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J.C. 1722. enough to defend. Being assured of the affila Heg.1134,
tance of the Tartars of Herat, he turned his troops towards Mached, the capital of Korazan, and at length made himself sovereign without resistance. The misery of the besieged being are Tived at its height, Shah Hussein ordered his minifters to go and offer a capitulation. The barbarous Afghvans eluded this proposal: they wanted to have Ispahan fo depopulated by the famine, that their little army might be in no danger from treachery when amidst such a number of people who were their enemies. One cannot, without weeping, fays the Persian historian, read the circumstances of the dreadful famine which this conduct occasioned. It was then the latter end of September: since the month of August the Aesh òf horses, mules, and other beasts of burden, fold at an excellive price ; there was no longer any one but the king, the principal officers of the palace, and the richest people, who ate of it. Though the religion of the Perfians makes them abhor the felh of dogs and several other animals reputed unclean, all those that they could find were consumed in a few days. The people then lived on the bark of trees, on leaves, and on hides softened in boiling water. But this wretched resource failing, they were obliged to fubmit to live on human flesh; never was there so much eaten in any siege. Men, with death painted on their countenance, cut from dead bodies wherewithal to sustain the
feeble remains of a languishing existence; others, L.C. 1723 with wild looks, ran the streets with clubs in their &11350 hands, and carried off children, or knocked men on the head with the same design; and when, by a remnant of justice, these unhappy people were punished, they served for food in their turn. A furious necessity stifing every sentiment of humanity, the husband Naughtered his wife, the brother his sister, the fathers and mothers their children, to make this horrible use of them. The water of Senderut was so corrupted by the multitude of dead bodies, that people could not drink of it. In a less healthy climate, the infected air would have been sufficient to destroy the small number of inhabitants that still lived.
At length Shah Hussein having sent several times to entreat his barbarous vanquilher to.accept his crown and grant food and fetters to the few subjects whoin he was earnest to offer him, the 23d of October he was ordered to repair with his retinue to the camp of Mir Mamout; and the Tartar, adding insult to cruelty, gave orders that the king of Persia should wait outside his tent, to prevent his disturbing his repose. Shah Hussein being ac length admitted, after half an hour, to an audience of the vanquisher, fastened' himself the egrets of diamonds to his turban, which are in Persia, as in Turkey, the mark of sovereignty, and of which he had just stripped himself. Mir Mamout caused provisions to be distributed in Ispahan; and after having treated
J.C. 1722. Shah Hussein with more humanity than he had Heg.11342 *1143** expected, he sent him well guarded into a pri
vate apartment of the palace of Ispahan.
The usurper entered the capital with a martial pomp that would have increased the terror of the Persians, had it not been at its height; but as an abundance succeeded almost suddenly to the most horrid famine, the cessation of the evil and the reflection on the faults of the last reign, which had been the cause of it, consoled those who hoped they should suffer no longer. In this moment an embassy from Peter the Great, czar of Moscovy, arrived at Ispahan to complain to Shah Hussein that the Leghis Tartars, feudatories of Persia, settled on the borders of the Caspian sea, had massacred some engineers fent by the czar to furvey those coasts and take plans of them. The usurper replied, instead of the lawful sovereign, that the Leghis were his friends and not his subjects; that he had no power over these free people; that, if the czar would send caravans over their territories, he should either have made an alliance with them, or had his subjects to escorted, that they should have nothing to fear from the rapacity of these Tartars accustomed to live on plunder. This answer, and the particulars which the cżar learned at the same time from Persia, determined him to subjugate these freebooters of whom he had to complain, and to make himself master of the provinces that lay convenient for him. The pretext was fair. Peter
akes two Tartarian
gave out that he was going to take up the cause J.C. 1722
Heg.11349 of the sophi, of whom he was the ally, and to re- &113559 store to his son, a fugitive at Calbin, and who in vain sought avengers among his subjects, feve. ral of the provinces which he had lost by the rebellion. · The czar repaired to Aftrachan, where his troops were to join. He embarked a numerous infantry composed of Russians, Cofracks, and Calmucks. . He landed troops several times to ravage the country of the Leghis, burn their tents and crops, and beat parties of freebooters, who did not expect to meet an army. In fine, the czar overran the Daghestan and Shirvan, two take care northern provinces of the Tartars which border Tartarian
tailans win oruci provinces. on the Caspian sea, without meeting any resistance worth mentioning. He left garrisons in the principal towns, which are not so good as our finallest, villages, thoroughly resolved to build fortresses there in the sequel; and re-embarked about the end of the autumn to regain Astrachan before the storms, which are very frequent on the Caspian sea at that season, should endanger his army. ... This success greatly alarmed the Turks, who J.C. 1723.
Heg.11359 found Peter the Great a neighbour already too & 1136." formidable. The khan of the Crimean Tartars Te sent word to the Porte, that the Russians, not of having
war de fatisfied with making theinfelves masters of the clared a borders of the Caspian sea, were fortifying their on this oc
cafion. conquests, and had a correspondence with the prince of Georgia; that if the Ottomans and Cri· YOL, IV, . Mm
F.C.1723. mean Tartars remained in inaction, this new Heg.1135, & 1736. power would so extend itself, that it would fur:
round all the poffefsions of the Porte in Afia. Sultan Achmet was no way desirous of a war, and his grand vizier dreaded it as much as his master. The wounds of the war of Belgrade were not yet healed up, and the grand feignior, always admiring his heaps of gold, could not part with it without great pain. However, the officers of the divan, and those of the janiffaries, thought it would be too disgraceful and fatal for the Ottoman empire to let the czar of Russia conquer Persia. These people, who were groaning under a load of taxes, and who had been refused wherewithal to rebuild their houses, after the last fire, loudly demanded an account of the money which had been collected in the capital and the provinces, fince there was not fufficient in the public treasury to relieve the unfortunate or defend the frontiers.
These murmurs obliged the grand vizier Ibrahim to make preparations. The cloak of fable and the mace of arms, which are the marks of investiture, were sent to the 'two khans of the Daghestan and Shirvan, whom the czär had stripped of their fovereignties, announcing to them that the Porte took them under its protection. The bashaws of the empire were ordered to afa semble the forces of their governments; and the grand seignior sent to the three republics of Barbary to invite them to recall their corfairs, and