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Executi of the
THE OTTOMANS. L.C.1713. which we are going to speak of, there is nothing
= important to be seen in the history of the Turks, Execution but the execution of Brancovan, the deposed princes of prince of Walachia, his wife, and four sons. Walachia.
This unfortunate family had reigned in Walachia for several generations, if it may be called reigning, to govern precariously an enslaved people, under the despotic authority of a monarch, whose ministers assume a superiority too real over princes whom the least dissatisfaction exposes to deposition, to captivity, and often to death itself. Brancovan had commanded the Walachians, whilst the grand vizier Baltagi made war against the Russians. The Turks suspected that this prince, who was a Greek Christian, fecretly favored the czar, who was of the same religion, against a master that he hated. They said he had furnished the Russians with provisions, and refused to attack them. He had likewise fent money to the republic of Venice in the last war. Demetrius Cantimir, the new prince of Moldavia, was ordered to arrest this supposed culprit. Cantimir, after having sent the Walachian prince bound hand and foot to Conftantinople, became soon more culpable than he ; for he openly declared himself, as we have seen, for the czar against the Turks, who had just put him on the throne. Brancovan had cwo sons, hostages at the Porte; two others, who were serving in the army, repaired to Conftantinople to assert the innocence of their father. The prisoper's
wife, who was not the mother of these
Heg. 1126. princes, came there likewise foon after. They were all arrested and conducted to the castle of the Seven Towers. Brancovan was reputed to poffefs great treasures. The accusations were multiplied against him : several Walachians came to Conftantinople to accuse the father and children of extortions and cruelties. The immense profits that were hoped to be made by the confiscation, rendered these accusations probable. All these princes were put to cruel tortures, less to wrest from them the confession of their crime, than to know in what place they had hidden the gold which they were accused of having plundered from their subjects. The executioners could get very little information from them as to that. All six were condemned to be beheaded. The mufti had obtained that they should be granted their lives, if they would consent to turn Mussulmen. At first they all remained stedfast in their belief, and appeared at the place of execution with the most noble firmness. The children were executed in presence of their father ; three were beheaded without having shewn the smallest mark of weakness. The last, all covered with the blood of his brothers, proinised to embrace Mahometanism, if they would spare his life. This forced abjuration retarded the execution, but it was of no service.
account being given of it to the sultan, that prince said, he contemned a conversion which had no other motive than the
J.C. 1714. terror of death. He ordered that the new MufHeg.1126. usulman should be executed like his brothers..
The prince their father perished after them, expressing the greatest grief at the weakness of his youngest son. His wife was strangled the last, This hideous spectacle filled with admiration, horror, and pity, all the Christians both Greek and Latin, even the Jews and Mussulmen, who were witnesses of it in great number. The face of these unfortunate princes was compared with indignation with that of Demetrius Cantimir, who had delivered them to the Turks, and who, notwithstanding his being so recently loaded with favors by Achmet, had betrayed his benefactor, and was peaceably enjoying at the court of the czar the fruits of his perfidy.
After the departure of the king of Sweden, Venetian Turkey enjoyed a profound peace; and the Otis resolved on, in or
toman court, which for some years past was becover the come the scene of intrigue, began to languish in
repose. The young grand vizier grew tired of this inaction, which he thought dangerous for his master; for Achmet was not beloved, and the reflections of an idle foldiery on the depredations of the ministers, and on the sanguinary disposition of the sultan, might well produce great troubles. Measures were even taken to prevent some of these combustions, by ftiling in time the sparks that might occasion them; for a bashaw of Damascus, being displeased with the seraskier of Natolia, whose command extended over his go
vernment, had refused to send him the impofts 1.C. 1714
Heg.1126. that he collected in his province, and had opposed with arms the repeated orders of his fuperior. The grand vizier, who repressed this fedition in the commencement by the execution of the bashaw of Damascus and some of his accomplices, saw or pretended to see that the Venetians were the authors of it, that they had sent arms to the balhaw of Damascus, and encouraged his revolt. The real crime of the Venetians was the poffefling of the Morea. Coumourgi hoped to recover it, as the allied powers of that republic were all fatigued with war. The emperor Charles VI. had just concluded the treaty of Rastat with France, and his dominions wanted repose. Neither king Augustus of Poland nor the czar of Moscovy was tempted to take the field. The republic of Venice alone was not a formidable enemy for the Ottoman empire. Coumourgi perswaded his master to endeavour to recover this fine province, the loss of which had been fo mortifying to all the true Muffulmen. Raschid effendi, the annalist of the reign of Achmet, reports, that, as the sultan shewed a repugnancy to break a sworn peace, on such a frivolous pretence, his grand vizier pressed him to consult the mufti, as all good Mussulmen ough to do before they begin any important enterprise. "The chief of the law being called, told the prince, that he should address a fervent prayer to Heaven, then open the Alcoran, and seek the will of the Al
1.C.1714. mighty in the first passage of the sacred book
that should present itself to him. Whether all
making them pay the tribute, as it is juft.
parations of this great expedition hastened. The