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memoirs of baron Tott which have lately appeared, with the very important Teniarks on them by Mr. De Peyssonnel, late Frenchconsul general at Smyrna, are corroborating proofs of the truth of the accounts given in this history of the laws, manners, castoms, finances, and military force of this great nation.
.As abbot Mignot is the nephew of the celebrated Voltaire, it is natural to suppose that his work underwent the examination of his uncle, prior to its publication, more particularly as it was printed before the death of that extraordinary genius, at which time the abbot copied, by his uncle's permission, his, account of Charles XII.'s reception in Turkey.
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.How far the English translator has done justice to the French original, must be left t© the determination of the public.
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•yHOUGH tR:e Turks are regarded as barbarians, an opinion perhaps not destitute of:foundation, I thought the knowledge of a great people, whose possessions extend over three parts of the world, and who have possessed an important influence over the politics of" the whole state of Europe, .would be an interesting subject to the lovers of history, and that, in order to obtain a thorough knowledge of mankind, it was requisite to be acquainted with their transactions. ' Naturalists observe all the spiecies of animals fromthe elephant to the hand-worm, from the tiger to the dove. The differences that religion, climate, laws, government, "may have introduced among mankind, merit the attention of those who are desirous of studying human mature; the more the manners and genius of
a a a peoa people differ ffom ours, the more it is necessary tp examine them, were it only to convince ourselves, that man is every where the fame, and that all these dissimilarities, however important, may very well constitute the character of a nation, but never influence human nature taken in its physical fense; that the laws and variety of manners no more change our dispositions, than the different fashions of our garments alter the forms ©f our bodies. The history of the Turks furnishes as many conquests, fewer laws, less order, more revolutions, more proscriptions, and, upon the whole, more bloodshed, than that of any Other people; but we perceiv© in it the same interests, passions, crimes, talents, and virtues, as influence every other part of the globe.
When it shall be known that \ am ignorant of the oriental languages, my undertaking perhaps will be thought presumptuous. As it is essential for an historian to gain the confidence of his readers for their particular in-? terdst, I should give mine an account of the. sources from whence I have drawn my information. Besides the w?ll known authors,
such as Leunclavius, Ducas, the annals of the sultans, translated by Gaudier, Calcondilus and his continuators, prince Cantimir, Sagredo, Ricaut, the count of Marsigli, (whose ideas I have far from implicitly adopt.ed) Baudouin, Bossio for the history of Malta, the memoirs of Montecuculli, those of prince Eugene, the history os Sobiefki by abbot Coier, I have had the good fortune to find assistances which I had no reason to expect; they have determined me to undertake this work, of which, to speak properly, I am no,thing more than the compiler. Mr. Cardonne, secretary interpreter to the king of France for the oriental languages, and professor of the Arabic tongue in the royal college, who has served the court, and the French commerce, in quality of druggerman, in several Turkisli ports during twenty years, has taken the pain to translate the most interesting and instructive parts of the three Turkish annalists, Naima. Effendi, Rachid Effendi, and Tchelebi Zade, which commence in the year 15940s the Christian æra, and finisli in 1727. He has been so obliging as to let me fee his manuscript before it was deposited in the king's library. Mr, Bejault, keeper of the manuscripts
scripts of this library, has likewise been so kind as to intrust me with several translations of Turkish originals, which contain interesting parts of; their history.«- Baron Tott, the •son of a Hungarian nobleman,-sent by the king of Franeeto-the Portland who has himself been intrusted with affairs in that court, on setting out to execute other ^©mmillion^, ha.s left me the remarks which a fifteen years .residence at Constantinople, a spirit of observation, and a knowledge of the Turkic language, had enabled him to make.
These lights, so useful* for my purpose, have made me anxious for the acquisition of more. I have taken the liberty of soliciting the duke of Choiseul, for permission to consult the correspondence of all-the French ambassadors at the Porte, which is lodged in the repository of foreign affairs. The generous protection which -this minister has constantly given to literature and' to truth* has prevailed on him to grant my request. I have found in these manuscripts the most circumstantiated, most interesting, and least suspected details. For near two succeeding centuries, the ambassadors have given an ac-: