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prince ; and Mahomet assured them that on his c H. A. P.
return to Adrianople, he would redress the grievances, and consult the true interest of the Greeks. No sooner had he repassed the Hellespont, than he issued a mandate to suppress their pe:ision, and to expel their officers from the banks of the Strymon. In this measure he betrayed an hostile mind; and the second order announced, and in some degree commenced, the siege of Constantinople. In the narrow pass of the Bosphorous, an Asiatic fortress had formerly been raised by his grandfather. In the opposite situation, on the European side, he resolved to erect a more formidable castle; and a thousand masons were commanded to assemble in the spring, on a spot named Asomaton, about five miles from the Greek metropolis". Persuasion is the resource of the feeble; and the feeble can seldom persuade. The ambassadors of the Emperor attempted, without success, to divert Mahomet from the execution of his design. They represented, that his grandfather had solicited the permission of Manuel to build a castle on his own territories; but that this double fortification, which would command the streight, could only tend to violate the alliance of the nations; to intercept the Latins who traded in the Black Sea, and perhaps to annihilate the subsistence of the city. “I form
Go In O
* The situation of the fortress, and the topography of the Bosphorus, are best learned from Peter Gyllius (de Bosphoro Thracio, l. ii. c. 13.), Leunclavius (Pandect. p. 445 ), and Tournefort (Voyage dans le Levant, tom. ii. lettre xv. p. 443. 444.); but I must regret the map or plan which Tournefort sent to the French minister of the marine. The reader may turn back to vol. iii. c. 17. of this history. .
“no enterprise,” replied the perfidious Sultan, “against the city; but the empire of Constanti“nople is measured by her walls. Have you for“got the distress to which my father was reduced, “when you formed a league with the Hungarians; “when they invaded our country by land, and the “Hellespont was occupied by the French gallies : “Amurath was compelled to force the passage of “ the Bosphorus; and your strength was not equal “to your malevolence. I was then a child at “Adrianople; the Moslems trembled; and for a while the Gabours " insulted our disgrace. But “when my father had triumphed in the field of “Warna, he vowed to erect a fort on the western “shore, and that vow it is my duty to accomplish. “Have ye the right, have ye the power, to con“troul my actions on my ground For that
“ground is my own : as far as the shores of the
“Bosphorus, Asia is inhabited by the Turks, and “Europe is deserted by the Romans. Return, “ and inform your king, that the present Ottoman “is far different from his predecessors; that his “resolutions surpass their wishes; and that he per“forms more than they could resolve. Return in “safety; but the next who deliversa similar message “may expect to be flayed alive.” After this declaration, * The opprobrious name which the Turks bestow on the Infidels, is expressed Kagovo by Ducas, and Giaour by Leunclavius and the moderns. The former term is derived by Ducange (Gloss. Graec. tom. i. p. 530.) from Kagovoy, in vulgar Greek, a tortoise, as denoting a retrograde motion from the faith. But, alas! Gabour is no more than Gheber, which was
transferred from the Persian to the Turkish linguage, from the worshippers of fire to those of the crucifix, (d’Herbelot, Bib
liot, Orient. p. 375.).
tion, Constantine, the first of the Greeks in spirit
assurance of their ruin.
* Phranza does justice to his master's sense and courage. Calliditatem hominis non ignorans Imperator prior arma mowere constituit, and stigmatizes the folly of the cum sacri tum profani proceres, which he had heard, amentes spe vaná pasci.
Ducas was not a privy-counsellor.
the woods of Heraclea and Nicomedia; and the stones were dug fro:n the Anatolian quarries. Each of the thousand masons was assisted by two workmen; and a measure of two cubits was marked for their daily task. The fortress * was built in a triangular form; each angle was flanked by a strong and massy tower; one on the declivity of the hill, two along the sea-shore; a thickness of twenty-two feet was assigned for the walls, thirty for the towers; and the whole building was covered with a solid platform of lead. Mahomet himself pressed and directed the work with indefatigable ardour; his three vizirs claimed the honour of finishing their respective towers; the zeal of the cadhis emulated that of the Janizaries; the meanest labour was ennobled by the service of God and the Sultan; and the diligence of the multitude was quickened by the eye of a despot, whose smile was the hope of fortune, and whose frown was the messenger of death. The Greek Emperor beheld with terror the irresistible progress of the work; and vainly strove, by flattery and gifts, to assuage an implacable foe, who sought, and secretly fomented, the slightest occasion of a quarrel. Such occasions must soon and inevitably be found. The ruins of stately churches, and even the marble columns which had been consecrated to St Michael the archangel,
These annals (unless we are swayed by an antichristian prejudice) are far less valuable than the Greek historians.
* In the dimensions of this fortress, the old castle of Europe, Phranza does not exactly agree with Chalcondyles, whose description has been verified on the spot by his edi. tor Leunclavius.
were employed without scruple by the profane and rapacious Moslems; and some Christians, who presumed to oppose the removal, received from their hands the crown of martyrdom. Constantine had solicited a Turkish guard to protect the fields and harvests of his subjects: the guard was fixed; but their first order was to allow free pasture to the mules and horses of the camp, and to defend their brethren if they should be molested by the natives. The retinue of an Ottoman chief had left their horses to pass the night among the ripe corn; the damage was felt; the insult was resented; and several of both nations were slain in a tumultuous conflict. Mahomet listened with joy to the complaint; and a detachment was commanded to exterminate the guilty village; the guilty had fled; but forty innocent and unsuspecting reapers were massacred by the soldiers. Till this provocation, Constantinople had been open to the visits of commerce and curiosity. On the first alarm, the gates were shut; but the Emperor, still anxious for peace, released, on the third day, his Turkish captives"; and expressed, in a last message, the firm resignation of a Christian and a soldier. “Since neither “ oaths, nor treaty, nor submission, can secure “peace, pursue,” said he to Mahomet, “ your im“ pious warfare. My trust is in God alone; if it “should please him to molify your heart, I shall
“rejoice in the happy change; if he delivers the
Vol. XII. - O “city
* Among these were some pages of Mahomet, so conscious of his inexorable rigour, that they begged to lose their heads in the city unless they could return before sunset.