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the exaggerations of a vanquished people. He Q H.A.P.

calculates, that a ball, even of two hundred pounds, would require a charge of one hundred and fifty pounds of powder; and that the stroke would be feeble and impotent, since not a fifteenth part of the mass could be inflamed at the same moment. A stranger as I am to the art of destruction, I can discern that the modern improvements of artillery prefer the number of pieces to the weight of metal; the

quickness of the fire to the sound, or even the conse

quence of a single explosion. Yet I dare not reject
the positive and unanimous evidence of contemporary
writers; nor can it seem improbable, that the first
artists, in their rudeandambitious efforts, should have
transgressed the standard of moderation. A Turkish
cannon, more enormous than that of Mahomet, still
guards the enfrance of the Dardanelles; and if the
use beinconvenient, it has been found on a late trial
that the effect was far from contemptible. A stone
bullet of eleven hundred pounds weight was once
discharged with three hundred and thirty pounds
of powder; at the distance of six hundred yards, it
shivered into three rocky fragments, trayersed the
streight, and, leaving the waters in a foam, again
rose and bounded against the opposite hill".
While Mahomet threatened the capital of the
East, the Greek Emperor implored with servent
- O 4 prayers
* The Baron de Tott, (tom. iii. p. 85–89.), who for-
tified the Dardanelles against the Russians, describes in a
lively, and even comic strain, his own prowess, and the con-

sternation of the Turks. But that adventurous traveller docs not possess the art of gaining our confidence.

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C H. A. P. LXVIII. *-yMahomet II. forms the siege of Constantinople. A. D. 1453, April 6.

prayers the assistance of earth and heaven. But the invisible powers were deaf to his supplications; and Christendom beheld with indifference the fall of Constantinople, while she derived at least some promise of supply from the jealous and temporal policy of the Sultan of Egypt. Some states were too weak, and others too remote; by some the danger was considered as imaginary, by others as inevitable. The Western princes were involved in their endless and domestic quarrels; and the Roman Pontiff was exasperated by the falsehood or obstinacy of the Greeks. Instead of employing in their favour the arms and treasures of Italy, Nicholas the Fifth had foretold their approaching ruin; and his honour was engaged in the accomplishment of his prophecy. Perhaps he was softened by the last extremity of their distress; but his compassion was tardy ; his efforts were faint and unavailing; and Constantinople had fallen, before the squadrons of Genoa and Venice could sail from their harbours ". Even the princes of the Morea and of the Greek islands affected a cold neutrality. The Genoese colony of Galatia negociated a private treaty ; and the Sultan indulged them in the delusive hope, that by his clemency they might survive the ruin of the em

- / pire. .

* Non audiwit, indignum ducens, says the honest Antoninus; but as the Roman court was afterwards grieved and ashamed, we find the more courtly expression of Platina, in animo fuisse pontifici juvare Graecos, and the positive assertion of AEneas Sylvius, structam classem. &c. (Spond. A. D. 1453, No. 3.).

pire. A plebeian crowd, and some Byzantine CHA.P.

nobles, basely withdrew from the danger of their country; and the avarice of the rich denied the Emperor, and reserved for the Turks, the secret treasures which might have raised in their defence whole armies of mercenaries *. The indigent and solitary prince prepared, however, to sustain his formidable adversary; but if his courage were equal to the peril, his strength was inadequate to the contest. In the beginning of the spring, the Turkish vanguard swept the towns and villages as far as the gates of Constantinople: submission was spared and protected; whatever presumed to resist was exterminated with fire and sword. The Greek places on the Black Sea, Mesembria, Acheloum, and Bizon, surrendered on the first summons; Selybria alone deserved the honours of a siege or blockade; and the bold inhabitants, while they were invested by land, launched their boats, pillaged the opposite coast of Cyzicus, and sold their captives in the public market. But on the approach of Mahomet himself, all was silent and prostrate; he first halted at the distance of five miles; and from thence advancing in battle-array, planted before the gate of St Romanus the Imperial standard; and, on the sixth day * Antonin. in Proem.—Epist. Cardinal. Isidor. apud Spon

danum; and Dr Johnson, in the tragedy of Irene, has happily

seized this characteristic circumstance :
The groaning Greeks dig up the golden caverns,
The accumulated wealth of hoarding ages;
That wealth which, granted to their weeping Prince,
Had rang'd embattled nations at their gates. -

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day of April, formed the memorable siege of Con-
stantinople.
The troops of Asia and Europe extended on the
right and left from the Propontis to the harbour;
the Janizaries in the front were stationed before the
Sultan's tent; the Ottoman line was covered by a
deep entrenchment; and a subordinate army inclo-
sed the suburb of Galata, and watched the doubt-
ful faith of the Genoese. The inquisitive Philel-
pus, who resided in Grece about thirty years before
the siege, is confident, that all the Turkish forces,
of any name or value, could not exceed the num-
ber of sixty thousand horse and twenty thousand
foot; and he upbraids the pusillanimity of the na-.
tions, who had tamely yielded to a handful of bar-
barians. Such, indeed, might be the regular esta-
blishment of the Capiculi", the troops of the Porte,
who marched with the Prince, and were paid from
his royal treasury. But the bashaws, in their re-
spective governments, maintained or levied a pro-
vincial militia; many lands were held by a military
tenure; many volunteers were attracted by the hope
of spoil; and the sound of the holy trumpet invited
a swarm of hungry and fearless fanatics, who might
contribute at least to multiply the terrors, and in a
first attack to blunt the swords, of the Christians.
The whole mass of the Turkish powers is magnified

by

* The palatine troops are styled Copieuli, the provincials, Seratrul: ; and most of the names and institutions of the Turkish militia existed before the Canon Namth of Soliman II. from which, and his own experience, Count Marsigli has composed his military state of the Ottoman empire.

by Ducas, Chalcondyles, and Leonard of Chios, to c H.A. P.”

the amount of three or four hundred thousand men; but Phranza was a less remote and more accurate judge; and his precise definition of two hundred and fifty-eight thousand does not exceed the measure of experience and probability”. The navy of the besiegers was less formidable; the Propontis was overspread with three hundred and twenty sail; but of these no more than eighteen could be rated as gallies of war; and the far greater part must be degraded to the condition of storeships and transports, which poured into the camp fresh supplies of men, ammunition, and provisions. In her last decay, Constantinople was still peopled with more than an hundred thousand inhabitants; but these numbers are found in the accounts, not of war, but of captivity; and they mostly consisted of mechanics, of priests, of women, and of men devoid of that spirit which even women have sometimes exerted for the common safety. I can suppose, I could almost excuse, the reluctance of subjects to serve on a distant frontier, at the will of a tyrant; but the man who dares not expose his life in the defence of his children and his property, has lost in society the first and most active energies of nature. By the Emperor's command, a particular inquiry had been made through the streets and houses, how many * The observation of Philelphus is approved by Cuspinian in the year 1508, (de Caesaribus, in Epilog. de Militiã Turcica, p. 697.). Marsigli proves, that the effective armies of the Turks are much less numerous than they appear. In the

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army that besieged Constantinople, Leonardus Chiensis reckons no more than 15,000 Janizaries.

of the Greeks.

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