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upper part of the town, which contained the prin- J«c.i5«. cipal churches, the grand master's palace, the &w' inns, and the dwellings of the knights, was abandoned by them. All lodged near the walls in order to be both day and.night ready-for the attacks. L'isle Adam was to have an eye on all the posts; he appointed four grand crosses to second him in this important duty, the chancellor Damaral, the turcopolier John Bouk, Peter Decluis, grand prior of France, and Gregory Morgut, grand prior of Navarre. .*;: '.-"
Whilst the grand master was thus preparing to receive the enemy, they perceived by night on the coast of Lycia, which faces the ports of Rhodes, fires resembling signals. A French knight, called Menetou, was sent in a felucca to examine these fires. He took with him a Rhodian, called Jaxi, who understood and spoke the Turkish language with propriety. Having approached the shore near these fires, the cause of their voyage, they saw, around, some Turks, who appeared to them to be merchants. Jaxi having inquired of them for a merchant who came on these coasts, and with whom he had been acquainted; they replied, that he should fee him, if he would come on shore. Menetou, hoping to procure some intelligence, permitted Jaxi to land, on condition of the Turks' furnishing him with a hostage. .The latter having brought to the vessel the best in appearance, or at least the best clothed, among Qjq them; j.c. 1522. them; as soon as the Turk was on board, Taxi
Heg. 928, '. •>
& 929- debarked; but he was no sooner landed, than the Turks bound this unfortunate man, and placed him by force on a horse, in sight of Menetou, who immediately ordered the pretended hostage to be put in irons. This was only a poor peasant of the canton, whom these Turks had clothed in a vest of silk, and obliged to follow them. They were unable to procure any information at Rhodes from this miserable being. The Turks conducted Jaxi with every expedition to Constantinople. The vizier Mustapha had him put to the rack; in the horror of the torture, he discovered every thing he knew, and more than he knew of the state of the place, the number of soldiers and -knights, and died a few hours after. The certainty of there not being more than six thousand regular troops in the isle of Rhodes, induced the emperor to undertake the siege * but he would not commit any kind of hostility, 'till after a formal declaration of war. He sent therefore some spahis to this fame coast of Lycia where the unfortunate Jaxi had been taken. As 'soon as new signals were perceived, a felucca left the port of Rhodes; but not one on board would land, whatever solicitations were made them by the spahis from the shore. The Turks, seeing that they could not prevail on them, threw into the vessel a stone to which a letter was fastened. This was the .declaration of war, which, being ^ brought brought to Rhodes, was read in open council. J-0,1 $"• The following wlere the contents of it. & 9*9
"The depredations which you commit every te day on our faithful subjects, and the injury ** which you*do our highness, oblige us to com*c mand you to remit to us forthwith the isle and "fortress of Rhodes. If you do it willingly, *c we swear by the God who made Heaven and te Earth, by the great prophet Mahomet, by the "twenty-six thousand prophets fallen from the f< Heavens, by the four writers of the evangelical "history, by the adorable fouls of our fathers "and grandfathers, and by the sacred head of fC our highness, that you shall be permitted to go ** out of the island and the inhabitants to remain "there, without any injury being done to them ** or you. But if you do not immediately comtc ply wirh our orders, you shall all be put to «c the sword, and the towers and walls of Rhodes <c shall be reduced to the height of the herb that *c grows at its foot.". *
On this, the grand master ordered public comprayers to implore the assistance of Heaven. ^""7 After having caused all the neighbouring islands ' e ese° belonging to the Order to be laid waste, they brought away all the inhabitants that were able to carry arms, and such as were willing to go to Rhodes to live. The enemy's fleet soon appeared; it was composed of four hundred sail, both great and small vessels, which carried a hundred and Oil 3 'fi%
j.c. 15*2. fifty thousand men, soldiers or pioneers. This
Heg. 92?,' r
& 929- army was commanded by the grand vizier Mustapha Kirlou. He had for lieutenants the corsair Curtogli, and Peri bashaw, who had been intrusted with the education of Solyman. The fleet entered a road called Parambolin, fix miles from Rhodes. For the first thirteen days there was no act of hostility on either side; the Turks landed their artillery arid provisions, after which they resolved to attack the place, without stopping at the other forts in the island, which would be obliged to surrender as soon as the town should beitaken. The fourteenth day Rhodes was invested, and the trenches opened towards the left flank of the place out of the reach of the cannon. But as soon as the Turks had erected a battery, it was beaten down by a battery set against it. Brisk and frequent sallies scoured the trenches and filled up the works. The knights, as vigilant within as without, discovered a conspiracy of Turkish slaves, who had resolved to set fire at the same time to several places of the town. A soldier of the garrison caught a woman placing matches in a place filled with fodder. This wretch being put to the torture named her accomplices, who were rather numerous, mentioned the hour agreed upon, and the different places in which this plot was to be, executed. They were all taken and put to death. Meanwhile the siege did not advance. The janissaries, who
were •were not under the eyes of the emperor, had but h0"1^
- . «eg. 918,
little confidence in a young general, who was not & 9*9yet known by any victory. The artillery of the besieged, numerous and well served, destroyed all the works of the Turks. Six thousand men, who seemed to multiply themselves, withstood a hundred and fifty thousand with the greatest success. Peri bashaw wrote to Solyman, that his presence was necessary to give vigour to the troops; that Rhodes had already resisted the arms of Mahomet II. because that prince had not deigned to attack it in person; and that the courage of the best soldiers languished, when it was not animated by the sight of their sovereign.
The bashaw's information drew Solyman from Solyman
r^ n • t' Tt r t • t • 1 80es to ^^
Constantinople. He put to sea immediately with siege.