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to 1721• Heg 1131,

peace, by lowering the nation in the eyes of its 1.C. 1718.

Heg. 1130 enemies and neighbours, would only produce wars still more bloody. The treaty of Palfaro.. witz began to raise a contempt for the reign of Achmet.

A fresh misfortune, which happened at Con- j.C.1719, stantinople soon after, increased the discontent. A fire broke out in the Jews' quarter. By a law to 1134both weak and injurious, the Christians are for- at Conftan.

tinople. bidden to endeavour to extinguish fires that break out in the houses which they inhabit. Some men, appointed for that purpose, repaired thither very fowly, because, they said, it was only the houses and property of Giaurs that were burning. In about two hours, the wind, having risen all of a sudden, the fames raged with so inuch fury, that, in less than two days, a quarter of Constantinople was consumed, notwithstanding che too tardy efforts of the Turks, who were well punished for their inhumanity. This misfortune having reduced a great number of artisans, tradesmen, and even rich citizens, to the greatest misery, these people surrounded the seraglio for several days, to folicic the sultan for succours, which the state of so many unhappy persons rendered indispensable; but Achmet, quiet in his haram, enjoyed the fight of his vases full of gold, which were multiplying every day, without thinking of the evils which the mise:y of his people might accumulate over his head. These commotions, in which neither foldiers nor effendis

appeared,

to 1134.

vizier is

in admini

tice.

J.C.1719, appeared, had no other consequences, for the preHeg, 1131, fent, than to make these unhappy persons thow roughly dillike the emperor in their hearts. But

this was the first cause of the fall of Achmet, who was incapable of perceiving that a monarch, and particularly a despotic one, risks every thing when he draws on himself the hatred of his

subjects. The grand

The grand vizier Ibrahim wanted neither good employed intentions, nor even designs. If he had not been ftering jul- restrained by the avidity and caprices of his mar

ter, he might have governed well. In the midst of peace, he paid great attention to the adminiftration of justice. But, as there is no other written law in Turkey than that of the Alcoran, and the catcherifs of the fultans are never directed but to particular objects, the greatest, and almost only service which the ministers can do in this respect is to choose wise and upright cadis, who follow exactly the light of their reason and the impulse of their heart. Ibrahim was exasperated at the number of false witnesses, of whom he thought himself fure, but of which he could not get proof. This crime is of great consequence in Turkey, as almost every thing is decided by the hearing of witnesses. The grand vizier refolved, if he could not prevent these abuses, at Jeast to fright the culprits by examples. He prevailed on several men, who were devoted to him, co bring fome imaginary causes before the divan, for which it was necessary to suborn witnesses.

These

to 1721.

to 1134•

nefles.

These pretended litigants applied to those who J.C.1719, made a profession of selling their testimony, and Heg.1131, who had several times affirmed in the divan what they were supposed to have never had any knowledge of. More than fifty of these wretches at. Punishtested at hazard, in the same morning, what they falfe wit had been charged to certify, without suspecting the snare that was laid for them. There was no difficulty to convict them of this crime, with which they were familiar. They were all empaled the same day. The grand vizier drew at least this advantage from arbitrary power, fo fatal in most cases, that he punished the crime every time he thought he detected it, without the formalities or evasions of an obscure defence being able to save the culprits from chastisement. He raised himself above the prejudices of his nation, so far as to protect the Roman catholic Christians against the Greeks, their greatest enemies. It is necessary to enter into some details in this respect, to give an idea of the service which the grand vizier did the Roman catholic church.

The Greek subjects of the Ottoman empire Affairs of receive from their sovereign, as we have already andLatins. faid, patriarchs, archbishops, and bishops, who pay him a large sum for these dignities. The Greek church not only differs from the Roman catholic in several dogmas and the manner of instituting prelates, but likewise in a venality that is authorised, and which the Latins call simony. Every thing is paid for among the

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Greeks,

the Greeks

VOL. IV.

to 1721.

to 11340

J.C.1719, Greeks, even the entrance into their temples; and Heg.1131, thefe fums, which the prelates and other paftors

carry in great part to the fovereign, either to obtain better fees, or that the public exercise of their religion may be tolerated, form an impoft very heavy for the Greek Christians. Oftentimes the latter, difpleased with the avidity of their priests, listen to the perfuafions of the Romish pastors, whose zeal is not mercenary, and whose religion is free from fimony. The Greek prelates bear rather impatiently what they call apoftasy. Instead of entering into theological disputes with their adversaries, they complain to the grand vizier, and especially to the mufti, charged more particularly with what concerns, not only Iflamifm but other religions. In the reign of Mustapha II. they insinuated, that if the Roman catholics wrested their diocesans from them, who paid them for instructions and sacraments, they would no longer be in a situation to furnish the treasury of the sultan with the sums demanded. They added, that these Greeks, born subjects of the grand feignior, ceased to acknowledge him for their master as foon as they were under the subjection of the pope, a foreign prince, who usurped che sovereignty over all those of his religion. (The Ottomans do not comprehend the distinction of two powers, which, among the Roman catholics, form equally the basis of the sovereign power and of the authority of the pastors. The prophe Mahomet has ordered, on the contrary, that the

sovereign

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fovereign shall be likewise the chief of the reli- J.C. 1919,
gion, because, says the Alcoran, there can be but Heg.1135,
one representative of the Divinity in those coun-
tries which are not separated by seas or Infidel
empires. It is on this principle that the grand
seignior, not only deposes the mufti, but likewise
raises up or pulls down the khan of the Tartars
at his pleasure, and the other sovereigns his tri-
butaries; it is moreover on this principle, which
the effendis say is the very foundation of the
throne, that the pope is looked upon, not only as
the chief of an erroneous fect, but even as an
usurper.) The mufti Fezula, who, it must be
remembered, was omnipotent during the reign
of Mustapha II., issued a fetfa, in consequence of
what had been represented to him by the Greek
clergy, which was presently backed by a catcherif.
The grand feignior, authorised by the decision of
the mufti, forbade, under pain of death, any of
the Greek Christians to i frequent the Romih
churches. The French ambassador, whose first
duty at the Porte is to protect the Roman catho-
lic religion, in the name of his master, strongly
remonstrated against this rigorous ordinance,
He demonstrated, that it was the interest of the
empire to grant liberty of conscience to those
fubjects who, not being Muffulmen, ought noc
to be dependant on the mufti, and who were con-
fidered as the best husbandmen and the ableft
merchants in all the grand seignior's territories ;
for the Greek and Latin Christians, not being al-
VOL, IV.

to 1134

lowed

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