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J.C.1713.- the feraskier of Bender, he asks a thousand Heg. 1125.
purses more, and refuses to depart, under pre« tence that the escort is too small, whereas, in “ fact, it is but too large to pass through the country
of a friend. “ I ask you then, whether it be a violation of " the laws of hospitality to send back this prince? " and whether foreign powers ought to accuse
ine of cruelty and injustice, in case I should be obliged to compel him to depart??'
. All the members of the divan answered, that such a conduct would be consistent with the strictest rules of justice.
? The mufti declared, that Mussulmen were not bound to shew any hospitality to infidels, and much less, to the ungrateful; and he gave his fetfa, a kind of mandate which commonly accompanies the important orders of the grand seignior. These fetfas are revered as oracles, though the persons by whom they are given are as much Naves to the sultan as any others.
The order and the fetfa were carried to Bender by the bouyouk imraour, grand master of the horse, and a chiau pachi, first usher. The bashaw of Bender received the order at the lodgings of the khan of Tartary, from whence he immediately repaired to Varnitza, to ask the king whether he would depart in a friendly manner, or lay hiin under the necessity of executing the sultan's orders.
Charles XII.-being thus menaced, could not 1.C. 1713;
Heg. 1125 restrain his passion. Obey thy master if thou
His rage. « dare," says he to the bathaw, “ and leave my “presence immediately." The bashaw, fired with indignation, returned at full gallop, contrary to the common custom of the Turks; and meeting Fabricius by the way, he called out to him, without halting: “ The king will not listen to reasi son; thou wilt see strange things presently." The same day he discontinued the supply of the king's provision's, and removed the guard of janiffaries. He caused intimation to be made to the Poles and Coffacks at Varnitza, that if they had a mind to have any provisions, they must quit the king of Sweden's camp, repair to Bender, and put themselves under the protection of the Porte. These orders were readily obeyed by all, and the king was left without any other attendants than the officers of his houshold aad three hundred Swedish soldiers, to make head against twenty thousand Tartars, and fix thousand Turks.
There was now no provision in the camp, either for man or horse. The king ordered twenty of the fine Arabian horses, which had been sent him by the grand seignior, to be shot without the camp, adding: “I will have none " of their provisions nor their horses." This was an excellent feast to the Tartars, who, as all the world knows, think horse flesh delicious fare. Meanwhile the Turks and Tartars invested the king's little camp on all sides.
a few ser.
< Charles, without the least discomposure, orHeg.1125. wdered his three hundred Swedes' to raise regular He resolves, with
intrenchments, in which work he himself affisted;
as did likewise his chancellor, his treasurer, his vants, to fight an
secretaries, his valets de chambre, and all his fervants. Some barricaded the windows, and others fastened beams behind the doors, in the form of buttreffes.
After the house was sufficiently barricaded, and the king had ridden round his pretended fortifications, he sat down to chesș with his favorite Grothufen, with as much tranquility as if every thing had been perfectly safe and secure. Happily Mr. Fabricius, the envoy of Holstein, did not lodge at Varnitza, but at a small village between that and Bender, where Mr. Jeffreys, the English envoy to the king of Sweden, likewise resided. These two minifters, seeing the storm ready to burst, undertook the office of mediators between the king and the Turks. The kban, and especially the balhaw of Bender, who had no inclination to offer any violence to the Swedish monarch, received the offers of these two ministers with great satisfaction. They had two conferences at Bender, in which the usher of the feraglio, and the grand master of the horse, who had brought the sultan's order and the mufti's fetfa, affifted.
Mr. Fabricius* declared to them, that his Swedish majesty had good reason to believe that
they * The whole of this account is related by Mr. Fabricius in his letters. VOLTAIRE.
they designed to deliver him up to his enemies J.C. 1713.
Heg. 1125 in Poland. The khan, the bashaw, and all the reft, swore by their heads and called God to witness, that they detested such a horrible piece of treachery; and that they would shed the last drop of their blood, rather than suffer even the least disrespect to be shewn to the king in Poland; adding, that they had in their hands the Russian and Polish ambassadors, whose lives should be answerable for any affront that should be offered to the king of Sweden. In fine, they complained bitterly that the king should entertain such in. jurious suspicions of those who had received and treated him with so much humanity and politeness.
Though oaths are frequently the language of treachery, Fabricius could not help being convinced' of their fincerity. He thought he could discern in their protestations such an air of veracicy as fallhood can, at best, but imperfectly imi
He was sensible there had been a secret correspondence between the khan of Tartary and Augustus; but he was firmly persuaded that the only end of their negotiation was to oblige Charles XII. to quit the dominions of the grand seignior.' Whether Fabricius was deceived or not, he assured them he would represent to the king, the injustice of his suspicions. “But,” adds he, “ do you intend to compel him to depart?” “Yes," says the bashaw, “ for such are the orders of our « master." He then intreated them to consider
L.C.1713. seriously whether that order implied that they Heg. 1125
should shed the blood of a crowned head, “Yes," replies the khan, in a passion, “ if that crowned “ head disobey the grand seignior in his own « dominions.
• However, every thing being ready for the afsault, the death of Charles XII. seemed inevitable. But as the sultan had not given them positive orders to kill him, in case of resistance, the bashaw prevailed upon the khan to let him dispatch an express to Adrianople, where the grand seignior then resided, to receive the last orders of his highness.
"Mr. Jeffreys and Mr. Fabricius having procured this short respite, hastened to acquaint the king with it. They came with all the eagerness of those who bring good news; but were received very coldly. He called them unfolicited mediators, and still perfifted in the belief that the sultan's orders and the mufti's fetfa were both forged, inasmuch as they had sent to the Porte for fresh orders.
· The English minister retired with a firm resolution to interfere no more in the affairs of a prince so very obstinate and inflexible. Mr. Fabricius, beloved by the king, and more accuftomed to his humour than the English minister, remained with him, and earnestly entreated him not to hazard fo precious a life on such an unnecellary occasion,