Abbildungen der Seite
PDF

to be changed but by an univerfal revolution.

M Peter the Great and Charles XII. in their plans of regenerating, or conquering the Ruffians, did not depend folely upon the agency of minifters for fuccefs.

"The curiolity of Selim refpe& ■ ing the other nations of Europe originated in frequent converfations with Rachib Effendi, the prefent hiftoriographer-royal, who was for foine time envoy at Vienna, after the lati war. Thofe who have gained his confidence fince the commencement of his reign, have confuted that inclination, and improved every opportunity of extending his intelligence on thole fubjefts. I have heard it .ifferted that the young men in the feraglio are now inftrudted in the French language by •his command; and his partiality to French wine is no fecret amonoft the well informed.

"The firft efforts towards improvement bave beea applied to the army and marine. Forts have been erected on the Bofphoms, regiments bave been trained to European difcipline, chiefly by French officers, and the fleet will become in a certain degree formidable.

"When he has leifure to render his vaft territory, at leaft in the vicinity of his capital, more refemblant of civilized nations, he will probably eftablifh a port, which may facilitate communication between diftant provinces. During the laft war many places of importance were taken, or evacuated, weeks before the miniftry were in poffeffion of the fact.

"The only imperial works now feen in his dominions are mofques, aqueducts, and fountains; he may hereafter turn his attention to great roads, now barely paflable, which would be as ufeful monuments of bis fame.

"Mehmet Melek Pafha, the late vifier, refigned in 1794. He was a favourite, in his youth, of Zvlultafia III. who gave him his lifter in marriage, and the appellation of Melek, or the Angel, on account of his Angular beauty; for the Turks ufualhr taketheirfurnamefrom forneperfonal excellence or peculiarity. After having enjoyed fome of the moll lucrative governments in the empire he returned to Conftantinople, and was called to the vi (irate, at the advanced age of ninety years, in 1789. He has retired to his palace on the Afiatic fide of the Bofphorus, and, as an extraordinary fact in natural hiftory, has had a fon born to him, whole legitimacy cannot be invalidated.

"The prefent fyftem of government aims at the fuppreilioii of the former fole authority of the vifier, and has reduced him to a mere member of the cabinet council. As the fultan takes a more active (bare than his predeceffor in public affairs, and iiftens to moce advifers, it feems to draw to an end. The vifier now in office is iikewile a harmlefs old man, fo that they may probably foon 'fit fiate-fta* tues only.'

"The ruling perfons of the prefent day, are, 1. Yusuf Agha, kiayah, or high-fteward ta the fultan's mother, who retains a very decided influence with him. Yusuf's private life has been marked by uncommon circumftances. He is a native of Candia, and was originally a writer to a fhip, from which employment he palled into the fcrvice of Abdullah Pafha, beglerbey of Anatolia, refuting at Kutayah. During ten years he fo ingratiated himfelf with the pallia, that he determined to fecure to him his great wealth in his life-time. Accordingly he gave him entire pofllifion, ordering him to fly to the Porte,

and and to urge the heayieft complains againft him for his injufiice and lit— tirhtmeut. Meanwhile the pafha died. The capidji baftii was difpatched by the fultair'to feize the treafure, but found nothing; and Yusuf, from the predicament in which he flood, was. the laft perfon to be fufpecM). With this wealth he lived in fpleudour at Constantinople, and frequented the audiences of the vifier. He was foon appointed taraphana, eminy, or mafter of the mint, from which he was advanced to his prefent poft.

*' 2. Ratib Effendi has twice held the important office of reis effendi, or fecretary of ftate. He rofe from a public elerk, palling through, all the preliminary gradations with diftinguifhed ability. He is beyond companion the beft informed, and moft capable minifter in the cabinet.

"Tchiuseh, kiayah, or deputy to the vifier, is at the head of the finance, and planned the new taxes.

"The prefent capudan pafha, or high admiral, called Kuchuk Huffeiu, from his diminutive ftature, Was a Georgian (lave, and the companion of the iiiltan in his childhood. From the feraglio he eirterged to take the command of the navy, it may be prefumed without much previous acquaintance with maritime affairs. But his adpiiniflration has been very beneficial; for he has raifed the-marine from the miferuble ftate it was left in at the conclufiou of the Ruffian war, to refpcclability. The new ihips are built under the infpeclion of European furveyors, and French nautical terms have been adopted. At the beginning of the prefent century, the Turkifh fleet confided of 32 ihips of the line, 34 galleys, and fome brigantines; they can now fend to fea 14 firft rates, 6 frigates, and 50 (loops of war.

"Every fpring he leaves Conflantinople with a few ihips, to vifit the Archipelago, to receive the capitation tax from the different iflands, and to free the feas from pirates, and the Maltefe cruifers. The time of his coming is generally known, fo that the fervice is little more than a matter of form. His reception by the fultan, both at his departure and return, is a brilliant fpeftacle. He is married to the only daughter of Abdul-bamid, and is honoured with the private friendfhip of his fovereign.

"Every fcheme for defending the coafls of the Black fea by forts and batteries, and for military regulations, is fubnvtted to Cheliby Effendi, who furveys their execution, if approved. He was mafitr 0/ the mathematical fchool founded in 1773 by Ghazi Haf-.au pafha, a very celebrated character in the laft reign.

"This extraordinary perfon was likewife a Georgian Have, and afterward a Barbury corfair. Having been taken prifoner by the Spaniards, he pa fled fix years of flave17 at Madrid, from whence he was fent to Naples, where he was exchanged, and returned to Conftantinople. His reputation for perfonal courage procured him the command of a galley, and afterward o a frigate. At the unfortunate battle of Chefhme he had a fhip of the line under Jaffer, capudin pafha^ who upon his difgrace dfcd of chagrin,- and was fucceeded bj Haflan.

"He was extremely whimGal, and kept a lion's whelp always on his fofa, which he bad trained up to follow him, but which, having killed one of the domeftics, was U' terwards chained. He became vifier, and died at the age of more than feventy, in the camp againft the Ruffians, ex without fufpicion of poifon. prifon. So lingular was his bravery, and (o frequent his fuccefles, that he aiTtimed the name of Ghazi, the victorious. Abdul-hamid was fear* ful, and confidered the f.it'ety of the empire endangered by his abfcnce from Conftantinople.

"Of his prevailing influence the following relation is a proof, and gives traits of fecret machinations praftifed in the feraglio.

"One of his flaves, named Yoluf, had fo recommended himfelf by fuperior talents, that he gave him liberty, and promotion to the moft confiderable offices. At the time Yusuf returned from his government of Morea, to take upon him the office of vifier, Mavroyeni, a Greek of a noble family, was the dragoman, or interpreter, to his patron HatTan. Petraki, another Greek, was matter of the mint, and imperial banker, and had amafTcd feven millions of piaftres.

"This man being ambitious of becoming prince of Wallachia, he three times procured the appointment of Mavro-yeni to that high ftation, who had the intereft of Haffan, and the vifier to be fuperfeded. But they, impatient of the difappointment, reprefented to Abdul-hamid, that the people demanded the life of Petraki in atonement of his peculation, who timidly confented to his execution, and he was inftantly imprifoned. On the very day of the high ceremony of Mavro-yeni's inveftiturc, he was led to the gate of the feraglio to kifs his ftirrup, and fue for pardon. At that inflant the executioner (truck off his head, and Mavro-yeni had the fatisfa&ion of feeing hit rival dead at his feet.

Another Hafsin paflia who hated him, becoming vifier, ordered him to be beheaded upon the charge of betraying Giurgevow, the firffc Tuikifh fortrefs upon the Danube, to the Germans. He died a mu> fulman. Abdul-hamid, when informed of the laft-mentioned circumftances, was fo far convinced of his innocence, that in a few months the vindictive vifier fliared the fame fate.

"The officers of the feraglio are very numerous. The kiflar-agha, or chief of the black eunuchs, hav». ing the arrangement of the female department, is moil familiar with the fultan, and is a powerful friend, or enemy, to the minifters of ftate.

"Between the officers of the feraglio and thofe who compofe the divan, there fubfifts a perpetual rivalry; and if the emperor be either very active or indolent in public bufinefs, there is ample caufe for their jealoufy. Thofe with whom he is conftantly conrerfant, and before whom he relaxes into colloquial freedom, muft necefTarily obtain fecret influence enough to bias him in matters of importance, if he wifhes others than his oftenfible counfellors, or is determined by fir ft representations without further deliberation.

"The minifters are admitted to an audience with the fultan with the profoundeft ceremony. Even in the pretence of the mild Abdulhamid the bold Haflan was overpowered with awe, and the. lion teemed to be transformed into a lamb. One of the prefent miniftry, a man of great vivacity, is faid to. compofe his fpirits with a pill of opium before he approaches the throne."

1797

MANNERS

MANNERS Of NATIONS.

Particulars relative to the Religion-, Economy, Classes, Tip 8UNAL9, Customs, Arts, Literature, and Science of the Chinese.

[Extra&ed from SirGEORGE Staunton's authentic Account of anE*Bassy from theKiNGof Greatbritain to thefc.MPEs.oR of China.]

« AF thofe circular and lofty ^ edifices, by Europeans termed pagodas, there are feveral kinds, and dedicated to feveral ufes in China; but none to religious worfliip. The temples which are confecrated to fuch a purpofe differ little in height from common dwelling houfes, as in the inftance of the Embaffador's momentary refidencenear Tong-choo-foo.. The prefence of foreigners there did not prevent the vfual affluence of devotees. The Chinefe interpreter of the Embafly, who was a moft zealous Chriftian of the Roman Catholic perfuafioii, and himfelf a prieft of that com* ipunion, faw with regret, the English cunotifly examining the images prattendingtotheceremoniesof the religion of Fo, left they fhould perceive the refemblance between its exterior forms and thoie of his own church. Such refemblance had been, indeed, already thought fo ftriking, that fome of the miflionaries conjectured that the Chinefe had formerly received a glimpfe of Christianity fi om the Neftonans, by the way of 1 artarv: "'hers that Saint Thomas the Apoftle had been amongft them j but LBe miflionary fremare.

could account for it no otherwife than by fuppofing it to have been a trick of the Devil to mortify the Jefuits. Oue of them obferves, that the likenefs is fo ftrong between the apparent worfliip »f many of the priefls of Fo, and that which is exhibited in churches of the Roman faith, that a Chinefe conveyed into one of the latter, might imagine the votaries he fawr were then adoring the deities of hi* own country. On the aitar of a Chinefe temple, behind a fcreen, is frequently a reprefentation which might anfwer for that of the Virgin Mary, in the perfon of Sblnmn, or the facred mother, fitting in an alcove with a child in her arms, and rays proceeding from a circle, which are called a glory, round her head.with tapers burning conftantly before her. The long coarfe gowns of the Ho-fliaungs, or priefts of Fo, bound with cords round the waift, would almoft equally fult the friars of the order of St. Francis. The former live, like the latter, i» a (late of celibacy, refide in monar fteries together, and impofe, occafionally, upon themfelves voluntary penance, and rigorous abftinence. "Th»

"The temples of Fo abound with more images than are found in moft Chriftian churches, and fome that bear a greater analogy to the ancient than the prefent worfliip of the Romans. One figure reprefenting a female, was thought to be fomething fimilar to Lucina, and is particularly addrefled by unmarried women wanting hulbands, and married women wanting children. The doftrine of Fo, admitting of a fubordinate deity particularly propitious to every wifli which can be formed in the human mind, would fcarcely fail to fpread among thofe clafles of the people who are not fatisfied with their profpe&s, as refulting from the natural caufes of events. Its progrefs is not obftrufted by any meafures of the government of the country, which does not interfere with mere opinions. It prohibits no belief which is not fuppofed to affect the tranquillity of fociety.

"There is in China no ftatc religion. None is paid„preferred,or encouraged by It. The emperor is ot one faith; many of the mandarines of another ; and the majority of the common people of a third, which is that of Fo. This laft clafs, the lead capable, from ignorance, of explaining the phenqmena of nature, and the moft expofed to wants which it cannot fupply by ordinary means, is willing to recur to the fuppofition of extraordinary powers, which may operate the effects it cannot explain, and grant the requefts which it cannot otherwife obtain.

"No people are, .in faft, more fuperfritious than the commonChinefe. Befide the habitual offices of devotion orr the part of the priefte and females, the temples are particularly frequented by the difciples of Fo, previoufly to any undertaking of importance; whether

to marry, or go a journey, or conclude a bargain, or change fituation, or for any other material event in life, it is neceflary firft to confult the fuperintendant deity. This is performed by various methods. Some place a parcel of confecrated flicks,.differently marked and numbered, which the confultant, kneeling before the altar, Ihakes in a hollow bamboo, until one of them falls on the ground; its mark is examined, and referred to a, correfpnndent mark in a book which the prieft holds open, and fometimes even it is written upon a flieet of paper pafted upon the infide of the temple. Polygonal pieces of wood are by others thrown into the air. Each fide has its particular mark; the fide that is uppermoft' when fallen on the floor, is in like manner referred to its correfpondent mark in the book or flieet of fate. If the firft throw be favourable, the perfon who made it proftrates himfelf in gratitude, and undertakes afterwards, with confidence, the bufinefs in agitation. But if the throw fliould be adverfe, he tries a fecond time, and the third throw determines, at any rate, the queftion. In other refpe&s the people of the prefent day feem to pay little attention to their priefts. The temples are, however, always open for fuch as choofe to confult the decrees of heaven. They return' thanks when the oracle proves pro-' pitious to their wifhes. Yet they oftener caft lots, to know the iffiie of a projected enterprife, than fupplicate for its being favourable; and their worfliip confifts more in thanklgiving than in prayer. •

"Few Chinefe are feldom faid to carry the objefts, to be obtained by theirdevotion, beyond the bene-" fits of this life. Yet the religion of Fo profefles the dodrrine of the tranfmigration of fouls, and proE x mifei

« ZurückWeiter »