Page images
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

IS

L.C.171. army, together with some Poles and Swedes, all Heg.1123.

of whom considered the ruin of the czar as inevitable.

As soon as Poniatowski saw that the armies must infallibly come to an engagement, he sent an express to the king of Sweden, who immediately set out from Bender, accompanied with forty officers, anticipating the mighty pleasure he fhould have in fighting the Ruflian emperor. After inany losses, and several marches in which he suffered severely, the czar was driven back to the Pruth, without any other defence than chevaux de frise and a few waggons. A party of janissaries and spahis attacked his army in this disadvantageous situation ; but their attack was disorderly, and the Russians defended themselves with a firmness and resolution which nothing but despair and the presence of their prince could inspire.

"The Turks were twice repulsed. Next day, count Poniatowski advised the grand vizier to starve the Russian army, which, being in want of every thing, would, together with its emperor, be obliged in a day's time to surrender at difcretion.

“The czar has since acknowledged more than once, that, in the whole course of his life, he never felt any thing so exquisitely tormenting as the perturbation of mind in which he passed that night. He revolved in his thoughes all that he had been doing for so many years, to promote

the

the glory and happiness of his country. He re. J.C. 1711.

Heg. 1123. flected that so many great undertakings, which had been always interrupted by wars, were now perhaps going to perish with him, before they were fully accomplished. And he plainly perceived, that he must either be destroyed by famine, or attack about a hundred and eighty thousand men with feeble and dispirited troops, diminished one half in their number, the cavalry almost entirely dismounted, and the infantry exhausted with hunger and fatigue. . He sent for general Czeremetof in the evening, and, without the least hesitation, or even so much as asking any one's advice, ordered him to have every thing in readiness next morning for attacking the Turks with fixed bayonets.

"He likewise gave express orders that all the baggage should be burnt, and that no officer should keep above one waggon; that fo, in case of a defeat, the enemy might not obtain the booty they expected.

* Having settled every thing with the general relating to the battle, he retired to his tent, oppressed with grief and racked with convulsions, a disease which often attacked him, and always recurred with redoubled violence when he was under any perturbation of mind. He gave peremptory orders, that no one should presume, under any pretext whatsoever, to enter his tent in the night; not choosing to receive any remon: strances against a resolution which, however der

perate,

J.C. 1711. peraté, was absolutely necesfary, and still lefs Heg.1123. P

that any one fhould be a witness of the melancholy condition in which he was. :D

Meanwhile the greatest part of the baggage was burnt, according to his orders. All the army followed the example, though with much reluctance; and feveral buried their most valuable effects in the earth. The general officers were already giving orders for the march, and endeavouring to inspire the army with that courage which themselves did not possess. The foldiers, exhausted with hunger and fatigue, advanced without spirit and without hope. The 'women, with which the army was but too much crowded, fet up the most lamentable shrieks and cries, which contributed ftill' more to enervate the men; and next morning every one expected death or slavery as the only alternative. This picture is by no means exaggerated: it is exactly agreeable to the accounts that were given by some officers that served in the army.

• The celebrated empress Catharine had followed her husband to Pruth camp. She held a council with the general officers and the vicechancellor Schaffirof, whilst the czar' was in his tent. The result of their deliberations was, that they inust necessarily sue for a peace to the Turks, and endeavour to persuade the czar to agree to such a measure. The vice-chancellor wrote a letter to the grand vizier in his master's name. This letter the czarina carried to the emperor's

tent,

m

ΓΟ

tent, notwithstanding his prohibition; and hav- 1.C.1713 ing with tears and entreaties prevailed upon him to sign it, the instantly collected all her jewels, money, and most valuable effects, together with what money she could borrow from the general officers, and having by these means made up a considerable present, she sent it, with the czar's letter, to Osman aga, lieutenant to the grand vizier. Mehemet Baltagi replied, with the lofty air of a vizier and a vanquilher: “Let the czar send me his prime ininister, and I shall then consider “ what is to be done.” The vice-chancellor Schaffirof immediately repaired to the Turkish camp with some presents, which he publicly offered to the grand vizier, fufficiently considerable to shew him that they stood in need of his clemency, but too inconsiderable to corrupt his integrity.

*The vizier at first demanded, that the czar, with his whole army, should surrender at difcretion. The vice-chancellor replied, that his master was going to attack him in a quarter of an hour, and that the Russians would perish to a man, rather than submit to such dishonorable conditions. Schaffirof's application was strongly seconded by the remonftrances of Osman.

Mehemet Baltagi was no warrior: he saw that the janissaries had been repulsed the day before ; so that Olinan easily prevailed upon him not to risk such certain advantages upon the fate of a battle. He accordingly granted a fufpenfion of

VOL. IV.

arms

Heg.1123

the czar: Charles loses all hopes.

J.C. 1711. arms for fix hours, in which time the terms of the

treaty might be fully settled. Tribe vizier • During the parley, there happened a trifling

ar: incident, which plainly shews that the Turks lofes all often keep their word with a more scrupulous

exactness than we imagine. Two Italian gentlemen, relations of lieutenant-colonel Brillo of a regiment of grenadiers in the czar's service, have ing gone to some distance in quest of forage, were taken prisoners by some Tartars, who brought them to the camp, and offered to sell them to an officer of the janissaries. The Turk, enraged at their presumption, in having thus violated the truce, arrested the Tartars, and carried them himself before the grand vizier, together with the cwo prisoners. The vizier lent back the two gentlemen to the czar's camp, and ordered the two Tartars who had been chiefly concerned in carrying them off to be beheaded.

However, the khan of Tartary opposed the conclusion of the treaty, which would deprive him of all hopes of plunder; and Poniatowski seconded the khan with the strongest arguments. But Osman carried his point against the importunity of the Tartar, and the insinuations of Poniatowski.

'The vizier thought, that by concluding an advantageous peace, he should sufficiently con

alt the honor and interest of his master. He insisted that the Russians shoald restore Asoph, burn the galleys which lay in that harbour, de

inolish

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »