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left his house, he returned triumphant to Con- J-c.i^. stantinople with nis vizier Acomat. This able »—vw minister, who had the most considerable trusts both in peace and war, endeavoured to get information of every thing that passed at Rhodes, without his master's appearing to trouble himself about it. The governor of Lycia, a province in the neighbourhood of the island, sent thitiier a pretended agent, under pretence of settling a treaty of commerce. Aubusson regarded this agent, only as a spy masked under a specious title. He abridged the formalities which this man affected to multiply in order to prolong his mission, and kept him, as much as possible, from the object of his curiosity. Acomat, not being TheTurU able to promise himself any thing more from Pr°Posc *
1 . peace to
this stratagem, tried another expedient. He sentthe ord«
1 • t r -r.1 of Rhodes,
a man to persuade the knights of Rhodes, to and the
.. . _,,.- knights
make a solid peace with the Turkish emperor, persuade The vizier, without mentioning his master, who, retire to he said, was not informed of this proceeding, promised to procure the completion of the treaty, provided the knights would agree to reasonable conditions. This peace might be particularly advantageous to the Order; Aubusson listened to the proposals. Though Zizim was not then mentioned, the grand master did not doubt but they would require him to deliver up that unfortunate prince. To elude this condition, to i which the knights could not consent, and to
Ifc-.,3f2* avoid their coming to wrest Zizim from their «—>r—» hands, they determined to fend him out of their territory; they persuaded the prince, that it would be right for him to shew himself to these nations from whom he expected succours. They offered him for asylum one of their commanderies in the district of Provence, where he should be entertained and served by knights, and where he' would have an opportunity of conferring with the king of France; and they promised him, that, if the projected treaty did not take place, he, Zizim, should return, with the forces of Europe, and have the vessels and troops of the Order to make good his pretensions with.
The situation of the Ottoman prince did not permit him to discuss these reasons. It was necessary to obey orders-disguised under the name of advice. Before he embarked for Provence, he signed an ample power to the grand master to treat with Bajazet, agreeably to what should best suit with the fortune and safety of prince Zizim. By an act, he engaged, if ever he recovered the empire, either in entire or part, to observe a constant peace with the Order, to open all his ports to their fleets, to set at liberty every year, gratis, three hundred Christians of both sexes, and to pay a hundred and fifty thousand crowns of gold to the treasury of the Order, to indemnify-them for the expences which they had been at -on his account.
This act, signed by the Turkish prince, is J;c- 1f^. still preserved in the records of Malta. It is '•—v—* dated 1fhe fifth of the month Rejeb, in the year of the hegira 887, which answers, according to our way of computing, to the 21st of August 148a. This prince embarked, at length, under the conduct of chevalier Blanchefort, nephew to ^ the grand master, with a melancholy, which neither the respect nor promises of the knights that accompanied him, were able to remove.
As soon as Aubusson saw himself freed from this dangerous guest, he sent ambassadors to Constantinople, to negociate a peace, which the Turkish emperor as anxiously desired as he did. The knights Dumont, Arnaud, and Duprat, were charged with this negociation. Bajazet received them with more honor than is in general paid by the Mussulmen to Christians. The vizier Acomat, and the bashaw Mischa Paleologos, who, having raised the siege of Rhodes, was exiled by Mahomet II. were appointed to treat with them. Bajazet had recalled this minister, and restored him all his employments. Acomat, who believed that the knights of Rhodes would never arm for Zizim, treated them with all the Mahometan haughtiness. He commenced with demanding, that prince Zizim should be delivered up, and that all the Order should be declared vassal and tributary to the empire. These
-i;0-1^' proposals were received with still more haughti«—>r-J ness than they had been made; the Rhodian ambassadors would have broken up the conference immediately; but Mischa Paleologus, who had more reason to sear the knights than any other person, endeavoured to pacify them , he said in the Turkish language to his colleague, that he undoubtedly was not ignorant how much the emperor wished a peace, and that it was therefore wrong to throw so many obstacles in the way. Duprat understood Turkish, and his colleagues and he agreed to continue the conferences, bus this only made them become more untractable on the conditions. The haughty Acomat soon excused himself from conferring with the ambassadors, leaving to his colleague, as he said, the reproach of having disgraced the Ottoman empire. The most difficult and important object was respecting prince Zizim: jhese knights, who professed generosity.as much as nobility and bravery, could not abandon an unfortunate prince, who had thrown himself jnto their arms. On the other hand, a peace would be advantageous to the Ottoman empire, ©nly by securing it against Zizim. After a great inights deal of discussion, it was agreed, that the Order
and Turks r , . , ... , .
agree on a mould engage to keep this prince always in its
"*ty* power, ajnd under the strict guard of several
knights i that he should not be given up to any
sovereign, Christian or Mahometan, that might
make use of his name to disturb the repose of the J-c-1^2
• * Heg* say
empire; that, for the maintenance and guard of *—v—*
this prince, the grand seignior should pay annually to the Order thirty-five thousand ducats of Venice. They agreed likewise on another sum, to indemnify the knights and inhabitants of Rhodes, for the losses that they had sustained by the siege. At this price peace was re-established between the two powers. However disgraceful this treaty might appear for Bajazet, the Turks gained by it, as their marine, very inferior to that of the Order, was unable to defend their merchants from the frequent captures which a great number of Rhodian vessels, well armed, were continually making on their coast. Bajazet' signed this treaty in silence. But Acomat could Ai0JBlt not conceal his indignation; he lamented aloud dissemble the emperor's weakness, and complained bitterly, hJ*bariop that this empire, founded on the ruins of so many °^* crowns, should become, in the hands of Bajazet tributary to a handful of soldiers.
These indiscreet expressions were heard, even by the monarch, and some enemies did not fail to misrepresent them. One of these bashaws, called bashaws of the ban and arched roof, who had the most access to the prince, seized this occasion to ruin the grand vizier. This man, called Isaac, was father to one of Acomat's wives, who, under Mahomet II. had been ravished in a public bath by prince Mustapha. The reader must re
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