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L.C.1716 · Whilft Charles XII. made his fate depend

upon the caprice of viziers, and whilst he was
alternately receiving favors and affronts from a
foreign power, presenting petitions to the sul-
tan, and fubfifting upon his bounty in a defert,
all his enemies, awaked from their former le-
thargy, invaded his dominions;, and Stanislaus,
king of Poland, whom he had so powerfully pro-
tected, yielded up the throne to his competitor
Frederick Auguftus, elector of Saxony.

- The grand vizier Kiuperli, who opposed all the designs of Charles XII. was dismissed from his office, after having filled it two months. The king of Sweden's little court, and those who still adhered to him in Poland, gave out that, Charles made and unmade the viziers, and governed the Turkish empire from his retreat at Bender; but he had no hand in the disgrace of that favorite. The vizier's rigid probity was said to have been the sole cause of his fall. His predeceffor had paid the janiffaries, not out of the imperial treasury, but with the money which he procured by extortion. Kiuperli paid them out of the treasury. Achmet reproached him with preferring the interests of the subject to that of the emperor : « Thy predecessor Chourlouli,” said he, “ well knew how to find other means of “ paying my troops." “ If,” replied Kiuperli, " he had the art of enriching thy highness by «s rapine, it is an art which I glory in being "ignorant of.”


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Heg. 1122

"The profound fecrecy that prevails in the J.C. 1710. seraglio seldom allows such particulars to tranfm pire to the public; but this fact was published along with Kiuperli's disgrace. The vizier's boldness did not cost him his head, because true virtue is sometimes respected, even while it difpleases. He was permitted to retire to the isle of Negropont. These particulars I learned from the letters of Mr. Brue, my relation, first druggerman to the Ottoman Porte, and I have given them here, in order to display the true spirit of that government. .

After this, the grand feignior recalled from Aleppo baltagi Mehemet, bashaw of Syria, who had already been grand vizier before Chourlouli.* The baltagis of the seraglio, so called from balta, which fignifies an axe, are slaves employed to cut wood for the use of the princes of the Ottoman blood, and the sultaneffes. This vizier had been a baltagi in his youth, and had ever since retained the name of that office, according to the custom of the Turks, who are not ashamed to take the .name of their profession, or of that of their father, or even of the place of their birth.

Whilst Baltagi Mehemet was a valet in the seraglio, he was so happy as to perform fome little


* This was the reputed husband of Sarai. Without doubt this mistress's influence still subfifted. With respect to this woman, there is some triAing difference between Mr. Voltaire's account and mine. I have followed prince Cantimir and several manuscript letters found in the king of France's repofitory of foreign affairs. We hould have extraordinary lights indeed on his, fory, if writers did not differ more, nor on more essential points. AUTNPR.

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J.C.1910. services to prince Achmet, who was then a priHeg. 1122

foner of state in the reign of his brother Mustapha. The princes of the Ottoman blood are allowed to keep for their pleasure a few women who are past the age of child-bearing, but still agreeable enough to please. As soon as Achmet became sultan, he gave one of these female slaves, for whom he had had a great affection, in marriage to Baltagi Mehemet. This woman, by her intrigues, made her husband grand vizier ; another intrigue displaced him; and a third made him grand vizier again.

• When Baltagi Mehemet received the bull of the empire, he found the party of the king of Sweden prevailing in the seraglio. The valid fultanefs, Ali Coumourgi the grand feignior's favorite, the killar aga, chief of the black eunuchs, and the aga of the janiffaries, were all for a war against the czar; the sultan was fixed in the same resolution, and the first order he gave the grand vizier was to go and attack the Russians with two hundred thousand men. Baltagi had never made a campaign ; but he was not an ideot, as the Swedes, who were dissatisfied with his conduct, affected to represent him.' He said to the grand feignior, upon receiving from him a fword set with precious stones : “ Thy highness knows that “I was brought up to handle an axe and cleave « wood, not to wield a sword and command ar. " mies : nevertheless, I will endeavour to serve of thee to the best of my power; but should I “ fail of success remember I have entreated thee

“ before


« before hand not to impute the blame to me.” J.C. 1710.

• Heg.1122 The fultan assured him that he might depend an upon his friendship, and the vizier prepared to carry his orders into execution.'

- The first step of the Ottoman Porte was to J.C.1917. imprison the Russian ambassador in the castle of Heg.1123. the Seven Towers. It is the custom of the Turks to begin by arresting the ministers of those princes against whom they declare war. Strict observers of hospitality in every thing else, in this they violate the most sacred law of nations. This injurtice, however, they commit under the pretext of equity, believing themselves, or, at least, desirous to make others belive, that they never undertake any but just wars, because they are consecrated by the approbation of their mufti. Upon this principle they take up arms (as they imagine) to chastise the violaters of treaties, and think they have a right to punish the ambassadors of those kings with whom they are at enmity, as being accomplices in the treachery of their masters.

* Add to this the ridiculous contempt they affect to entertain for Christian princes, and their ambassadors, the latter of whom they commonly consider in no other light than as the consuls of merchants.

"The khan of Crim Tartary, received orders to hold himself in readiness with forty thoufand Tartars. This prince is sovereign of Nogai, Budziack, part of Circassia, and all the Crimea, a province anciently known by the


J.C. 1711. name of Taurica Chersonesus, into which the

Greeks carried their arms and commerce, and
founded several powerful cities; and into which,
in after times, the Genoese penetrated, when they
were masters of the trade of Europe. In this
country are to be seen the ruins of some Greek
towns, and some monuments of the Genoese,
which still subsist in the midst of desolation and
.The khan is called emperor by his own sub-
jects; but with this grand citle he is nevertheless
the slave of the Porte. The Ottoman blood, frorn
which the khans are sprung, and the right they
pretend to have to the empire of the Turks, upon
the failure of the grand feignior's race, render
their family respectable, and their persons formi.
dable even to the sultan hinself. 'Tis for this
reason that the grand feignior dares not venture
to destroy the race of the khans of Tartary; tho:
indeed he seldom allows any of these princes to
grow old on the throne. Their conduct is closely
inspected by the neighbouring bashaws: their
dominions are surrounded with janissaries; their
inclinations thwarted by the grand viziers ; and
their designs always suspected. If the Tartars
complain of their khan, the Porte deposes him
under that pretext. If he is too popular, it is
still a higher crime, and he is the sooner punished.
Thus, almost all of them are driven from sove.

reign power into exile, and end their days at .. Rhodes, which is commonly their prison and

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