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dissolved in the mass of voluntary and vanquished CHAP.
subjects, who, under the name of Turks, are united by the common ties of religion, language, and manners. In the cities, from Erzeroum to Belgrade, that national appellation is common to all the Moslems, the first and most honourable inhabitants; but they have abandoned, at least in Romania, the villages, and the cultivation of the land, to the Christian peasants. In the vigorous age of the Ottoman government, the Turks were themselves excluded from all civil and military honours; and a servile class, an artificial people, was raised by the discipline of education to obey, to conquer, and to command *. From the time of Orchan and the first Amurath, the Sultans were persuaded that a government of the sword must be renewed in each generation with new soldiers; and that such soldiers must be sought, not in effeminate Asia, but among the hardy and warlike natives of Europe. The provinces of Thrace, Macedonia, Albania, Bulgaria, and Servia, became the perpetual seminary of the Turkish army; and when the royal fifth of the captives was diminished by conquest, an inhuman tax, of the fifth child, or of every fifth year, was rigorously levied on the Christian families. At the age of twelve or fourteen years, the most robust youths were torn from their parents; their names were enrolled in a book; and from that moment they were clothed, taught, and maintained, * Chalcondyles (l. v.) and Ducas (c. 23.) exhibit the rude
lineaments of the Ottoman policy, and the transmutation of Christian children into Turkish soldiers. *
tained, for the public service. According to the promise of their appearance, they were selected for the royal schools of Boursa, Pera, and Adrianople, entrusted to the care of the bashaws, or dispersed in the houses of the Anatolian peasantry. It was the first care of their masters to instruct them in the Turkish language; their bodies were exercised by every labour that could fortify their strength; they learned to wrestle, to leap, to run, to shoot with the bow, and afterwards with the musket; till they were drafted into the chambers and companies of the Janizaries, and severely trained in the military or monastic discipline of the order. The youths most conspicuous for birth, talents, and beauty, were admitted into the inferior class of Agiamoglans, or the more liberal rank of Ichoglans, of whom the former were attached to the palace, and the latter to the person of the prince. In four successive schools, under the rod of the white eunuchs, the arts of horsemanship and of darting the
javelin were their daily exercise, while those of a
more studious cast applied themselves to the study of the Koran, and the knowledge of the Arabic and Persian tongues. As they advanced in seniority and merit, they were gradually dismissed to military, civil, and even ecclesiastical employments: the longer their stay, the higher their expectations; till, at a mature period, they were admitted into the number of the forty agas, who stood before the Sultan, and were promoted by his choice to the government of provinces, and the first honours of the
empire". Such a mode of institution was admira- C H A P. - - - !, X \}. bly adapted to the form and spirit of a despotic mo- -
narchy. The ministers and generals were, in the strictest sense, the slaves of the Emperor, to whose bounty they were indebted for their instruction and
support. When they left the seraglio, and suffered
their beards to grow as the symbol of enfranchisement, they found themselves in an important office, without faction or friendship, without parents and without heirs, dependent on the hand which had raised them from the dust, and which, on the slightest displeasure, could break in pieces these statues of glass, as they are aptly termed by the Turkish proverb f. In the slow and painful steps of education, their character and talents were unfolded to a discerning eye: the man, naked and alone, was reduced to the standard of his personal merit; and, if the sovereign had wisdom to chuse, he possessed a pure and boundless liberty of choice. The Ottoman candidates were trained by the virtues of abstinence to those of action; by the habits of submission, to those of command. A similar spirit was diffused among the troops; and their silence and sobriety, their patience and modesty, have
* This sketch of the Turkish education and discipline is chiefly borrowed from Ricaut's State of the Ottoman Empire, the Stato Militare del' Imperio Ottomano of Count Marsigli, (in Haya, 1732, in folio), and a Description of the Seraglio, approved by Mr Greaves himself, a curious traveller, and inserted in the second volume of his works,
+ From the series of 115 vizirs till the siege of Vienna, (Marsigli, p. 13.), their place may be valued at three years and a half purchase.
extorted the reluctant praise of their Christian ene-
gunpowder t is involved in doubtful traditions and
equivocal language; yet we may clearly discern, that it was known before the middle of the fourteenth century; and that, before the end of the same, the use of artillery in battles and sieges, by sea and
* See the entertaining and judicious letters of Busbequius.
+ The 1st and 2d volumes of Dr Watson's Chemical Essays contain two valuable discourses on the discovery and composition of gunpowder.
land, was familiar to the states of Germany, Italy, c H A p.
Spain, France, and England *. The priority of nations is of small account; none could derive any exclusive benefit from their previous or superior knowledge; and in the common improvement they stood on the same level of relative power and military science. Nor was it possible to circumscribe the secret within the pale of the church; it was disclosed to the Turks by the treachery of apostates, and the selfish policy of rivals; and the Sultans had sense to adopt, and wealth to reward, the talents of a Christian engineer. The Genoese who transported Amurath into Europe, must be accused as his preceptors; and it was probably by their hands that his cannon was cast and directed at the siege of Constantinople t. The first attempt was indeed unsuccessful; but in the general warfare of the age, the advantage was on their side, who were most commonly the assailants; for a while the proportion of the attack and defence was suspended; and * On this subject, modern testimonies cannot be trusted. The original passages are collected by Ducange, (Gloss. Latin. tom. i. p. 675. Bombarda). But in the early doubtful twilight, the name, sound, fire, and effect, that seem to express our artillery, may be fairly interpreted of the old engines and the Greek fire. For the English cannon at Crecy, the authority of John Villani (Chron. l. xii. c. 65.) must be weighed against the silence of Froissard. Yet Muratori (Antiquit. Italiae medii A.vi, tom. ii. Dissert. xxvi. p. 514. 515.) has produced a decisive passage from Petrarch, (de Remediis
utriusque Fortuna, Dialog.), who, before the year 1344, execrates this terrestrial thunder, nuper rara, nunc communis.
+ The Turkish cannon, which Ducas (c. 32.) first introduces before Belgrade (A. D. 1436), is mentioned by Chalcondyles (l. v. p. 123.) in 1422, at the siege of Constantiuople.