Page images

It was noble, indeed, in a sovereign con- | witnessed, but the grace of the horses was scious of his inability to resist, to refuse the worth a voyage to behold. surrender of the Hungarian and Polish refugees, who had been received into his hospitality and promised safety and support in the ancient fashion of the East. Still, though the Russian wolf grit her teeth for the blood which would speedily have been shed, the lamb may be defended by the justice of her cause, the unanimous public sentiment of the world, the countenance of England and France, the efficient help of the very foreigners she has saved, and the necessity of arresting the ever-extending encroachments of the most dangerous power in the modern world.

Generosity to the suffering is a marked feature in Abdul Medjid's character: the recalled Ambassador of Louis Philippe received not only a present in money, but the offer of a high place under government if he could not do better at home; the Internuncio of Austria, under similar circumstances, having intimated that money would be acceptable instead of the usual jewels, received the salary of an American President as a parting gift; and it is rumored that the poet-statesman Lamartine will accept and occupy the wide acres presented him by the Sultan in the vicinity of Smyr


The detention of Kossuth is readily explained by the fact that the rights of humanity, as understood in Turkey, required that he should be hospitably entertained, but did not require that he should be freely dismissed in face of the Russian declaration that this would be regarded as a sufficient reason for war.

But the Pope's countenance, praised as it is for benevolence. expresses no more than this sad young Sultan's. As we saw him passing to worship one Friday noon, attended by all his high officers on horseback, with a number of beautiful led horses in the train, a row of military with music lining one side of the street, a crowd gazing in silence, you seemed to see the destiny of his race in his sickly, effeminate, pensive and rather handsome face. The chief thing, next to the beauty of the Sultan's stud, was the uniform obesity of his officials: none of his servants seemed at all worn with work; and many an Ethiopian eunuch looked the perfect picture of animal comfort. The bands played tolerably, the soldiers coughed sadly, the crowd was the quietest I ever

The Hippodrome is the great curiosity of Constantinople. It is the only public square. It contains the principal remains of ancient art, and yet after all it is rather a disappointment. First and foremost is the Burnt Column, a singular, many-colored shaft, greatly shorn in height and stripped of the metal plates that once held its granite blocks together, and chiefly noticeable for its obscure history, its odd hues, and its very considerable height. Probably it once bore a statue of Apollo, and instead of being huddled up in old wooden houses, stood in dignified position in the great square. Next comes an obelisk looking very like a deserted stone chimney, once covered with plates of brass, but now threatening to fall. Then come the three twisted serpents of Delphos, a very queer thing, supposed to have supported the tripod of the oracle; but the heads are gone, the tails are not visible, and the twisted copper mass looks the tasteless imitation characteristic of the Turk. Then comes the only tolerable thing, and that spoilt by being out of place and keeping, the Theban Obelisk, a mate to that still standing at Heliopolis, fifty feet high, of one piece, having on its base a bas-relief exhibiting the machine by which it was raised. Here stood anciently the four bronze horses of St. Mark which have travelled so famously; Constantinople having stolen them from Rome, Venice from Constantinople, and Paris, for a short time, from Venice. so much better ones can be made now-adays, they are not likely to be disturbed again.


The finest bazaars in the world are at Constantinople. Having visited those of Cairo and Damascus, and seen some that were very curious in Syria, and made little purchases in all, I can praise those of Stamboul with a good grace. Like the Eastern shops elsewhere, each article is sold in its separate quarter; here jewels, there nothing but shoes; here drugs, there only fruit. Each merchant has a very small stock, and his office is in proportion, six feet by four; just room enough for a row of shelves behind him, and space in front to lie down and sleep, pray or smoke. The Oriental fashion of smoking and drinking coffee before the conclusion of a bargain is not thought of now, except for large purchasers. I never

[ocr errors]

I was struck by the honesty of a mosque servant close by. We were alone: I offered him several dollars just to enter the sacred

was offered the chibouque by a shopkeeper | ing the hand and form, or moving round the in Constantinople, and but twice at Damas- persons of the living merchandise. Being cus. But the peculiarity of the Constanti alone, excepting my timid servant, which nople bazaars is, that they are so well built; was worse than being quite by myself, I and, instead of being covered with ragged could not discover much; only that these mats, like those of Damascus, or only here were the best dressed slaves I had seen— and there a grim arch, as at Acre, the vast far better than the almost naked things on extent is covered with a solid stone roof, the Nile, that they had the muffled face arching over the street for miles. From the like Turkish ladies, were exceedingly jocose, main trunk run smaller ones, also arched, even to singing out to me “Good, good,” at right angles, and at intervals occur the and desirous to "find a new home somekhans or lodging houses for strange mer- where as soon as possible. I saw no beauchants, and exchanges for the wholesale ties among them-those are reserved for trade. These bear the name of some Sultan Sultans and Pachas; but none so filthy and or Sultana by whom they were built, and chimney-sweepish as at Cairo and Assouan. are pretty nearly free to the public. In these the storage room is of course larger, but not to compare with what our own merchants require, and I found them every-edifice, which was empty at that moment. where dark, dingy and old. In Damascus the shops were framed of rough, unpainted wood, and the covers or shutters, which were locked every night, but never closed if the merchant only went to the mosque, were no better than the commonest barn door in Connecticut. In Constantinople, these were always finished with neatness, with a low, carved balustrade in front; the same idea very differently expressed. The most striking articles here were some Persian embroidered merinoes and silks, which attracted much notice at the London Exhibition. It stuck me there were fewer conveniences for sleeping, and fewer still so pleasantly occupied, than in the other great Eastern cities. The truth is, the almost daily arrival of steamers in the Golden Horn has sadly disturbed this Sleepy Hollow; has really excited many a quiet Mussulman; has made sad havoc in all his habits, good and bad, and made him familiar with cheating in business, intemper-viduals for safe keeping, which remain from ane in drink, intrigue and inhospitality.

The slave mart, I have said, was nearly closed. My dragoman insisted upon it that the vigorous efforts of the British Ambassador had entirely swept it away. He has done all he could, and no single man could do more. Long familiar with this court, his tact, decision, energy, fearlessness, have all but triumphed. Yet, in the old spot, right under the most magnificent mosque in the world, in a number of small apartments, were sundry sooty damsels and a few white ones, very anxious to find a purchaser; and occasionally a Turk was observed study

There can hardly be a doubt that he was poor enough to be tempted: but he would not yield; perhaps he said with the apostle, " Thy gold perish with thee." I had to be content with a distant peep at the large, carpet-covered floor, and the fine dome hanging with many lamps, and remember how many Turkish houses of prayer I had already seen. For, without a Sultan's firman and janissary, what I had freely seen at Cairo was forbidden fruit here. The pe culiarities of the Constantinople mosques is not their size or age, nor their costliness or peculiar sanctity. The "Tagliouns" at Cairo is far older, and the St. Omar at Jerusalem far holier. But these, besides having more domes and minarets, have more spacious grounds, better conveniences for bathing, tiner sepulchral monuments, and larger colleges of priests. One of them is very remarkable for a pile of chests and boxes of jewels and treasures, deposited by indi

century to century untouched, quite as secure in an open gallery of the place of daily prayer, as if guarded by all the bank vaults of Christendom. Some of the fountains or Sibeels are very singular structures. Imagine a round marble house, with large windows grated with bronze, and men standing within all day long to pass fresh water to the windows-each cup a present in fact from some pious deceased person to the public. Sometimes you ascend a flight of marble steps, and suck the water from a little brass knob; and often the overhanging roof, or the entire building, is very fantastically

decorated. In a sultry land, and a general | of an unknown antiquity, but placed here by scarcity of water, there is a mercy in all the Turk for safe keeping; then come the this. mint and treasury. An ordinary gateway leads to the palace proper, whose grounds are filled with trees and occupied by buildings of every shape, except the beautiful or magnificent, erected by different Sultans according to the caprice of the moment; an irregular and vast expanse (those say who have visited it all, of kiosks, baths, fountains, and cypress groves.

The whirling dervishes, very improperly called "dancing," seemed utterly spiritless, compared with the howling brethren of the same name whom I had met in Egypt. The cream of the exercise was merely that forty men, in long but full woollen robes, sailed round their circular hall to some monotonous music, bowing to their superior once in each revolution, and receiving the same The common streets of Constantinople are civility in return. There was no religious mean, filthy, and uninteresting in the exfrenzy about it, nothing of the mad excite-treme: not named or numbered, nor laid ment I had witnessed before; the whole affair was formal and stupid enough. They had attended prayers at the mosque before, and generally have the Koran read or recited afterwards, and profess to be still a body of monkish ascetics, but are charged with being sad hypocrites, making only a cloak of their godliness. When fanaticism expires, in a body like this, it is succeeded by the worst kind of pharisaism. A good story about the present Sultan is that, a voice coming from a previous Sultan's tomb, saying, "I burn," instead of paying for prayers to get the poor fellow out of the fires of purgatory, he tore open the tomb, and found a rascally dervish, whose "burning" was quickly cooled down in the Bosphorus.


down upon maps, a stranger is absolutely helpless; and, as there are no lamps at nights, and some danger of dogs, and an awkward feeling that you might be robbed and murdered without anybody's knowing it, and then the most miserable of stone pavements to stumble over, and a very raw, uncomfortable wind from the Black Sea, one may be pardoned for not liking Stamboul any too well. Byron says that "five days out of every seven you might d-n the climate, and complain of spleen at Constantinople." The never-cleaned streets, the half-open graves, the extensive burialgrounds in the city, the extreme filth of the greater part of the population, and the absence of suitable medical treatment, more than explain the frequency of disease and death.

A very strange sort of cistern is that which bears the name of " the thousand aud | columns, containing at present less To leave Constantinople and not mention than half that number in an underground a bath would be unpardonable. Even the area of two hundred and forty feet by two smallest Oriental town is thus provided, hundred, and occupied now by wretched- and the "queen city " has over three hunlooking silk weavers-not so naked, how-dred for the puolic, besides many private ever, or sickly as the books declare. Every part of this structure marks the barbarous period of art.

ones for the wealthy. The exterior is always unpromising. The first apartment to which I was admitted was very lofty and spacious, dome-lighted, and pierced with numerous air-holes. In recesses along the walls

The Seraglio is supposed by strangers to be merely the residence of the Sultan's ladies: so far from that, the principal gov-persons were reclining with sherbet and the ernment offices are included within its walls, and you have perfectly free entrance as far as the outer court. Near the over-praised mosque of St. Sophia is the "Sublime Porte," the outside gate of the Palace, a name now transferred to a stiff pile of state offices at a little distance; then on the right as one enters is a Pacha's palace, evidently a great place of resort, but a huge pile of meanness. Opposite to it stands the arsenal of ancient armor, once the church of St. Irene; and adjoining that some red tombs

chibouque, as if to recover from extreme fatigue: a small café makes a corner of this reception and dressing-room. A half-naked fellow assists you to strip, ties up your clothing in a separate parcel, and girding a towel around your loins, and putting clogs on your feet, leads you to the next warmer apartment. Not familiar with the mystery of pattens, I preferred to walk bare foot over the warm marble, but actually fled with terror from the inner apartment, where the heat exceeded a hundred degrees of Fahrenheit. After a

while, however, mustering courage for the worst, I gave myself up to a half-naked, shaven-headed Turk, who laid me on my back, and watered and soaped, and rubbed with a hair-glove, and bathed, till with the excessive perspiration I felt quite dissolved. Then a white napkin was bound round the head, and a dry linen around the waist, and the same attendant led forth to a lounge in

the great hall, with whatever refreshment I pleased to order. After passing a sort of dreamy half hour, to a Turk the highest joy in existence, I returned to my lodgings in a parboiled state, enervated and indolent, unfit for work, and hardly fit for play, freshly equipped with fleas, and quite unmoved to the customary extravagance about the unequalled delights of the Turkish Bath.

F. W. H


WE anticipate more than ordinary in-principles which the party in power is terest and excitement in the approaching organized to secure. For the accomplishcanvass for the next President of the United ment of this sinister object, sectional jealousStates. All parties are burnishing their ies, which had slumbered from the days of armor and providing and collecting their Andrew Jackson until now, have been exwarlike munitions for the impending con- cited and aroused. Fanaticism at the two test. The disunionist of the North has extremes of the nation has been reanimated already uttered his battle cry of "Free Soil and excited to unprecedented activity by the or Disunion;" and in reply to this announce- insidious wiles of defeated demagoguism. ment of his political creed, is heard the re- It has been publicly proclaimed, that for the sponse of the distant South, in accents im- preservation of the "Union," old issues must perions and threatening, of "Slave Labor be abandoned, old parties dissolved, and and Disunion." The Democratic party, new ones organized. This absurd notion still writhing under the defeat of "forty- has been propagated with as much zeal, eight," and in a measure suffering the pri- activity, and earnestness, as if the Union vations of the treasury spoils, are desper- were actually in danger of dissolution. The ately engaged in creating new issues on whole of the inflammatory declamation relwhich to rally their forces, and on which ative to the dissolution of the Union is, at they hope to retrieve their fallen fortunes in least now, unnecessary, and only productive the coming contest. The Whig party, too, of evil. True, infatuated and misguided have interests in the political struggle for su- fanaticism at the North has been loud, premacy. After a contest of twenty years clamorous, and treasonable in its bold deagainst the assumptions of the arrogant and nunciation of the Union; but however unself-styled Democracy, they have succeeded friendly their sentiments, and vigorous and in the vanquishment of their opponents, and united their action to accomplish its overhave given to the country an administration throw, their numbers and influence are too distinguished for talent, for political wisdom, contemptible to justify any apprehension on and undisputed integrity. Yet an adminis- the part of the true and patriotic friend to tration qualified to accomplish so much for his country. This position is fully sustained the prosperity of the country has been cir- by reference to the contest of 1848, when cumvented and trammelled, its energies the abolitionists of the North had their crippled and prostrated, and its action ren- own candidate in the field, who received the dered inefficient, by a Congress which has undivided support of the party, and also the thrown every obstacle in the way of reform. disaffected "Free Democracy" of the State Every expedient has been resorted to by the of New-York. Yet under circumstances so disaffected and defeated ranks of Locofocoism, favorable for the triumph of their principles, to divert the public mind from the discus- if such principles ever could triumph, they sion and establishment of the important were unable to carry the vote of a single

State, or even to secure a respectable minority in any State, save in New-York, where they coalesced with the Van Buren school of Democrats.

no sectional jealousies, no "Fugitive Slave Law," can ever alienate their deep and abiding affection from the American Union. Full well do they know that political liberty, national independence and prosperity, are the direct and grand results of this glorious confederacy of republics. Let the revolutionary and disorganizing demagogue but make his treasonable appeal to the people, and from the grave descendant of the Puritan, still clinging to the rocks and hills of his Pilgrim Fathers; from the impulsive son of the South, amid his luxuriant and productive fields; from the rude borderer on the wilderness shores of the northern lakes; and even from those distant and romantic regions where all the gorgeous wealth of oriental fable appears to have been realized; from the wide extremes of this broad continent comes the responding shout of the nation as the voice of one man, proclaiming unchanging and eternal devotion to the Union.

Neither, do we apprehend, need there any more alarm be excited relative to the action of the more impulsive nullifier of the South. The thunder of his eloquence, when he first proclaimed disunion, was indeed startling; and as it rolled peal after peal through the political heavens, many there were who had their misgivings, until it was discovered that the bolt of the thunderer was pointless and unaccompanied by the vivid and destructive flash of the electric fluid. Long since has the most timid friend of the Republic taken courage, and forgotten to tremble at the direst maledictions of the most turbulent agitator. The disunionist of the South has no political influence out of his particular and limited circle. He has not the power to levy taxes, organize armies, fight battles, or elect Presidents. True, he has openly adAt this period no inconsiderable portion vocated treason in the most decided and menacing tone. Long has he labored to of the newspaper press of the country, under kindle an incendiary flame which should the management of both political parties, is eventually consume the fair prrportions of claiming precedence for certain distinguished that temple of liberty in which the freemen statesmen in the impending contest, on acof a continent are destined to assemble and count of the patriotism and vigor with which worship. Yet notwithstanding the energy they sustained the Union when assailed by of his treasonable appeals to the people, no Southern and Northern nullification. It is step has been taken towards the accomplish-shown by the journalists, that independent ment of his treasonable purpose; no dis- of the arduous Congressional duties imposed union banner has yet been given to the upon their favorites, which they have diswinds of heaven; there has been no "assem- charged with such distinguished ability, they bling of the hosts to battle." The laws of have accomplished much more, and all for the United States still continue to be fully the Union. They have visited all the executed in the infected district, without opposition from the most chivalrous of the conspirators, and the earthquake rumblings of revolution have receded and diminished, until its loudest note of discord is but faintly audible. They have finally appealed to the ballot-box, and found that the people were against them. They have taken the last lesson of the demagogue, and it has taught them that the masses of the South are as firm for the Union as those of any other section.

*It is necessary for us here to enter a caveat

against the too unguarded sweep of our contributor's observations.

Doubtlesss there have been many attempts to ride into consideration on the wave of this excitement, as is usual with political aspirants; and their lack of other qualifications was expected to be hidden under the veil of this sublime devotion eulogized by our friend; but there were men who thought it necessary to step (from positions already attained by all the qualifications necessary for any) down into the Granting then from these facts that the popular arena, and with words of power and wisdom cool the heats, clear the perplexities, and Union is in no danger, it is absurd folly to arouse the patriotism that the strife had engenorganize a political party for its preservation. dered. This, in these men, was legitimate and The American people, with the exceptions grand. They had fought the battle in other forms; alluded to, regardless of sect or party, are had staked themselves upon it, when the issue the true conservative party into whose hands was not known; throwing aside their sectional predilections, and taking a national and judicial the destinies of the Republic may be safely attitude-just to all, and fearless of none. committed. No inflammatory declamation, They properly therefore came among the people

« PreviousContinue »