Page images

1.C.1713. him speak with the greater boldness. The preA tended officer of the janissaries said to Villelongue:

- Christian, be assured that the sultan, my master, " has the foul of an emperor; and that thy king “ of Sweden, if he has reason on his side, shall “ obtain justice.” Villelongue was soon set at liberty; and, in a few weeks after, a sudden change took place in the seraglio, which the Swedes attributed to this conference alone. The mufti was deposed; the khan of the Tartars was banished to Rhodes; and the seraskier bashaw of Bender was confined in one of the isles of the Archipelago.

(The Ottoinan Porte is so subject to these revolutions, that it is hard to say whether the sultan really meant to gratify the king of Sweden by these sacrifices. From the treatment which that prince received, it cannot surely be inferred that the Porte had any great inclination to oblige him. The favorite, Ali Coumourgi, was suspected of having brought about all these changes, in order to serve his own particular views. The khan of the Tartars and the seraskier of Bender were said to have been banished for giving the king of Sweden the twelve hundred purses, in contradiction to the express orders of the grand feignior. Coumourgi raised to the throne of Tartary the brother of the depofed khan, a young man of his own age, who had little regard for his brother, and upon whom the favorite depended greatly in prosecuting the wars he had already planned.

[ocr errors]

With respect to the grand vizier Juffuf, he was 1.C.1713: not deposed 'till some weeks after; and the title of prime minifter was bestowed on Solyman bashaw. Truth obliges me to declare, that Mr. Villelongue and several Swedes assured me, that all these great revolutions at the Porte were entirely owing to the letter which was presented to the sultan in the king's naine; whereas the marquis of Fierville is of a quite contrary opinion. I have sometimes found the like contradictions in such papers as have been submitted to my perusal. In all these cases, it is the duty of a historian honestly to relate the plain matter of fact, without endeavouring to dive into the motives; and to confine himself to the relation of what he does know, instead of indulging his fancy in vague conjectures about what he does not know.

Meanwhile Charles XII. was conducted to the little castle of Demirtash, in the neighbourhood of Adrianople. An innumerable multitude had crowded to this place to see his majesty arrive, who was carried from his chariot to the castle on a sofa ; buc Charles, in order to conceal himself from the view of the populace, put a cushion upon his head.

• The Porte was strongly solicited to allow him to reside at Demotica. Coumourgi said to the grand vizier Solyman: “Go and tell the king “ of Sweden, that he may stay at Demotica all “ his life long, if he pleases; but I will answer « for him, that, in less than a year, he will want

Dd 2


co to

Take care


T.C.1713. “ to be gone of his own accord.

« however, not to give him any money.'

Thus was the king conveyed to the little town of Demotica, where the Porte allotted him a considerable quantity of provisions for himself and his retinue ; but all the money they would grant him was three guineas a day, to buy pork and wine, two kinds of provisions which the Turks never furnish to others. The allowance of fixty guineas a day, which he had enjoyed at Bender, was entirely withdrawn.

· Hardly had he reached Demotica with his little court, when the grand vizier Solyman was deposed, and his place filled by Ibrahim Molla, a man of a high spirit, of great courage, and unpolished manners. It may not be amiss to give a short sketch of his history, that so the reader may be the better acquainted with the characters of all those viceroys of the Ottoman empire upon whom the fortune of Charles so long depended.

"He had been a common failor 'till the accelsailor grand

fion of Achmet III. This emperor frequently disguised himself in the habit of a private man, of a priest, or a dervis, and nipped into the coffee-houses and other public places of Constantinople, to hear what the people said of him, and what were their opinions concerning the affairs of ftate. One day he overheard this Molla complaining that the Turkish ships never took any' prizes, and swearing, that, if he were captain of a fhip, he would never enter the port of Constan


A common


[ocr errors]


tinople without bringing some veffel of the Infidels J.C.1713.

along with him. Next day, the grand feignior
ordered the command of a ship to be given him,
and that he should be sent on a cruize. The new
captain returned in a few days, with a Maltese
bark and a galliot of Genoa. In two years time
he was appointed captain-general of the navy,
and at last grand vizier. As soon as he had at-
tained his new post, he thought he could easily
dispense with the interest of the favorite. In
order to render himself the more necessary, he
formed a scheme for beginning a war against the
Russians; and with this view pitched a tent not far
from the place where the king of Sweden resided.

He invited his Majesty to come and see him,
with the new khan of the Tartars, and the French This failor
ambaffador. The king, whose pride rose with the king to
his misfortunes, considered it as a most intolerable

speak to
affront for a subject to send him an invitation. him.
He ordered his chancellor Mullern to go in his
place; and, left the Turks should not pay him Charles,

that respect which was due to his royal person, or health,
oblige him to condescend to any thing beneath bed ten
his dignity, Charles, who was ever in extremes,
took to his bed, which he resolved not to leave
during his abode at Demotica. This resolution
he kept for ten months, under pretence of sick-
ness; chancellor Mullern, Grothusen, and colonel
Dubens, being the only persons that were ad.
mitted to his table. They had none of the con-
veniencies with which the Franks are usually

provided :

sends to

come and


1.C. 1713. providea: all these they had lost at Bender ;
a consequently it could not be expected that their

meals were served with much pomp or elegance.
In effect, they were obliged to serve themselves;
and during the whole time, chancellor Mullern
was cook in ordinary.

Whilft Charles XII. was thus passing his time

in bed, he received the disagreeable news of the 1.C. 1714. desolation of all his provinces that lay without Heg.1126.

the limits of Sweden.

'Pomerania, all but Stralsund, the isle of Rugen, and some neighbouring places, being left defenceless, became a prey to the allies, and fell into the hands of the king of Pruflia. Bremen was filled with Danish garrisons. At the same time the Russians over-ran Finland, and beat the Swedes, who, being now dispersed, and inferior in point of number, began to lose that superiority over their enemies which they had poffessed at the commencement of the war.

To complete the misfortunes of Sweden, the king resolved to stay at Demotica, and still Alattered himself with the delusive hopes of obtaining affiftance from the Turks, in whom he ought no longer to have reposed any confidence.

• Ibrahim Molla, that bold vizier who had been so obstinately bent on a war with the Rusfians, in opposition to the favorite, was strangled in one of the passages of the seraglio.

• The place of vizier was become so dangerous, that no one would venture to accept of it; and


[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »