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submitted to the conqueror, who planted his stand- CH A P.
ard at Kiotahia, and dispersed on all sides the ministers of rapine and destruction. Mirza Mehemmed Sultan, the eldest and best beloved of his grandsons, was dispatched to Boursa with thirty thousand horse; and such was his youthful ardour, that he arrived with only four thousand at the gates of the capital, after performing in five days a march of two hundred and thirty miles. Yet fear is still more rapid in its course; and Soliman, the son of Bajazet, had already passed over to Europe with the royal treasure. The spoil, however, of the palace and city was immense; the inhabitants had escaped; but the buildings, for the most part of wood, were reduced to ashes. From Boursa, the grandson of Timour advanced to Nice, even yet a fair and flourishing city; and the Mogul squadrons were only stopped by the waves of the Propontis. The same success attended the other mirzas and emirs in their excursions; and Smyrna, defended by the zeal and courage of the Rhodian knights, alone deserved the presence of the Emperor himself. After an obstinate defence, the place was taken by storm; all that breathed was put to the sword; and the heads of the Christian heroes were launched from the engines, on board of two carracks, or great ships of Europe, that rode at anchor in the harbour. The Moslems of Asia rejoiced in their deliverance from a dangerous and domestic foe, and a parallel was drawn between the two rivals, by observing, that Timour, in fourteen days,
had reduced a fortress which had sustained seven years the siege, or at least the blockade, of Bajazet". The iron cage in which Bajazet was imprisoned by Tamerlane, so long and so often repeated as a moral lesson, is now rejected as a fable by the modern writers, who smile at the vulgar credulity f. They appeal with confidence to the Persian history of Sherefeddin Ali, which has been given to our curiosity in a French version, and from which I
shall collect and abridge a more specious narrative of this memorable transaction. No sooner was Timour informed that the captive Ottoman was at the door of his tent, than he graciously stept forwards to receive him, scated him by his side, and mingled with just reproaches a soothing pity for his rank and misfortune. “Alas!” said the Emperor, “the “decree of fate is now accomplished by your own “fault: it is the web which you have woven, the “ thorns of the tree which yourself have planted. “I wished to spare, and even to assist, the cham“pion of the Moslems; you braved our threats; “you despised our friendship; you forced us to “enter your kingdom with our invincible armies. “Behold the event. Had you vanquished, I am ** not
* For the war of Anatolia, or Roum, I add some hints in the Institutions, to the copious narratives of Shereieddin (l. v. c. 44—65), and Arabshah (tom. ii. c. 23–35.). On this part only of Timour's history, it is lawful to quote the Turks (Cantemir, p. 53–55. Annal. Leunclav. p. 326–322.), and the Greeks (Phranza, l. i. c. 29. Ducas, c. 15–17. Charcondyles, l. iii.).
+ The scepticism of Voltaire (Essai sur l’Histoire Generale, c. 88.) is ready on this, as on every occasion, to reject a popular tale, and to diminish the magnitude of vice and virtue; and on most cecasions his ineredulity is reasonable.
“ not ignorant of the fate which you reserved for c H. A. P. “myself and my troops. But I disdain to retaliate; to“your life and honour are secure; and I shall ex“press my gratitude to God by my clemency to “man.” The royal captive shewed some signs of repentance, accepted the humiliation of a robe of honour, and embraced with tears his son Mousa, who, at his request, was sought and found among the captives of the field. The Ottoman princes were lodged in a splended pavilion; and the respect of the guards could be surpassed only by their vigilance. On the arrival of the haram from Boursa, Timour restored the Queen Despina and her
daughter to their father and husband; but he piously required, that the Servian Princess, who w had hitherto been indulged in the profession of Christianity, should embrace without delay the religion of the prophet. In the feast of victory, to which Bajazet was invited, the Mogul Emperor placed a crown on his head and a sceptre in his hand,
with a solemn assurance of restoring him with an increase of glory to the throne of his ancestors. But the effect of this promise was disappointed by the Sultan's untimely death: amidst the care of the most skilful physicians, he expired of an apoplexy at Akshehr, the Antioch of Pisidia, about nine months after his defeat. The victor dropped a tear over his grave; his body, with royal pomp, was conveyed to the mausoleum which he had erected at Boursa; and his son Mousa, after receiving a rich present of gold and jewels, of horses and arms, was invested by a patent in red ink with the kingdom of Anatolia.
Such is the portrait of a generous conqueror, which has been extracted from his own memorials, and dedicated to his son and grandson, nineteen years after his decease"; and, at a time when the truth was remembered by thousands, a manifest falsehood would have implied a satire on his real conduct. Weighty, indeed, is this evidence, adopted by all the Persian histories f; yet flattery, more especially in the East, is base and audacious; and the harsh and ignominious treatment of Bajazet is attested by a chain of witnesses, some of whom shall be produced in the order of their time and country. 1. The reader has not forgot the garrison of French, whom the Marshal Boucicault left behind him for the defence of Constantinople. They were on the spot to receive the earliest and most faithful intelligence of the overthrow of their great adversary;
and it is more than probable, that some of them
accompanied the Greek embassy to the camp of Tamerlane. From their account, the hardships of the prison and death of Bajazet are affirmed by the Marshal's servant and historian, within the
* See the history of Sherefeddin, (l. v. c. 49.52. 53.59. 60.). This work was finished at Shiraz, in the year 1424, and dedicated to Sultan Ibrahim, the son of Sharokh, the son of Timour, who reigned in Farsistan in his father's lifetime.
+ After the perusal of Khondemir, Ebn Schounah, &c. the learned d'Herbelot (Bibliot. Orientale, p. 882.) may affirm, that this fable is not mentioned in the most authentic histories; but his denial of the visible testimony of Arabshah, leaves some room to suspect his accuracy.
distance of seven years". 2. The name of Poggius the Italian f is deservedly famous among the revivers of learning in the fifteenth century. His elegant dialogue on the vicissitudes of fortunei was composed in his fiftieth year, twenty-eight years after the Turkish victory of Tamerlane ||, whom he celebrates as not inferior to the illustrious barbarians of antiquity. Of his exploits and discipline, Poggius was informed by several ocular witnesses; nor does he forget an example so apposite to his theme as the Ottoman monarch, whom the Scythian confined like a wild beast in an iron cage, and exhibited a spectacle to Asia. I might add the authority of two Italian chronicles, perhaps of an earlier date, which would prove at least that the same story, whether false or true, was import
Vol. XII. D ed
* Et fut lui meme (Bajazet) pris, et mené en prison, en laquelle morunt de dure mort / Memoires de Boucicault, p. i. c. 37. These Memoirs were composed while the Marshal was still governor of Genoa, from whence he was expelled in
the year 1469, by a popular insurrection, (Muratori, Annali d'Italia, tom. xii. p. 473.474).
+ The reader will find a satisfactory account of the life and
writings of Poggius, in the Poggiana, an entertaining work of M. l'Enfant, and in the Bibliotheca Latina mediae et infimae AEtatis of Fabricius, tom. v. p. 30.5–3.08.). Poggius was born in the year 1380, and died in 1459.
t The dialogue de Varietate Fortunae, (of which a complete and elegant edition has been published at Paris in 1723, in 4to.), was composed a short time before the death of Pope Martin V. (p. 5.), and consequently about the end of the year 1430.
| See a splendid and eloquent encomium of Tamerlane, p. 36–39. ipse enim novi (says Poggius) qui fuere in ejus castris . . . . Regem vivum cepit, caveague in modum fera: inclusum per omnem Asiam circumtulit egregium admirandumque spectaculum fortunae.