We cannot resist the inclination of extracting, for the entertainment of our readers, the account given by Mr. E. of the opinions received, not only by the Turkish populace, but even by the pretended literati, in various branches of knowlege.'
• ASTRONOMY.] From the Mufti to the peasant it is generally believed, that there are seven heavens, from which the earth is immorably suspended by a large chain : that the sun is an immense ball of fire, at least as big as a whole Ottoman province, formed for the sole purpose of giving light and heat to the earth: that eclipses of the moon are occasioned by a great dragon attempting to devour that luminary: that the fixed stars hang by chains from the highest
heaven, &c. These absurdities are in part supported by the testi• mony of the Koran; and the astronomers, as they are called, them
selves all pretend to astrology, a profession so much esteemed, that an astrologer is kept in the pay of the court, as well as of most great men. 1 GEOGRAPHY.] Of the relative situation of countries they are ridiculously ignorant, and all their accounts of foreign nations are mixed with superstitious fables.
• Before the Russian fleet came into the Mediterranean, the mini. sters of the Porte would not believe it possible for them to approach Constantinople but from the Black Sea. The captain pasha [great admiral] affirmed that their feet might come by the way of Venice. From this and a thousand similar and authentic anecdotes, their ig. norance of the situation of countries is evident; and as to the stories which they universally believe, they are such as the following: that India is a country far distant, where there are diamonds, fine muslins, and other stuffs, and great riches; but that the people are little known; that they are mostly Mohammedans, but do not acknowlege the Kalifat of their Sultan ; that the Persians are a very wicked people, and will be all damned, and changed into asses in hell, and that the Jews will ride on them; that the European nations are all wicked infidels, knowing an art of war, which is sometimes dangerous, but will all be conquered in time, and reduced to the obedience of the Sultan; that their women and children ought to be carried into captivity, that no faith is to be kept with them, and that
they ought all to be massacred, which is highly meritorious, if they refuse to become Mohammedans : yet they have among them a prophecy, that the fons of yellowness, which they interpret to be the Russians, are to take Constantinople ; that the English are powerful by sea, and the French and Germans by land ; that the Russians are the most powerful, and they call them the great infidels ; but they are acquainted with no details of these countries.
TANTIENT History.] They have heard of an Alexander, who was the greatest monarch and conqueror, and the greatest hero in the world. The Sultaps often compare themselves to him in their writings. Sultan Mohammed IV., in his letter to the Russian Tzar Alexius Michailovitch, calls himself “ Master of all the universe, and equal in power to Alexander the Great." They talk of him always as the model of heroism to be imitated, but they know not who he was. Solomon, they say, was the wisest man, and the greatest magician that ever existed. Palmyra and Balbek, they say, were built by spirits at the command of Solomon.
Poetry and GenerAL LITERATURE.] They have a few poets, as they are called, whose compositions are mostly little songs and ballads; but in these as well as their prose writings, they differ widely from the simplicity of the Arabs, as they abound with false conceits : and the language is a barbarous mixture of the Turkish with Persian and Arabic, not unlike that “ Babylonish dialect” of our Puritans, which Butler compares to “ fustian cut on sattin.”-- - This will best be demonstrated by an example: supposing the Latin to be Arabic, and the Persian French, a Turkish Mufti or doctor would write, if English were his language, in the following manner: . .
“ I do not love deplorare vitam, as many, and ii docti, sæpe fecerunt; nor do I repent that I have lived at all, because I have ainsi vecu, as not frustra me natum existimem : I do not assert that tædium vitæ proceeds more from want of steadiness in our true religion, than from atra bilis. If a man destroys himself, he is either insanus, and a holy fool, or one possessed demonis, or he is un athée—an infidel, or a Frank. Pray Deum that he may preserve you against those who blow on nodos funum, and whisper in the ear.”
LANGUAGE OF A TURKISH Poet:] “ The eyes of l'abbreuveuse inebriate me more than le vin, and fes fleches penetrate la moële de mes os quicker than those from the bow." - This is the first couplet of a song in pure Arabic (composed by an Arabian) which I have thus written, to shew how'a Türk would express the same sentiment with respect to the language: the genuine Turkish compositions are ridiculously hyperbolical.
• It must be observed, that very few of those, who lard their writings or discourses with Arabic or Persian phrases, are much acquainted with those languages : but they have learnt the phrases and terminations most in use, and know the meaning of a sentence, without understanding each word separately, or having much idea of the grammar,
* She who pours out the wine.