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people *. The Russians refused a passage to the c H.A.P.
missionaries of Rome, who aspired to convert the pagans beyond the Tanaist; and their refusal was justified by the maxim, That the guilt of idolatry is less damnable than that of schism. The errors of the Bohemians were excused by their abhorrence for the Pope; and a deputation of the Greek clergy solicited the friendship of those sanguinary enthusiasts i. While Eugenius triumphed in the union and orthodoxy of the Greeks, his party was contracted to the walls, or rather to the palace of Constantinople. The zeal of Palaeologus had been excited by interest; it was soon cooled by opposition; an attempt to violate the national belief might endanger his life and crown; nor could the pious rebels be destitute of foreign and domestic aid.
* The curious narrative of Levesque (Hist. de Russie, tom. ii. p. 242—247.) is extracted from the patriarchal archives. The scenes of Ferrara and Florence are described by ignorance and passion; but the Russians are credible in the account of their own prejudices.
+ The Shamanism, the ancient religion of the Samanaeans and Gymnosophists, has been driven by the more popular Bramins from India into the northern desarts; the naked philosophers were compelled to wrap themselves in fur; but they insensibly sunk into wizards and physicians. The Mordvans and Tcheremisses, in the European Russia, adhere to this religion, which is formed on the earthly model of one king or God, his ministers or angels, and the rebellious spirits who oppose his government. As these tribes of the Volga have no images, they might more justly retort on the Latin Missionaries the name of Idolaters, (Levesque, Hist, des Peuples soumis a la Domination des Russes, tom. i. p. 194–237. 423–460.).
f Spondanus, Annal. Eccles. tom. ii. A. D. 1451, No. 13. The epistle of the Greeks, with a Latin version, is extant in the college-library at Prague.
Reign and character of Amu1ath II. A. D. 1.42 1– 1451, February.
The sword of his brother Demetrius, who, in Italy,
... had maintained a prudent and popular silence, was
half unsheathed in the cause of religion; and
* See Cantemir, History of the Othman Empire, p. 94. Murad, or Morad, may be correct ; but I have preferred the popular name, to that obscure diligence which is rarely suctessful in translating an Oricntal into the Roman alphabet. --- - -
nation, ignorant of the equal benefits of liberty and Go.
law, must be awed by the flashes of arbitrary power. C-W
The cruelty of a despot will assume the character of justice; his profusion, of liberality; his obstinacy, of firmness. If the most reasonable excuse be rejected, few acts of obedience will be found impossible; and guilt must tremble where innocence cannot always be secure. The tranquillity of the people, and the discipline of the troops, were best maintained by perpetual action in the field; war was the trade of the Janizaries; and those who survived the peril, and divided the spoil, applauded the generous ambition of their sovereign. To propagate the true religion, was the duty of a faithful Mussulman. The unbelievers were his enemies, and those of the prophet; and, in the hands of the Turks, the scymetar was the only instrument of conversion. Under these circumstances, however, the justice and moderation of Amurath are attested by his conduct, and acknowledged by the Christians themselves; who consider a prosperous reign and a peaceful death, as the reward of his singular merits. In the vigour of his age and military power, he seldom engaged in a war till he was justified by a previous and adequate provocation; the victorious Sultan was disarmed by submission; and in the observance of treaties, his word was inviolate and sacred". The Hungarians were commonly the aggressors; he was provoked by the revolt of Scanderbeg; and
L 4 the
* See Chalcondyles (1. vii. p. 186. 198.), Ducas (c. 33.), and Marinus Barletius, (in Vit. Scanderbeg, p. 145. 146.). In his good faith towards the garrison of Sfetigrade, he was a lesson and example to his son Mahomet.
the perfidious Caramanian was twice vanquished, and twice pardoned by the Ottoman monarch. Before he invaded the Morea, Thebes had been surprised by the despot; in the conquest of Thessalonica, the grandson of Bajazet might dispute the recent purchase of the Venetians; and after the first siege of Constantinople, the Sultan was never tempted, by the distress, the absence, or the injuries, of Palaeologus, to extinguish the dying light of the Byzantine empire. ... -But the most striking feature in the life and character of Amurath, is the double abdication of the Turkish throne; and were not his motives debased by an alloy of superstition, we must praise the royal philosopher *, who, at the age of forty, could discern the vanity of human greatness. Resigning the sceptre to his son, he retired to the pleasant residence of Magnesia; but he retired to the society of saints and hermits. It was not till the fourth century of the Hegira, that the religion of Mahomet had been corrupted by an institution so adverse to his genius; but in the age of the crusades, the various orders of Dervishes were multiplied by the example of the Christian, and even the Latin monks". The lord of nations submitted to fast, and pray, and turn round in - endless
* Voltaire (Essai sur l’Histoire Generale, c. 89. p. 283. 284.) admires le Philosophe Turcs would he have bestowed the same praise on a Christian prince for retiring to a monastery : In his way, Voltaire was a bigot, an intolerable bigot.
+ See the articles Dervitche, Fakir, Nasser, Rehbaniat, in d'Herbelot's Bibliotheque Orientale. Yet the subject is superficially treated from the Persian and Arabian writers. It. is among the Turks that these orders have principally flousizhed. - -
endles rotation with the fanatics, who mistook the c H. A. P.
giddiness of the head for the illumination of the spirit *. But he was soon awakened from this dream
of enthusiam, by the Hungarian invasion; and his
obedient son was the foremost to urge the public danger and the wishes of the people. Under the banner of their veteran leader, the Janizaries fought and conquered; but he withdrew from the field of Varna, again to pray, to fast, and to turn round with his Magnesian brethren. These pious operations were again interrupted by the danger of the state. A victorious army disdained the inexperience of their youthful ruler; the city of Adrianople was abandoned to rapine and slaughter; and the unanimous divan implored his presence to appease the tumult, and prevent the rebellion of the Janizaries. At the well-known voice of their master, they trembled and obeyed; and the reluctant Sultan was compelled to support his splendid servitude, till, at the end of four years, he was relieved by the angel of death. Age or disease, misfortune or caprice, have tempted several princes to descend from the throne; and they have had leisure to repent of their irretrievable step. But Amurath alone, in the full liberty of choice, after the trial of empire and solitude, has repeated his preference of a private life.
* Rycaut (in the present State of the Ottoman empire, p. 242–268.) affords much information, which he drew from his personal conversation with the heads of the dervishes, most of whom ascribed their origin to the time of Orchan. He does not mention the Zichide of Chalcondyles, (l. vii. p. 286.),
among whom Amurath retired; the Seidi of that author are
the descendants of Mahomet.