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to 1721. Heg.1131

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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 Paffaro. witz began to raise a contempt for the reign of Achmet.

A fresh misfortune, which happened at Con- 1.6.1919, stantinople soon after, increased the discontent. A fire broke out in the Jews' quarter. By a law to 1134. both weak and injurious, the Christians are for- a Fontane bidden to endeavour to extinguish fires that break out in the houses which they inhabit. Some men, appointed for that purpose, repaired thither very lowly, because, they said, it was only the houses and property of Giaurs that were burning. In about two hours, chę wind, having risen all of a sudden, the flames raged with so much fury, that, in less than two days, a quarter of Constantinople was consumed, notwithstanding thie 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 folicit the sultan for succours, which the state of so many unhappy persons rendered indispensable ; but Achmer, quiet in his haram, enjoyed the sight of his vases full of gold, which were multiplying every day, without thinking of the evils which the misery of his people might accumulate over his head. These commocions, in which neither soldiers nor effendis

appeared,

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to 1340

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F.C.1719, appeared, had no other consequences, for the pre-
to 1721.
Heg.1131, sent, than to make these unhappy persons tho-
La roughly disike 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 fering jus- restrained by the avidity and caprices of his maf

ter, he might have governed well. In the midst of peace, he paid great attention to the administration of justice. But, as there is no other written law in Turkey than that of the Alcoran, and the catcherifs of the sultans are never directed but to particular objects, the greatest, and alınost 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 sure, 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 hiin, to bring fome imaginary causes before the divan, for which it was necessary to suborn witnesses,

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These pretended litigants applied to those who J.C. 1719,

to 1721. made a profession of selling their testimony, and Heg.1131, who had several times affirmed in the divan what they were fupposed to have never had any knowledge of. More than fifty of these wretches at. Punish. cested at hazard, in the same morning, what they

they false with had been charged to certify, without suspecting nef 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

the Greeks receive from their sovereign, as we have already and Latins. faid, patriarchs, archbishops, and bishops, who pay him a large sum for these dignițies. 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 VOL, IV,

Kk

Greeks,

to 1721.

to 11346

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

o carry in great part to the fovereign, either to ob

tain better fees, or that the public exercife 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 whofe 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 Ifamifm 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 catho

lics, form equally the basis of the sovereign power - and of the authority of the pastors. The prophes Mahomet has ordered, on the contrary, that the

sovereign

719,

fovereign shall be likewise the chief of the reli- J.C.1719,

to 1721. gion, because, says the Alcoran, there can be but Heg.1131,

to 1134 one representative of the Divinity in those countries which are not separated by seas or Infidel, empires. It is on this principle that the grand feignior, 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 tributaries; 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 seignior, authorised by the decision of the mufti, forbade, under pain of death, any of the Greek Christians to frequent the Romish churches. The French ambassador, whose first duty at the Porte is to protect the Roman catholic 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 Mussulmen, ought not to be dependant on the mufti, and who were confidered as the best husbandmen and the ableft merchants in all the grand seignior's territories ; for the Greek and Latin Christians, not being alVOL, IV. . Kk2

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