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mirs, Othman, more valiant than his neighbours, J;c- j|«* vanquished those who came to pillage Carachisar, Hg- ffi his ancient capital. The rapidity of his con- *—M—» quests in defenceless countries has without doubt deceived those who have believed him to have been at first a powerful sovereign.
Othman knew equally, how to take advantage of discord and of peace. Instead of making a great slaughter of these vagabonds, according to the oriental manner of fighting, he loaded with chains all the vanquished who were desirous of saving theirlives, and offered them afterwards lands and liberty, if they would consent to embrace his religion. Other Tartarian brigands ranged themselves under his government; thus Othman founded a nation of soldiers. The vagabonds, without any other right to their new possessions, than the concession of the prince, holding of him, even their lives and liberties, fortified that despotism* which is the essence of a government;
* We understand here by despotism, the right of commanding without contradiction, and without; written laws, or the sole right of interpreting those that are so. The Turks know no other written law than the Alcoran and the Sunna, which give, indeed, some general precepts, but are sar from prescribing the manner of governing in particular cases, or in all the ordinary ones. Though the interpretation of those pretended sacred writers belongs to the mufti, the dignity and posseslions of this chief of the Mussulman religion are in the hands of the emperor; he dares not undertake any thing against the will of his master, at least if he be not sure of dethroning him. The manners of the Turks, more constant than their laws, undoubtedly restrain the power of the monarch. He risks his throne and his life, when
J.c.i30c., perfectly military. The first subjects of the rieg. 7C0, Ottoman empire were warriors docile to the voice
to 726. *
«—v—» of their chief. Othman justified this absolute power by the authority of the Alcoran, and by the example of the Divinity, of whom sovereigns are the image. As the supreme Being is unbounded in his decrees, said he, he, who represents him on earth, ought to be so likewise. This was the great argument of Mahomet, to which his followers had not learned to answer.
After these principles, though it appears certain thatbthman never bore the title of emperor, nor even that of sultan, he nevertheless laid a good foundation for the power of his future race, by announcing to his subjects a God remunerator and avenger. In persuading them that the sovereign was the organ by which this God manifested to them his wishes, he inspired them with such a devotion for the blood of their masters, that it makes an essential part of the form of worship which the Ottomans believe due to the
Divinity. Divinity. They still believe, at this day, that J-c-13°°. the house of Othman will have end, only with Pes- 7°°»
- he attempts to misuse them too openly. This is also an effect of despotism, which exposes the days of the sovereign whenever this sovereign is not the strongest. The Turks are not all slaves, as some have pretended; but they are all liable to confiscation of property, and even to be put to death without being convicted of any crime: and this missortune happens fre• quently to the most elevated ranks. The Ottoman monarchs are likewise
despotic, in no one's having a right to reclaim in their .presence, either tha interest of the people, or the authority of the law. To conclude, if we desir.e despotism a power without bounds, the Ottoman emperors are not despotic, and there are none such on the sace os the earth. But, if wo define it a power without rules, there is no monarch more despotic than the sovereign of the Turks.
their empire, which is itself to last as long as the «—»—-> world. Though the Ottoman emperors are hot, as the caliphs were, successors of Mahomet, and premier pontiffs, their person is not less sacred, nor their orders less regarded as emanations of the Divinity, unless they directly clash with the precepts of the Alcoran. The blind obedience, which communicates itself step by step, renders the authority of the lowest officers of the empire as absolute as the emperor's.
Orcan, the son of Othman, a prince as valiant princeOras his father, again besieged the town of Bursa, BUnrsf. es and had the good fortune to take it. Death Death of surprised the emir, as he was preparing to remove othman* the feat of his dominions to this capital of Bithynia. He sent for his son to come to him at Jengishari, that he might give him his last orders, and bid him a final adieu. Othman died the 726 year of the hegira, 1326 of Jesus Christ. This prince had great designs, a tiled courage, and a rare prudence. He knew how to communicate to his nation the force necessary to extend and elevate it. He civilized barbarians just as much as was necessary to teach them to vanquish; for, as we shall fee, the Ottomans were always more sanguinary than the other nations, and their ferocity greatly augmented the renown of their valour.
to 1360. Heg. 726, N
O R C A N r.
menblih" /"\RCAN ascended the throne, aged thirty-five made by *-' years, with more pomp than his father. He
introduced into his court pageantry and magnificence, and stiled himself sultan. This title, more imposing than that of emir, began to accord with the extent of country that Orcan had to govern, the bounds of which he flattered himself with enlarging considerably. Othman had fixed before his death that Bursa should be the seat of his empire. His son followed this, project. He adorned with vast edifices his new residence, and established in it mosques, hospitals, public markets, in short, every thing suitable to the capital of a powerful state. The new sultan declared his brother Allaadin grand vizier, that is, prime minister, and the next to himself in the state. This example was not followed by Orcan's successors, who, always suspicious, regarded their nearest relations as their greatest enemies. The sultan abolished the use of the Selgieucid money, and had a coin of his own struck. Orcan, well persuaded that armies docile to the voice of their chief would be she principal spring of his authority. rity, applied himself to the perfecting of theJ-0-1^6*
. . ... . r to 1360.
military diicipline which his father had established. Hes- ii6>
He was the first that fixed a daily pay for the «—v—J infantry, who, 'till then, had been paid only by pillage, or the hope of Paradise. He formed a corps of young Christian renegades, wrested in infancy from their parents, and who had no other resource to get out of slavery than to carry arms. These young soldiers, being placed under severe masters, soon learned to obey and to bear hunger and fatigue: and they saw a certain advancement for recompense of their docility and courage. Those, who possessed lands, or other riches, were appointed to the cavalry; they formed the corps of spahis, which still subsists, mounted on horses as swift as docile. Orcan assigned to the military a particular dress.
With troops, if not more courageous, at least Orcan more numerous and better disciplined than hiscofee'dia' father's, he vanquished Andronicus, the Greek an emperor, who had passed the sea to oppose the incursions of the Turks. After having beaten this prince in several battles, in one of which Andronicus was wounded, Orcan obliged him to make a sudden retreat. He took Nicomedia, and J-c. 13*7. thus became sovereign of the territory that surrounded it, which extended a good way. Though these soldiers gave but little quarter, Orcan had given orders to spare the women and children. All the prisoners of this kind became as many C 2 subjects,